On our way to Kamonyi District on September 13 to meet 12-year-old Herve Cyubahiro, who emerged as the second-best performer in the Primary Leaving Exams, we expected to find him extremely excited, perhaps jumping up and down. However, much to our surprise, Cyubahiro appeared calm, wearing only a smile on his face. We noticed that he is a reserved child who carefully chooses his words. He remained seated, patiently waiting for what would come next. ALSO READ: O-Level champ shares winning formula, aims for career with philanthropic touch It was raining, so he wore a cream-colored sweater to keep warm. After congratulating him on his success, he smiled and replied ‘thank you’. His mother, on the other hand, who welcomed us so warmly into their home, couldn’t contain her joy. She beamed throughout our visit, from the moment we arrived to when we bid farewell. Road to success Cyubahiro, who was a student at Crystal Fountain Academy in Kamonyi, scored 30 aggregate with a distinction in all subjects which were Kinyarwanda, English, Mathematics, Social and Religious Studies, and Science and Elementary Technology. Finding out that he was among the top five performers in the country filled him with excitement, so much that he didn’t even eat that day. ALSO READ: PLE, O-Level results: Girls outperform boys in national exams His father broke the good news to his mother after receiving a call from the Ministry of Education. At the time, she was in town carrying out some errands. She was so excited that she stopped everything she was doing, eager to go back and inform Cyubahiro of his triumph. Cyubahiro told The New Times that he invested a lot of time in reading, but he also managed to get enough rest, which he believes could have led to the good results, and of course, his teachers’ support. Although he has always been among the top five in class, he was on many occasions discouraged by some of his classmates who didn't believe in him. However, after excelling, his message to those classmates is that he made it, and is now a good example to them, and that he has proved them wrong. “Kids who want to achieve academic excellence should study hard, make use of their teachers, and their parents,” he said. ‘When I grow up’ Cyubahiro looks forward to being a scientist in the future. Scientists' work entails doing intense research and experiments to understand the causes and effects of a phenomenon. Cyubahiro is also passionate about being a professional basketball player because he loves the sport and it helps him to relax. His role models in basketball are LeBron James, an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers, and Stephen Curry, who plays for the Golden State Warriors, both in the NBA. In his leisure time, Cyubahiro reads books and plays basketball with his friends. Speaking with his mother, Assumpta Musengimana, she explained that her son's achievement filled the entire house with happiness. She also mentioned that this is not the first time the family has experienced such joy. She noted that back in 2019, the Ministry of Education reached out to them informing them that their daughter was among the top 10 in the O-Level exams, and she eventually attended a coding school. “We were surprised about Cyubahiro’s results, not because he isn't smart, but because we didn't expect that he could be the second winner in the whole country,” she said. Cyubahiro is the third child in their family, with two older sisters currently attending the Rwanda Coding Academy, and three younger brothers. Musengimana described him as a quiet and disciplined child who likes to discover things on his own. “When he gets his sister's laptop, he goes into research and requests his sisters to help him learn more about technology.” Musengimana also added that Cyubahiro likes watching movies. “At our home, we are open parents, who give our children freedom to do what they want with some supervision. Cyubahiro has his timetable, he programmes himself on every task he has to execute throughout the day. He knows when to play, study, and rest,” she explained. Cyubahiro’s mother also said that her son is talented in organising other children, saying that he is the leader of the children in their community. For instance, when there is mass in the morning, he plans and communicates to every child who will sing in church.