An Interview With Elei Nkata from the Lagoon School


Montrose School

Elei Nkata (left) poses with the assistant head of school at the Lagoon School, Ms. Manee Ngozi (middle), and Montrose faculty member Mary Jo White (right)

On May 12th, two visitors came to Montrose from our sister school, The Lagoon School in Lagos, Nigeria. These visitors were Ms. Manee Ngozi Nnamani, Assistant Head of School, and alumnae Elei Nkata, who graduated in 2020. I was lucky enough to get to sit down with Elei for an interview on this day in order to find out what her school and overall life in Lagos was like. 

The Lagoon School, while having many similarities to Montrose, also has many differences. First, while everyone takes general classes such as math and English, the school is split into three sections based on what students wish to pursue when they grow up, and they take classes according to these disciplines: science, art, and commerce. Students in the science section take classes such as biology, chemistry, and physics, while those in the arts section take classes relating to both fine and performing arts (art, acting, music, etc.). Those in the commerce section take business, finance, and economy classes. Elei was a part of the science division during her time at Lagoon, and her favorite class was chemistry. 

A typical day-in-the-life starts with an assembly at 7:30. On Mondays, they have an all-school assembly, and on the other days, they have class-wide assemblies. At 8:00, students have the option to either go to Mass or go to study hall. The first classes of the day start at around 8:40 and run until 11:20. From 11:20 to 12:30, students either have free time or lunch – middle school has lunch at 11:20, then high school has lunch at around 12:00. From then until 3:00, students have the rest of their classes. On Fridays, however, classes end earlier, so students can attend clubs and sports. Some of the sports offered include basketball, tennis, track and field, swimming, and volleyball, among others. In school, Elei enjoyed book club and drama club while also playing pick-up games like basketball and volleyball with her friends. 

The school year consists of three trimesters. The first one runs from September until around Christmas time. During that time, the students celebrate Nigerian Independence Day, which is on October first, with a festival. For this festival, each class presents about a different Nigerian ethnic group and dresses in that group’s traditional clothing. At the end of the trimester, the students have a Christmas pageant where different people, or groups can perform drama pieces, or songs. 

The second trimester runs from January to April. During this time, they have “house competitions.” This day is very similar to field day at Montrose where each “house,” or group, is randomly chosen, and the houses go up against each other in a series of games and competitions. The third trimester runs from April to July, and while Elei doesn’t recall any events in it, she does recall the rigorous final exams which test students on course material from the entire school year. 

Currently, Elei is a riding junior at Howard University in Washington, D.C. where she studies computer science. Some of her favorite parts of college have been living alone, preparing her own meals, and creating her own schedule. She also mentioned getting to meet people from all over the world, saying: “One of my favorite parts of being in college is that I’ve gotten to meet people from so many different cultures.” Her least favorite part about college, however, is the school cafeteria. In her first year of college, her room didn’t have its own kitchen, so she had to rely on the cafeteria for her meals. She much prefers to cook on her own, though, and she is grateful to have her own kitchen now. This summer, Elei will be going to California for an internship with Google. As for her final remarks in our interview, Elei tells us to “take life one step at a time” and to “enjoy the experience.”

By Kristina Klauzinski ‘24,  Sports Editor