By Sam Otti

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Dr Aderinmola Luwaji and Bukola Keshinro were academic rivals in Loral International Boarding Secondary School, Igbesa, Ogun State, where they graduated in 2007. Their neck and neck competition for higher grades during examinations kept both of them perpetually on the reading table.
Nine years later, they returned to their alma mater with their success stories during a mentoring programme, geared to inspire students preparing for this year’s Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) and Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME). Quite profound was the fact that despite their stiff contest for academic laurels, the two students were best of friends during their schooldays and afterwards.
Aderinmola made straight A’s in her Cambridge examination and later graduated from the University of Witswaterand, South Africa, ranked among the best 50 universities in the world, as a medical doctor. Her classmate, Keshinro, also finished in top grade at the Obafemi Awolowo University, where she studied Food, Nutrition and Dietetics. She is currently running her Masters programme.
The two ambassadors were guest speakers at this year’s mentoring programme organized for students of both Igbesa and Festac Town campuses of the school.  Addressing the students, Dr Luwaji, who emerged as the best graduating student in 2007, urged them to make reading a habit. She recalled how she forfeited her siesta and read deep in the night during her stay in the boarding school.
“Sleep is important but there are times you have to burn the midnight candle. I was always with my books. Even at home, whenever we were going to church, I read my books to and fro. I took my book to the salon. No time to waste”, she said.
Aderinmola explained how she decisively shut down her Facebook account to concentrate on her studies and warned other students against spending so much time on social media. She never had spare time for a boy friend throughout her secondary school. According to her, students should consider their education as priority and take full reasonability for their actions.
“While in school, I had no desire for love relationship. Have a clear vision of where you want to be in future. Set higher goals for yourself. Your goal should be higher than what you assume capability of achieving. Suppress base desires. Exercise self control and always subject yourself to what is necessary”, she said.
She stressed the need for right association, using her relationship with her friend, Keshinro, as a good example. According to her, she had to compare notes regularly with her friend and often felt challenged whenever she (Keshinro) took the first position in the class or in any subject.
Also speaking, Keshinro admitted that both of them had similiar interest in health career and continued to compete even when they had left Loral School and enrolled in different tertiary institutions.
“We read a lot. Even while reading, we compared notes. We always had summary of our notes and other areas we had read. We worked ahead of the teachers. We were always around the teachers after the lessons to explain areas we didn’t understand”, she said.
One of the teachers that taught them, Elder Ben Uzoukwu, who is now the Principal of Loral, Festac Town, urged other students to tap from the testimonies of the two former students and remain focused on their studies.
The Senior Principal of the school, Ekwutosia Martha Osime, said the school tracks her students after they had graduated from the school. She said the two outstanding students were invited to motivate other students, who had barely few days to write their public examination.
Osime, who was the former Principal of Queens College, Yaba, said the success stories of former students of Loral School confirmed the quality of teaching offered in the school.
“Loral is a fertile ground. The crop of staff we have is excellent.  The management of the school gives us a free hand to be creative enough to bring on board those initiatives that would make our students to excel”, she said.