Exclusive Interview with Dr. George Kofi Annan, the GSTS Takoradi Alumnus who was adjudged the Best All-Round Medical Student at the University of Ghana

Giant Dr. George Kofi Annan is an Alumnus of Ghana Secondary Technical School. Whiles, he was a student at Tesco Land; he was the Scholar of the Year for 2012. Dr. George Kofi Annan was also part of the Ghana Secondary Technical School, GSTS Quiz Team who won the 2012 National Science and Math’s Quiz.

After graduating from Ghana Secondary Technical School, Takoradi Doctor got admission into the University of Ghana Medical School, Legon where he was adjudged the best all round medical student throughout the course.

Check out the exclusive interview between Giant Dr. George Annan and HypercitiGh Team.

HYPERCITIGH:  Hello Dr. could you please tell us about your family and early education.

GEORGE KOFI ANNAN: My Dad is a retired civil servant, and my Mum is a teacher. I have four other siblings; 3 sisters and a brother. Interestingly, all my siblings are nurses. I had my nursery education at Obomeng Presby and LA Schools before I moved to C.K.C. Baptist International School at Mpraeso-Kwahu for my Primary and early Junior High School Education. C.K.C. Baptist International School was arguably the best private school in the whole of Kwahu at that time.

The proprietor felt that I was too young to be in Primary One but after he made me read a passage from a book, he was impressed, so I got admitted to Primary One. It took just a term to announce my presence with excellent academic results. Some of my colleagues used to address me as “His Excellency.” Indeed, I served as the Class Captain throughout primary school until JHS 1. When I was going to JHS 2, my Dad got transferred to the Western Region, so I had to move to Sekondi to complete my Junior High School Education at West Ridge JHS.

2014/2015 academic awards ceremony (Uni. of Ghana)

Upon completion, I decided to go to Ghana Secondary Technical School, a decision I have never regretted. My first-year performance was average, as I was still adapting to Senior High School Life. Nevertheless, I managed to scoop one award during the Speech and Prize Day. That encouraged me to do more. In subsequent examinations, I was usually the top student in most subjects. The next Speech Day which coincided with the Centenary celebrations saw me pick five awards. After school, I grabbed several awards including a Regional Meritorious Award and the Prestigious Scholar of the Year Award.

Read Also: Exclusive Interview with Prof. Yaw Yeboah (GSTS Takoradi Alumnus) First Person to earn four degrees from MIT in four years

HYPERCITIGH: Dr. could you please tell us about your social life? Do you have time to socialize or you are always learning; thus these tremendous accolades?

GEORGE KOFI ANNAN: I wasn’t learning all the time. I made sure I had much fun too. I was a member of Pax Romana.

I served on various committees in the church including the Lectors group and the financial committee.

I also took part in some health screening and outreach programs organized by my church. I was a regular at the R Block TV Room. I watched almost all Chelsea matches. I also enjoyed playing FIFA with my friends. I remember we would organize FIFA tournaments whenever we had the chance.


HYPERCITIGH: best all round medical student throughout the course! This performance is impressive but tell us; what inspired you to pursue this record?

GEORGE KOFI ANNAN: Earlier on in my medical education, I read about some of my seniors who had also excelled at Medical School. That inspired me to work harder. Some of them mentored me. Besides, after winning the NSMQ, I was under pressure to perform in medical school because many people were looking up to me and I didn’t want to disappoint them. The principle that guided me was that working hard is vital, and all other things are possible.


HYPERCITIGH: Could you tell us some of the things you encountered along this course and what lessons you took from them?

GEORGE KOFI ANNAN: It wasn’t a comfortable journey. The course content was very packed and time was not a friend. It took a lot of discipline and hard work to go through the course. The dynamics in medical school was something to behold. There were different categories of lecturers when it came to clinical exams. There were those who were known for generously giving out low marks. I later told myself that I just had to give my best irrespective of whichever lecturer I met in the exam. In medical school, there is the tendency to give up at some point because things will not always go your way as you are likely to fall at some point. The truth is that there were some moments that I felt I wasn’t good enough, but thankfully I never gave up.

After the basic sciences, I picked up five awards including awards in haematology, microbiology, pharmacology and the overall best level 300 student in the B.Sc. Medical Sciences. The transition into the clinical years wasn’t smooth; however, I managed to recover in time. In the second clinical year, I was selected to go and do a one-month rotation in transplant surgery at the University of Michigan, United States of America because I was one of those who finished at the top the junior clerkship obstetrics and gynaecology examination. Throughout the course, I learnt that tenacity was vital.


HYPERCITIGH: Doctor, could you please tell us what has been your primary source of motivation in life.

GEORGE KOFI ANNAN: My primary source of motivation has always come from inside. My desire to give my best to my patients and society pushes me to be at my peak in whatever activity I decide to undertake. After all, you can’t give what you don’t have.

HYPERCITIGH: What were some of the challenges you encountered along the way?

