Saluting the nation builders of tomorrow
This year, the event was supposed to take place on the 8th of October in the usual Shaheed Suhrawardy National Indoor Stadium venue, but to the much disappointment of the awardees the event was postponed due to unavoidable circumstances. Then rumors stating that the ceremony this year might be aborted altogether intensified the disappointment.
So, at last, when the big day actually took the stage, one can imagine the excitement of the awardees. The jollity and the jubilance were evident on their countenances. Brightened and rejuvenated, they looked polished and refined in their well-pressed school uniforms, while the private candidates helped themselves into their finest formals. The ambience inside was cheerful with the awardees bustling the ground with much anticipation, and their parents seated on the tiers of seats overlooking the base.
The first ceremony was held in 1999. This was the sixth round. This year the number of awardees rose to 629, with 536 students from the O-level group and 93 students from A-level group. Elita Karim and Imran H khan conducted the ceremony, which commenced with the recitation or the Holy Quran, Srimal Bhagavat Geeta, Holy Bible and the Dharmapada, followed by the National Anthem.
British High Commissioner Anwar Chowdhury, Virgin Beverages Chairman Abul Kashem Haider and Bashar N Tariq from Citibank NA were present as the special quests. The British High Commissioner appreciated the awardees and said the British government is there to work for the educational sector of Bangladesh. Mahfuz Anam in his welcoming speech recognized the awardees with gratitude and thanked the parents and teachers who played a crucial role in the children's success. He alleged that such accolades would be an impetus for others. The chief guest, Founding Executive Chairperson of Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) Fazle Hasan Abed handed over the certificates and medals to the recipients.
Asheque Elahi Shams from South Breeze International school, who received 11 A's in two consecutive sittings in the O-level exam, and Tanvir Manzoor Hussain from Mastermind school, who received five A's in the A-level exam spoke on behalf of the awardees. Laurels were also given to those who bagged the highest in their respective subjects. When asked how she did so well, Epshita Anher Islam, from Sunnydale School, who received the highest in both O-level Biology and Physics said 'The last couple of months before the examination were crucial. I managed to get over with the paper solving and revision well ahead of time. So, my confidence level was pretty high. Most importantly I remained calm even when I arrived late for one of the papers due to unavoidable circumstances due to traffic jam. However, it is my teachers who deserve the largest portion of the credit. I'm pocketing this opportunity to thank Ms. Yasmeen Zahid (Biology), and Mr. Moslehuddin and Mr. Saiful Latif (Physics)."
It ended with snapshots to make it a memory for the rest of their life.
A glimpse into the lives of the gifted talents…
Recently, during a conference on supporting teachers and the implementation of Bangladesh Studies, held at the BRAC Centre, CIE acknowledged the success of Bangladeshi students who won the essay competition that was run in conjunction with the British Council earlier this year; and also the best Cambridge student of the year. A brief chat with these young stars enabled us to catch a glimpse into their lives and aspirations.
The winner of the first prize of the essay competition, Azhar Chowdhury, from Bangladesh International Tutorial, won a five-day trip to the UK, which included expenses for the transport, accommodation and also a range of recreational activities. Azhar is currently in grade 10 and has an innate passion for writing. He began to write regularly and caught everyone's attention through the publication of some of his poems in several dailies. This natural poet had his first book of poems, 'Rippling Mirrors', published at the age of 15. Azhar wants to pursue his career in the fields of English Literature. Besides writing poems, this achiever loves listening to music and aspires to become a singer someday. He is also a very talented painter and is fascinated towards computer graphics. He has received a number of National and International awards for his artistic works.
"I want to thank CIE and the British Council for this award. I will never forget the amazing sensation that had conquered me when I first heard the news. I guess I shed some tears and the best part of all this was my mom embracing me. She was also overcome by tears of joy and pride".
For Arghaya Raihan, the second-prize winner, the news was more of a surprise "I was stunned when I received the phone call. I had never taken part in any essay competitions and was really nervous on the day of the event. I even felt that I could have done a lot better." Arghya is a 9th grade student from Mastermind International School. While his friends and family members consider him to be a "study guy", he feels that it's just his passion for reading books. The people he considers responsible for his success include his proud father, who has always been confident about his capabilities; his mother; his teachers who have helped him to build a solid foundation; and CIE and BC for providing Bangladeshi students the opportunity to demonstrate their talent in international competitions.
