Over 800 primary and secondary school pupils in the Southwest were honoured by the International Academy for the Gifted (IAGifted) for excellent performance in the 2019 American Mathematics Competition (AMC) and the Kangarou Sans Frontiers (KSF) awards. They were presented with medals at an event held at the Ambassadors School, Ota, penultimate week. National coordinator of the Academy, Mr Oyebola Fabowale, said the awardees ranging from primary school pupils aged seven, to teenagers in senior secondary school, had recorded scores that put them in good standing internationally. It meant that they achieved 50 per cent and above in the competition which is taken by children of similar ages in over 100 countries of the world and are therefore gifted. “These ones have competed favourably with their peers and brought the glory not only to their schools but to Nigeria,” he said. Consultant for IAGifted, Prof Adewale Solarin, said by encouraging young children to participate in the competition, Nigeria was gradually grooming pupils who could win medals in the international mathematics Olympiads. “AMC is the process they follow to be able to win medals in International Maths Olympiads. We achieved the goals we set. All the Nigerians getting medals in the Olympiads participated in the AMC. By 2015 we included the KSF which started right from Primary One because we realized that waiting till they get to secondary school may not be too advantageous. The genesis of participating in AMC 8 was when I found that children from Asia aged seven were getting 24 out of 25. “This year, we have two Nigerian children trained here who scored 24/25,” said the professor of algebra. Solarin, the former Director-General of the National Mathematics Centre (NMC), also specially acknowledged a pupil of Ambassadors College, Faith Oluwatamilore Odunsi, a medalist, who had also won two medals in the Pan African Mathematics Olympiad (PAMO). Besides coordinating the AMC and KSF in Nigeria, Mr Fabowale said the Academy organizes training for teachers all over the country. He said teachers get to update their knowledge and methods from such trainings, adding that they would also be able to help their pupils do better in Mathematics. He said many of those who excel in the AMC and KSF were not necessarily thought to be the best in their schools until discovered by the Academy’s assessment. He said it was important to discover gifted children so they could be supported to fulfill their potentials. “A gifted child is not necessary the brilliant one. A gifted child should be able to go extra mile; you want to see trace of something unique; something special – in the sense that they bring out a kind of innovation; something that tends to be unbelievable as it were perhaps in the area of engineering, sciences, even in the arts. So what you do or what stakeholder should crave to have now is making sure you expose them to many challenges,” he said. Gold, silver, bronze medals, and certificates of achievement, distinction and honour roll of distinction were rpesented to the pupils depending on their performance. Schools which produced top three pupils who scored a total of 66 were also presented with certificates of merit. Parent of one of the star pupils, Mrs Christiana Ojeli, was impressed that her son, Dominion, a JSS3 pupil of Imperial Lite College, Gowon Estate, could win a medal, considering that he was not regarded the brightest in his class. Dominion’s teacher, Mrs Adetutu Bailey, said she was surprised about Dominion’s performance. “I was surprised when I saw it. When the result came, they said Adejare Mayowa snd Dominion Ojeli were the best in our school. I would not have picked him among my top students. This shows that any child can do well,” she said.