Three schools have booked their places at the grand finale of the National Science and Maths Quiz (NSMQ) on Friday.
They are the Presbyterian Boys’ Senior High School (PRESEC), Legon; Keta Senior High/Technical School (KETASCO) and Prempeh College, Kumasi.
The three schools emerged winners of their respective semi-final contests in which the three qualifying schools dug deep to edge out equally formidable contestants.
First in final
The ‘Eagles from the Volta Region’, as KETASCO has become known in the competition, yesterday made history by becoming the first SHS from the region to qualify for the grand finale of the NSMQ.
The three contestants for the school made their school proud when they edged out the only girls’ school at that level of the contest, Wesley Girls’ High School (WEY GEY HEY) and fellow first-timers at the semis, Tamale Senior High School (TAMASCO).
KETASCO scored 53 points, as against 35 by Wesley Girls’ and 31 by TAMASCO.
Since 2016, the school with the motto: ‘Now or Never’, carved out of an attribute of the eagle, has ended its journey at the semi-finals.
In the first contest of the day, PRESEC-Legon kept its dream of annexing the title for the seventh time alive when it won the contest.
The vim of the Mountain Boys from Nkwatia-Kwahu, St Peter's SHS, and the zeal of the Tema chaps, Chemu SHS, could not stop PRESEC-Legon from inching closer to the dream of a third consecutive final.
PRESEC-Legon obtained 50 points, while St Peter's had 34, with Chemu clinching 21 points.
The third semi-final duel, an all-Kumasi affair, lived up to its pre-contest billing, as it was fiercely contested between the two main rivals: Prempeh and Opoku Ware SHS (OWASS).
Prempeh opened a seven-point gap between it and its closest contender, OWASS, in the first round when the lads got 33 points, as against 26 by OWASS and 17 by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) SHS.
OWASS reduced the gap to four points in the second round when it obtained 40 points, as against 44 by Prempeh and 20 by the KNUST SHS.
The tension rose a notch higher at the close of the third round when the gap narrowed to just a point, leaving KNUST SHS way behind.
At that stage, it was clear that the contest was between the two boys’ school in Kumasi, even though the KNUST SHS contestants also gave a good account of themselves.
Aside from the winners of the semi-final contests progressing to the final of the NSMQ, a prize money of GH¢5,000 was also at stake for the school with the highest score.
The hopes and aspirations of the ‘Fankyenebra’ boys (OWASS) to qualify for the finals and win the cup as a 70th-anniversary gift for the school could not materialise, as they were crushed out by the ‘Seniors’, as Prempeh boys are known.
Even though OWASS garnered 59 points, three more than what KETASCO obtained to win in its semi-final contest and six more than what PRESEC obtained to come tops of its group, it couldn't qualify the school to advance to the last stage.
Prempeh thus won the prize of GH¢5,000 as the school with the highest score to qualify for the finals.
The school amassed 67 points, as against 53 by KETASCO and 50 by PRESEC, who are all in contention for the ultimate prize and the bragging right as the winner of the 2021 NSMQ.
Next Friday, any of the three qualified schools for the finals will have the opportunity to write its name in the sands of time.
While KETASCO will try to add its name to the list of first-time finalist winners, PRESEC will try to make it seven to maintain the record as the school with the highest number of wins, while Prempeh, on the other hand, would want to make it five wins.
For their efforts, all the losing schools at the semi-finals stage were given cash prize of GH¢10,000 each.
Half of the money will go to the school, while the rest will be split between the contestants and the teachers who prepared them.