Featured Old Boy
Dr. Joseph Blidgen, MBBS (UWI), FRCSED, DM CTH (UWI), Fellowship Diploma in Cardiac Surgery (Dalhousie University, Canada)
Dr. Blidgen is a Consultant Cardiothoracic surgeon at the National Chest Hospital, Bustamante Hospital for Children and the University Hospital of the West Indies. He graduated from Calabar High School in 1987 and then completed a further two years in sixth form.
He did medical degree and post-graduate training in cardiothoracic surgery at the University of the West Indies, Mona where he graduated with DM CTH in 2007. During his training he did a three-year fellowship in cardiothoracic surgery at the Maritimes Heart Centre, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada (January 2003-December 2005).
His commitment to giving back to Calabar has led him to sponsor the Dr. Joseph Blidgen Award for “The Most Outstanding First Form Student” in collaboration with COBA. The award is for the first form student who maintains an acceptably high average during the school year and on the final exams in all subjects, participates in extra curricular activities, is highly disciplined and displays leadership among his peers.
The scholarship is valued at $135,000 annually and will cover school fees, lunch, transportation and books for the successful student on entering second form. Dr. Blidgen has donated to COBA the full amount to sponsor the scholarship for the next three years.
The award was won in 2014 by young Toussaint Robinson. He is 13 years old and the youngest of four brothers. He is from a single parent home having lost contact with his father after he was imprisoned in Canada several years ago. His mother is a vendor at the Coronation Market, the income from which she uses to provide for their survival. During school, Toussaint boards in Rock Hall with an aunt who intermittently assists in order to make ends meet. To ensure that he arrives at school on time, he leaves home at 4:30am. This kind of commitment has resulted in an almost immaculate attendance record for the academic year.
Mr. Robinson is the absolute top first form academic performer for academic year 2013/14. He has maintained a 86% average for the entire year and is ranked number 1. For the academic year, he was also involved in the debating society, aviation club, badminton, and cricket. His aspiration is to become a pilot. He works hard and remains committed to this dream. All his subject area teachers sanction that he is a high academic achiever in spite of his financial challenges.
Dr. Blidgen is proud of young Mr. Robinson and is proud to be partnering with COBA to have the boys motivated for academic excellence.
The Calabar Old Boys’ Association is indeed happy for the commitment Dr. Blidgen has made and is encouraging other old boys to participate in elevating the academic achievements of our students through the sponsorship of scholarships, bursaries and workshops.
COBA wishes Dr. Blidgen continued success.