6 August 2022. The names of the winners of the final stage of ‘Tiny Eagle’ are being announced in the auditorium of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. The names of honorable medalists, bronze medalists, silver medalists and gold medalists were announced one by one. Bangladeshi contestant Nahian Mahzabeen was thinking that the trouble of coming so far was in vain. Return home empty handed.
Once the names of the ‘best three’ of the entire organization of this international English competition began to be announced. After the third best, the second best, Mahzabeen’s name was heard as the champion. This student of Dhaka’s scholastic school still couldn’t believe that she was being called on stage!
In the upper row of the auditorium, Mahzabeen’s mother Shammi Akhtar and father Nisar Khan started shouting ‘Bangladesh, Bangladesh’. Flying the flag of Bangladesh. Tears in father’s eyes. Mahzabeen won the champion’s trophy in the 2022 edition of the ‘Tiny Eagle’ competition, beating 500 competitors from 44 countries including the United States, Germany and England.
International English competition held in London every year is the finale of TinyEagle. Students of class V to XII from different countries of the world participate in it. Quizzes, English Writing, Spelling and Speaking—4 sections show proficiency.
However, to participate in the final round of London, you have to pass the preliminary round first. The episode is titled ‘Teeneagle Online’. Many students participated in this phase online from all over the world. The online competition features a children’s book and a film. 50 multiple choice questions from prescribed books and movies to be answered in one hour. 80 percent marks are required to reach the final stage. The Global Finals consists of four days of one-hour tests on four subjects.
Nahyan Mahzabeen, a standard nine student of Scholastica School, found out about the ‘Tiny Eagle’ competition from school. He had already read the book prescribed for the competition. So it was with great interest that he participated in the online preliminaries. 80 percent marks were required to reach the final stage. Mahzabeen scored more than 90 percent marks in the preliminary stage, winning the gold medal. Six students including Mahzabeen from Bangladesh were invited to the final stage, which is called ‘Global Finals’.
As soon as the school’s final exam was over, Mahjabeen got down to prepare for the final phase. He spends the whole vacation studying. To win at least one medal was his aim. Slowly the time of ‘Global Finals’ is approaching. Mahzabeen left for the UK with her family on July 30 to participate in the competition. Mahzabeen had to be separated from the airport, even though her parents went with her. While chatting with us, he was saying, ‘I had to stay without my family for seven days before the finale. It’s really hard to spend this one week.’ In the remaining days, Mahzabeen along with other contestants visited several places including the British Museum, London Eye, Tower Bridge.
Mahzabeen was very confident even before leaving the country. He wanted to fly the flag of Bangladesh at least once on this international stage. So three sizes of flags—small, large, and medium—were carried. The intention was from the very beginning to wrap the big flag and take the champion’s prize. That dream has come true.
By going to England, not only the champion’s trophy, but also friends from different countries. Mahzabeen learned a lot after spending a week without her parents. I had to do all the work myself, including cooking, cleaning clothes. Returning to the country, he decided to do his own work from now on.
Always first in the class, Mahzabeen is involved in various co-curricular activities besides studies. She regularly participates in shadow UN conferences for the school. Although studying through English medium, Mahjaveen is a fan of Bengali books. This habit is inherited from father. He is a regular player in the school basketball team. He also likes playing volleyball and chess. Mahzabeen added, ‘And yes, I am also the general secretary of the school’s science club.’
Among the three siblings, Mahzabeen is the mezzo. The elder brother is studying at the University of British Columbia, in the Department of Chemical Engineering. Mahzabeen follows her elder brother in almost everything since childhood. So he wants to be a chemical engineer when he grows up.
More good news before ending. Scholastica School student Pragya Saha won the gold medal among other contestants from Bangladesh who participated in the finals of the ‘Teen Eagle’ competition. Rafeed Jalil of International Hope School won the silver medal. And students of the same school, Al Aqsa Tanzim Khan, Afchin Hossain and Arefin Joy Madurza received honorable medals.