26 July 2017
By Rev. Sr. Elizabeth Mgbaramuko, SHCJ
It was all joy and thanksgiving to God recently when Our Lady of Nigeria Nursery/Primary School (OLNNPS), Oghara in Delta State, Nigeria, graduated 18 of her Basic Six pupils and stepped up 41 others to Basic One.
The School is a mission school, run by the Society of the Holy Child Jesus (SHCJ) Sisters for the Catholic Diocese of Warri. Currently it has Rev. Sr. Elizabeth Ngozi Njoku, SHCJ as the Headmistress with a total of 272 pupils spread into the various categories of nursery/kindergarten and basic one to six classes. The school also has a Crèche for nursing mothers. With its Motto as “Striving for Excellence”, the school has indeed strived to live up to this tenet as attested to in the Chairman’s opening remarks during the graduation ceremony in which he stated that as far as Delta State is concerned, OLNNPS is known for excellence. He said that the school is rooted not only in academic knowledge but also backed up by the word of God; leading the pupils to high standard of discipline and hard work. “My little daughter makes sure she does her home work before going to bed”, the Chairman testified.
This corroborated the Headmistress speech where she gave testimony of how the Basic Six pupils in their external exams openly opposed any form of gestures for assistance offered to them by the examiners saying “We don’t want help. We know what to do”. And true to their words, they went ahead and write the exams and came out with distinctions. The Headmistress therefore appealed to the parents not to deprive the school of the honour of having the pupils graduate from OLNNPS by withdrawing them from Basic Five and fast-forwarding them to another school to take common entrance into junior secondary school thereby rendering their children’s academic history clumsy.
The graduation ceremony which attracted a large crowd of the parents, teachers and many children had a Talk delivered on the theme of ‘discipline as tool for child modeling’. Here, parents were advised to take their children’s well-being very serious if they want them to be disciplined. Teachers also should avoid showing their pupils, transferred aggression. Discipline, the speaker pointed out is about helping the pupils to pick up healthy attitudes and change bad behaviour and not just about punishment. “Effective discipline should be based on academic and moral records and not just on subjective opinion”, the speaker concluded.
The day’s celebration witnessed the launching of the school’s 2017 Year Book as well as drama, choreography, debate and news casting presentations by the various grades of the pupils. Some of the graduands interviewed are quite ambitious of moving to the next level in their academic pursuit and eventually taking to the traditional professions of becoming medical doctors and lawyers. Asked about the message they have for the junior ones especially those stepping up to Basic one through four, the graduands were unanimous in their emphasis on punctuality to school, obedience to their teachers and to the school rules and regulations, neatness and above all, hard work. The graduands also appealed to the state government to parents their monthly salaries so that parents can in turn pay their children school fees. They appealed to the government also to stop kidnappers and maintain peace so that children will feel safe to go to school and study.
Former Headmistress, Sr. Clarence Uzogara takes her seat
One of the impressive highlights of the celebration was the pleasant surprise presence of the former headmistress of the school, Rev. Sr. Clarence Uzogara, SHCJ, now a student at the Cape Coast University, Ghana who was home in Nigeria on holidays. Almost all the pupils ran from their seats to give “Sister”, a rousing welcome. The cutting of the beautiful graduation cake, made by the famous Adekpo Foundations (Rev. Sr. Anita Dominic Ekpo, SHCJ), the graduation ritual with lighted candles and the presentation of gifts to the graduands were also quite impressive.
The ceremony came to an end with a powerful valedictory speech delivered by the overall best graduating pupil, a ten year old Faith Akpodonor to the admiration of all present.