Monday, July 23, 2012


A view of the new entrance
On the 16th of July, 2012, I embarked on a trip to Aggrey Memorial AME Zion SHS. This school shaped my life in many ways and reminiscing on the wonderful friends I made and the great times we shared together, I was impelled by such torrent of nostalgia to embark on this trip. I didn’t go alone. I went with a friend who shared similar sentiments. Though the journey to the school wasn’t eventful in itself, upon arrival we were blown away by the things we saw.
Students on a Thursday afternoon

Firstly, I was amazed to realize that after all these years, I have been unable to shake the “dread” I feel upon seeing Casford House afar off on the hilltop. This made my friend and I laugh.
When we got to the school, one couldn’t help but wonder at the new gate with its stylish fencing. Indeed it is an impressive edifice to behold. The entrance is beautifully lined with bright green hedges giving it a surreal feeling which leaves one wondering if it’s really Aggrey you’ve entered or someplace else. The feeling is simply amazing. This feeling I later found out did not resonate with a cross section of the student body (mostly form 1 students). Their beef was that, their colleagues in other schools taunt that their gate is so imposing it must feel like prison. This I strongly countered that, those who pass such comment most likely do so out of sheer jealousy at this new edifice gracing our school. A classic case of sour grapes. Personally, what I perceive as a downside will be that fact that the gate wasn’t painted in our school colors but upon closer examination, I noticed that the edges have already been painted in Aggrey colors so it’s only a matter of time before the whole gate is adorned in our bright yellow and mauve colors. Anyway, I will leave you to make your own judgment as to whether this new gate adds to or take away from the aesthetic value of our school.

Members of the S.R.C adorned in their official outfit
Another positive thing that struck me was the sheer reduction in the no. of students. The whole school felt like one big deserted ghost town. It was not until we walked further toward Watson House that we met two smartly dressed female students who informed us that they’re actually in the revision week. This struck me as positive since it implied that the students were actually in class studying. This we found out was partly true. The other side to this story is that, the number of students enrolled has reduced. This is surely a good thing since the school’s facilities will not be over-stretched. This will ensure equitable and easy access to the resources and amenities of our dear Alma Mater.

One other major changes which could be said to be “gargantuan”(excuse the cliché hehehehe) and veritably so is the change in mindset. To say we were surprised will be an understatement. This current crop of student (especially the prefectural board) seem so optimistic and they sound like they’re ready to take on the world. These students seem to know where they want to be (especially as regards tertiary education) and what they want to be. One student we talked to actually is planning on going to Yale (I mean Ivy League YALE!!!)
I guess as an extension of this mindset change, I noticed that there is now a very decent level of respect among students. I was amazed to find that even form 3 students actually accord their colleague prefect respect. There is no sense of dread among the form one students because apparently, bullying is strictly forbidden and amazingly as this may sound, students were actually adhering to this rule. This I must say is no mean feat.

Again, from our observation, it was clear that there is now cordial student-teacher relationship. This may be due to the fact that corporal punishment (caning and the like) is no longer practiced. I believe this should create an environment conducive to studies given that students don’t dread approaching their teachers and so should be able to freely seek information as and when it is required.
I am sure by now, most of us are aware of the new uniforms which makes students look smarter but what may not be so commonly known is that currently, students have special dress for Thursdays and Fridays. This is a really great idea. Aside the fact that these different attires assigned for different days break monotony, I noticed that many of the students (even form 3 students) had uniforms which looked new because they are not overused. In addition to the general change in uniform for the entire student body, the prefectural board have special vests which are beautifully interwoven with the traditional school cloth and the Aggrey colors.

Before you accuse me of being uncritically Pollyannish, there were a few issues students raised which I believe if administration will pay heed to them, will go a long way to further improve the school.
Firstly, there is the issue of sanitation. Though the main compound and dormitories were kept tidy, the case was not same for the washrooms. Many of the washrooms were unsanitary (and this is being charitable) and are in dire need of serious revamp. Students also complained that new and proper lavatories be constructed since the current make-shift lavatories in use are not only unsightly, but actually stinks at night and when it rain.

Speaking of rains, the students also complained that whenever there was a heavy downpour, the rains entered some of the dormitories because there were no louver blades to keep out the rains. So installing new louver blades will see an end to that problem.
The issue they complained most bitterly about was the near absence of entertainment. From what we gathered from the students, they go for entertainment once or twice in a month. This they say makes school really boring and some even confided in us that they’re often tempted to go to some of our sister schools just to attend these function. This is the exact opposite of what was the case during our time.If there was anything we lacked at all, it was never entertainment (aka suudwe) but sadly the case is not the same today. Maybe the new administration wishes to re-brand the school and it making all effort to change the “suudwe” perception but I don’t think doing away with entertainment entirely solves anything…I think it rather exacerbate the problem. But I could be wrong. Last year, the school recoreded 98% pass rate with nearly all entering tertiary institutions. In facts, four students earned 7 As out of eight subjects. The last performing student actually earned two As. Here I will welcome constructive views on how to balance studies with fun so our students will be well rounded.

Finally, there were a plethora of complaints which I think is not exclusive to our school. These range from the quality and quantity of food at dining, classroom, allowing phone usage and what-have-you.
On the whole, It is clear that our school is making steady progress and it behooves on us to rally round her and support in cash or kind so as to ensure our dear alma mater becomes even better than it is now.

Long live Aggrey Memorial! Long live AMOSA!!

Semper Optimo Nitere!!!

You can follow more of Michael's writing at Lost In Thought

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