By Charles Ampong
Manna International School at Breman UGC in the Suame Constituency of the Ashanti Region has won the 2023 edition of the National Junior Challenge (NJC) trophy, making it three consecutive times.
The school made history for being the first ever junior high school(JHS) in the country to have won the NJC competition three continuous times.
Since the inception of the competition, no school in the country has won the trophy three times, but this enviable feat was achieved by Manna through hard work.
The school won its first NJC trophy in 2021. It defended it successfully in 2022 and won this year’s edition, making it three consecutive times.
At the end of the final round of the contest in the grand finale, Manna proved beyond doubt its accolade that it is a school of academicians.
The school obtained 50 points to beat its closest competitors, Mary Mother of Good Counsel and Bishop Bowers, both from Accra. Each of the schools had 47 points to place second, while Garrison Basic School from Takoradi managed to garner 27 points.
Manna did not only win the competition for the third time but also its student, Kwabena Owusu Dokor, was adjudged the most outstanding contestant for 2023.
The annual quiz competition, which aims at improving teaching and learning at the basic level, was organised by the UNIWIZ Foundation. It also aims at promoting critical and analytical thinking on the part of the contestants on how to solve problems through the knowledge acquired in class with regard to Mathematics, Integrated Science, Social Studies and Information Communication Technology (ICT).
The competition this year attracted sponsorship from some leading organisations such as Dano Milk, Hisense, Flora Tissue, Bel Beverage, Top Choco, Anointed Quality Fabrics, among others.
Addressing students from Manna after the final contest, the head of the trainers, Mr. Daniel Owusu, urged the students, particularly those in forms one and two, to take their academic activities seriously, so that in the future when any of them is selected to represent the school, they could replicate what their predecessors had done.
According to him, though Manna had a fierce contest from the other finalist schools, through hard work and the grace of God, they became the champions for the third time.
“As it stands now, I can say without fear that Manna remains the best junior high school in Ghana and this should motivate you to excel in all your academic endeavours,” he appealed to the students.
Mr. Owusu expressed a profound gratitude to his contestants – Kwabena Owusu Donkor, Stanley Agyei Boadi, Richmond Nyarko, Nana Kwame Sefa Duah and IVy Ahemaa Baidoo for their resilient performance.
“We cannot celebrate this milestone of victory without acknowledging our gallant contestants who won the third NJC trophy for us,” he added.
Mr. Owusu asserted that the trainers, contestants and the entire management body of the school would put the victory behind and focus on how to win the KNUST Maths and Science Quiz for junior high schools.
“We were in the final of the KNUST Maths and Science Quiz last year but, unfortunately, we lost. This time around we are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that we snatch that trophy too for the first time,” he said.
As its prize, Manna took home a cash of GHc5,000, medals, certificates and assorted items from the headline sponsors.
On his part, Mr. Joseph Owusu Agyeman, the headmaster of the school, eulogized the team of trainers and the contestants for the glory brought to the school. He reminded other students to study hard, so that their names would continue to be in the annals of the school.
Mr. Agyemang indicated that the school would fight relentlessly early next year to reclaim the trophy of the Luv FM quiz for primary schools which it could not defend this year after winning it in 2022.
Mr. Agyemang cautioned pupils and students against lackadaisical attitudes towards their academic activities.
The Proprietor of the school, Pastor Michael Mensah, in an exclusive interview with The News Paper, acknowledged the tireless efforts by the teachers to impart knowledge to the children.
He emphasised that the school is focused on churning out students with character traits to make them fit into all facets of the society.
According to him, the management of Manna International School would continue to train the children on other activities outside the classroom, such as basketball and swimming, to prepare for their future professions.
Pastor Mensah was of the view that the school though has significantly contributed towards the development of human resources, one major challenge it faces is the poor state of roads leading to the school.
“Over the years, we have produced a chunk of students who are now occupying many sectors of the economy but our problem is the deplorable nature of the roads connecting to the school. I’m using your medium to appeal to those whose duty is it to fix the roads to enhance the smooth running of the school,” he appealed.