Finding a balance between the arduous schedule of academics and life outside the classroom is 2a skill very few have mastered on this campus of ours. Excellence is usually achieved in either one of the two spaces. The student is either brilliant in class or his extracurricular resume is splendid. You seldom find a master of both trades. But Ishmael Tagoe is not your average Joe so he defies the odds.
Firmly ensconced in the first class sphere, he is in contention for Valedictorian of the class of 2016. GPAs are highly guarded secrets so I am unable to share with you what his currently is. To tickle your curiosity, imagine a figure which will drop your jaw while having you rue how you have spent your time in this school so far. But this is not the reason why he features on this list. If it were, compiling this list would have been extremely less strenuous.
Having been nominated as the best social science student in his second year, he won a scholarship to Carleton University for a semester abroad which he later turned down. In his third year, the school once again recognized his excellence and adjudged him the best 3rd year student in the Social Work department which came with a scholarship to Malmo University in Sweden. This time, he did not turn down the offer.
A long repertoire of volunteering stints and engagements comes with Ishmael’s impressive academic sojourn so far. Coming from an underprivileged community and family, Nii as he is affectionately called, told me how this fuels his drive to make the people around him better. Chorkor, an inner city community with its fair share of vices and challenges gave shape to this young man. To give back, he succeeded in getting SOS Children’s Village Ghana to fund the education of some select students from the community as well as personally organizing after school lessons for underserved students. His engagement with the community also includes working with traders to adopt “best business practices”.
Nii’s volunteering activities is not limited to his hometown. In addition to working with other underprivileged students in other communities in Accra, he worked as a team leader for the “International Citizen Service Challenges Worldwide”, the UK’s equivalent to the Peace Corps last semester. Forget about the prestige of the position and consider the fact that he had to carry out his responsibilities of coordinating such a program in the middle of an academic semester while still making top grades.
In Sweden he worked with an organization giving aid to young immigrants and another that was raising awareness of Dyslexia in Africa. Did I also forget to mention that he was co-nominated as the best International Student in Public Policy while in Sweden?
Listing Nii’s academic achievements is a non-ending endeavor. He has reached the penultimate year of his Chartered Accounting program within a space of 3 terms. On average, others do it in 7 terms. He is also undertaking a course in Chartered Management. He makes you wonder what a Social Work student wants to do with all these financial certifications right?
Do you know any Legon student with a similar story? Please drop his or her name in the comments section. Thanks