By Funmi Ajumobi & Elizabeth Uwandu
Last weekend, Queen’s College, QC, Old Girls Association, QCOGA and set of ‘68 hosted the immediate past Principal of the school, Chief Mrs Betty Are to a dinner and award ceremony in appreciation of her role in stemming the tide during the diarrhoea outbreak last year, which claimed the lives of three students and saw several other students hospitalised.
The QCOGA led by her president, Dr Frances Ajose, a medical practitioner who spoke exclusively to Vanguard said the event was first of its kind and not an entitlement to out-going principals, but to reward the selfless service of a humanitarian and God-sent in the person of Mrs Are, for restoring sanity and sanctity to Queen’s College.
While commending the efforts of the past PQC, Dr Ajose pleaded that the new principal should be a person like Mrs Are who is full of milk of human kindness, a classroom teacher and not just an administrator among other qualities.
According to QCOGA president: “Two reasons are responsible for our honouring her. The first is in her own capacity, to appreciate her good works and to also encourage her to continue her good works. “The second reason is to send a signal to the Ministry of Education that this is the type of principal that Queen’s College is looking for and indeed, the type of principal any school should have.
“The next principal of this college should be somebody like Mrs Are . Not necessarily the most senior because it has become their policy in the ministry that it is the most senior Director that will be sent to QC. We do not know who the most senior is but the criteria for posting her to Queen’s College should not be just the seniority. We need someone that has integrity, motherly, and a proper teacher who has been in the classroom and knows what it means to teach.
“Although Mrs Are is very tough, but when it comes to these children , she melts like jelly. So she is both tough and soft. That is the kind of person we want.” Said Dr Ajose
She added: “This gesture is not the entitlement of departing PQC to get a send-off like this. In fact, since I have been in the association, I have not attended any such event despite celebrating 50 years of leaving Queen’s College. Apart from Mrs Coker, our revered PQC whom we celebrate every year, there is no other pricipal that we celebrate like this.
“Mrs Are stayed a short time and in less than two years, she has put so much in place. We do hope they will be sustained because it is sustenance that is important , as you cannot really see what she has done, except those of us that worked closely with her that know what she has done. So, we are very anxious for whoever will come, to sustain all the efforts she has put in this school,” expressed QCOGA spokesperson.
Reacting to the award, Mrs Are who was given a plaque, gift from the association, and several other gifts from individuals and different sets of the College, noted that she could not have achieved success without the full support of the old girls association.
According to her, more than 100 girls would have died but for the doggedness of Dr. Ajose and her team. Her words: “As I took over as principal of QC, the next day, the children started stooling, and vomiting blood. I approached the president of Queen’s College Old Girls Association, QCOA, urging her to do something, else the school would be closed. She promised that the association will do everything possible to stop the issue from escalating. She mobilised her team, ensuring those affected got attention and treatment. Is it the endless calls I made to her? With her assistance and QCOGA as a whole, including working together with Parents Teachers Association, PTA, God healed QC. I am grateful for this honour and God bless you,” she added.
Expressing joy over the honour bestowed on Mrs Are, the present Acting Principal, Mrs Benedicta Enadeghe promised that the work done by the outgoing principal would be sustained. Her words: “I feel really happy seeing off a caring, devoted and hardworking Director/Principal, Chief (Mrs) Bola Are.