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Teens eyeing space and the stars

“I knew I did put in my best. I knew I did burn the night candles for about two months, reading related articles in the newspapers,” said Kayode, 17-year-old student of African Church Model College, Ifako, Lagos.
“I also knew that I did spend lots of time in the libraries. But I really didn’t know I would emerge as the eventual winner. This simply means my efforts paid off and I am extremely delighted.”
She worked on the topic “If you allow the use of multi-satellite in space, what will you do to benefit your country, continent and the world?” and her essay was rated best.
Among benefits, she lists power generation, security, technology advancement. “In a country like Nigeria where power supply has been quite erratic, if we maximize the benefits in the use of satellite, we will surely get results. All of these I have always known thus when the topic was given out, I couldn’t resist the urge to go all out and put in my best,” Taiwo said.
Interestingly, Taiwo said she always has her hands full with curricular and extra-curricular activities. The 17-year-old is school headgirl and president of her school’s press club.
The fourth child of her parent, she aspires to be a doctor, a profession she believes will give her opportunity to render selfless service. The award has only oiled her path to that destination, she said.
Aliyu, winner of the second category of the award is no less optimistic of a brighter future. The 16-year-old SS3 student of Zamani College, Kaduna, was made best entry in the poster category—in which contestants put in graphics their ideas of strategic areas that satellite technology can develop in Africa.
Aliyu’s poster covered 10 sectors. “In my drawing, I made representation that included agriculture, oil spillage and poaching- that is the way and manner animal dies. Others include, transportation, telecommunication, oil spillage, entertainment, science and technology as well as security,” he said.
Two factors pushed him: a recent participation at the International Geography Olympiad in Japan and a historian mother who constantly offered him constructive criticism when he put his ideas on paper.
At the Olympiad, he brainstormed with students from other countries.
“So, when I returned to Nigeria, there were lots of ideas in my head. I really wasn’t sure about what to do. Later, I had to sit and start making sketches of my ideas on the papers,” Aliyu said.
He wants to be a pilot, eyeing an aeronautic college in Qatar but hopes to return after working some years to invest in agriculture. “Piloting is my dream job, agriculture is my passion,” he stated.
Two runners-up, Adriel Yakubu of Adonai Vine School, Jos and Eugene Udobi of Penny International School, Lagos, got certificates and home theatre systems unlike the personal computers given to the main winners.
Organisers say bigger rewards are in the offing. As in two previous editions, entries will be compared with those from 45 other African countries, and the four best get international treats, including tour of Eutelsat facilities in Paris and ringside seat at a live rocket launch.
Runners up trip to South Africa as MultiChoice guests and schools of overall winners get DSTV installation and free access to the cable distributor’s education bouquet, said Segun Fayose, public relations head at MultiChoice Nigeria.
The winners were picked for understanding and demonstrating satellite technology and its application in everyday life, said lead judge Funsho Falade, a professor of civil engineering at University of Lagos.
“The knowledge of science and technology, which the awards spearhead, will be made manifest in the socio-economic growth informed by new thinking and orientation of today’s youth,” said DSTV marketing manager Chioma Afe.
The awards last year drew over 1,000 entries—up from 800 when it started in 2011.

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