…As St. Teresa College, Oke-Ado, Ibadan marks 50th anniversary
By Cosmas Okereafor
The celebration of golden jubilee of St. Teresa’s College, Oke-Ado, Ibadan recently has been described as one of the best things that could happen to such a school that produced women of characters, who are now blessings to their Alma mater where the fountain of knowledge flowed, and the society at large. The fiftieth anniversary celebration, began with a holy mass, officiated by Archbishop Felix Alaba Adeosun Job, Emeritus Archbishop of Ibadan Archdiocese, who prayed and admonished the celebrants to remain steadfast in all their pursuits in life.
The celebration was well attended by cream of the religious, school authority, the laity, friends and associates of the old girls, who came to share in the moment of joy of 1967 -1971 set of St. Teresa College. Archbishop Emeritus Alaba Job, who was the special Guest of the day interestingly earlier this year, precisely, July 4, 2021, celebrated his Golden Anniversary of Episcopal consecration as a Priest of the Most High God. In his goodwill message to the 1967 – 1971 set of St. Teresa College, he thanked the celebrants for remembering their school, fifty years after graduation and therefore prayed that God would allow the human formation of love, respect and accommodation of one another permeate in the group.
“We look back to the year, you each, entered this prestigious institution, famous throughout the country, and longed for, by many parents wishing to give the best education to their female children, best in academics, best in formation and complete human development. Do you remember how tall you were and what your weight was in your first year? Do the boarders remember, how the school through its Houses and daily rules of life, care and discipline, disposed you to making friends and adjusting to school life! That is why we call our schools or ALMA MATER!!! Welcome to your alma mater, St. Teresa’s College, Oke-Ado, Ibadan.
I do not know how many times you have returned since you graduated fifty years ago!! For some, it may be the first time ever, for others a few times, and for some others, never. But suffice it to say that, I know that each of you that passed through here will always hold the school dear in your heart no matter what. That is why you have chosen to reunite for a ‘giveback’. Thank you for the facelift you have given to the main façade of the school building and restoring the pride of place of the School’s motto. Thank you for your donation of a fully furnished Computer Laboratory, the refurbished classroom, and the beautifully renovated GROTTO of our Lady, and all your other “Give-Back” to mark your Golden Jubilee. St. Teresa’s College, Oke-Ado, surely contributed much to who you are today!! Let the human formation of love, respect and accommodation of one another permeate your groups.
Look for and assist one another, not only at such a celebration as this, but always. Strengthen your old girls association and be united to help your alma mater. They say pares cum paribus, facilime congregantur (birds of the same feathers, flock together). Even though fingers are not equal, united we stand; divided we fall. So come together and stay together in spirit, in truth and love. Let your gold continue to shine. Meet often. Enjoy each other’s company. No excuse, now that zoom facilitates such togetherness. Whenever possible meet physically. Visit your alma mater and maintain the computer you have donated. May our Lady, Queen of All Saints protect and bless you all and your families. May St. Teresa of the child Jesus, who promised to spend her heaven doing good on earth, intercede for you at home, at work and throughout your life”.
The coordinator 1967 – 1971 set, Dame Marie Fatayi – Williams FNIPR, in her presentation after observing necessary protocols recalled on how at the age 10, alongside with her mates left their comfort zones in search of knowledge that landed them at St. Teresa, known for its academic, spiritual and moral excellence. “We are the tiny tots that came from different homes and backgrounds, from far and near, to attend one of (if not the best girls’ school) in Nigeria. I for one, was amongst those that turned 10 in form one, and came all the way from the Cameroon, where I was born to sit for entrance exam in my eldest sister’s Alma Mater. Proud, she was, to make sure I attended St. Teresa’s College, Ibadan. Looking back now, I must say 50 years on, none of us has had that joy and pride to get our daughters into our Alma Mater, as should be the norm, for obvious reasons.
The school seems literarily to have lost her raison d’etre, through the forceful takeover by government years ago – very sad indeed. It has lost both its national and international clout of student intake. That school, to a large extent, has also lost its academic, sporting and high disciplinary excellence, as well as its pristine ambience. That notwithstanding, it has not deterred the teachers, the old girl, the religious authorities and parents, from putting in their best, in the hope of reviving the school. Also on the cards is direct appeal and consultation for a possible reclaim from Government and a return to status quo ante bellum. How we long to see STCI return to her glory days.
That is why, we as a set made spirited efforts to fish ourselves out and come together to plug one of those areas of clear educational need in this 21st century Information & Communication Technology (ICT) age. No student, more so the Girl Child, should be left behind by modern technology. Information technology and computer-based skills, are so vital for inclusion in the school’s curriculum, and relevant in today’s work and entrepreneurial space. Without such knowledge and skill in this digital age, you will be left behind forever with no secure future.
Today, we are grateful to God for making our dream and vision a reality, as we commission an 18-unit computer suite (with individual work stations), for the educational benefit of the students and teachers. The computers are uploaded with the latest software, conducive for learning and a Microsoft academic package that has 100,000 user licenses for students and 10,000 for teachers with a domain name. Therefore, each interested student and teacher, will have a dedicated username and password, for example, Mariewilliams@stc… We appeal to the Oyo State Government to post a full-time computer science teacher to the school as well as to provide the needful for a conducive and fit-for-purpose learning environment.
Today, we will also have the pleasure of opening up another refurbished classroom and then planting some trees and flowery shrubs around the school and the vicinity of the renovated grotto of Our Lady Queen of the holy Rosary. Endeavour to care for the environment, this is great gift of Creation, a gift of the Creator to us – the Earth our Common Home. We cannot turn a blind eye to the climate emergency the world is in. So, we urge you students and teachers and indeed, all of us to step up the tree planting and nurturing campaign. All these actions today are the first steps in a journey of many steps. As time goes on and God sparing our lives, we surely will do more. I cannot end this speech, without acknowledging good hearted individuals and socially responsible corporate bodies such as:
TOTAL ENERGIES, UPSTREAM COMPANIES NIG. LTD; FIRST BANK NIGERIA (FBN), ARKLEEN OIL & GAS, PROVIDUS BANK; who also contributed in kind and cash to make today a reality our sincere gratitude to the MD’s and ED’s of these foremost Corporate of repute”. Others too, recalled the memories of St. Teresa’s College, Ibadan, like Mrs. Regina Titilola Johnson (nee Williams), 1954 – 1959 set, attested that the school remains citadel of knowledge and hope that the school authority would continue on that trajectory STCI is known for, over the decades.