HLF Students’ Lecture – “Reaching For Greater Heights”

Heights by great men reached and kept were not obtained by sudden flight but, while their companions slept, they were toiling upward in the night. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

As part of efforts to boost awareness on goal attainment and encourage educational pursuits, the Foundation organized a lecture for its scholarship beneficiaries in Warri, Delta State in February 2012. With the theme “Reaching for Greater Heights”, the main presentation was rendered by Dr. Akali Moju Igbene, a renowned motivational speaker and Professor of Chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley, USA.

Highlights of the lecture include:

  1. Goal-getting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and motivating yourself to turn this vision into a reality. Setting life-time goals gives you the overall perspective that shapes all other aspects of your decision making.
  2. Many people feel like they are drifting in the world though they work hard, but they do not seem to get anywhere worthwhile. The major reason is that such people have not spent enough time thinking about what they want from life, and have not set for themselves life-time goals. After all, no one sets out on a major journey without a real idea of his/her destination!
  3. By knowing what you want to be, you will be able to concentrate your efforts. Setting your goals will give you a long-term vision and short-term motivation. It focuses your acquisition of knowledge, and helps to organize your time and resources to make the most of life. By setting sharp, clearly-defined goals, you measure and take pride in the achievement of those goals, and see forward progress in what might previously have seemed a long pointless task. With these come increased self-esteem as you begin to recognize your ability and competence in achieving your set goals.
  4. It is important that students embrace and explore goal setting, due to Nigeria’s growing population and the ever-increasing demand for quality education at all levels.
  5. The first step in setting personal goals is to consider what you want to achieve in your life-time (or at least, by a significant and distant age in the future) in education, career, finances, etc.
  6. The next step is to state a five-year plan of smaller goals which need to be achieved if you want to reach your life-time plan.
  7. There are the one-year, six-month and one-month plans of progressively smaller goals, which will be the building blocks to reaching and achieving life-time goals. A ‘To-Do’ daily list should also be put down on paper as this in actual fact is the plan that can help you attain the life-time goals. Examples of smaller goals are reading educational books, avoiding television and Internet.
  8. Review these plans, and ensure they fit the way in which you want to live your life.
  9. Students should take advantage of opportunities such as those offered by the HLF to work on your visions and to make the best of your lives. Also, look around for those who have achieved great heights like the HLF Awardees and try to fashion your lives after such great men and women.
  10. Finally, I urge you to look beyond your present circumstances, to what your lives could become if you work hard and be the best in your studies. Presentation on Health & Sex Education In June 2012, the Foundation organized its second lecture of the year for its HLF scholarship beneficiaries within Warri town, Delta State. Dr. Margaret Obi, a former Imo State Co-ordinator of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) was on hand to deliver the lecture.

Highlights include:

  1. Dr. Margaret Obi spoke on various aspects of human sexuality, including reproductive health, emotional relationships, responsibilities, abstinence and birth control.
  2. In Nigeria today, there are increasing problems of moral laxity, promiscuity, unwanted pregnancies, abortions, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), forced marriages, school dropout, etc. among youths. These have been attributed mainly to the ignorance of the youths about sex, resulting in confusion and frustration.
  3. She, therefore, commended The Foundation for organizing the lecture on this critical topic. The relevance of sex education in our educational setting cannot be over-emphasized.
  4. Sexual health is an important component of overall health and well-being. In principle, everyone has a right to information and skills necessary to prevent negative sexual health outcomes such as STIs [such as HIV/AIDS], unplanned pregnancies, etc. In order to ensure that our youths are equipped with the right information to protect their sexual and reproductive health, it is imperative that schools, in co-operation with parents, the community and health care professionals, play a major role in sexual health education and promotion.
  5.  “Sexuality defines the very essence of one’s humanity, including one’s self–image, as male or female, It is about the way we are made, how we feel about ourselves, what roles we play in the society and how we procreate”.
  6. Students are advised to focus on their studies and avoid having sex before marriage. Unprotected sex could lead to unwanted pregnancy and cut short your education. STIs such as syphilis; gonorrhoea and HIV could also jeopardize your lives, hopes and dreams.
  7. On teenage dressing, I encourage the females to cover their nakedness. There are certain parts of a girl’s body that are meant for only her husband to see after marriage. Once a girl has reached a certain age, she should do all she can to dress modestly. The wrong dressing always attracts the wrong people; as the saying goes, “the way you dress is the way you will be addressed”.
  8. Cleanliness and hygiene are also important aspects of sex education. I urge you to take your personal hygiene seriously by maintaining clean habits.