Zariyat M Manan, the third-prize winner has always had the ambition of going to the medical school. She is also into modeling and music. Furthermore, She wants to pursue writing as a hobby. "I just want to thank CIE and BC for giving us this chance to express our talents and knowledge of our country. I am grateful to my parents, my brother and my English teacher Nusrat Huq".
CIE also took the opportunity to recognize the success of the best Cambridge O Level student in 2004, Rubayet Haider from St. Francis Xavier's Green Herald International School. "I have been hearing about CIE and British Council since the time I was a child.
With the passage of years, I grew this genuine respect for them. And today I know this respect has paid me back and given me a position that I had always dreamt of." says Rubaiyat who is studying A' Levels at present. Rubayet loves chemistry and wants to pursue his studies in this field. "For me this success is just a step forward to the long journey of my life. I hope to live up to the expectations of everyone in my upcoming examinations".
"Rubaiyet has always been very hardworking and I was confident that he would do well. But when I heard the news of his results I was overjoyed and speechless. I can't ever be happier than this", said his proud mother. 'I would also like to congratulate the children who won the essay competition.
There are many such talented children in Bangladesh and they only need opportunities to express themselves. I hope that such competitions are organized more frequently in the country and all the talented children get the opportunity to prove their capabilities'.
By Tahmina Shafique
Music, magic, and money-making for a cause
There's something to be said about the power of human compassion. If there were more of it going around, our country would have been in a better state than it is today. There are people who shake their heads and wonder where the new generation will take them. The students of Scholastica have shown us that there's reason to believe it's going to be a good place.
On October 7 this year, the Rising Stars published an 'Appeal for Help' on behalf of Aftabul Alom Bhuiyan, a 16 year old student of Class 10 at the Comilla Zilla School, who was suffering from leukaemia. Jumping the gun, four conscientious Scholasticans, Farihah Naz Sattar, Ishtiaque Aziz, Tanveer Harun and Sudipto Bari took the initiative of organising a fund-raising programme.
Despite the initial scepticism of the authorities regarding the success of the venture, the four went ahead and arranged a magic show for Classes V and VI, and two concerts for students of Class VII-XII. The events were typical of Scholastica's grand productions. Students Fahim and Fahmid Choudhury wowed the crowd with their magical feats, while bands Birodh, Synopsis and Nishkrio had their audience grooving…and paying up at the same time.
About Tk 100,000 was raised through these concerted efforts. From this, Tk 75000 was handed over to Aftabul's uncle and guardian. The boy, who recently lost his father, is now undergoing treatment in Mumbai. The remaining Tk 25000 went for the treatment of Dr. Monowarul Islam Sarker, Associate Professor at the Women's Medical College and Hospital (Uttara). The professor, who had also been suffering from leukaemia, is now undergoing treatment in Bangkok.
Kudos to the organisers, and the generosity of the students, and to Ms. Afrozee Khaled, for her support.
By Sabrina F Ahmad
BRAC Prize Distribution Ceremony 2004
When pondering about the life in University, most people either talk about the number of hours spent on studying or the number of nights passed without any sleep due to studies. This however should not be the only occupation ventured upon throughout one's university life. The Chief Guest of the Prize Distribution Ceremony 2004, Professor Jamilur Reza Choudhury who is also the Vice Chancellor of BRAC University, talked of this very idea as he handed over the medals to the winners of the indoor games competition on 1st December.
As Patron of the indoor games committee, Mr. Shamsuddin Mahmood also added in a few lines to congratulate the winners and of course spoke of the diversity one should volunteer on and who knows, one may surprise themselves when their hidden talents are suddenly discovered and honoured.
It was already clear for some people but became clearer for others that the champion of this occasion was definitely Saikat Ahmed as he left the building with six awards. He won as the player of the tournament for both Table tennis and Carom. After the prizes were distributed everyone laid back with some refreshments and while many congratulated the winners, all knew that winning is not the only reason to play but by playing one is also able to exercise and show off their abilities. Hence, many others were encouraged to participate in the next indoor games competition.
By Shayera Moula
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