Phones, other gadgets are distractions, says Enugu girl who made 9As

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Chinaecherem Cynhia Ali

18-yr-old Chinecherem Cynthia Ali, former pupil of  Shalom Academy, Nsukka, Enugu State, who made A grade in all the subjects she took in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination, shares her success story.

Speaking in an interview, Chinecherem, who hail from Umuagama community in Enugu State, reveals that she is the third of eight children of her parents.

She said; “I am the third of eight children. I attended Shalom Academy in Nsukka, Enugu State. My parents are not so rich but they gave me adequate care. My dad is a teacher. He also has a poultry farm. My mother works as a medical lab scientist in a district hospital”.

Speaking on her success story, how she successfully made 9 As in all the subjects she took in the recently released WAEC result.

She said; “While I was in school, my priority was to make a wonderful result. I had clarity of purpose in what I wanted to achieve. My elder brother was the chief motivator. He made six As in his WASSCE last year. He told me I could do better than he did. He planted that goal to surpass his feat in me.


“Whenever I had a problem with my studies, he was always around to help me out. He practically taught me the techniques to excel in the subjects. He prepared my mind about the syllabus in SS3, who the teachers were and what would enable me to get the best from each of them.


“He told me I needed to put in extra efforts in whatever I was doing. On my first day in school, when I got to SS1, my chemistry teacher called me and told me certain things about my goal. He told me no one had ever made nine As in the school. He said he heard an inner voice that I could break the record. I was just laughing when he told me. I had a note which I titled, “My future WASSCE results.”


“I wrote down my results on the note, filling As across all the subjects I was to sit for. I prayed to God to help me achieve the goal. My friends who saw the note said I was going crazy. But I told God to help me. Another teacher that helped me a great deal was my biology teacher. She prepared a study timetable for me to follow. She told me to study at least two hours at a stretch. The two teachers (chemistry and biology) told me my goal was achievable.

On how many hours she study each day, Chinecherem said, “In our school, we were mandated to observe our preparatory classes for day students. From 2.30pm to 4pm, I would go home to cook and do other things I needed to do till around 7pm. From 7pm till 10pm, I was always reading my books daily. Sometimes, I could set aside five or six hours to read.

Chinecherem Cynthia Ali met Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi
Chinecherem Cynthia Ali met Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi

Speaking on what subject was the most challenging for her, “I think physics posed the greatest challenge. I always found it hard comprehending the subject. The situation changed when I got to SS3. Our physics teacher always gave us tests every week. If you failed the test, he would cane you.


“I was afraid of his cane. I then made up my mind to study hard. Along the line, I realised that physics was not even as difficult as I thought. Mathematics was easy for me. God was just helping me at every stage. I found out that I understood what I was taught quickly.

On what role her parents played in her success, Ms Chinacherem said her dad who happened to be an English teacher is one of the reasons she excelled.

According to her, “My dad is an English teacher. He always encouraged us. He taught us English after school hours. He made sure I didn’t use a mobile phone. Once I got to secondary school, I neither used a phone nor had access to any gadget. It was a serious offence at home.


“It really helped me because if I had a mobile, I would have been distracted. I might have spent less time on my studies. My mum always encouraged me too. She told me that when she was my age, she excelled in her studies too. She emphasised that I could break the record. When I was in primary school, my father supported me with extra lessons at home. He also got part-time teachers for me.

Revealing her next step on furthering her education as she was awarded a scholarship award and N1m grant by the Enugu State government, she noted that she scored 266 in the UTME, although she is not happy, but the good thing is that they also use the WASSCE result to select candidates.

She added that she has already applied to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and Ebonyi State University.

According to her; “I applied to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and Ebonyi State University. The universities have not started issuing admission letters. They have started uploading the results. The cut off mark for medicine is 290 or so in UNN last year. I checked my result and it was 319.6, so I am hopeful I would be admitted.


“I want to study in Nigeria first. I guess I am too young to study outside the country all alone. But I would like to do postgraduate studies abroad.

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