In a bid to support efforts at providing conducive learning environment and facilities at its alma mater, the Lagos branch of the Old Boys Association of Dennis Memorial Grammar School (DMGS) Onitsha, is planning to execute more projects in the school. They want to support the school management in improving standards at the institution.
The efforts of the association, which refers itself as Dennis Old Boys Association (DOBA) Lagos branch, are also geared towards recognising the sacrifice of Archdeacon T.J. Dennis, the man who translated the Bible from English to Igbo language and whom the school was named after.
Speaking during a re-dedication and Thanksgiving service held on Sunday at Our Saviour’s Church, Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos, Barr Nelson Ako Okoli, President of the Lagos branch of the association, said that the old boys association worldwide had done projects worth over N1billion.
“We are hoping to do more and expect the new DMGS to be greater than the old one in terms of learning facilities. The library is well equipped now; new classrooms and hostels are coming and the school is going to be the Number 1 as it used to be,” Okoli said.
He further noted that the continued support to the alma mater was intended to provide learning facilities, help in maintaining the high standards, which the school is known for, and to motivate both the teachers and students to go for excellence in their work and academic pursuit.
In his sermon at the service, Reverend Cannon Dr. Kin Egwuchim, a guest preacher and also an old boy of the school, disclosed that the school, which opened its doors to students on January 25, 1925, as the first and best available school in the Eastern Nigeria then, has today produced prominent scholars, professionals and eminent Nigerians who have impacted the society positively.
He, therefore, called on members of the Lagos branch of the association to see the rededication service as opportunity to consolidate on the strong foundation the school laid on the gospel that liberated the Igbo land and high quality education that enlightened and empowered the people.
After the rededication service graced by members of the association, their families and friends, the celebration continued at the Police Officers’ Mess, Onikan, Lagos, where guests were treated to exciting food, wine and music offerings.
Speaking on the import of the event, Barr Sylvester Okonkwo, a politician, chairman of the occasion and an old boy, said the re-dedication and Thanksgiving was an annual event, which had now become a culture of the association.
For him, “it is very wonderful been an old boy of DMGS, as everywhere you go, you see your people, and have the inspiration to do right and show the light and it is rewarding.”
In the same vein, Ifeanyi Atuenyi, a pharmacist, a member of the class of 58 and a past president of DOBA, Lagos, said it had been a wonderful association with DMGS as the ex-students would keep appreciating what the school did in their lives, especially the strong foundation to excel in life. “There is no student that will not give a good report of DMGS because it was founded on the fear of God and training of students to be very good citizens. We are trying to be close to the school so that the young generation will not depart from the foundations we have laid,” he noted.
Going down the history lane, Dr. Chike Mogilim, a member of the class of 86, disclosed that the school has a very long and rich history, especially in the south eastern part of Nigeria. “It is one of the oldest grammar schools in Nigeria, and grammar schools were the best available schools then in the country.”
For him, going to DMGS was a thing of pride, even being admitted, because it has a rich history of good tutors, good students, good results, and excellence in sports.
Unveiling other plans for the school, Enwezor Victor, Secretary of Lagos branch and a member of the class of 92, disclosed that talks were ongoing between the school management and the association for the provision of power supply, new hostels, classrooms and other learning facilities.
On the poor standard of education across the country, Mogilim said there were efforts at keeping the standards at DMGS as high as it has always been. He said the old boys had invested a lot in building infrastructure, helping to pay teachers among others.
“The decay in Nigeria is very big, but even in the decay you will still find an oasis of sanity. DMGS is what it should be,” he said.