Top math student knows equations for success
By Somsack Duangpanya

A young scholar from Phiawat Secondary School who scored highest at the 199899 competitive examinations of Vientiane municipality has been awarded a financial scholarship from the Foundation for Promoting Education.

Miss Manilath Souttavong, 15, Kaoyod village, Sisattanak district, achieved a near perfect grade of 9.75 in mathematics at the exams organised by the municipal education service. She also received accolades from many of her teachers who said she was the best math student at the school. These were two reasons why she was one of a select group of 18 outstanding secondary school students to receive education grants from the private non-profit foundation.

She received a 450,000 kip bursary, which is intended to fund much of the cost of her remaining three years high school education. Each year she'll be able to withdraw one-third of the money already deposited into her own private bank account.
These scholarships are provided by the foundation to support academic excellence and to promote good teaching.
In the past scholastic year (1988-99), in its second year of operation, the foundation offered finanCial aid to 18 high achieving students, 18 exemplary teachers and 60 Vientiane area primary school pupils in need of financial assistance.

Headmaster of Phiavat High School, Mr Phonepasith, offered his support for the recipient saying that she was a fine choice for the award. On top of her good work in the classroom, he said, she was also a volunteer leader for keeping the schoolgrounds clean after school. He added that she's also a regular attended at meetings for school festivals and volunteers her services at the That Luang Festival in November.

She's also been known on occasion to help out busy teachers by leading her classmates to do homework and reviewing teachers' lessons for some of her slower learning classmates.

Asked to divulge her secret, Manilath said she didn't have one. Understanding a lesson completely is important, she said. And so it is not wasting time and being sure to constantly review lessons on a daily basis.

"All students should realise the importance of asking they teacher for clarification if the don't understand something in the classroom. Constant review in.the evening is also a crucial way to reinforce what you learn during the day." Manilath's father, Mr Paserth, said that he was very proud of his daughter's achievements and has high hopes for her one day studying at university. "I support everything regarding Manilath's education, but for now that doesn't include buying her a motorbike. After she gets her higher degrees though, she can have whatever she wants."

As for what Manilath wants in the future, she said someday she would like to be a diplomat for Laos.