They achieved the highest number of A grades in the O-A levels exams last year. But they are not going to let that cloud their visions.
Speaking about their dreams, Taaseen Rahman, Md Shajedul Hoque Thakur and Mayisha Mahdiya Sultana, three of the nine highest A achiever awardees of The Daily Star 17th O & A Level Awards, showed who they were and what they wanted.
The awards were handed out at Shaheed Suhrawardy National Indoor Stadium in the city's Mirpur on Saturday.
Taaseen, recipient of the “Country's Highest A Achiever in O Levels” award, from International Turkish Hope School took his exams in last June and bagged 11 A*.
“I've seen many people get awards and then end up on their backs, not really going on to do something meaningful,” he said, quoting a Pokemon character Mewtwo. “The circumstances of one's birth are irrelevant; it's what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are.”
For Taaseen, the preparation for O-level exams was more about exploring his areas of expertise than anything else. He had some interesting answers when asked about his inspirations. One of his seniors at school, Ragib Mustafa, had secured 11 A* previously. This was a motivation for him and he managed to emulate the success of Ragib.
He spoke of Prince Ea, a YouTuber known for discussing topics like politics, society, environmentalism and life issues, as another major source of inspiration for him.
Taaseen stated that his future lies in working with nanotechnology, something he first became fascinated about while playing computer games. He hopes that he would find a cure for cancer.
“When he was two, he used to go with me to the laboratory where I was doing my PhD research in molecular biology in Germany,” said Taseen's mother Dr Murshida Begum over the phone.
She also hoped that some day her son would discover something important.
Md Shajedul Hoque Thakur, who earned five A* in last June's A-level exams in physics, chemistry, mathematics, further mathematics and accounting, is interested in developing an useful product.
Currently studying mechanical engineering at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet), the young achiever said, “I want to learn and explore new skills while doing what I like to do. Hopefully, I'll make products that would make the world a better place.”
About the award, he said it was a big deal for him. “It reminds me that I've studied a lot. It also makes me think of my responsibility to the society.”
Shajedul mentioned about Elon Reeve Musk, a South African-born Canadian-American business magnate, engineer, inventor and investor, known for companies such as PayPal, as one of his biggest role models.
“Elon Musk in my opinion is the only person who is tackling the real problems. His companies like SpaceX and Tesla Motors are making major breakthroughs in some very crucial fields.”
Shajedul's mother Jania Hoque was confident that her son would do well in his exams. She had left her job as a climate change expert to look after her two sons' education. Both of them are now students of engineering.
“I don't have any regrets. I consider myself to be a very successful mother,” she said proudly, her eyes shone with happiness.
Md Fazlul Hoque, Shajedul's father, said schools mattered little as long as they worked hard.
Md Jahangir Alam, vice principal of Mayisha Mahdiya Sultana's school, however, stressed the school's role in nurturing a student.
Mayisha from Techno-Cider International School, Chittagong, became one of the highest A achievers in A-level.
She took physics, chemistry, biology, computer science and mathematics exams in June last year and bagged A* in all five subjects.
Along with good results, a student's behaviour and spiritual development is of equal importance, said Jahangir. “If the students became materialistic after achieving good grades, they won't feel any commitment to the society and country.”
The thought of Bangladesh and its future is not absent in Mayisha. She sees herself becoming a scientist; someone who would make research more accessible to the people.
“In Bangladesh, we've seen a lot of progress in agriculture, thanks to proper funding in research. We need similar efforts in all areas. I hope I can do something significant to this end,” she added.
About The Daily Star award, she said: “It inspires me that The Daily Star is going to such lengths to award us. It fills me with a sense of responsibility.”
Her role model is Bill Gates, and the fact that he has managed to make huge changes in the lives of the underprivileged across the world, fascinates her.