SPEECH DELIVERED BY MR AUGUSTINE AMEDEKER, THE HEADMASTER OF ST PAUL’S SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL, DENU, ON THE OCCASION OF THE SCHOOL’S 60TH ANNIVERSARY, HELD AT ST PAUL’S SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL, ON SATURDAY, 8TH DECEMBER, 2018
Bishop Chairman, His Excellency Vice President, Honourable Volta Regional Minister, Honourable Member of Parliament for Ketu South, Honourable Ketu South Municipal Chief Executive, the Volta Regional Director of Ghana Education Service, the Ketu South Municipal Director of the Ghana Education Service, the Paramount Chief of Aflao Traditional Area, the Dufia of Hatsukope, the Guest Speaker, the Board of Governors, Fellow Heads of Sister Schools, P.T.A. Executives Torgbuiwo, Mamawo, Parents/Guardians, my dear Members of Staff, Past and Current Students of this noble institution, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, we are privileged to have you in our midst today to celebrate this all important anniversary which we hope will go down in history as one of the greatest celebrations in the life of our Great SPACO. Miawoe Zor loo!
Bishop Chairman, the theme of the celebration is ‘Church – Community Relationships: 60 years of Educational Partnerships and search for Greater Heights’. In brief, this implies the moral and intellectual support St. Paul’s Senior High School has been giving since its inception for Ghana in general and the immediate community in particular and what we the stakeholders can also support SPACO with to further accomplish the vision of providing quality education to the young ones in a congenial competitive environment, as foreseen some 60 years ago by the founding fathers.
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SCHOOL
Mr Chairman, a journey of thousand miles, they say, starts with a step and if the journey extends, with time, so many essential details fade away especially when the pioneers keep falling away. I hereby, crave your indulgence to let me tell the tale of old to the unacquainted.
The present-day St Paul’s Senior High School was the first and only Catholic Second Cycle Institution established in the Southern Sector of the then Keta Diocese now under the Episcopal jurisdiction of Keta-Akatsi Diocese headed by His Lordship Gabriel Edoe Kurmordji, in 1958, at a place called Three Town which was central to Denu, Xedzranawo and Adafienu townships at the time.
The founding father was Rev. Fr. Cafferey. He was later joined by Fr. Nicholas Steemers. The school was basically established as a boys secondary school with initial intake of 32 students but ended with 22 in the 5th form. Some of these pioneers are present among us. I salute them for braving the several difficulties that they went through.
A new site was acquired in a village called Hatsukope along Denu – Ho road. Hatsukope is one of the towns of Viepe-Aflao. The school, therefore, stands now on the soils of Aflao Traditional Area, inspite of the fact that it is usually associated with Three-Town. In 1972, through the intervention of the Government of Ghana and the co-operative spirit of Hatsukope Community the initial land space was extended to 100 acres. Unfortunately, as a result of survey fraud the school is now left with less than 70 acres.
The Catholic Church, the School and the community have co-existed in a friendly atmosphere with the community providing accommodation to some staff and day students. They also volunteer information on students who behave badly in the village. Msgr Rudolf Apietu of blessed memory was the first and so far the longest serving Ghanaian Headmaster.
In 2000, as an experiment, His Lordship Most Rev. Anthony Adanuty, Bishop of Keta-Akatsi Diocese gave permission for the admission of a few girls. This move was stopped in September, 2004 when it run into some difficulties. In 2003, the Bishop of Keta-Akatsi Diocese built and attached a Seminary to the school.
The school has passed through the administrative leadership of eleven substantive and three acting heads. They are Rev. Fr. Caffrey, Rev. Fr. Steemers, Msgr Joachim Eleezer, Msgr R.J. Apietu, Mr. T. K. Gadzekpo, Mr. T. K. Kpongor, Mr. M. K. Atigbor, Mr. M. K. Kukah, Mr. P. R. M. Deku, Mr. S. E. K. Adzamli, Mr. H. E. K. Vortuame, Mr. F. K. Hlorgbe and Mr. A. Amedeker, the current Headmaster.
The products of the school can be found in all sectors of the Ghanaian and World Economy including Politicians, Legal Personnel, Civil Servants, Medical Doctors, Lecturers, Teachers, Bankers, Public Servants Security Service Personnel to mention but a few.
THE PRESENT STATE OF AFFAIRS
(a) Student enrolment.
