Pleasant Surprises for Mum & Dad

by Daniel Dela Dunoo

           In the beautiful gated community of East Legon lived Serwa, Anane, and Asare, three siblings born to Mr. and Mrs. Beeko; they lived with their parents. Dad was a diplomat whereas mum was a house wife. Serwa, the only girl, happens to be the oldest and she is ten years old. Serwa is very cute and looks very much like her mother. She is in class four. Anane and Asare, her two younger siblings are in class one and class two respectively. They are pupils of Stars International Preparatory School. All three siblings are dearly loved by both mum and dad; little wonder they are continually lavished with gifts.

Today is Saturday, and it so happens to be the Speech and Prize Giving Day at Stars International Preparatory School. Mr. and Mrs. Beeko have taken their seats under a canopy on the school compound. Other parents, guardians, and relations are also seated. The teachers, together with their pupils have taken their seats also.

The ceremony has already commenced. Some pupils have sung some songs and others have recited some poems. Some pupils have also acted a well-sketched drama to the admiration of all gathered. There are smiles and applause all over. Serwa, Anane, and Asare have been actively involved in all of these fun-filled activities to the delight of their beloved parents.

Mr. and Mrs. Beeko are truly delighted to see their kids fully participate in a ceremony such as this. This has not taken them by surprise though; they have always known their kids are that good and obviously took their kids through countless rehearsals at home prior to the Speech and Prize Giving Day.

It is the prizes segment of the programme and all are particularly attentive. The head teacher mounts the podium amidst applause from the audience. The head teacher calls, Best dressed and best behaved pupil for class one is Anane Beeko. There is a loud applause. Anane runs towards the head teacher. A man standing by the head teacher gives Anane a handshake whiles Anane receives his award.

The head teacher continues. He gets to class two and calls out, the best behaved and best dressed pupil in class two is Asare Beeko. There is applause, and this time thunderous. Mr. and Mrs. Beeko are beaming with smiles; another child of theirs has made them proud. Asare makes his way to the podium and receives his award from the special guest of honour, after a handshake and a snapshot.

The list continues to class three, then to class four. Serwa Beeko is called out amidst a thunderous applause from the crowd. By this time, many have become conscious of the fact that perhaps three siblings had all swept awards. Serwa receives her award for best behaved and best dressed pupil in class four.

The head teacher continues right up to class six and there is a musical interlude. The disc Jockey spins his wheel and blurts out high tempo songs for about ten minutes. There is a cultural dance display by the pupils of class three.

Another set of awards are announced and soon commences. It is awards for the best students in each class. This award is based on a collation of three terms of academic performance. This time, it is the Proprietor of the school who calls out the names, class after class.

By class three, it is clear neither Anane nor Asare were called for this round of awards. By this time, Mr. and Mrs. Beeko are disappointed but are quite certain none of their wards will pick up a prize for this category.

For class three, the best student is Ayesha Mahmoud, announces the proprietor. Ayesha walks briskly to the podium amidst a thunderous applause, grabs her award after a handshake and makes her way back to her seat. The best student for class four is Serwa Beeko, announces the proprietor. Serwa`s parents are suddenly on their feet in shock, amazement and excitement as their daughter walks majestically towards the podium to receive her award. Tears begin to trickle down the face of Serwa`s mother. If any of Mr. and Mrs. Beeko`s wards were expected to win an award for best student, it was not going to be Serwa; so Mr. and Mrs. Beeko thought. This was indeed a surprise; but more than that, it was a pleasant surprise. It has not always been this way. Here is the story.

Mr. and Mrs. Beeko were blessed with three bright and intelligent kids. Asare and Anane learnt to read and write at a tender age of five. They were that smart. Their senior sister, Serwa however had serious academic challenges. At age five she fell sick and was hospitalized. The Doctor`s diagnosis revealed that Serwa had high fever. For months, she struggled with this ailment. She eventually recovered but not without a seemingly permanent scar; she was never the same again. She became slow in learning and experienced a lot of frustrations trying to understand some things that her younger siblings had no difficulties with. Admittedly, Serwa was very playful and loved to hang around with friends. She channeled her energies towards playing since studying was simply a bore and very frustrating to her.

Right from class one; Serwa began to trail behind in class. This caused her parents a great deal of heartache. As much as they tried to ensure that their kid focus on her studies, they never succeeded. They received constant reports from the teachers who handled Serwa in school. They will complain about her lazy attitude towards studies, her inattentiveness in class, and her constant pursuit of fun-filled endeavors.

Meanwhile, Serwa`s siblings, Asare and Anane were exceptionally good at school. They were consistently counted amongst the best students in their classes. Admittedly, they also loved to play. However they loved school too; they were fond of reading story books. They indeed were a source of pride to both mum and dad.

Whiles in class three, Serwa became conscious of the pain she was causing herself and her parents. She became more and more sensitive about the funny and sometimes degrading comments some of his school mates passed about her. Mostly, she was laughed at by her peers whenever she was unable to answer an obviously simple question posed by a teacher in class; this was quite frequent.

There were days Serwa will feign sickness in other to be allowed to stay at home rather than go to school. Because she could not read, she simply could not do well in any of the subjects and she continually felt embarrassed whenever her teachers demanded that she reads a portion from a text book to the hearing of her coleagues. She simply could not read. This usually aroused laughter from her peers who sought to tease her. There were numerous occasions Serwa was lashed by her teachers because she just could not pull her weight; she failed whenever an assignment was given to her class.

