“Correct”, the quiz master said after Emmanuel provided the answer to his question. “Your turn, contestant two. Find the amount on 5000 when it is compounded for 2 years at the rate of 3% per annum”.
Ayo is yet to provide an answer to the question. She remembered Bayo teaching her something related to that but this seems a little different. ‘Oh! I was taught simple interest’, she thought
. She began solving with the knowledge of what she had.
“40 seconds gone”, the quiz master announced.
Ayo continued solving, this time much faster. After what seems like 5 seconds to her, she could hear the quiz master’s voice again. ‘Oh! He began the countdown’.
“9… 8… 7…”
Ayo’s heart was pounding heavily. Nonetheless, she didn’t stop solving.
‘If only I had about 20 seconds more’, she thought. She was arriving at an answer already but time isn’t on her side.
“Ayo come on”, Bukky said, tears welled up in her eyes. She was shaking all over.
“I told you, she…” Bayo started.
“Shut up”, she shouted at him. She didn’t want to hear any more of his talks.
Ayo was still solving
. Bukky prayed silently. Mr. Dammy hands were crossed on his chest, Bayo felt relaxed while Bidemi was relieved.
Suddenly, Ayo raised her hand to signify she has an answer.
“What’s the answer?”
“3040. My answer is 3040 sir”, Ayo said but afterwards she felt unsure of herself with the staring eyes that were on her. She hasn’t looked up for the past 60 seconds. She looked at Mr. Dammy, Bukky then finally, the quiz master. With the look on his face, she awaited her fate.
“Wrong answer”, the quiz master revealed after what seemed like ages. “Please stand up and excuse us contestant two, Ayomide Cole”.
Ayo felt like crying. She felt like the whole world had crushed in her. She has been disqualified. She felt she disappointed Bukky who had never doubted her but when she glanced at the latter from afar, she saw her smiling back. ‘Maybe her friend wasn’t so disappointed after all’, she thought.
After Ayo was disqualified, Bidemi became relentless. Her adrenaline shot out. She was glad that Ayo has been disqualified. She believed a known enemy is better than an unknown friend. Now, she could just focus on Emmanuel who she assumed to be the known enemy.
. They both answered their question for that round correctly, sealing Ayo’s fate as third place.
5 minutes later, the quiz competition came to an end. Bidemi came first, Emmanuel second and Ayo third position. Mrs. Folarin prediction was right.
The vice principal gave the closing speech. In her speech, commended Ayo for her performance and praised Bidemi for her outstanding performance. She had also taken the opportunity to announce Emmanuel involvement in the Mathematics Olympiad along with Adura and one other JS 3 student. In her compliments, she didn’t leave out Funmi and Daniel. In fact, she was so much pleased by Funmi’s effort and laid emphasis on her ability to do better in next year’s quiz competition.
Afterwards, the prizes were awarded to the three finalists. In spite of the disappointment Ayo felt, she was still glad her name was added to the hall of fame and also being awarded with a bronze medal. Bidemi and Emmanuel received gold and silver medal respectively.
That day, Ayo made two resolutions to herself. One is to be ranked among the top 10 best students in JS1 in that term’s examination report and two is to win a gold medal in the next Annual Mathematics Quiz and the next after that.
End of Term*
The week after the competition, Examination started in Nightingale Academy. The students were placed in two separate large halls. Each hall with a total of 200 seats and each seats far apart from each other to prevent spying. It’s usually very hard for a student to spy another student’s work given that students from same class could be seated 2 or 3 seats apart from each other. For this reason, all the student had studied hard for the examination especially the students of JS 1B.
The examination lasted for a week
. While some students were happy that finally examination was over, some were curious as to what their result would be and others are just sad they would miss their friends. Ayo was also curious. Not that she wasn’t glad but she was more concerned about her result.
Now that examination was over, the students only come to school to play while the teachers compiled the result and recorded them in each student’s report card. It was a very strenuous work for the teachers. Some of the teachers stayed behind after closing just to make sure the cards were completed before vacation date. This exercise lasted for another one week.
Finally, it was the last day of school in which the students came to school to collect their report card. Before the collection of results, Ayo sighted Emmanuel and two of his classmates, Seun and Ramon chatting in front of the school’s library
. She walked up to them.
“Hi”, she greeted as soon as she was in their midst and they all responded.
“I heard that the Olympiad qualifying exam is on the 19th of January”, She said more of like a question.
“Yes it is”, Emmanuel answered.
“I came to wish you luck”, Ayo told Emmanuel. She turned and left them for her class.
“Do you really think you guys will be among the chosen 54 students that will qualify for the Math Olympiad”, Ramon stated.
“You know that aside senior Bayo, none of our students has ever gone past the qualification stage”, Seun pointed out.
“Even if both of you have little faith in Adura and Taiwo, should you have such towards me?” Emmanuel asked. “Moreover, senior Bayo did it so I can”
“Uhm, you that cannot win Bidemi in common math quiz that was held in the school”, Seun said mockingly.
“Better don’t mind him”, Ramon added. “Let him continue deceiving himself”.
“Whatever!” Emmanuel said. “I know I will go beyond the qualification stage”.
* * * *
Few minutes later, Mr. Dammy gathered students of JS 1B into their classroom so did other class teachers. He gave each of his students their report card and warned them strictly not to open it until they might have given it to their parent or guardian. Every students wished the other merry Christmas and happy New Year in advance then went their separate ways.
When Ayo got home, she opened her report card ignoring their teacher’s order. Just as she was about checking the details, Bukky ran in screaming.
