President John Evans Atta Mills on Thursday challenged Ghana's youth to regard themselves as citizens on whose shoulders the future development of the nation rested.
He congratulated 20 post basic school education graduands now in various senior high schools, on their sterling performance at last year's Basic Education Certificate Examinations, and reiterated Government agenda to invest in the people through the provision of quality education to acquire the know-how in rebuilding a better Ghana.
"On behalf of the Government and people of Ghana, accept my congratulations. To the awardees, I say well done.
“I share in the joy of our sons and daughters who are now being rewarded by the State for their exceptional academic brilliance," President Mills said at Milo President's Independence Day Award's Ceremony, held in Accra, ahead of the nation's celebration 52nd Independence Day celebration on
Friday, March 6, 2009.
The annual Awards ceremony, instituted in 1993, is one of the ways the State is honouring post basic school pupils for their brilliance performance at the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), and to encourage the youth to make the sky their limit.
Each awardee gets a full four years' Government scholarship in post basic education institutions covering boarding and lodging, in addition and a cash prize of GH¢ 400, a book prize, a certificate signed jointly by the President and the Minister for Education, a special plaque, and a special dinner for all award winners and their teachers sponsored by the Nestle Ghana Limited, Fiesta Royal Hotel and Readwide Limited
Additionally, three of the award winners are selected to attend a summer camp in the United States of America and Denmark.
The recipients, a boy and girl from each region who are now in various Senior High Schools, are Gloria Adoma Demitia Mensah, from St. Lisbert Junior High School (JHS) and Kwabena Ababio Britwum, from Martyrs of Uganda JHS, both in Ashanti region, Grace Ayiwa Fosu, St Theresa's Roman Catholic JHS and David Nkansah, Grace Preparatory JHS, both in Brong Ahafo.
Esther Korkor Addo-Kumi and Leslie Atta Akplah are both from Topp District Assembly JHS in the Central Region while Judith Edem Foli of Madonna School and Frimpong Y. Manso of the Joduro Integrated School, are the winners from the Eastern Region.
From the Greater Accra region are Annie Sarah Benson-Tambo of New Gbawe Experimental JHS and Solomon Nii Martey of Prampram District Assembly JHS, while Chiwasine Hanifa Iddrisu from Dahin Sheli JHS and Abdul Rashid Alhassan from Tamale International School are from the Northern Region.
The others are Yvonne P. Asomoning of St. Charles Lawnga JHS and Josbert Abasa Ayamvire of Salibga JHS are from the Upper East Region while Ishak N.Qudiratu of St. Francis JHS and Mahama Baleng Wutor of Tumu JHS, are from the Upper West Region.
Esther Lilian Opusumah of Mater Ecclesiae JHS and Lawson Bosso-King of Kabore JHS are from the Volta Region while Ophelia Esi Dickson of John Bitar Preparatory School and Mutusala Kuma of Wisdom International School are the winners from the Western region.
President Mills reiterated national unity, saying “we must let the things that unite us fly above the things that divide us.”
Re-echoing the theme of this year's celebration of independence; “Unity and Peace, Pillars of National Development,” President Mills urged the Ghanaians to be faithful and loyal to Ghana, the Motherland at all times.
He urged the Awardees to be proud of their achievement, be reminded them that whatever talent they had was given to them by God, and they should not forget to pray for God's continued guidance.
The President reiterated his message of humility also to the students, and entreated them to be honest as they strive for excellence.
“Never cease to be respectful to your parents and teachers. Your academic brilliance should not make you think that you are more important than those who are helping you acquire knowledge,” President Mills said.
He said he would insist that the Minister of Education monitored their performance to ensure that the investment the nation was making in them yielded the desired results because their collective know-how would go a long way in building a better Ghana.
Education Minister Mr Alex Tettey Enyo, gave the assurance that Government would not relent in its efforts to provide the best form of educational opportunities so that this nation was guaranteed a prosperous future.
In a message the school children stressed the need for national peace and unity, and appealed for calm in conflict areas of the nation.
On behalf of the laureates, Ms Gloria Adoma Mensah expressed appreciation to Government for its support, pledging that they would use their achievements to study harder and better themselves.