After the midterm test, the students of JSS 1B changed academically. Though, it was slow-paced but was worth it. They make less noise also. In addition to their new now turned leaf, they now behaved themselves and listen attentively in class when a teacher is teaching. Ayo wasn’t an exception, she took to her studies like never before especially when she came to know that she would be representing her class in the coming annual mathematics quiz amongst the junior school students. She tried as much as she could to solve any mathematics problem she encountered. If she’s unable to solve any, she either seeks assistance from Mr. Dammy or Bayo. She sometimes goes to Funmi in JSS 1 A, who is also good at solving mathematics problems and was always willing to assist her. Ayo had long swallowed the dislike she had for the class. She thought if she was going to be better, she needed to mingle with the best.
During break in school, one afternoon. Ayo was faced with one of her numerous mathematical problems, when she saw Bayo, who was leaning on the railings on the second floor. She had previously gone to Funmi but the latter said she was busy and Mr. Dammy, on the other hand, was nowhere to be found. Thankfully, she had seen her last resort.
“Senior Bayo!” she called when she got close to him. “Good afternoon.”
“Afternoon Ayomide.” He shifted his attention to her. “Another problem right?”
“Yes,” Ayo replied. “Sorry to bother you.”
“Oh! It’s nothing” – he collected the textbook from her – “anything for my little sister.” He joked while she smiled. He studied the question for a while and started writing on a piece of paper, Ayo had given to him along with the textbook. He was explaining to her while solving but Ayo’s mind was far away. Her mind drifted to the first time she went to meet him for assistance on a mathematics problem.
That fateful day, a day after Mr. Dammy told her she would be representing JSS 1B in the coming mathematics quiz, Bukky had persuaded her to go to Bayo for assistance if she was going to do well in the quiz. She had agreed after much persuasion, owing to the fact that Bukky had told her Bayo won the just concluded mathematics competition organized by Olympic Foods in conjunction with the State Government tagged, ‘Mathematics Olympiad’. Bukky had also told her, he won the mathematics quiz organized in the school for 3 consecutive times right from JS 1 to 3. ‘He is a genius’, Bukky had stated. Ayo had even gone to the school’s hall of fame to confirm and to her suspicion, Bukky was right. He was indeed a genius. Ever since, they became closer. Their relationship was like that of siblings. Bukky wasn’t left out in the friendship, as she was the one who brought them closer. The trio became jolly friends.
* * * * * * * *
“She is not here yet,” was the first thing Bayo said when he entered Mrs. Cole's sitting room. “That lazy girl!” he was referring to Bukola.
“Is that how to greet?” Ayo frowned.
“That’s no way” – Mrs. Cole came out from the bedroom having heard Bayo’s voice – “to talk to your senior.”
“I’m only teasing him!” Ayo protested
“Good afternoon, Ma!” Bayo said while bending a little, to show respect. “Don’t mind, Ayo.”
“Okay then! How are you?”
“I’m fine ma,” he responded.
“How about your Dad?”
“He’s fine.” He sat down on a chair. “He said he would be here by 3 PM to pick you up.”
“Alright then, just what I wanted to know,” She smiled and left.
“Since Bukky is not here yet, we have to wait,” Bayo suggested after Mrs. Cole had left.
“Of course, we have to,” Ayo replied.
“Do you think you can win this competition?” Bayo asked all of a sudden.
“Yes, she can!” Bukky answered as she joined them in the sitting room. “Infact she will. Don’t doubt her.”
“Your English have improved.”
“Has improved!” Bukky corrected and the other two laughed.
“He was just testing you and you fell for it!” Ayo laughed again and this time, she held her stomach. “But senior Bayo, that's unfair!”
“Whatever!” Bukky hissed. “What I know is Ayo will win.”
“What makes you think so?” Bayo queried, after having a good laugh.
“What else?” Bukky opened both palms and stretched her hands outwards. “I believe in her.”
“That’s not reason enough,” Bayo probed further.
Ayo just watched as they talked about her as though she was not present in the room. “You both realize I’m right here with you.” She waved her hands.
“You know nothing.” Bayo waved. “Those students in JS 3 are geniuses when it comes to solving math problems. Especially that short boy” – he bit his fingertips – “What’s his name again o?”
“Oh! Emmanuel. That one?” Bukky pointed a finger. “He’s just a walk over.” She hissed. “I heard he’s one of those representing the school in the Mathematics Olympiad coming January.”
“Yes, that’s true,” Bayo replied. “It’s because you don’t know him, that’s why you are talking like this. He has won the Annual Mathematics Quiz twice already and this year, he’s aiming to win it for the third time just like I did.” He grinned.
“That’s because he has not competed with Ayo,” Bukky boasted. “Just wait and see how Ayo will win that fish head”
“Can we study, please?” Ayo felt irritated. “Senior Bayo, you should know that Bukky will not stop discussing this issue unless you do.”
“Okay, I give in. Let’s study,” Bayo agreed. He knew quite alright that Bukky won’t give up no matter what he said to prove her wrong. She could argue all-day.
“Finally!” Ayo sighed. “Somebody decides to have sense.”
“So you mean I don’t have sense abi?” Bukky hit Ayo playfully. “Look at the person I’m supporting sef. Nonsense pikin.”
Bayo couldn’t help but laugh. The three of them burst into a roar of laughter.
