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THOMAS AQUINAS SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL CELEBRATES 65 YEARS

By Godfred Kwaku Yormesor

 

Education is not only the foundation but bedrock of life.  It is the leeway to the elimination of ignorance, poverty and disease in exchange for knowledge and wealth creation for the enhancement of national development.

 

There is no gainsaying that parents leave no stone unturned in issues pertaining to the academic upbringing of their children.  They hunt, if not compete, for the best quality placement for their children to go on in life.

 

Named after Patron Saint of universities and schools, St. Thomas Aquinas, a Dominican, hymn composer and mystic who lived in Naples Italy between 1225 and 1274, was a renowned catholic theological philosopher, canonized in 1324, influencing catholic teachings for centuries.  The St. Thomas Aquinas SHS estimably falls within the echelon of the best twenty schools in the country.

 

Suffice it to say that it is not only the best mission school in the Greater Accra Region but the best managed Day SHS in the country winning numerous prizes and awards in competitions in contemporary times.

 

It is gratifying to note that the school marked its 65th milestone on Saturday, March 18, 2017 with a speech and prize giving day which attracted high level dignitaries to a durbar addressed by selected prominent persons in society.

 

It is needless to say that Roman Catholic Mission Schools are indisputably under the management of the Catholic Church.  The Archbishop of the Arch Diocese of Accra, the Most Reverend Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle, led the dignitaries to bless and consecrate the re-furbished school gate donated by the 1987 group.

 

In his opening speech, which was highly humorous, he sarcastically remarked that he taught for one year at Aquinas and was sacked to the Achimota School where he continued teaching for six years and again sacked to become the Bishop of Accra Catholic Diocese.

 

On a more serious note, His Grace was very complimentary with congratulations to the various stakeholders, notably, the Headmaster, Parent-Teacher Association, Staff and Old Students for keeping the school abreast so far.  He paid glowing tribute to the

Founding Fathers Most Rev. Bishop A.A. Noser, then Bishop of Accra and Father Alphonse Elsbernd, the first Headmaster and his S.V.D. team-mates who started the school with meager population of 50 boys at the St. Peters School at Osu Anohor in 1952 and re-located to its present site at Cantonments in 1964.

 

The custodian of the land on which the school is located, the La Mantse Nii Tettey Kpobi Tsuru III was regrettably absent.  However, with the fence walling of the school there were no instances of encroachment on the school’s land to be complained to him.

 

The Member of Parliament for La Dade-Kotopon, the constituency on which the school was located, Hon. Vincent Sowah Odotei, popularly called Obama, expressed gratitude for the immense progress chalked by the school so far.  He gave hint of a proposed policy of elite schools implementable in due course.

 

In his presentation, the Headmaster of the school, Mr. Cyril Kwadzo Dadey, revealed that the school has a teaching staff of 84 of which 22 are Catholics and 47 non-teaching staff,` a student population of 1,800 with only a paltry number of 77 registered Catholics.  Academic programmes offered include:  General Arts, Science, Agricultural Science, Business and Visual Arts with 100% score at the last WASSE examinations.  He added a tall and throat-drying array of prizes and awards won by the school in competitions with their peers from sister schools.

 

Guest Speaker

Expatiating on the anniversary theme, “Quality Education, a Medium for Sustainable Social Development: The Day School Experiences”, the Guest Speaker, Professor Abdnego F.O. Amartey, Vice Chancellor of the University for Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) himself an old student, emphasized that educational sustainability depends on factors such as the ability of school authorities to appoint highly qualified staff in various fields of knowledge to impact teaching skills to the students coupled with the ability of the latter to learn, peruse and understand materials being presented to them. 

 

He added that the school environment should be so bountiful to offer such opportunities as adequate classroom space, quality neatness, playing grounds for extra-curricular activities, dressed parks and gardens and above all quality nutritious meals to promote academic performance. 

 

Down memory lane, the Guest of Speaker reminiscent how he trekked between his home in Labadi  and the school stressing that the school accommodated all shades of students especially those from poor deprived homes to excel in society. 

Prof. Amartey commended the school for their brilliant performance which accounts for their elevation above their peers from sister schools.

 

Prizes and Awards:  Beneficiaries range from best in academic performance, best behaved, prizes in memory of past teachers, overall best students, immediate past students who scored an aggregate of 8A1s and presently pursuing courses at the public universities.  They received books, cash and laptops.  Retiring teachers were also presented with table-top refrigerators and cash prizes.

 

The Assistant Headmaster Academics, Rev. Father Benjamin Ohene, an old Tom, presided over this event with the assistance of invited Heads of sister schools who distributed the prizes to the awardees.

 

Drama and poetry recitals drew large applause and laughter from the august audience.

 

Old Students Association (Old Toms):  The President, Mr. John Gbolonyoh, commended his colleagues both at home and the diaspora, for their contributions to the growth and development of the school.  He re-iterated that the school has performed creditably well in society adding that out of the nine public sector universities in the country, two of them have Old Toms as Vice Chancellors, notably, the Guest Speaker Prof. Abdnego Amartey of UPSA and Prof. George Gyapong of the University of Health and Allied Sciences at Ho in the Volta Region. 

 

In the Pastoral realm, the school can boast of three Bishops – the Most Rev. Bishop Boi-Nai, Bishop of Yendi Catholic Diocese, Most Rev. Bishop Gabriel Edoe Kumordji, Apostolic Vicarate of Donkorkrom in the Afram Plains who is about to be canonized as substantive Bishop of the Keta – Akatsi Catholic Diocese and the Right Rev. Dr. Daniel Torto, the Anglican Bishop of Accra.

 

In addition, most of the Catholic Parishes in Accra are administered by Old Tom Rev. Fathers with Monsignor Bobby Benson of Matthew Chapter 25 – an abode for deprived HIV/AIDS patients at Koforidua.  Pastors from the charismatic churches and Imam/Sheiks in the Muslim confraternity are all proselytizing.

 

The President observed that Old Toms are contributing their quota as Chief Executive officers in both public and private sectors of the economy.  While wishing them more grease to their elbows, he reminded them of their slogan, “God is an Old Tom”.

 

Way Forward

The School Motto: Veritas Liberat:  The truth shall make you free” John 8: 22, advocates the rigid enforcement of discipline in conformity with Catholic tradition to promote academic and moral excellence.  The project of immediate attention is the construction of the school’s new Assembly Hall.

 

The writer is Old Tom 1970

Retired Deputy Director of Information Services Department.

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

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