Young, Gifted & Black Series
By Taki S. Raton
She is a proud sibling in what is known in England as “The First Family of Education.” A September 2011 edition of “Higher Education Digest” describes her as a “serial world record breaker.”
She is Young, Gifted, & Black and her name is Anne-Marie Imafidon. She would remain at Oxford where she began her undergrad degree program in 2005 having alread studied mathematics at the university level since 13. She began her studies on the Masters level at the age of 17.
At the age of 10 she passed two high school diploma exams in Mathematics and in Information Technology.At the age of 11, she became the youngest person ever in Britain to pass Advance College Level Computing, and at 12, she received an Oxford Scholarship. At the age of 13 in 2003, she was granted a British scholarship to study Mathematics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
She additionally received offers from leading UK universities to start a Masters course in Computational Mathematics at the age of 14. According to the ‘Guardian,’ this student worked “two hours a week over less than four months in what for others is a two year course.”
An offer was extended to attend the University of Oxford in Oxford, England when she turned 15 and a year later at 16, she received job offers from world leading financial institutions such as Wall Street in New York and in the City of London and from Blue Chip companies as noted in Digest.
And at 19, according to the July 8, 2011 ‘Leadership’ Internet article by Lilian Agih, Annie-Marie became the youngest ever to receive a Combined Masters Degree in Mathematics and Computer Science in June of 2010 from the prestigious Oxford University.
Anne-Marie is Nigerian and a native of Edo State in southern Nigeria. Its capital is Benin City. Her father Chris Imafidon migrated to London from Nigeria over 30 years ago.
It was reported that Anne- Marie was the youngest person ever to serve in a University Committee which included professors old enough to be her grandfather.
She adds in her own words that “everyone made you feel welcome and it was a delight to hold such positions on behalf of other students.” Imafidon recalls that her experience was “very enjoyable and student life at Oxford proved that there is nothing to scare any inner city child of any age. It was exciting to play Netball for my college, participate in the Oxford Fashion Show and win a prize in the cooking competition.”
Before attending Oxford according to press reports, Anne-Marie attended inner city public state-funded schools in London’s Enfield and Waltham Forest areas. She has never been homeschooled and neither of her parents are mathematicians.
And her plans for the future? Given all of the world class offers of top shelf employment opportunities, at this point in she reportedly states, “I’m continuing to work with the Excellence in Education program and I would like to still continue my mentoring and motivate children from Inner London and from similar backgrounds as mine. It’s very rewarding.”
She adds, “Education is such an important part of young people’s lives and I want to get the message out to the youth that learning is such a vital element in their growth. I also want them to understand that mathematics is essentially a game of numbers.”
But Anne-Marie is really just one significant member of the Imafidon clan. Included in the Oxford grad’s accomplishments are also siblings with British record breaking world first achievements.
Known as the “Wonder Twins,” Annie-Marie’s younger brother and sister, Peter and Paula broke British and world records when they both passed the Advanced Level mathematics exam at the age of 7. As published by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on March 1, 2010, a year after mastering the math exam they passed the University of Cambridge’s Advanced Mathematics test, thus becoming the youngest students ever to pass what the BBC termed a “rigorous” examination.
As a result of passing the Cambridge exam, Peter and Paula will also become the youngest ever in Britain to enter high school. Peter has his sights set on one day becoming a prime minister while his sister Paula wants to be a math teacher.
Both attended a state school in the London Borough of Waltham Forest in northeast London, England, but were instructed in supplemental lessons provided by the Excellence in Education, an educational program for disadvantaged youth.
Another sibling Christina, now 17, is the youngest student to ever be accepted and study at an undergraduate institution at any British university, the United Kingdom University, where she entered at age 11.
And to top off Britain’s “First Family of Education” is Samantha, now 12, who passed two high school level mathematics and statistics exams at the age of 6 and became the youngest girl in the UK to attend secondary school at the age of 9.
Blogger Malaise in his March 18, 2005 entry ‘Britain’s Brainiest Family is Black and has 9-Year-Old High School- Bound Twins’ discloses that it was Samantha, at the age of 6, who mentored the twins to pass their own math secondary school test when they were also 6.
“Every child is a genius,” says father Imafidon in a British interview. “Once you identify the talent of a child and put them in an environment that will nurture that talent, then the sky is the limit. Look at Tiger Woods or the Williams sisters, they were nurtured. You can never rule anything out with our children.”
Imafidon sits on the board of the Excellence in Education (EIE) program. Their mission statement is “To maximize the full potential of students to achieve the highest level of academic distinction.”
An online brochure shares that the EIE staff are specially trained in working with students “until very complex concepts are broken down to their level.” This is achieved through what they term as a “distinctive student-centered learning activities and assessment” approach.
The instructional format’s support mechanism, “inspires research and independent learning” and is guided by the principle that in educating children, “we need to follow their lead and their interest.” Their purpose as educators is “to guide them when they get stuck and be facilitators for their learning” and they also believe that learning can be “as pleasurable as entertainment and an enjoyable exercise.”
However as reported in a 2011 account, EIE student Deborah Thorpe might have upstaged the twins, Peter and Paula when at the age of 5 years-old she passed the High School Level Math exam the week of August 28, then becoming the youngest person to pass such a test in England. But it is no wonder, as it was also reported that Deborah was tutored by Paula.