When the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) released the 2019 May/June results written by 1.6 million candidates across the country, 17-year-old Zainab Dantsoho had A in all the nine subjects she sat for. Her joy knew no bounds. While the pass rate was pegged at 64%, she had 100%. In this interview, she spoke about how she was able to achieve the feat and her future plans.
TheCable: Tell us about your background.
Zainab: I’m from Jalingo, Taraba state. I attended The Lagoon School in Lekki. I was born on May 10, 2002 in Lagos and I’ve lived here all my life. I’m from a Muslim background; the second child among three girls. I’m a passionate and sociable girl. My family has always been my source of motivation. Growing up, my parents used to set goals for us, so we already looked forward to achieving them. They make us dream big. My parents are not that strict.
TheCable: How do you feel achieving such brilliant academic feat?
Zainab: I feel great. Thank God. When I saw my result, I screamed and started crying. I didn’t think I was going to get that but I knew I worked towards it and prayed for that result. But it was very surprising. The school called me to announce the result. They said they were very proud of me. We were just two in the school who had A1 in all the subjects we sat for.
TheCable: How was your preparation for the exams?
Zainab: When we began the registration, I knew I had to do well. So, I read far and wide before sitting for each subject because I didn’t know what would come out. Moreover, they have been preparing us for WAEC for the past six years. I read extra textbooks, extra notes and whatever information I could find anywhere. Not every subject went smoothly. I doubted myself in some subjects but at the end I got As in all. My parents were really happy.
TheCable: Would you be able to replicate similar achievement when you get to the higher institution?
Zainab: I think so, in as much I still have the support of my parents and everybody around me. I can do it. I can even surpass it.
TheCable: What do you hope to become in future?
Zainab: I want to become a doctor in future. I don’t know the specific field I want to specialise in yet. But I know I want to study medicine. I’ve always had the idea that when I grow up, I want to make an impact. I just don’t want to go to work from 9am to 5pm. So, I thought about the occupation I could go into to help people every day; then, medicine became obvious. If it is not medicine, it could be engineering.
TheCable: Who is your role model?
Zainab: My mum and Ben Carson. When I was in SS 1, I started reading Carson’s books. Through that, I got to know more about him. I liked how he was driven to achieve so much in his field. That is what I like about him.
TheCable: So, if you were to solve a problem in the world, what would it be?
Zainab: I want to solve find a solution to cancer. I want to come out with something innovative and different from the ones on ground.
TheCable: Aside your academic pursuit, what else do you enjoy doing?
Zainab: I participate in sports. I play basketball and run. I used to go for competitions. But I don’t plan to do something serious in sports. It’s just for fun. I also like reading novels and photography.
TheCable: When you face challenges, what do you do?
Zainab: I usually talk to my sisters, anybody I find. We just have a discussion, think about solutions and that makes me feel better. When I talk to people about, I just feel relieved.