Young Jessica Afful Tuleassi had big dreams. She wanted to be a lecturer and an influential person whom the younger generation would look up to.
In view of this, she studied very hard and was always at the top in class. Although she received a lot of negative comments from people, she never allowed them to weigh her down. She rather braced herself and worked very hard in order to achieve her dreams.
Her hard work paid off and she graduated from the University of Cape Coast (UCC) not only with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies but was also adjudged the 2020 Valedictorian of UCC at its 53rd graduation held recently at the Cape Coast Stadium.
A valedictorian is a student who usually ranks the highest academically in a school’s graduating class.
Speaking to the Junior Graphic after her graduation, Ms Tuleassi said while growing up, people usually discouraged her because she was a female. At the university level she was a target for unpleasant allegations because she was excetionally good.
She was accused of sleeping her way through her academic pursuit which she denied. She was not deterred but always focused on her dreams.
She had her basic education at the Greater Heights School at Fijai, Takoradi, and continued to Services Basic School where she wrote her Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE). At the basic school, she won several academic and co- curricular activity awards.
She continued her education at the Shammah Senior High School in Takoradi, Western Region.
Ms Tuleassi received a lot of support financially and psychologically from family and friends which encouraged her while she was growing up.
“My family provided most of my needs even when there was none because they wanted to see me achieve my dream,” she explained.
While she was pursuing her primary and secondary education, Ms Tuleassi said she was an average student who always strived to achieve the best. She was bent on becoming an excellent student and so, worked steadily at it.
Her greatest challenge was the fear of failing in life. For her, she was afraid of not meeting her family’s expectations. She also feared failing in her academic pursuits. She didn’t want to disappoint her guardians.
This fear consciously put her on her toes and stirred up that desire to achieve more.
She was on guard to study and prepare thoroughly for all her quizzes, assignments and examinations.
“People have the notion that if you are doing well, it means you find little difficulty in learning. Though the all-night studies, group discussions and low marks in quizzes took a heavy toll on me, I always made sure these didn’t bring me down,” she said.
She graduated with a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 3.9. Ms Tuleassi was the best female in the Department of Communication Studies. She is currently the valedictorian of the College of Humanities and Legal Studies.
She has also participated in some international and national debate championships where she performed well. For example, at one of the Ghana University debate championships, she was at the semi-finals.
That, she said, motivated her and improved her communication skills. She was also a student parliamentarian and debator.
She has attended a number of conferences and seminars. She again worked as a student presenter at ATL FM, a campus radio station in Cape Coast. Currently, she is the Deputy Communications Director at Poimens Ghana, a youth organisation engaged in empowering the youth.
Her uncle, Mr Philip Mensah Holm, who is a philanthropist, is her greatest inspiration. Her uncle single-handedly takes care of all financial issues in the family, works and schools at the same time.
Ms Tuleasi is very determined to emulate him because he has influenced the lives of many positively.
Ms Tuleassi is now a Teaching Assistant at UCC and aspires to become an example for many in the future when she attains her Master’s and PhD degrees.