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Opinions of Thursday, 24 July 2003

Columnist: GNA

A Fountain of Knowledge runs dry

A Student's Tribute to D.O.K. Dankwa, Former Headmaster of Ghana Secondary School, Koforidua.

Accra, July 24, GNA - The return to eternity of Mr Daniel Ofori Kwame Dankwa, former Headmaster of Ghana Secondary School, Koforidua, at the ripe age of 83 marks the end of an epoch in secondary school education in the New Juaben Municipality, Eastern Region and to some extent the whole of Ghana.

D.O.K. as many of his students referred to him was the most affable disciplinarian that ever walked this planet in the middle of the 19th century.

So strict yet so loving.

He once wrote on the Headmaster's column on the report card of one his students: "Must change for the better or leave the school". This was because the Form Master and Housemaster of the student had written terrible things about the said student, which under normal circumstances should have earned him the sack and yet D.O.K. gave him a second chance. Students, who had the privilege of being under the tutelage of D.O.K., saw him as a walking encyclopaedia. He was a science graduate, who knew so much of the humanities that one wondered how he got the time to read so extensively.

At School assembly every morning, students were ready with their pens to write down the new words, which would be invariably dished out by the Headmaster, albeit subconsciously.

Indeed it became the vogue among students to learn new English words so that anytime D.O.K. dished out a new word one could boast that one knew the word and could give the meaning instantaneously. One trick that D.O.K. applied to the greatest effect was arranging for Sixth Formers to attend open lectures at the University of Ghana, Legon.

Anytime the students returned from the lectures they were filled with a great urge to study hard so that they could qualify to enter the University.

Indeed so successful was this trick that some of the students gained admission to the three Universities of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah and Cape Coast, simultaneously.

On the lighter side, D.O.K. made sure to organise a school dinner before the students broke off for the Christmas vacation. This dinner was so dear to the students that one of them dreamt about the bull that had been brought in for one such dinner.

The student shouted in his dream: "Mr Alleh; Mr Aleh wo nantwie no rekoo!" Mr Aleh was the School Bursar, who had gone to buy the bull to be slaughtered for the dinner.

Another incident involved D.O.K. and a one time Geography Master of the school called Mr Acheampong. Mr Acheampong had gone to the Headmaster to complain that the students had given him a nickname' "Topo". That name was derived from the topographical sheets he used when teaching Practical Geography.

Some student heard D.O.K. saying: " Mr Acheampong you are lucky. Indeed you are very lucky that they are calling you 'Topo'. That is a good name. I, D.O.K. Dankwa, Headmaster of Ghana Secondary School, do you know the name they call me?

They call me Father Bacchus. Do you know the meaning? To which Mr Acheampong answered in the negative. The Headmaster then told him: "God of wine. They say I drink so much, even though that is not true. Mr Acheampong you are lucky indeed. You have got a good name." Mr Acheampong had nothing else to say but walk away thanking his stars.

During the time of D.O.K. Ghana Secondary School was one of the best schools in the Eastern Region and many were its exploits in the various sporting disciplines of soccer, hockey and athletics. Indeed a Great Odum Tree has fallen. Let the hornbill announce to the whole creation that indeed the red light had dimmed never to brighten again.

The writer: Boakye-Dankwa Boadi, is the Chief Editor, Home Desk, Ghana News Agency, Accra.

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