Finally, the day has come, for the much awaited mathematics competition in Nightingale Academy, tagged ‘Annual Mathematics Quiz’. Of all the 6 participating students, only Ayo was visibly nervous before the start of the quiz. She had no idea why. Maybe, it’s because this was her first time participating in a mathematics-only competition or it was because she didn't believe in herself. The prying eyes of the JSS 1 student didn't leave her body too. This added to her anxiety.Ayo was with her classmates when the quiz master finally called on her name. Her body shook with vigour, as she was being invited to the podium. She started to fidget and looked like someone who was terrified.“You can do this, Ayo,” one of Ayo’s classmates encouraged.“Don’t be scared!” another said.“Ayo, don’t put us to shame. Go there and make us proud,” Bukky added.“I believe in you, Ayomid
At the end of the first stage in the quiz competition, Daniel Chisom was disqualified. He left the stage, slowly, while looking at his feet as he walked. As for Adura and Ayo, they went into a tiebreak to know who will progress to the second stage. Ayo was still in her thoughts when the quiz master announced the beginning of the next round. She had felt bad to see Chisom leave but if he hadn’t scored so low, she would have been the one to leave, and that would have been terrifying. So, she braced herself up and looked eager to see what the tie break with Adura will hold.“In this tiebreaker round” – the quiz master pointed to the ground – “the first of you two, to provide a wrong answer, will be disqualified. Is that clear?”“”Yes, sir!” Ayo and Adura said, almost at the same time.At this very moment, every student believed that’s the end for Ayomide Cole except two. Bukky never doubted her and B
The next stage began on a very interesting note. All remaining four contestants were up to the task and none wanted to concede to the other. They all knew, one wrong answer could deny them entry to the next stage. Hence, they all answered correctly to the first set of questions asked.“What do you think about the competition now?” Mr. Dammy asked Mrs. Folarin, who looked rather calm, watching the contestants relentlessly provide correct answers to their questions. He felt it was the right time to close the rift.“I think Ayo would be among the top three finalists” – she nodded her head slowly – “Funmi won’t last any longer than she already has. She’s becoming nervous just like Adura.” She fixed her eyes on the quiz master as he decided on Funmi’s response to the question.“Wrong answer!” he announced.“Geez!” Funmi said, with an American accent. Not that she wanted t
The last stage for the Annual Mathematics Quiz had already begun. The stage which determines the last man standing and hence the winner of the competition. Most of the students were ecstatic about it while only a few were looking blue because their favorite person had been disqualified. Yet, others looked up to Ayo as the new champion. From the look of things, it appears as though she was the only one who deserves the win. However, none of the staff share in this view. Even Mr. Dammy was now hesitant about placing his trust in her because she has gone from being relaxed to scared and this worries him. Every time Ayo was asked a question, he would bite his fingers and would feel his heart almost exploding out his chest.Ayo, likewise, was not in the best of mood. She was uneasy in her seat and felt the need to excuse herself. Nothing more than the competition coming to an abrupt end, would please her. The ecstasy she felt at the start of the competition was
The week after the competition, Examination started in earnest in Nightingale Academy. The students, all of whom have much prepared in one way or the other, weren’t so pleased when the day finally knocked at the door. Students could be seen fidgeting at the entrance of the hall, while others walked gallantly as if they knew what were in the questions.To avoid malpractices of any such, the students were divided in two separate large halls. Each hall, large enough to take more than half of the students at a go, is equipped with a total of 300 chairs and tables. Each seat is far apart from the other. This way, it’s usually very hard for a student to spy another student’s work. Aside from the spacing, students from the same class are usually seated 2 to 4 seats apart from each other. All in the vein to cut malpractice to its barest minimum. Also, in each of the halls, at least there are 5 to 6 teachers present to supervise them, accompanied with a chief invigil
How time flies? It’s been two years since the annual mathematics quiz held in Nightingale Academy. Ayo was now in JSS 3 while Bayo had already graduated from the secondary school, having passed his S.S.C.E in flying colours.Both Ayo and Bayo now lived in the same apartment under the roof of Mr. Badmus, though in separate rooms. She had been his stepsister for more than a year now, ever since Mr. Badmus proposed marriage to Esther, Mrs. Cole, of which she gladly accepted. After all, it is all she ever wanted. She is in love with him and ready to be with him for the rest of her life. Six months after he proposed, they got married and ever since they have lived together, tightening the bond between Bayo and Ayo. Mrs. Cole had now become Mrs. Badmus and she liked it.The school had just resumed back for the second term in the 2017/2018 academic session, in January. It was yet to decide which six students would represent them in the coming season of Mathematics Olymp
At exactly 7:53 on a Saturday morning, 9 students and 2 teachers arrived at the Ultimate Examination Centre (TUEC). TUEC is the venue for the Mathematics Olympiad qualification examination. The students and teachers that arrived just now are none other than from Nightingale Academy.TUEC is an examination hall owned by the state government. It has 2 large halls where students write examinations and each hall can accommodate up to 2000 students at once. It was constructed for the sole purpose of the Mathematics Olympiad. One hall for the junior students while the other for the senior students.For the competition to run smoothly, the state was divided into 4 educational zones and more than a hundred schools are under each zone. Each school from each zone is allowed to select six students from their school, three JSS 3 students and three SSS 2 students, to write the qualification examination in the junior and senior category respectively. Every year since the beginning o
The following Monday morning, in Nightingale Academy, was a very exciting one. The students had just finished the daily devotion, led by the chapel prefect, when the principal walked in on them. He wore the brightest smile no one had ever seen on him. With his walking cane, he made his way to the podium and ushered the chapel prefect back to the line. He cleared his throat, while he showed out a document, he had held behind him, with his free hand.“Boys and girls!” He smiled again. His lips parted, yet no words came. It took another minute before he gained his composure. “I have good news!”This brought ecstasy to the students. They all yearned to know what the principal had for them.“This morning, I received an email,” the principal continued. “It was from the Olympiad. It contains the result of our student in the qualification exam written on Saturday.”“Quiet!” the vice princip