“The St. Peter’s Spirit, the thrust of excellence in education this century and beyond”
Delivered by Perscoba Dr. Ken Ofosu-Barku 68/70
Being raised by SVD priests instils fearful punctuality and this year’s annual Founders’ Day lecture reminded us of this. By 5:31pm the Perscoba Kwabena Asante led Vocal Essence was on target and making good on its vow to see Perscoba fall in love with choral music once more. For close to thirty minutes, the conference room was reminiscent of Saturday evening hymn practice as ‘old boys’ welcomed one another into the venue, those who could, broke into step that courted hi-fives and hearty laughs.
It took the intervention of the MCs for the night before Vocal Essence would unhand the audience of its melodious spell and make way for the president’s short Welcoming Address. In his three minutes, Perscoba Richard Anim outlined our reason for gathering, touching on our shared commitment and responsibility towards St. Peter’s.
Up at the lectern to replace the president after a gracious introduction was Perscoba Robert Dwamena, Director of ECG and Chairman of the evening’s proceedings. A soft spoken ‘Lwangan’, Perscoba Robert Dwamena proceeded to introduce the key note speaker. As the title-riddled profile of Ken Ofosu-Barko MD, MPH, FGCP was read out, a quiet, occasioned by both admiration and awe filled the room – this was one of our own. As expected, the entire house was up on her feet in welcoming the smartly suited ‘mountaineer’, file-in-hand and pipe-in-mouth - this ‘old boy’ took to the dais in style!!
Once the applause died down, the speaker did a most thoughtful thing by asking that the house remain standing for a minute’s silence as we paid homage to Rev. Fr. Clement Hotze and all brothers who had sadly passed.
Following would be the most enthralling 33 minutes in the history of lecture-delivery, we drove through St. Peter’s history, tradition, old lexes, our standings today and the expectation and high hopes for tomorrow.
Perscoba Ofosu-Barko’s account of a forerunner to the Science and Maths quizzes of this day to determine which one was truly The Top School cemented many rumours. He confirmed that indeed many were called up, they did their best in cancelling each other out till only Accra Academy was left standing before our alma mater. Suffice it to say that the boys from Kaneshie placed second in that contest with St. Peter’s, and as the narrator said, they were “a very distant second”. In the years that this quiz was held St. Peter’s would win, maintaining its title as first ever and only ‘Top School’. *pops collar*
Senior spoke fondly about the sacrifice, commitment, and altruistic devotion of Father Hotze, attributes for which Persco remains indebted to him. This is the same German Rev. Father who personally drove through Kwahu, Dangme and Ashanti regions to fetch students who had not yet reported to school after admission in the early days.
Once on the mountains, academic standards were always high and students who failed to meet them had their speedy termination described with the term ‘Bossco aponkye apim wo’ after the iconic member of faculty, Brother Bossco whose whimsical laughter at under-performing students all too comically resembled a bleat.
It was clear in the volumes of the lecture that the spirit of independence, hard work and responsibility were carefully cultured amongst the student body by the performance of several extracurricular programs such as forest camping and club activities.
As he rounded up, the good doctor showed his bias towards the latest technological advancements calling for Perscoba’s commitment to furnish Freshers with a tablet each to facilitate their learning. He called on Perscoba to invest in the best of infrastructure for the faculty as well as satisfying conditions of service to attract only the best teachers. The avid sportsman enjoined ‘old boys’ gathered to assist in providing quality sports equipment to ensure the overall physical and emotional development of our boys in school.
“No Perscoba should be left in the cold” the speaker said as he touched on the association’s need to set up a contingency fund to bail out members who fall on hard times. On this note he advised members to go all out and shine the light of mother Persco, to brighten the corners of academia, business and most importantly politics.
As most great speeches do, this one came to a close with acknowledgements and appreciation; of members of the first year group present, past and current executives as well the many who had done voluntary work to help keep the group together. The rousing applause and spontaneous standing ovation that ushered off the speaker was truly inspiring.
The next few minutes were Perscoba Fred Kwofie’s as he whet the house’s appetite for the silver collection that closed the event.
Without doubt, a great night of insights, revelations and of course sips and chews. Now my question, so why did you miss it?