“Heheee! I took the 22nd position”, she screamed.
“Ahn Ahn, calm down na”, Ayo said. “22nd and you’re shouting as if dog bite you”.
“Mtcheew”, Bukky hissed. “You have started again o, later you will say Bukky this Bukky that”.
“Okay, I’m sorry”.
“But Ayo you won’t understand”, Bukky said in a bid to explain why she screamed like that.
. “In last term exam when in basic 6, I took the 28th position. Even before then, it’s always between 20th and 25th.
“That’s improvement dear”, Ayo encouraged. “Hope you know now is not the time to relent”.
“Of course. I really appreciate your assistance Ayo”.
“It’s nothing. Anything for a friend”.
“Have you checked yours?” Bukky asked.
“Not yet. I was about when you came in”, Ayo said then opened her report card. She screamed when she saw her position and percentage.
“Wait wait, let me see”, Bukky tried in vain to stop Ayo who was running up and down the room. Ayo handed the card over to her and she was overwhelmed with what she saw.
After a while Ayo sat down to overcome the excitement she now felt. ‘I took 7th position among 59 JS 1 students and my percentage is 71.1’. “What’s your percentage?”
“59.3”, Bukky responded.
“I fulfilled one of my promises. The second is within my reach”, Ayo thought out loud while Bukky just smiled.
The chosen three*
Two years later, Ayo was now in JS 3, Emmanuel in SS 2 while Bayo had already graduated from Nightingale Academy having passed his S.S.C.E in flying colours. The school had just resumed back for the second term in the 2017/2018 academic session in January. The school was yet to decide which six students would represent them in the coming season of Mathematics Olympiad of which its qualification examination is about three weeks away and the deadline for submission of names was the next day.
It was the first day of resumption on a Monday morning, Bukky was already in the classroom when Ayo walked into JS 3B. Both of them are still in B class
. After the quiz competition held two years ago, the principal has stopped the tradition of placing top students in A class. He has realized that it would only make the dull ones remain dull. Moreover students in B class have improved academically which was an achievement for Mr. Dammy.
“Ayo, you are late. What happened?” Bukky requested from Ayo as soon as the latter took a seat beside her.
“See, I woke up late”, Ayo replied honestly. “I forgot today is resumption day. I didn’t meet up with the bus. So I had to trek”.
“Well, I have news”, Bukky announced. “Guess what it is”.
“You won’t even allow me to settle in before you begin your 8 O’clock news”, Ayo teased tugging at her friend dearly.
“I’m no longer telling you sef”.
“Sorry o, newscaster
. By the way, why is there no teacher in the class?”
“I guess they’re in a meeting. Ore said so”.
“I thought as much because I noticed there are no teachers in other classes too”.
“See leave that aside and guess joor”.
“The principal finally announced the names of the students”, Ayo guessed.
“You’re right A.Y”, Bukky agreed.
“Is my name among?” Ayo asked anxiously.
Ayo became sad and it was obvious she was. She had always dreamt of this day in which she would be chosen to represent the school. Now it was shattered. She became hopeless.
“I always wanted to participate. That’s all I ever wanted”, Ayo lamented.
“It’s not the end of the world my friend, besides you can still compete in the senior category when you get to SS 2”, Bukky said in a bid to console Ayo.
“I have waited two years already. Do I have to wait another two years?” Tears flowed freely from her eyes as she recollects her achievements. “I never gave up in the Annual Math Quiz. Even though Bidemi was a tough competitor, I still beat her to 1st position in last session math quiz just so I could be selected in this Math Olympiad. Now it has all fallen apart”.
“I understand”, Bukky sympathized. “Even when Bidemi left for SS1 you won the gold medal again for the second time. God knows why you were not selected. So cheer up”.
“Don’t counsel me Bukky. Don’t”, Ayo nagged.
“Okay but I know you are the best whether you were chosen or not”.
“That’s the point”, Ayo stopped sobbing. “No one to oppose me in the whole of JS 3 even up to 3C. So why am I not chosen”.
“Tell me, who are those that are selected”, Ayo asked.
“Ore, Funmi and …” Bukky said scratching her head.
“And who?” Ayo shouted. Oreoluwa heard her voice and walked towards them.
“I can’t remember”, Bukky lied.
“Ayomide, were you crying?” Ore asked. He preferred calling her name in full.
“I’m fine”, Ayo replied.
“I could tell you are not”, he said focusing his attention on Ayo.
. He did not notice Bukky making signs at him not to probe further.
“I guess its tears of joy”, Oreoluwa said smiling.
“Joy!” Ayo was shocked by his sentence. “What joy? If you are here to mock me please go”, she said blatantly.
“Haba! Did Bukky not tell you? I’m sure she would have so why are you …”
“Tell me what”, Ayo interrupted.
Bukky and Oreoluwa exchanged quick glances but he didn’t understand what are eyes were trying to communicate to him. He however proceeded to tell Ayo what he thought Bukky would have told her.
“You were selected in junior category for the Math Olympiad”, Ore revealed the truth. Ayo was more shocked now but she didn’t show it. Instead she pretended like she knew.
“Oh! Yes I know”, she said. “Bukky told me. It’s just as you said. Tears of Joy. Thank you”
Oreoluwa left afterwards.
“I’m going to skin you alive after closing”, Ayo whispered to Bukky. She was currently overwhelmed with joy as she stood up and started to dance.
“Can’t someone play with you”, Bukky said smiling. Ayo smiled back and they hugged each other.