Miss Khadijah Tukur is the unassuming head girl of Zaria Academy.
Her small frame notwithstanding, she has the responsibility of ensuring that all female students obey school rules and carry out their obligations. To fulfill her mandate, she relies on the cooperation of other prefects and works in synergy with each and every one of them to justify the trust the school reposes in her.
In an interview with The Intellectual, the confident Khadijah recalled the first time she stepped into Zaria Academy. Like every new student who was leaving home for the first time, she was worried and unsure of what to expect. But that soon changed within two terms. She made new friends and latched on the opportunities provided by the school for scholarship.
She said: “You don’t have any excuse not to do well in Zaria Academy because all the facilities required for you to study well are available,” she said. “And we have good teachers who listen to us and act as mentors. We also have specific periods to study both early in the morning and in the evening. I work with other prefects to ensure that the students do what they are supposed to at the time allocated for specific activities. There’s a School Handbook, which contains the rules, so everybody knows what constitutes an offence.”
On how boys and girls interact in school, Khadijah said both undertake academic and extra-curricula activities together, but with defined boundaries. According to her, there is no room for immoral behaviour.
On security, the head girl said she had never experienced any security problem since she was admitted at the school. “The school is safe,” she said with a smile. Asked what she would tell any parent nursing fears about sending their wards to Zaria Academy, Khadijah said, “ I will tell any parent wishing to send his or her child here not to have any fear. I have been here for the past five years and I am still here.”
Muhammad Hamza Hammawa, from Bornu state is the academy’s head boy. He told the magazine with a broad smile that since his admission in 2010, there has been no looking back. Asked to sum up his experience in the academy so far, he did not mince words. “This has been an astonishing school,” he began. “Morally, academically, it is very sound. When you talk about academics, for me, Zaria Academy is the best school I have ever attended in my life.”
Hammawa, a science student, also described his teachers as “experts.” His words: “I lack the words to describe them (teachers). They are really trying.”
He narrated how he received the news of his elevation as head boy this way: “Actually, I don’t know why I was chosen. One fateful day, when I was in SS2, third term. We had just resumed for barely a week. But I came in late and I was being a little naughty. Our House Master, Mr. Niyi, called and corrected me. He advised me to be the good boy that I had always been and that I should be well behaved.
“Our seniors were about to write their final examination then, and I knew the school management was about to choose prefects. So, that gave me a hint that I could be chosen, but I didn’t know for which position. So, I complied with all school instructions as advised. Eventually, our vice principal announced my name as the next senior prefect on the assembly.”
He also spoke about his responsibilities. “I organize the prefects. There are house captains, house prefects, we have the dining hall prefect, the sport prefect and the rest of them. I work with them according to their responsibilities.”
Asked if students in the junior classes have ever complained to him about bullying, Hammawa responded: :”Bullying actually reduced. I experienced it when I was in JS1 and JS 2, but I didn’t report to the authorities at that time.”