•Excitement in Ekiti, as ‘Class of ’87’ alumni give back to alma mater
By Cosmas Omegoh
In Ado Ekiti, the hilly capital of Ekiti State, excitement is in the air.
Between Thursday, June 29 and Sunday, July 2, 2017, scores of old students of the prestigious Christ School, Ado Ekiti, who concluded their secondary school education in 1987, would be returning to the capital of Ekiti State from different parts of the world for a momentous reunion 30 years after leaving the school.
Already, staff and students of the school and residents of Ado Ekiti are in high spirits. Everyone is waiting to receive this pack of ex-students who left the school in 1987. After copiously drinking from the institution’s intellectual spring, its members have travelled far afield, distinguishing themselves as worthy ambassadors in the process. And now, they are returning triumphantly home to give something back to the ‘mother’ that nurtured them.
Morakinyo Bayode, an architect and construction project manager currently residing in the United Kingdom, is president of Christ’s School, Ado Ekiti, Alumni Association, Class of ’87. He told Daily Sun that the reunion had been long in the making.
“We have made attempts to organise similar events in the past, including our 21st and 25th anniversaries but they didn’t materialise. Just over a year ago, we put in place a new executive structure designed to pull together regional branches worldwide and this resulted in a rebirth and renewed zeal.
“Incidentally, Christ’s School’s central alumni adopted a resolve last October for sets at 30 years of graduation to host the Founder’s Day in June and sets at 40 years to host the homecoming in October. This mandate coincided with our thoughts for a reunion. And here we are today.”
Bayode noted that the uniqueness of the reunion was that the ex-students would be using the occasion to give something back to the school.
“We are using the opportunity to reconstruct the principal’s residence. This was arrived at following a review of the school’s needs after visits by classmates to have on-the-spot assessments and our discussions with the school management.
“The principal’s lodge, in our days, was a key facility in the running of the school, especially after school hours.
“But having the principal living off-campus, as has been the case in recent years, hasn’t impacted well on the well-being and discipline of the students.
“We believe the principal of Christ’s School deserves to live in comfort in a befitting house. Previous alumni projects have been focused on the pupils’ comfort and central facilities. The welfare of the principal is equally important,” he said.
Mr. Obafemi Opeyemi, vice president, Lagos region, Class of ’87, said reuniting after 30 years was important for several reasons.
Opeyemi, managing director, Timeless Print Solution, Ogba, Lagos, stated his expectations at the reunion: “We expect a wonderful reunion, an auspicious avenue to interact and network and also chart a way forward for our alumni with the principal aim of sharing experiences and feelings of one another.
“I look forward to having a reunion where we would reflect on our lives and to provide an accounting of sorts to our peers. It will be a glorious moment to reflect on the mercy and kindness of God and thank Him for our lives.”
Another member of the set, professor of microbiology at the University of Lagos, Prof. Folarin Oguntoyinbo, said of the reunion: “Our aspiration is to use the reunion as an occasion to encourage and motivate students. This, we believe, is important for the maintenance and continuation of the tradition of excellence of our school. We also want the occasion to be an event full of interactions. Our members will share life experiences with students and define new life challenges and opportunities. We also plan for mentorship. We want students to connect early with the alumni and network for advice and future opportunities in different endeavours. The overall lesson for students is that it is a great privilege to attend Christ School. They must work hard so that they can immensely maximise the benefits of attending the school as well as profit from the life-long relationships the school has created and facilitated.”
He described the school as the first in Ekitiland and the best in Nigeria.
Another member of the alumni, Olukorede Oni, a pharmacist based in Kaduna, described being an ex-student of Christ School as a privilege.
“Morally, we were well-moulded and it affected our career choices, as we usually had career guidance. We had an array of teachers from France, Ghana, India and Sri Lanka, whose wards too were among us. They were the best around then and they gave us the best.
“We decided to give back after 30 years to thank God for his mercies and for his blessing for what we are today. We want to give back to our root so that the coming generation too can benefit from the rich heritage of the school,” he said.
Joseph Adeleye, a UK-based business analyst, is also a member of the group. He told the reporter that having the name Christ School on one’s resume was a great honour not only within Nigeria but anywhere in the world.
“Like the saying goes, it helps to get your foot into the door. I’m proud to be associated with the achievements of the school in sports, knowledge and morality. The quality of human resources in different fields the school has produced over the years, who are doing well in shaping our world are sources of inspiration and encouragement to us all,” he enthused.
Publicity secretary of the Class of ’87 and Assistant Editor, Features, The Sun Publishing Limited, Mr. Tope Adeboboye, said the four-day event would feature a foundation lecture, presentation of prizes to students, the unveiling of the reconstructed Principal’s Lodge, reunion dinner, hosting of the set by a retired principal, Chief Olusola Bayode and courtesy visits to former teachers and vice principals, among other activities.
Bayode said the chain of events at the reunion would have a lot of lessons, particularly for the younger generation.
“After the reunion, we expect the current generation of students to learn that they must apply themselves well and ensure that in years to come, when their classmates gather similarly, they would, by hard work and dedication, be in a position where they would contribute positively and be proud to show their faces,” he said.
He stressed that he looked forward to a great reunion with old friends and hoped to re-establish bonds.
“I expect the reunion to lead to closer interaction among us, which will foster mutually beneficial relationships. I hope it will inspire the current students and leave a positive mark on them and challenge them to achieve their aspirations,” he said.