By Ononye VC/ Nna Anulumadu
A team of students from Queen of the Rosary College Onitsha have clinched global second place in the just concluded World Affairs Challenge. The World Affairs Challenge (WAC) is an international program and competition for middle and high school students to develop and implement their own S.M.A.R.T. solutions for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The team from Queen of the Rosary College Onitsha innovated “Queens’ Lyfe bags” – a 100% plantable biodegradable bag made from rice straws, banana fibres, corn husks and infused with tomato, pepper and watermelon seeds so that the bags can grow into plants when disposed of. This innovation won them second place in the global challenge. A team from the USA won first place and a bilateral team of students from USA and Iraq won third place.
The students led by their teacher mentor, Mr John Onuigbo, competed with over 760 participants during the various preliminary rounds, which narrowed down to 28 teams in the Global Championship, where the girls were named the Global second-place winning team in the high school division. There were 9 countries represented in WAC global finals this year: Nigeria, Ghana, USA, France, Iraq, Turkey, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Morocco.
Reacting to the win, the school principal Rev Sr Maria Chijioke Nwankwo expressed her joy and gratitude to God for the win saying “We have been putting in the work to provide our students with world-class tech education. This has been evident in the win of our students in global innovation competitions like this and we thank God. We are building students who would make Onitsha their Silicon Valley.
Reverend Sister Maria Chijioke Nwankwo, also expressed gratitude to the Anambra State governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, and the Archbishop of Onitsha, Most Reverend Valerian Maduka Okeke, for their unflinching support to the success of the school, stating that the feat would have been impossible without the support of the governor, the Archbishop, the State Commissioner for Education, Professor Ngozi Chuma-Udeh, old students of the institution, parents, teachers and other critical stakeholders.
Her words: ” Archbishop Okeke is the pillar and bedrock of QRC success stories. After the hand over schools, QRC was totally decayed but he ( the Archbishop) upgraded the school to this level with infrastructure, equipment. He is passionate about QRC may be because the school is girl child institution. His motivation, care and support both financially, materially otherwise to management, teachers and the students is second to none. He is always there to help and all this motivated the management, teachers and students to work hard and that is the root of our success, because when we remember his support and his interest in our school, we continue to sacrifice everything we have to make him proud.”
She also commended the old girls of the college which the Archbishop has motivated and encouraged to have interest in their alma mater. ” They are really supporting the Archbishop and supporting the school to upgrade so that the young girls we are training will become exemplary persons who will contribute to the growth of the society in the near future. We are highly grateful to the Archbishop for being everything for us in QRC.
“Today QRC is waxing strong in local government, state level and international level because Archbishop is there for us. We are ever ready for any competition because we are hopeful to come back with trophy and success at the end of the day. Students of QRC are epitome of morality with high academic excellence and our students make a difference wherever you see them. When you train a girl child, you are training a nation,” she explained.
In an interview, the School Senior Prefect, Elochukwu Chisimdi Basilia; Deputy Senior Prefect, Amuluche Makuochukwu Celestina; and Study Prefect, Emmanuel Mmesoma Precious, who were among the eleven QRC students who participated in the contest in the USA, expressed joy over their victory, while also thanking the principal, Reverend Sister Maria Chijioke Nwankwo, staff and management of the school, for giving them the opportunity to showcase their talent.
The students said they were confident of winning more laurels for the school, Anambra State and Nigeria in future, given the necessary support from government and other well-meaning individuals and organizations.