A-Level science champ credits struggling mother for his success


The minute his name was read out as the overall top performer in sciences in the A-Level national exams, 19-year-old Emile Cyubahiro’s face said it all — he was beyond excited. He walked calmly to the front of the main boardroom at the Ministry of Education’s headquarters to recieve his accolade and a laptop, for his excellent performance.

He received his award from Gaspard Twagirayezu, the Minister of Education, on December 4, during the announcement of the national examination results, accompanied by his mother.

Overwhelmed by the number of journalists who waited in the queue to interview him after the event, he remained composed and agreed to speak with each of them.

The former student of Petit Seminaire St Jean Paul 11 Gikongoro, doing a Mathematics, Chemistry, and Biology (MCB) combination, achieved an impressive aggregate of 60. Cyubahiro expressed gratitude to his mother, a small-scale farmer who provided financial support for his school fees and basic needs.

“My mother doesn’t earn much money, it’s just peanuts she acquires from growing and selling crops like rice and beans, but she has supported me through school. I remember a time I was sent home for school fees, but thankfully, my relatives fundraised money for me,” Cyubahiro stated.

Though he has always held the second or first position in his class, taking the top spot was beyond his expectations.

He remembers getting a call on December 3 from the National Examination and School Inspection Authority (NESA) office, informing him that he had won. This not only thrilled him but also his family

Cyubahiro explained that his success required goal setting, as he drafted a plan on how to be the first student in his school, this entailed creating discussion groups to discuss all topics studied and making use of the teachers.

“I would wake up at 5 am or before on a daily to read. I am glad my efforts paid off.”

He looks forward to pursuing a course in medicine at the university, and he hopes to be a doctor, specifically a neurologist — a medical doctor who diagnoses, treats, and manages conditions that affect the nervous system (brain, spinal cord, and nerves).

Speaking to his mother Vestine Sindushimana who was joyful, she said her son’s victory was predictable as he is bright.

She described Cyubahiro as a humble, social, and hardworking person who takes his education as a priority.

“I promise to support my child with the finances for his further studies and career path. I do not doubt that he will go far and make me even more proud,” Sindushimana said.

Cyubahiro, a resident of Huye, is the second of four children. In his spare time, he enjoys socialising with friends and playing football. His favourite football player is Lionel Messi.