Mr Chairman, Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen, the student population for the current 2018/2019 academic year is – 1,462
This comprises SHS 1(Green) – 247
SHS 1(Gold) – 209
SHS 2 – 609
SHS 3 – 397
923 are in the boarding house with the rest 539 being day students.
Management hope to double this figure in the next four to five years if the necessary infrastructural needs are met.
(B) STAFF POPULATION
Bishop Chairman, the numerical strength of our staff for this 2018/2019 academic year is 137 consisting of 91 teaching and 46 Non-Teaching personnel augmented by 12 on internship from Winneba and Cape Coast Universities.
(C) ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTS
Bishop Chairman, Distinguished Guests Ladies and Gentlemen, it is a fact that St Paul’s Senior High School is known for its academic excellence in the whole of the Volta Region from its inception till recent years. Although ranks better in academics than its peers in the Ketu South Municipality, this has never been and should not be the limit of our performance. Management and staff have taken note of some unpleasant turn of affairs and are doing everything possible to make amends. We are very optimistic in this regard and 1 stand on behalf of my staff to promise the best and more satisfactory WASSCE results from this year onwards.
The vision of the school is not for high academic performance only but also quality education which ensures that all students who pass through the walls of the school are disciplined, honest, diligent dedicated and humble scholars. It is worth noting that as of today none of our students for all these 60 years has ever been withdrawn from any of the universities or other tertiary institutions for poor performance, exam malpractices or forging documents to enter the university.
The other aspects of the quality education is that our external exams are so strictly supervised that there has never been any mass cancellation of entire or part result of our students. These are the virtues of SPACO.
In sports, SPACO has always been a force to reckon with. The school has been putting up splendid performances and is still in the lead position in the zone as most of the students always qualify to represent the Lower Mid-South Zone and the region as well.
(E) MORAL LIFE
SPACO, as a catholic school, has benefitted a lot in terms of moral upbringing. Students are regularly impacted with the word of God during our Daily Masses. Our chaplains have been of great support and must be commended. Our gratitude will be incomplete with the absence of the Guidance and Counselling unit, the Disciplinary Committee together with the Staff’s strict enforcement of Ghana Education Rules and Regulations. These efforts have been observed to have dramatically changed the deviant behaviour or character of the students. We are proud to say that it is this sort of discipline we instil in our students that reflects in their lives in the higher institutions and work places.
Bishop Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am proud to say that the school has enjoyed relative peace and calm over the years. In spite of that, we still have one or two deviant behaviour pranks. Such cases were promptly met with the prescribed sanctions.
(F) INFRASTRUCTURAL FACILITY
(1) Staff Bungalows
There are only 18 staff bungalows including those of the Headmaster and the chaplain. These are allocated to the staff who deserve to be on campus to help guide our students. It is worth to note that most of these bungalows are in dire need of renovation. We hope to have additional bungalows in the near future to augment supervision of our students.
(2) Dormitory Blocks
There are three (3) two-storey blocks that accommodate four (4) Houses named after important personalities whose actions have great impact on the school: Torgbi Fiti (Land owner), Msgr. Rudolph J. Apietu (A very distinguished former Headmaster of the School), Joe Nellis (An Irish Volunteer who worked in the school in the early 1980s) and Rev. Fr. James A. Caffery (The founder of the school) .
(3) Two abandoned structures are over ten years old. They are two-story dormitory and 2 storey 10 unit classroom. This would have ease overcrowding situation both in the dormitory and classroom.
(4) We are requesting for new dining hall complex since we are practicing shift system in dining. The old hall can’t contain all our students.
(3) Classroom Facilities
Bishop Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen; the classroom facilities in the school are a 3-storey (15) unit block, a five (5) unit being used by the Visual Arts Department and a 2 storey, eighteen (18) unit blocks. A science laboratory, made up of three (3) units for Physics, Chemistry and Biology lessons and a Science Resource Centre situated on the 1st Floor of the Assembly Hall Complex.
We must point out here that the Science Resource Centre and the laboratory need quick renovation or we may love them in the near future.
(4) Computer Laboratories
The Old Library of the school, in the old Administration block is being used as one of the 2 computer Laboratories of the school after being refurbished and stuffed with computers by the 1991-year group of the school.
(5) Fence Wall
The school land of 67.5 acres which houses all facilities of the school including St Paul’s Minor Seminary and the PTA Guest House among others has been walled through P.T.A. sponsored project and it is 85% complete.
