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Champions Schools Magboro, is one of the very best in Mowe-Ibafo
axis, the level of education and their products speak volume of the
quality at the school. The dedicated teachers in its rank adds more depths to the college and puts it at a vantage position of excellence.
Its students pass external examinations WAEC ,NECO& JAMB with relative ease. The award winning school has distinguishing features that sets it miles apart from the rest.
In this interview with Femi Fabunmi and Franklyn Nwokocha, the
school’s Director of Studies Fola Adekeye, reels out the things
that makes Champions Schools a beautiful bride in our growing communities.
Lets meet you Sir?
I am Mr. Fola Adekeye, the director of studies and chairman.
At what point did you float champion’s school?
Thank you. When we came into this place in 2002, there was only one private school. The school is gone now. I enrolled my children in the school. I just came back from studies in Canada. My children engaged one of the teachers for home lessons. one teacher to teach them at home. When I listened to what the teacher was teaching, I knew I didn’t have a good school for my children. I told my wife: “we have to overcome this challenge. Since you are a teacher, you will be teaching some subjects and I will be teaching some subjects until when a good school would show up.” So we started teaching our children at home. Before rushing out for my journalism work, I would teach in the morning. Within weeks, parents nearby brought their children to us. As our student population rose to 14, a friend came to us and introduced my wife to a new school owner. She became the first employee of the new school.
After sometimes, as our people would say, my wife left the school and we returned to what we were doing. Our sitting room was our first classroom. The rest is the Lord’s doing.
How did you come about the name Champions?
You know, we are devout Christians. So, we celebrate God in many ways. One of the names of Jesus is everlasting Champion. We call Him Champion of the
champions. He is also the Lord of lords. In naming our school, we want to have an environment where the glory of God
is ever present. We took our desire to Him in prayers and He gave us clear instructions. By the sure mercies of God, children come here and God and our teachers turns them into champions. Champions are made here!
Champions school is one of the best in this axis, what efforts did you put in place to get to this stage?
I worked as a journalist between 1995 and 2009. I left Newswatch in 2005 to edit Theweek weeklies owned by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President. I spent a year there. I joined TELL newsmagazine in 2006. On October 1 2009, I finally left the newsroom and became a classroom teacher here. My journalism prepared me for what I am doing today. I majored in health and education reporting. The job gave me needed exposure.
God is right behind our success stories at Champions. Our teachers are friends of our children. We took time to interpret our school’s mission and vision to them. Only Jesus is our boss. All of us are colleagues. We want to be the world foremost Christian school in the delivery of quality and reliable education.
Education is reliable when students confidantly sit for UTME once and gain university admissions. There is WASSCE, you move students into the hall, nobody is dictating answers to you. That is a reliable
education. We have teachers whose jobs include supervision and grading of impacts. By the grace of God, we are also trying on on salaries and staff welfare.
How would you describe the quality of Champions school?
The quality is evident in the excitement we create. We make learning fun for students. Our students love to be school everyday. If you ask them to come to school on Sunday, they will gladly come. Why? Our teachers teach and inspire excellence. We are also a listening school
We listen to our children. We listen to our parents and guardians.
If you look at the environment, we have many schools, how has the
competition been in the last five years?
Competition? (laughs). Well, I know we are too focused on our divine assignments to notice that. All we are interested in is our children becoming the best. Yes. There are many schools in our community now and we must commend men and women who privately came into education to lift its standard. We don’t see competition. Wee respect school owners because it is a lot of sacrifice to go into this business. I don’t leave my office everyday until the last child gets home.
I just pray that all school owners will see every child in their schools as having a divine assignment
to the world. It is our jobs to help children discover their talents and fan them flames. Every child is in this world to make a destiny statement. No school should corrupt them by exposing them to exam malpractices. I believe that there is a special
hell fire for school owners who mislead students. How do you mislead students? By telling them
there is expo. I once sacked a teacher on my feet. He had not
stayed up to a year in our environment. One day, during exam period, he came to me with a false excitement. He said “Sir, oti jade
o!” (Meaning the paper our children are about to write has leaked. He had everything on his phone.)
