By Funmi Ajumobi & Elizabeth Uwandu
It was a moment of joy, albeit the low key celebration at the 90th anniversary of Nigeria foremost girls’ school, Queens College, Lagos, as the principal, Chief Mrs. Bola Are, Old Girls, parents, students and staff gave thanks to God for sustaining the school which according to Mrs. Are, has continued to be a beacon of hope and pride to the female gender.
It was therefore not out of place to see the guests that included representatives of HRH, Oba Rilwan Akiolu; Prof. Funmi Ajose; the current President; Old Girls Association; past principals and vice principals; Parents Teachers Association members, Alhaji Amusat Azeez, Chairman, School Based Management Committee, and clergymen, rendered encomium and prayers for the continuous survival of a school which motto is: “Pass on the Torch.”
The Principal while expressing delight over the success of the anniversary said despite the low key celebrations to honour the three students who died last year, Praise Sodipe, Osuinyi Vivian and Itulua Bithia, the celebration showed that the past has been put behind us and a new chapter is opened where all stakeholders will work in synergy to make the school continue to be a beacon of hope and pride to the girl-child.
Her words, “There have been great improvements in the school after the sad incident. We now insist on thorough medical checkup. And when a student gets ill, she is sent home under six hours. Though it is a move our parents resented, but we cannot afford to take chances again over the lives of more than 3,000 students in our care.” Mrs Are said.
She assured the parents, Old Girls’ and all stakeholders present that the premiere school for the girls would become one of the best, if all the appropriation funds allocated to her is disbursed. “If the amount appropriated this year will be released, Queen’s College will march any girls’ college in Africa.”
On working with other stakeholders, the Principal said, “It is good everyone knows where authority ends. For us in QC, It is synergy where old girls, PTA and other stakeholders come on board to assist, bearing in mind that the management of this school is still in the hands of the Federal Ministry of Education. So, we must however work as a team for the benefit of our queens.” noted the educationist.
Mr. Ofodile, PTA Chairman in his speech, said, the past was gone but what was then on focus was a new and great Queens College. His words, “Never will what happened, happen again. The past is gone and our collective efforts are to see a new and great Queens College”.
Ofodile said government had put things in place to check any further outbreak or any other epidemic and assured everyone that everything was working in terms of facilities, but added that the school’s PTA will continue to improve on what was already in place.
Prof. Ajose who spoke on behalf of the Old Girls Association thanked the Association’s contributions towards the school. QCOGA saved the school from going into extinction. If we had lost 100 students, we will not be celebrating. We give God the glory for restoring our Alma mater”. said Prof. Ajose.
Others who sued for peace and progress of the school were Alhaji Azeez and Chief Mrs Bisi Omolayole, former QC Vice Principal
Queen’s College, a pioneer secondary school for girls education established on 10th October 1927, has, as its core mandate, to bridge the gap created by the limited scope of secondary education for girls at that time. The school whose first principal, Miss F. Wordsmith, who later became Mrs. Tolfree, initially was named Government Secondary School for Girls, was the brain child of the New Era Ladies Club, a group of enlightened women.