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Opinions of Friday, 23 May 2008

Columnist: Akurang-Parry, Kwabena

Open Letter To Presecans: Honor Datsa & Apeadu

Open Letter To Presecans: Honor Mr. E. K. Datsa And Mr. E. A. Apeadu

*By Kwabena Akurang-Parry
The Presbyterian Boys’ Secondary School (Krobo-Odumasi/Legon), popularly known by its acronym, PRESEC, and all her children called Odadeama, are celebrating the 70th milestone of their composite birth: 1938-2008. Odadeama should gladly chorus the prologue of our anthem, “Happy are we/studious are we;” champion the emblematic “In thy light we shall see light;” and celebrate our collective achievements nurtured by the matchless worldviews that inform(ed) our Presecan training. On this occasion of 70th anniversary, let us thank our teachers for their dedication and commitment. More significantly, let us use this auspicious moment of 70th anniversary to honor and memorialize two of our best headmasters: Mr. E. K. Datsa and Mr. E. A. Apeadu.

My talented generation that spanned the 1970s-80s, a momentous transformative watershed in the history of Presec, had a rich blend of excellent dedicated teachers. Due to the tyranny of space, let me catalogue the popular names of some of the teachers who have made Presec what it is today. They are Mrs. Jackson, Mrs. Akyeampong, Mrs. Ankrah, Ms. Omaboe, Ms. Caesar, Mrs. Ahiakpor, Oscar [Mr. Akoto], SMA [Mr. Asigbetse], Mr. Klaye, Mr. Osew, and Rev. Kwapong. The rest are Mr. Yomoah, Mr. Abu Abarry, Mr. Jones, Mr. Peprah, Mr. Apraku, Tong [Mr. Ayi], and BT [Mr. Akrong]. These, among others, were the teachers of my generation, and for my part, I wish to particularly thank Mrs. Jackson, Mrs. Ankrah, and Mrs. Akyeampong for putting me through a rigorous mill of history and literature.
Additionally, I wish to thank the following who were my colleagues during my short teaching tenure at Presec: Mr. Nyante, Ms. Apori, Mr. Anane, Mr. Boye Badu, Mr. Kotey, Mr. Asamoah, Mr. and Mrs. Adom, Mr. Dwamena, Mr. Lasso, Mr. Okyere, Mr. Ben Apeadu, Mr. David Apeadu, Ms. Bernice Adu, Mr. Aveh, IO [Mr. Yeboah], and indeed several others. In sum, there are other teachers whose names are fondly archived in our distant, but evergreen memories, and every Odadeaba reminiscing can echo the names of other mentors among the pantheon of our eminent teachers. To all our teachers, we say “Thank You.”
Apart from the exemplary work of these and other great teachers, two eminent headmasters buttressed the foundation of Presec as one of the best secondary schools in the world of learning. They are Mr. Datsa and Mr. Apeadu. As noted, both towering headmasters are the reason for this inspirational plea for celebration and memorialization of our teachers. Mr. Datsa and Mr. Apeadu possess superior intelligence and peerless integrity. Under their grand auspices and encompassing tutelage, Presec, which had been relocated from Krobo-Odumasi to the present site at Legon in 1968, was nurtured as a citadel of learning and a bastion of sculpted Presbyterian peer socialization and national acculturation. Their abilities as teachers were exceptional and their capabilities as administrators were limitless. Indeed, both demonstrated exemplary commitment to the teaching profession.
Mr. Datsa and Mr. Apeadu paid scrupulous attention to our education and training by lifting us to higher levels of excellence and achievements. In all their work for students, they were always demanding and austere but benevolent headmasters, and paragons of responsible leadership. They gave of themselves generously in serving the needs of students. Both ministered vigorously to the expansion of Presec, ably popularized the school in the national horizon of education, and provided fruitful terrains regarding our quest for intellectual fulfillments and moral wholeness. By the promising sunset of their respective tenures, Presec had not only attained enviable academic records, but also its moral compass had become a national measuring-rod, and both traditions remain to this day.
For these attainments, and evidently other exceptional moments of matchless stewardship, I humbly urge the Presec Old Boys’ Association, the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, and Board of Directors of Presec to dutifully honor both Mr. Datsa and Mr. Apeadu by naming structures on the Presec campus after their respective names. Indeed, facilities in this regard may include dormitories, science blocks, library, dining hall, assembly hall, clinic, administration block, cafeteria, etc.
Certainly, the memorialisation of Mr. Datsa and Mr. Apeadu will erect a timeless signpost of honor and also illuminate the unique roles of the Presec Old Boys’ Association, the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, and the Presec Board of Directors in promoting hard work and excellence. Admittedly, we may celebrate all our past headmasters, but Mr. Datsa and Mr. Apeadu have no comparable peers; indeed, their place among the eminent headmasters of Presec is already assured.
As I understand it, Mr. Datsa and Mr. Apeadu are within or past the precincts of their octogenarian years; thus, this is the best time to honor them. All too often, we overlook the extraordinary achievements of our educational heroes/heroines, indeed, those who have inspired us to attain our full human potential. Let us invoke “Happy are we/studious are we” and let us summon “In thy light, we shall see light” to honor Mr. Datsa and Mr. Apeadu. As you may well know, Mr. Datsa’s autobiography and magnum opus, Doing my Duty, published by the Accra-based Woeli Press in 2006, chronicles his 43 years of teaching and service. Yes, Mr. Datsa and Mr. Apeadu have performed their duties and we should reciprocate by honoring them. It is the right thing to do. Happy 70th Anniversary! Long Live Presec! Long Live Odadeama! Long Live Ghana!

*Kwabena Akurang-Parry (Agoro), Odadeaba, is Associate Professor of African History and World History at Shippensburg University, Pennsylvania, USA. He received his Ph.D. in history from York University, Toronto, Canada. He has published over fifty peer-reviewed articles in international journals and is the co-editor of African Agency and European Colonialism: Latitudes of Negotiation and Containment (University Press of America, 2007). He can be reached at kaparr@ship.edu