- Lance Corporal Lancelot Allotey was named the March 2023 valedictorian of the Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Arts programmes at the University of Ghana
- Before the feat, he had to overcome obstacles, such as financial difficulties and the subsequent death of his father, in his uneasy journey
- Lancelot had to juggle his work as a police officer, spouse, and father while attending university
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At an early age, Lance Corporal Lancelot Allotey yearned to serve his nation as an officer in the Ghana Armed Forces, but life took him on a different path.
Born into a family of servicepeople who lived most of their lives protecting the nation and its people, he had long determined he would become part of this family legacy.
The Allotey scion and native of Sempe of James Town in Ghana's Greater Accra Region grew up in a household where his father, a military officer, was a strict disciplinarian.
He admits that his parents' home training impacted his life and finally led to a career as an officer in the Ghana Police Service. He would later emerge as the valedictorian of the Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Arts programmes at the March 2023 congregation at the University of Ghana.
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Lancelot's early education and financial challenges
His inspiring journey, albeit challenging, began at St. Jude's Nursery School in Mamprobi, where he received his preschool education. Lancelot continued his lower and upper nursery to class six at New Universal Academy before heading to Korle-Gonno 4 Junior High School (JHS) to further his studies.
He tells YEN.com.gh that his father financed his early education with the support of his mother.
''I come from an average family, financially; my father was a military officer, and my mother was a trader. Our living conditions were quite difficult due to my dad's ill health and after he retired from active service,'' he recalled.
Lancelot balances his JHS education with selling for his mom
Lancelot had to combine his studies at JHS with selling with his mother to support the family.
''I had to get up between 3:30 and 4 am every Monday to go to the market and buy bunches of bananas for my mom to sell every day before I went to school. I was always late for school on Mondays,'' he told YEN.com.gh.
While Lancelot grew up with the love and support of his parents, who were concerned about his education, financial difficulties hampered his studies. He recalls learning in the dark from his first year to his third year of JHS because his home was disconnected from the power grid due to unpaid expenses.
''We shared our metre with people who refused to pay the bills. The expenses became so much; we used post-paid then, so they disconnected us. But I managed to complete JHS in 2007.''
On the positive side, Lancelot discovered his musical talent in JHS when he started playing with his seniors in the school marching band. After JHS, he learned how to play the piano while waiting for his BECE results.
Lancelot life in senior high school and worsened financial struggles
Determined, he navigated to Presbyterian Senior High Technical School to study General Arts. But life threw more challenges at Lancelot and his family; they were already struggling financially, but his father's retirement from the military and subsequent death in 2009 exacerbated the family's financial situation.
"I had to go to SHS after my father's retirement. I am the last of four children. Imagine the difficulty."
''We experienced extreme difficulties; I recall attending boarding school without provisions in my first year. But, I was more concerned about the admission fees. The real struggle started when my father passed in my second year in 2009,'' he said.
Lancelot recalls how his mother attended a parent-teacher association (PTA) meeting empty-handed due to financial constraints before his father succumbed to sickness.
''I didn't question why because I knew the situation at home. My mother informed us that my father had been sick for about a year, making life difficult. She informed me that she was on her way from the hospital and would visit my father after spending some time with me.''
While in his third year, Lancelot struggled to pay his fees and was sacked on a wet day at one point. He returned with half of the fees, but the headmaster had ordered that anyone who came with only half of the payments should not be allowed to stay. Life smiled on him when his housemaster helped by giving him transport and feeding money to return home.
''When I came home, things were still difficult. I had to help my mom sell bananas during the day, and I went to sell kenkey in the evening. I did that for some weeks to raise money for the fees. My siblings also supported,'' he told YEN.com.gh.
Despite the impediments, he tells YEN.com.gh that it did not affect his performance because he discovered new ways of learning by sharing what he understood with others and waking up at dawn to study. ''It didn't affect me in terms of my academics,'' he stressed.
When he finally completed senior high school, he volunteered and taught music to adults and mostly children. But Lancelot's attempt to join the military in 2013, a year after he completed SHS, was unsuccessful.
''2014, I applied to the police, was enlisted, and passed out in 2015. I was stationed in the Volta Region but was transferred to Accra on June 4, 2015.''
Lancelot pursues higher education
Lancelot craved further education and did not let obstacles prevent him from pursuing his boyhood dream of studying Music at the university. He enrolled at the University of Ghana, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music and as the valedictorian of his course and the Bachelor of Arts programme.
''I married in my second year in the university. I had to balance my work with raising my kids and studies. But my wife was very supportive; I give her credit,'' he told YEN.com.gh.
The proud father of two boys credits overcoming the mountain of hurdles life threw at him and his accomplishments to God.
"Always stay humble, respect humanity, and keep your eyes on God,'' he said.
Lancelot plans to pursue his master's and further it with his doctoral degrees soon. Congrats on the achievements in the face of daunting setbacks.
Ghanasco alumna graduates as valedictorian of UDS School of Engineering
Still on education, YEN.com.gh previously reported that a former student of Ghana Senior High School (Ghanasco), Abdul Rahman Lansah, emerged as the valedictorian of the University for Development Studies (UDS) School of Engineering.
Lansah completed her studies at the Ghanaian institution with a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 4.89 after beginning her academic career at the Kobilmagu Sobriya Islamic School.
Due to budgetary limitations, the young graduate, according to UDS, had a challenging journey to obtaining an education.
Ghanaian lady receives GH¢12,000 as she graduates from UMaT
Also, YEN.com.gh published that Alberta Agyapomaah Tawiah, a Ghanaian lady, received GH¢12,000 for emerging as the 2023 Overall Best Female Graduating Student at the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT).
She graduated with a cumulative weighted average (CWA) of 87.41% in BSc Mining Engineering to claim the title for her year group.
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