GEORGE KOFI ANNAN: There were a few challenges aside the packed course load. Somewhere in the first clinical year, I fell sick. Various tests were all negative, and that made me anxious and depressed. I did not inform my friends about it and continued to attend lectures. I took part in in-ward work though I wasn’t well. It was a challenging year for me. By God’s grace, I got better in the second clinical year.

Dr. George Kofi Annan At University of Michigan with Dr. George Akwetey

HYPERCITIGH: Tell us about your historic NSMQ win and how you felt about it?

GEORGE KOFI ANNAN: Mention of the NSMQ brings back fond memories. I remember on our first night at G.S.T.S we were asked by our seniors which roles we wanted to play since the Inter Houses Competition was just around the corner. The response I gave them threw them into laughter. I told them that I would represent the House in quiz competitions. I went ahead to tell them that I would win the NSMQ for the school.

I was in Weston House by the way. To them, it was almost next to impossible because G.S.T.S had not been participating in the NSMQ in the preceding eight years. Besides, the competition had ceased after the 2008 edition. Moving forward, we were elated when we learnt somewhere in 3rd year that the national quiz would be relaunched in 2012, and that G.S.T.S had accepted the invitation to participate in the contest. Preparations for the tournament was quite intensive because the NSMQ was being revived after a four-year break.

                        2017/2018 academic awards ceremony

As such, we didn’t get much support from the old boys. We started the journey with a loss at Archbishop Porter Girls School in a friendly match. We were beaten by 1 point. Feeling cheated, we asked for a return match in the subsequent week, and we beat them by over 20 points. Initial doubts gave way to hope and confidence as we defeated the likes of St. Augustine’s College and Mfantsipim School in subsequent matches. In the Mfantsipim match, the Kwabotwe boys netted a negative score after the true/false round. I remember clearly that one of the teachers directed that the scores be cleaned from the board to save the Kwabotwe boys from further embarrassment. When we went for the main competition, we had to meet St. Augustine’s College again in the first match.

Ghana Secondary Technical School-Winners of 2012 NSMQ . Giant Dr. George Kofi Annan in middle., Michael Quaicoe (left) and Samuel Amoah (right)

The pairing was met with mixed emotions. One was of excitement because we had already defeated them in a friendly and the other was anxiety because, in that friendly, a new riddle had to be used to separate us after we tied with the same points after the match. The match was challenging as expected, and we had to answer the last riddle to win the round by 1 point. The final match was another exciting one.

GSTS Wins 2012 National Science and Maths Quiz

We met St. Francis Xavier, a school that had eliminated most of the bigwigs in the tournament and were highly tipped to annex the trophy. As anticipated, it was a very tough match. Again we had to pick up the last riddle to beat them by a point. I felt so happy bringing the trophy to Tescoland and for that matter Western Region for the first time.


HYPERCITIGH: How did that (win of the NSMQ) shape you as a person?

GEORGE KOFI ANNAN: Winning the NSMQ boosted my confidence in life. I realized that it was virtually possible to do everything in this life with determination and hard work.


HYPERCITIGH: And your team, any lessons you took in the course of that historic NSMQ in line with teamwork?

GEORGE KOFI ANNAN: One of the big lessons I learnt from the NSMQ was that sometimes we become enemies of our progress by having self-doubt. I also discovered that team effort, and selflessness is key to success. Indeed, I noted that individual brilliance could win a match or two, but it takes teamwork to win a tournament.

Dr. George Kofi Annan At the University of Michigan with Prof Fay of KNUST and Carrie Ashton

HYPERCITIGH: Since your win, GSTS has not been able to win the trophy again; what are some of the things you think might be the reason(s)?

GEORGE KOFI ANNAN: Well. I don’t think our performance has been bad altogether ever since we won the trophy because we were finalists in 2014. We need to engage in more high profile friendlies with schools in other regions and not just limit ourselves to schools in the Western and Central Regions.

Engaging in more high profile friendlies will give the boys adequate exposure before the main tournament. Very often we talk about motivation packages for the boys, and we forget about the teachers who train them.

One of the teachers who won the NSMQ with us was poached by his alma mater soon after the competition. When teachers receive excellent motivation packages, it will encourage them to give their best.

Exclusive Interview with Dr. George Kofi Annan, the GSTS Takoradi Alumnus who was adjudged the Best All-Round Medical Student at the University of GhanaDr. George Kofi Annan, Mr. Simon Cudjoe-Teacher at Ghana Secondary Technical School

HYPERCITIGH: Do you have any advice for students?

GEORGE KOFI ANNAN: I want to encourage all students to work hard to achieve their highest potential. I want them to appreciate the fact that life is full of “ups and downs” and that they should never give up in this life. I also want them to know that discipline is critical. Lastly, I encourage them to put their trust in God knowing that God has a plan for every person.


Credit: Giant Samuel Swanzy Baffoe, Giant Tetteh Abbeyquaye, Ph.D and  Giant Chris/Hypercitigh.com

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