20 July 2016
There was a stir of excitement in the Chapel and outside, on Saturday 9th July, 2016, as a group of beautiful young ladies filled into their places, to the admiring looks of their parents and friends who had come to join them in the celebration of this, their special Graduation Day! Most could hardly imagine that the 122 smartly dressed young ladies were their little, somewhat overawed, daughters of six years ago, when they first arrived at Holy Child College! Now they seemed so confidant, and mature in the various styles they had made incorporating the school colours in what they were wearing, even the latest styles in high heeled shoes were on display (though not all had mastered the art of actually walking in them). Rev. Sr. Ify Atuegbu, the College Administrator, together with the other sisters working in the school, and supported by SHCJ sisters from Keffi Street, Ajegunle and Lekki communities, together with some Old Girls and the College teachers were all there to join in the celebration.
Everyone had come to start the day with a Mass of Thanksgiving to the Lord for all that had been achieved, by the graduands from the College, together with the help of their teachers and the great support of their parents, who often had to make sacrifices to let their daughters attend Holy Child College. The Mass was presided over by Monsignor Paschal Nwaezeapu, the Parish Priest of the Church of Divine Mercy, Lekki, Lagos., who also happened to be the uncle of one of the graduands. Fr, Isidore Ukpo, S.J., also concelebrated with Monsignor Paschal.
The Theme of the day was “Be the Change you want to see around you.” Monsignor Paschal picked this up in his excellent homily, outlining that things will be very different when they leave The College and go onto University or other third level Colleges, with no one telling them to get Up in the morning, or making sure that they are doing their studies and not sleeping during prep time, or insisting on other aspects of daily discipline. The idea of going out into a sort of “Jungle” was an idea discussed by a number of the key speakers during the day, and in this different world each “young lady” was expected and exhorted to “Be the Change you want to see around you”, beginning with themselves.
The Mass ended with a joyful thanksgiving as the Young Ladies danced into the chapel, followed by their happy parents, friends, teachers, and the Sisters, as they sang their joyful gratitude to God for this special day.
After photos at the assembly area, under the watchful eyes of the statue of the Holy Child Jesus, everyone moved to the Hall for part two of the celebrations. The graduands were now in their gowns in the school colours and with their caps were looking very smart, while their parents and friends were all seated at Tables with family names on them in the hall and in the balcony, as dinner was served as the proceedings continued with speeches from various guest speakers, all trying to advise the graduands on how to face the challenges of life, in the “jungle world” once they have left school. SR. Prof. Teresa Okure, SHCJ the Special Guest of Honour, urged them to be cautious of the Voices they listened to. Jemima Osunde, who left school three years ago and is following a medical course in the University of Lagos, as well as being an actress in many known TV programmes, urged them to discover their uniqueness, follow their dream, and maximize their God given potentials. Rev. SR. Ify Atuegbu reminded the students to have an attitude of gratitude, and noted that in forming them to where they are today, at times the students fought the authorities but the authorities fought back to try and achieve their hopes for these students!
Mrs. Buky, The President of the Holy Child College Old Girls’ Association then inducted the graduands into the Association, supported by some former students of the College, and some SHCJ sisters, old girls from their own Holy Child Schools, in Nigeria, Ghana and England. A roll call was then made of the graduands, and each was called up to receive a leaving gift , presented by one or other of the Guests of honour. The cutting of the cake and Headgirls’ speech brought a close to this day of celebration, so now it was time for all to be reunited with their families for further music, dancing and rejoicing, and a time of relaxation before going on for further studies in the “world outside”! We wish them every success as they face the future with calm confidence, and trust in God.