The reward for teachers is no longer just in heaven, it is also here on earth!
As you enter into the gates of the Demonstration Secondary School of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in Kaduna State, the first thing you’d notice is a huge signpost of pride. The signpost has the names of the school’s alumni who graduated with academic honours.
When you go further towards the classrooms, amidst the serenity and sound of strokes of pens from the students writing their final examinations in different examination halls, you can almost connect to the echoes of excitement coming from a group of youngsters gathered together in the schools’ theatre room, playing ‘pretend’. It is a big day for them the next day!
For some, it is more than the written section of the Literature-in-English in the West African Examination Council (WAEC) paper. What matters for them is what follows in the evening; a chance to show off what they are most passionate about – acting.
The preparations and rigorous drillings of the cast by their teachers and student-coaches coupled with their verbal and physical support to fashion these children into the leaders of tomorrow is a sight to see. Most of the teachers even come with their spouse(s) and children to watch the next generation of thespians.
Demonstration Secondary School, Zaria is one of the four secondary schools in Northern Nigeria, chosen to compete at the ‘Open Air Theatre in Zaria’. This is the regional edition of the ‘Theatre for Schools’ campaign, an initiative sponsored by the MTN Foundation to discover the next generation of thespians and promote arts in Nigeria. The other participating schools in this leg are the Prince and Princess International Academy, Zaria Academy, Vital Years Secondary School.
After the gruelling rehearsals, the highly anticipated competition took place on the evening of the following day. Present at the event were notable personalities like the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Professor Ibrahim Garba; the representative of the Kaduna State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mohammed Tukar Bashir and some officials from the MTN Foundation, chief among which are the Education Portfolio Manager, Pamela Emodi to mention but a few.
Of the four schools that competed, Vital Years Secondary School was declared ‘winner’ of the northern region. These spirited performers will get a chance to represent their school and the entire region in the finals that will take place in Lagos later in June.
After Pamela Emodi, Manager, Education Portfolio, MTN Foundation announced what awaits the winners, if you see the zanku and shoki dancing that follows ehn? (lol)
As we wrap up and get ready to leave, the words of Emmanuel Yahaya Akut, the representative of the Ministry of Youths and Sports, Kaduna State during the competition comes to mind: “Education does not end in the classroom, else ‘all work and no play’ will make ‘Jack a dull boy, and Jill a dull girl’.”
The kids we met in Zaria were anything but dull.