I asked him if he did such in his former school, he admitted that the
owner always asked them to look for expos. I quickly called the
security and sent him packing. He was paid for the number of days he
had worked. At Champions, we don’t do such things. As I said before, we believe there is a special hell fire for whoever damage children’s attitude to examinations.
Schools produced Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Professor Wole Soyinka, Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, and our own Chinua Achebe. It is our turn to populate nations of the world with their betters. They inspired us greatly. I am a son of a peasant farmer. Chief Awolowo, Mandela and Achebe inspired me to leave the farm. My job here is to inspire children to rule the world.
What is the relationship like between the management and the teachers on one side, and between the parents on the other side?
For teachers, we are colleagues; we are friends. This is a teacher’s
school. We have what we called work-place ethic committee. If DS offends anybody, our workplace ethic committee will look into it and advise appropriately. If somebody does anything you don’t like, there is a committee you can talk to.We run a process you can’t just wake up here and sack somebody. There is job security at Champions. We have teachers here that have stayed with us for eleven years. Between us and parents, there is so much synergy. We have platforms through which we interact regularly. We carry ourselves along. We do hold Parents Forum meetings.
All work and no play makes jack a dull boy. How do you joggle sports,
cultural activities with education?
We came back from Covid-19 lockdown last August. We did our first CA Tests and we didn’t like the performance of the students. The student counselors asked for orgsnise sporting activities to bring our children back to their books. So we took them to Mountain Top University (MTU). They graciously allowed us to use their stadium and their volley ball court. Our children played throughout the day. When we came back, they were very happy. And when we did the mid-term test we saw desired changes.
Considering the technological innovations in the educational sector,what are you doing to prepare the pupils for the future?
The covid forced many school to become technologically driven. Our
virtual school is on, headed by one of us. We teach all subjects and run special coding classes.
What are the strengths of champion school?
Our strengths? One, God Almighty. He inspires us everyday. Two, our parents. They believe in us and we are doing everything never to disappoint them. Three, our children. Our children love learning. They often create and innovate. And four, our child-friendly teachers. They are destiny lifters and God will keep lifting our teachers in Jesus name!
Apart from mentoring, tutoring and teaching your students, we’ve also
learnt that you do extensive follow-up beyond champions. How do you go about that?
There are a lot of things we do. For instance we brought people from
the US and UK to talk to our children. We run international mentoring programs. It is currently headed by Mrs Olutoyin Adeyinka-Eweje, a lawyer based in the City of London. I know that my students have access to people they can never touch. They know the likes of Ronaldo and Messi. But, they can’t touch them. So, I periodically bring accomplished people they can touch. When these people come and say to them “I am living and working in UK. This is what I studied to get a good job there”, our children greatly inspired. They want to study hard and become accomplished like their visitors.
How affordable is champions school?
We are very affordable. I want many students. We have a vision. I don’t want to produce children of rich men only .We welcome families with payment plans. So, we are affordable. Excellent children hardly leave our schools over tuition. We offer assistance no matter how small. Indigent students are super stars, doing amazingly well at Champions.
You were a journalist. How were you able to joggle journalism and
education when you started ?
It wasn’t easy my friends. Journalism intoxicates. It works like wine. As a journalist, if you find a good story, you will not eat
until you are through with it. Journalism intoxicates to the level
that my one year salary was not paid in Newswatch, yet I was working and producing good stories. Because you are travelling, winning awards,
you are with governor and dignitaries, kini salary? But over time I discovered that I was not living sustainably. So we began to do business. We started by selling yam flour. After that, we started selling shoes and wears. When I later travelled to the University of Toronto, I made money through allowances. I gave myself 15 years to be in journalism but I ended up
spending more years. Journalism exposes one. Today you are sitting with the King, tomorrow you are sitting with somebody that is going to prison. Journalism prepared me for everything I am today. It is a training ground.
Image courtesy of <a href="https://applesbite.com/byline/femi-fabunmi/" rel="tag">FEMI FABUNMI</a> - ApplesBite International Magazine
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