(6) Water Supply
The School is blessed with a submersible pump. This system supplies water to almost all the communities around the school including the Municipal Assembly and their residencies. Unfortunately, power supply at the pumping station had been cut as consumers refused to pay their bills. This has put over 1,600 students and staff in difficult situation for over two years now. We may run very soon into crisis if the water situation is not resolved in the next few weeks.
(7) School Vehicle
The School has a wooden truck donated by Valco Fund in 1991. The School also has Science Resource Centre Bus allocated to it in 1997. This bus continued to break down and to lift the burden of making it road worthy all the time, it was auctioned by the Ghana Education Service. The School is counting on Government to replace it since the school still remain Science resource centre.
The P.T.A. has also donated a 24-Seater bus to help the school in its day-to-day running of school activities. Also a pick up for administrative use was also donated by Government.
(8) Dining Hall
The school has old dining hall which accommodates about 600 students. Hence the request for new dining hall complex.
(9) P.T.A. Guest House
A P.T.A. sponsored Guest House of Six-bed rooms is being operated on the campus. This is mainly serving as transit quarters for newly posted staff to the school.
My Chairman, Your Excellency, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish to express my sincerest gratitude to all those who since the inception of this great institution have in diverse ways hold it sturdy. They need to be recognised and appreciated.
Bishop Chairman, on behalf of the Board of Governors as well as the staff, I wish to convey my appreciation to the Founding Fathers for their foresight and for having sown the seed that is growing from strength to strength. I also appreciate the kind hearted and co-operation attitude of our Chiefs and people of Hatsukope, not excluding the land owners. We appreciate your gift to mankind. I, again, thank the past students association (SPOSA), the past and present Board of Governors and staff for supporting the school. To the P.T.A. and the Government of Ghana, the G.E.S. and all the allied government agencies we are grateful. Without your inputs, there will be no SPACO or if it exists it will be stunted in development. Thank you.
Some groups cannot escape mentioning, our Past and Present Ketu-South Members of Parliament, the past and present Municipal Chief Executive as well as SPACO Old Students Association (SPOSA). We appreciate your gifts and support in diverse ways. We thank you all. Just keep on doing well; the Good Lord will always stock up your barn with His mercies.
URGENT NEED OF THE SCHOOL
Bishop Chairman, Distinguished Guests, let me draw your attention to our needs. In fact, if one correctly computes the aforementioned figure of staff vis-à-vis the number of staff bungalows on the compound, one would have realised a great difference. As far as staff strength is concerned – only 12% of staff are on campus with the rest travelling from far and near to the school. We appeal to government to come to our aid in order to help solve the problem of supervision of students on campus.
Bishop Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, SPACO can boast of 2 computer laboratories stocked with computers but the numbers of computers in the laboratories were woefully inadequate as compared to the number of students. This situation compels 2 or more students to sit on one computer during lessons. This does not help the situation. SPACO needs more (at least 100 computers) computers to augment the already existing ones in the laboratory.
Our school Library has been ill–equipped in terms of books. This must also be solved to make the library viable
Bishop Chairman, His Excellency Vice President, the Honourable Volta Regional Minister, the Honourable Member of Parliament for Ketu South, the Honourable Ketu South Municipal Chief Executive, the Honourable Guests Speaker, the Volta Regional Director of Ghana Education Service, the Ketu South Municipal Director of the Ghana Education Service, the President of Aflao Traditional Council, the Board of Governors, Fellow Heads of Sister Schools, P.T.A. Executives Torgbiwo, Mamawo, Parents/Guardians, my dear Members of Staff, Past and Current Students of this noble institution, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the end of my story. I thank you for having listened to me. I sincerely believe you will come to our aid.
I wish to express my profound gratitude and appreciation to all whose efforts and support have contributed in one way or the other to the success of this anniversary. Thank you, SPOSA, our Board of governors, my untiring staff and my students. Thank you, our Distinguished Guests.
Thank you Ladies and Gentlemen. The Good Lord will abundantly bless and reward you all as you enthusiastically empty your purses for this worthy cause. May God be with you till we meet again at the Diamond Jubilee Party of the Great SPACO.
LONG LIVE SPACO!!!
LONG LIVE CONQUERORS!!!
LONG LIVE GHANA!!!