*Renovates Hostel, Laboratory.
The Old Girls of Saint Theresa’s Secondary School (SATESCO), Edem Ekpat, in Etinan Local Government Area, have collectively shown their determination to make personal sacrifices to rescue their alma matta from the current sordid state of abandonment to its former glory.
This zeal culminated into the inauguration of a renovated hostel was expressed on Friday 5th, December 2024. The Hostel St Mary’s now re-christened Old Girls’ Hostel was officially handed over to the school’s Principal, Mrs. Beatrice Godwin Umoh.
Prior to this intervention, the intractable decay both in the hostels and classrooms led to the mass exodus of both day and boarding students as weeds and dangerous animals had taken possession of the entire school. The few who dared to attend the school were indigent girls from the community.
Speaking during the handing over, the President of the old girls Association, Mrs. Christiana Egwunye (a.k.a breaker) told the crowd of dignitaries and villagers that came out en mass to witness the inauguration of the hostel, said that, the neglect by government and the appalling state of the school was heart breaking. This necessitated the setting up of a building committee to harness the prerequisite resources for intervention.
According to the president the renovated hostel and indeed all infrastructure prior to the acquisition of the school by the State Government in 1986 were not only in a state of unimaginable decay but they were infested with reptiles, rodents and were submerged by a mass of grasses.
According to the President, this spurred the Old Girls into action. The first assignment was to roof the laboratory which unfortunately was without the basic practical tools.
She further lamented the lack of hostel accommodation for students was a troubling departure from what it used to be. “In our days we had very few day students, unfortunately, today there are no hostels for students to live not to mention teachers quarters. When we were here, the catholic missions had Reverend Sisters living with us and other teachers. They ensured standards were adhered to, both academically and morally, but the situation is not the same today. Goats have taken over the principal’s office we used to know, many of the classrooms, we used to know are now without roof, this is really disheartening. However, we are determined to do all we can to restore the school’s lost glory. We have also heard that the state government has promised to do something, and we thank them for that, but we are not going to relent, we would make sure that we follow up every money approved, so that what needs to be done would be done”
She commended the Principal of the school for believing in thec SATESCO Old Girls as many had pondered on how the Association would chart a new path for the school
The Principal, Mrs Beatrice Umoh who was obviously elated, while receiving the hostel on behalf of the school, thanked the old girls for being steadfast and a morale booster to both staff and students of the school. She was glad that this was happening in her time and promised to keep working harmoniously with the Old Girls to ensure that the school has the needed face-lift.
Mrs. Umoh also expressed her gratitude to the village council, ably led by the village head Etteidung Emmanuel Okokon Eboh, for always supporting all efforts to regenerate the School. According to her the Old Girls Home-Coming is a big inspiration to students of the school and solicited for more visits by the Old Girls.
The 84 year old Etteidung in his remarks went down memory lane, stating that, the school started in 1963 by the Catholic Missionaries, who dedicated their lives to the service of humanity. Without a doubt the standard St Theresa’s Secondary School had, attracted students from the north, west, east and south of this country. It happened that, students during the time of the Reverend Sisters were taken to Britain for cultural presentation. Unfortunately, since goverment took over the running of the school, things began to go down and this has put the school in the sad state we are seeing it today. He said.
The village head appealed to the State Government to hand over the running of the school to the Catholic Mission, who ab initio had were in charge of the students and administration of the school. He promised to write a letter to this effect. Etteidung Eboh expressed joy over these laudable interventions by the Old Girls. He commended them for being worthy example to the current students.
Also speaking, Mr. Sabestian Etuk Uwa the President of Etinan Institute Old Students Association, Akwa Ibom State who represented the Zonal Director of schools Mr Pius Akpan, averred that when he was a student at Etinan Institute they always looked forward to 27th May as it provided them the opportunity to interface with St Theresa’s Girls who were always well dressed. He commended the Old Girls for being so helpful to the school, asserting that whatever support they would require, they should not hesitate to approach the Zonal Office.
It was an exciting time as both old girls with the current students went through some memorable school drills such as the match past while the principal and the Mrs Egunwe received the salute.
The high point of the event was the cutting of the tape to formally inaugurate the hostel for use. The community’s women cultural group added colour to the event with the old girls joining then in singing and dancing session
Meanwhile, at the gala night, as part of the event marking the Old Girls Re-union 2024, with the theme: Our Root, Our Identity, Our Pride, the keynote speaker, Akparawa Nse Ube said everyone of us has contributed in some way or the other to the dilapidation of our schools and lowering standards of educational system when as alumnus we shut our eyes to the happenings after graduation. He commended St Theresa’s Old Girls’ for rising up to the occasion. Consequently, according to Ube, the stakeholders in Etinan Local Government Area met and have intimated Governor Umo Eno on the urgent need to turnaround the school as the Local Government’s prime project.
Cash donations were thereafter made towards the restoration of the physical structures of the school by dignitaries and other guests.