St. Gregory’s College, Obalende, Lagos, has emerged as the champions of the 2023 Helmbridge Science Challenge. St. Gregory’s College defeated St. Michael’s Anglican Church College, Coker, Lagos, in a tension-soaked final match which initially saw St. Michael’s Anglican College winning the first round and looking too good to beat St. Gregory’s College. Earlier in the third-place match, Sure State School, Ogun State, trounced Government College, Eric Moore, Lagos, to clinch the third-place trophy for the first time in the school’s history.
Started in 1982, the Helmbridge Science Challenge is an annual quiz competition among secondary schools in Lagos State. It aims not only to reward academic excellence but also to promote teamwork, critical thinking, quick thinking ability to respond under pressure, and sportsmanship among secondary school students. Additionally, the Science Challenge fosters a love for learning, encourages students to broaden their knowledge horizons, and provides a platform for talented students to showcase their intellectual prowess, which will form the superstructure for their excellence in the world.
Thirteen secondary schools, including King’s College, Lagos; Government College, Eric Moore, Lagos; Gbaja Boys High School, Gbaja, Lagos; and St. Finbarr’s College, Yaba, Lagos, participated in this year’s Science Challenge. The modus operandi of the Science Challenge is unique and exhilarating. Each participating school forms a team comprising students with diverse knowledge in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and General Knowledge. Each school team usually consists of five members who work together to answer questions.
The Science Challenge rounds focus on specific subjects such as mathematics, chemistry, biology, physics, and general knowledge. The questions are more challenging and require a deeper understanding of the subject matter. Teams accumulate points based on correct answers. A quizmaster asks a student in the hot seat a question. If he answers correctly, he fills in a blank on the whiteboard; otherwise, the same question is thrown to his teammates to redeem him. If the teammates fail to redeem him, the same question goes to their opponents. If the opponents answer correctly, they will be awarded a bonus, which will be reflected on the board. However, if the two competing schools fail to answer the question correctly, it will be thrown to the audience. The student who correctly answers the most questions from the audience receives a special prize.
In his short remarks before handing over the First Place Trophy to the champions, St. Gregory’s College, and other prizes to schools, the Special Guest of Honour at the occasion, Otunba Bayo Adeoye, told the students that engaging in extracurricular activities such as the Science Challenge promotes well-rounded development of students. “By exploring different interests and pursuits, the students gain a broader perspective to enhance their creativity and develop diverse areas of expertise. This helps students become more versatile, adaptable, and open-minded individuals,” he said.
In his own remarks, a Lagos-based legal practitioner and human rights activist, Ben Abraham Esquire, who also graced the occasion, stated that whether it’s captaining a sports team, participating in a debating competition, organizing a club event, or leading a community service project, extracurricular activities in schools offer students the opportunity to cultivate valuable qualities and provide them with the chance to take on leadership roles and responsibilities in the future.
Established in 1972, Helmbridge Study Centre is a project of the Educational Co-operation Society, a non-profit trust registered in Nigeria. Helmbridge aims to complement the academic, moral, and character training that students receive at home and school. The spiritual direction at Helmbridge is entrusted to Opus Dei, a Catholic institution founded by Saint Josemaria Escriva in 1928.