These things began to trouble Serwa and she became more and more withdrawn from her mates. She seemed to have lost interest in socializing and in playing with friends. She resolved one day that she will work hard to overcome her challenges in learning and make her parents proud. The days and weeks went by but as much as she tried, she simply could not cope; she still could not read. Her frustrations became more and more pronounced.

Angela, a friend to Serwa and a fellow classmate soon become concerned about her friend. Angela was an exceptionally intelligent pupil and was the best student in their class. She had earlier withdrawn from Serwa because she could not cope with the many stares and gossips that occasioned her relationship with Serwa.

Angela, Serwa`s only friend began to feel a great deal of pity for her friend. One day, she approached Serwa during break period. Serwa was seated by herself in the classroom with her head on her desk. By this time, the classroom was virtually empty. Serwa!, Angela called. Serwa still had her head on her desk. I am sorry for my rude behavior for the past two terms. Please find a place in your heart to forgive me, blurted out Angela.

Serwa was by this time excited to hear these heartwarming words from Angela. She looked Angela in the face and smiled broadly. Angela was elated and rushed towards Serwa to give her a warm hug. Serwa, I have observed that in recent times, you have been trying to work at your studies. I admire your courage and I think I can help you out. Serwa replied with ecstasy, I will deeply appreciate this gesture and I promise to do all I can to improve on my grades. Thank you very much Angela. It is a pleasure, said Angela. The two friends agreed to always do their home works together. They also agreed to occasionally utilize part of their break times to do some studies.

Since they resided in the same neighborhood, they also agreed to visit each other frequently not only to play but to also study. Angela had a brilliant idea. She was of the conviction that the cure to Serwa`s academic challenges was to help her learn how to read as soon as possible.

The two girls were determined. As the weeks passed by, it became abundantly clear that progress was very slow and frustrating. There were times they were tempted to give up but Serwa`s determination pulled Angela along. Angela had educative video games at home and some educational programmes installed in her computer. This proved to be extremely helpful. Whenever Serwa visited, they spent some time behind Angela` computer, playing these games and also accessing the educational programmes on Angela`s computer.

There were a few times these kids could not help it but spend some time in chatter and playing rather than study. However, for the most part they kept to their plan of study; the more Angela strove to teach Serwa, the more Angela herself improved in her academics. Serwa and Angela were seen more and more together both at school and at home.

In time, Serwa learnt to read, though slowly. By their third term in class three, Serwa had become an avid reader. How glad Serwa was. Angela was also very happy for her friend. Soon, Serwa`s parents discovered that their daughter could now read. Serwa told them about how she learnt to read. Her parents were elated and made sure they showered Angela with some gifts as a show of their appreciation for her kind gesture.

At this point though, whereas Angela was always amongst the first three top pupils in class three; Serwa was inching closer to the first ten best pupils in the class. She had essentially moved from a below average pupil to an average pupil. Thanks to Angela.

This was however not to remain so for long. Because of Serwa`s thirst for knowledge and the many abuses she suffered previously, she read wide and read frequently. Reading soon became her hobby. She read every book she could lay her hands upon. The school`s text books were not spared as she read them from cover to cover.

Soon, Serwa was undoubtedly amongst the top performing pupils in her class; this became more pronounced in class four. Serwa began to win the admiration of her classmates and teachers. She was fast becoming the talk of the school for obviously good reasons. Serwa and Angela soon earned for themselves the name, the little geniuses.

Though Serwa`s popularity grew rapidly in school, this was unknown to her parents. All her parents knew was that Serwa had improved and was doing quite well in school. They had no idea she was amongst the top performing pupils in her class; of cause they least expected that. Surprisingly, neither Anane nor Asare knew the extent of Serwa`s progress and so did not relay any information to that effect to their parents. Serwa`s first term report showed that Serwa came seventh (7th) in a class of about forty (40) pupils. Her second term report showed she came third (5th). Mr. and Mrs. Beeko had not yet been given Serwa`s third term report. Apparently Serwa came first (1st) by a wide margin but this was not known to her parents as yet.

Serwa`s third term report was given to her parents by the head teacher at his office, shortly after the climax of the Speech and Prize Giving Day. Mr. and Mrs. Beeko were literally shedding tears; they simply could not hold back the tears when they heard many of the admirable academic laurels chalked by their once daft daughter and also looked at her third term report.

A few hours later, they got in touch with Angela`s parents and expressed their gratitude to them for the pivotal role they allowed their daughter to play in Serwa`s life. They were full of praises for Angela and offered a gift to her in the presence of her parents. Mr. and Mrs. Beeko also sought permission to take Angela along with their entire family for a picnic which was scheduled for the following day which was a Sunday.

On Sunday, shortly after church, the Beeko`s made their way to Angela`s house, picked her up and headed for Aburi Gardens. They had a lovely time, especially the kids; Asare, Anane, Serwa and Angela; but more especially Serwa and Angela. This began a fresh phase of a beautiful friendship that blossomed between Angela`s family and Serwa`s family but more especially between the two girls. Many years down the line, Serwa became a medical doctor and a lecture while Angela became a lawyer of great standing. Asare and Anane became bankers.

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