- As old students call for return of Mary Immaculate to missionaries
•BY AYODELE ABERE in Ado-Ekiti•
Sir Matthew Apanisile, the former principal of Mary Immaculate Grammar School, Ado-Ekiti has admonished the students to always appreciate and honour the teachers who have done them good.
Apanisile who retired from service as the principal of the school in 1986 said he was the principal of the school between 1981 and 1985. He made the admonition at the occasion of the third year reunion of the class of 1983 set of the school in Ado-Ekiti.
The former principal described the occasion as a wonderful and surprising one as he explained that the students who were celebrating him left the school thirty-six years ago.
Commending the former students for deeming it fit to still remember to come and honour him, he said he was quite happy.
The President of the set, Comrade George Ezezinne a.k.a the baale in his address said the membership of the association were drawn from home and abroad. He therefore saluted the courage of the members for entrusting him to pilot the affairs of the association.
The Anambra State born Ezezinne while speaking at the occasion which was held at the school premises, said he was the Senior Prefect of his set when the school was still running as a mixed school. He explained that they all gathered together to celebrate because they were all good products of Mary Immaculate Grammar School.
“The essence of the event is just to gather ourselves together because we all passed out of this great school in 1983. To the glory of God, I was the senior prefect of that very set and the overall best student of the set.
“I won an award for being the best and the neatest student of same set. I tried to gather my mates together because of the impact we got from the school”
According to him, it’s a day of partnership between the school management and the great Immasco Class of 1983. “We want to state categorically without mincing word that the 1983 class will do more for the school in the area of Infrastructure. The face-lift we are giving is only a tip of the iceberg.
“We shall not rest on our oars until our alumni takes its rightful position.” He noted that, “To whom much is given, much is also expected. Mary Immaculate has given much to us as her products, even if it’s not possible for us to give commensurately what she had given us, a reasonable measure shall also be given by us”.
As part of the contribution of the set for the school this year, George Ezezinne explained that science equipment were donated to the school with about eighty stools and tables to support the laboratories just as one thousand notebooks were also given to the students on behalf of the set by Mr Tope Owolabi who has a foundation in the United States of America. He called on other sets and the upcoming students of the school to emulate them.
Speaking on the state of education in the country, the president advocated for return of Mary Immaculate Grammar School to the original owners, that is, the missionaries.
“In the olden days when schools were under the control of the missionaries, we could see the difference, there’s decay infrastructure everywhere. If you go to schools being managed by missionaries, the difference is always there.
“We are hoping and praying that the school is returned to the missionaries as in the case of Christ’ School, Ado-Ekiti so that the past glories will be restored, ” he said.
The Chairman, Ekiti/Ondo Mary Immaculate Grammar School, Class of 1983, Mr. Esan Gbenga a.k.a Esau Benga, noted that celebrating the occasion at the base in Ado-Ekiti was an extension of love for progress. He urged all the alumni not to allow the spirit of togetherness that bound them to be separated by any circumstances.
Princess Arowolo Adebola, one of the old students who described the event as a very good one said that “in life as you go up through the ladder, you don’t forget your base.
“Mary Immaculate Grammar Sxhool happens to be our base. We graduated from the school before proceeding to the university and we are happy that most of us have achieved so much in life.”
She further explained that the event was organised to contribute their quota to the development of their Alma mata.” we have come back to ask the areas of the school needs for us to contribute to the progress of the school because the legacy of the school is a very fine one, apart from the things we have contributed to the school’s laboratories, being a good pacesetters, we equally made our impact known by digging bore hole to the school.
Princess Arowolo also expressed her support for the school to be returned to the missionaries. According to her, “it will be highly appreciated if the government can do that because when we were here, it was run by the missionaries and we enjoyed so much things then because government alone cannot cater for every school in the state.
“If it is handed over to the missionaries, especially the Catholic Church because Catholic owns the school. Am quite sure that those who have achieved much in life will be willing to complement government’s efforts.”
She enjoined both the present and the future students of the school to be focused and diligent as she said that they could start choosing their career right from the secondary school for them to reach their desired goals and become a responsible citizens in the society to move Ekiti and Nigeria forward.
Another product of the school, Mr Anthony Abiodun Adeleye, a UK based who is popularly known as tipple A who also left the school in 1983 said he was really excited coming back to show appreciation.
He said having come and seen the situation on ground, he promised to talk to his friends to help lifting up the school to the position they met it in 1978 when they came in as new students.
“Things have changed. Not positively but in a negative way. I believe with our collective efforts, we can be able to achieve something by coming together.”
Mr. Adeleye said he purposely came down from the UK to represent their mates in diaspora and promised to give them a situation report when he returns by letting them realise that they need to give back to the school than was given to them.
In his statement, he said “I have come as a pacesetter to see the situation on ground. By and large, it’s an opportunity and a joyous occasion because the occasion afforded me an opportunity to see those I have not been able to see for years”.
Comrade George Ezezinne and Mr. Esan Gbenga both appreciated everyone that came to make the occasion a success and those other members who in spite of their non physical presence, for their unflinching moral and financial support at all times.
Comrade George while appreciating the importance and usefulness of the Internet, that is, WhatsApp and Facebook platforms through which they have been able to reconnect also called on many of their mates who have not been attending such event to join hands with the progressive forum as he explained that only a collectivity of the fingers can be used to beat the chest.
The highlight of the occasion was presentation of cash and gift items to the former and present principals including the students in the senior classes.