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Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Nigerian Girl Emerges as Best Graduating Student in The US

A Nigerian girl Merrilyn Akpapuna, has emerged as the best graduating student at the Dillard University, New Orleans, USA. The 20 year old Psychology graduate did not only obtain the highest academic honour Summa Cum Laude (1st class), she also emerged as the best graduating student in the ivory tower. As the institution’s valedictorian, she shared the podium with Michelle Obama, during its convocation.

3 other Nigerians Victor Ogburie, Stephen Igwe, and Emole Anyadimgba also made a 1st class in their chosen disciplines. Akpapuna also won 2 other awards for highest academic achievements for the College of Arts and Sciences and College of General Studies. She notes, “When I first got to Dillard, I had to learn the differences in the spelling of certain words and adjust to a new metric system. These constituted challenges but I was able to overcome them by putting in extra time to study. I also faced some difficulties due to the difference in the education system. In Nigeria, the teaching system follows the British pattern, which is different from the system in the United States."

“However, despite these challenges, my cumulative grade point average is 4.0/4.0. In other words, I made an A in every course I took during my 4 years study in the university.” Following her success at the Management Education Training, Ikeja where she took tutorials on Scholastic Aptitude Test, she received full scholarship to study in the university. Before then, the 3rd daughter of a dental surgeon, Emmanuel Akpapuna, had excelled in the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination, coming tops of her class at the Reagan Memorial Baptist Girls Secondary School, Yaba, Lagos.

The Delta State-born psychologist enthuses, “Upon graduating from secondary school, I took SAT classes in Management Education Training in Ikeja. I decided to come to the United States after I had received full scholarship offer for my tuition, room and board. In fact, I had scholarship all my 4 years in college.” Advising younger Nigerians who might want to follow her footsteps, she says, “Be ambitious and go for what you want and do not let anything stop you. Realise that there is time for everything. Set priorities and live by them.”

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