From Chris Anucha, Port Harcourt
Four students of Saint Maria Goretti Girls’ Grammar School (SMAGOGA), Benin City, Edo State, have been awarded scholarship for their academic brilliance and performance. The beneficiaries, Unuafe O. Anita (SS1), Usman H. Faith (JSS1), Enokeran B. Irese (JSS1) and Chioma Okafor, were recently issued with cheques to that effect, at this year’s annual general meeting of the Old Girls Association of the school which set up the scholarship scheme in the first place to encourage academic hard work and scholarly studies among the students.
The AGM has always been fun for its members as it is usually characterised by sweet memories and reminiscences of their days and years at their alma mater. This year’s AGM, held in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, was no less different. It afforded members the opportunity to interact, take stock of their individual achievements and failures, assess the state of their alma mater with a view to assisting in one form or the other, in meeting the needs of their great school.
Some of the ways the association contributes to the development of the school are: through rehabilitation of dilapidated infrastructure, construction of new structures, award of scholarships to deserving students of the school, among others.
Saint Maria Goretti Girls’ Grammar school, founded in Benin City on March 4, 1959, by a Catholic Mission proprietor, Bishop P.J. Kelly, and named after a canonised 12-years-old girl, whose life stood for purity in mind and body, has produced prominent women in the society. They include judges, medical doctors, educationists, engineers and successful businesswomen, among others.
With this year’s theme: “The Role of Women in A Depressed Economy,” members tried to proffer some solutions on how women could help to cushion the biting effects of the current recession in the country, on their families, in line with one of the missions of the association, which is: “to promote the welfare of all members and the school.”
Welcoming members to the 18th National Convention and AGM/Reunion, the National President of the association, Dame Victoria Ekhomu listed the priorities of the association as: returning the school to the Catholic Mission, establishment of Scholarship Fund (which has just kicked off), renovating the school’s wall fence, building a vocational centre for learning tailoring, tie-and-dye, bag-and-shoe making, engaging in charitable works, among others.
Earlier in her welcome address, the president of the association, Port Harcourt Branch, Mrs. Angela Jesuorobo, noted that the association has been able to make some progress despite the challenges facing it. Delivering a lecture entitled: “The role of the woman in a depressed economy”, Prof. Philomena Ejele, of the Department of Linguistics and Communication Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), described women as, not only managers of homes, but bread-winners in the event of their husbands losing their jobs, due to the depressed economy.
Given the fact that many women are finding it difficult to meet the needs and expectations of their families in the face of outrageous increase in prices of foodstuffs and other needs, she advised them to develop the habit of saving during the period of economic prosperity by investing in small scale businesses, taking advantage of self-development programmes of various governments and changing their ostentatious lifestyle and wasteful spending.
The high point of the occasion was the presentation of cheques to the four students of the school who benefited from the Old Girls’ Association’s scholarship scheme.