HISTORY OF ALL SAINTS SECONDARY SCHOOL OYIGBO RIVERS STATE
The dream to establish All Saints Secondary School was borne by very Rev. Fr. Charles Ukwe OP, the current Dominican provincial and the first Dominican Parish Priest in St. Paul Catholic Parish Oyigbo, then known as All Saints Parish, from which the school derived its name.
This idea came as a result of the advice given by the late Bishop V.V Ezeonyia to parishes to set up a money yielding venture to aid them in settling some levies that may be coming from the Diocese from time to time. Following the Dominican pure love for education, Rev. Fr. Charles and his then council in 1997 came up with the idea of starting a secondary school. Series of meetings were held to nurture the dream and tackle the articulated problems of lack of structure, facilities and population on ground.
In view of the aforementioned needs, advertisements were placed on the church bulletins for candidates and teaching staff. The Daughters of Mary Mother of Mercy mother general was met with and the second floor of the two story building they floated their nursery and primary was released to the parish for one year to enable the school put up its own structure by the following year. Having secured an accommodation and published the school for population, there was no finance to build furniture, buy equipment as well as pay staff salaries. To this effect, some philanthropist parishioners like A.C Uwadiegwu, Josephat Nwafor, D. Ogwudire and others were invited for a meeting in which they donated generously and from there some of the school’s basic needs were met. In the same vein, the central catechist, Ambassador Jude Iwuoha gave out his typewriter and cyclostyling machine for the typist office. The surmounting of the above situation gave the parish priest and his council the hope that spurred them into interview and recruitment of the pioneer teachers in the persons of Mr. Reginald Imo (JP), Mrs. Pauline Mary Nwabichie, Mrs. Petrolina Oparaku (Current vice principal), Mrs. Loveth Chukwuemeka, Mrs Francisca Ibekilo, Engr. Chima Osuagwu, Late Mr. Godwin Okpara and Mrs Pauline Agbasoga nee Nwaozor (typist). The management constituted of Rev. Bro. Mathew Omoreghegbe (The Principal), Late Mr. Celestine Opara (Vice principal), Mr. Ukaerunze (Bursar) and the founding father of the school Rev. Fr. Charles Ukwe OP.
With the accommodation, furniture and staff on ground, the common entrance for the candidates and the interview were organized as well as the school flag off with the population of One hundred and eighty seven (187) students on the 15th day of September, 1997. There was no office space for the teachers and so they were operating from the uncompleted Rev. Father’s house.
On the 4th of September 1998, the principal, Rev. Bro. Mathew Omoreghegbe was transferred to Lagos and Late Mr. Celestine Opara became the second principal. He then continued the building of block A from where the Rev. Bro. stopped. He left the school on the 13th of November 1998, and Late Mr. Godwin Okpara was appointed the third principal of the school on the 17th of November 1998 under Rev. Fr. Lawrence Agu OP, the parish priest and manager of the school. Late Mr. Godwin Okpara worked hard towards getting the approval of the junior secondary school, which came out on 16th May 2000. While working on the approval of the Junior Secondary School he initiated the foundation of block B under the approval of the five man board of governors, namely; Sir S. N Okoronkwo, Barrister I.C Nwankwo, Mrs Pauline Nwabichie, Mrs R. Oparaekwe and Dr. L.N Ohanma. Upon the completion of block B, the school was able to have a multipurpose laboratory, a library, a computer room and a set of four classrooms added to the existing eight classrooms in block A. These notwithstanding, the accommodation problem were still not fully solved. In effect, the building of block C in the year 2000 was critical to containing the progressive growth in the number of students, as well as the graduation of students into higher classes. While struggling with the structural and academic challenges, the school did not lose sight of other extra-curricular activities as the school’s first annual inter-house sports was held on 13th March, 1999.
Following the continuous students and teachers population growth with their attendant administrative challenges, the board of governors deemed it necessary to appoint a vice principal to assist the principal in the day to day running of the school, Thus, Mrs. Monica Igwe, out of the three nominees screened by the board was considered and appointed on the 18th of September 2000. The school continued to move from strength to strength. Having grown to the apex of the Junior Secondary, the students sat for the first Junior WAEC examination on the 2nd through 27th of May 2000. As the school graduated into senior Secondary, the journey towards upgrading the school to senior secondary as to qualify it for the sitting of West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) was started in the year 2000 and was realized in November, 2002 by Rev. Fr Godwin Madonna Aghedo OP, who became the administrator of the school as late Mr. G.I Okpara threw in the towel in September 2002. The school had her first WAEC outing in the year 2003 with a 100% success which has been maintained till date as could be seen from the excerpt of the school up to date summary published in the year book. Thus far, the school has graduated nothing less than fifteen (15) viable sets from the senior secondary.
Rev. Fr Godwin Madonna Aghedo, apart from upgrading the school to senior secondary, also made a frantic effort to set up a computer laboratory and further enlarged the school’s accommodation scope by laying the foundation of the block D, while maintaining the moral and academic standard of the school before he was reassigned to Ilorin on the 6th of July 2004. The then Parish priest and manager of the school Rev. Fr Uju Paulinus was also transferred in August 2004. Rev. Fr Emmanuel Azike OP took over from Rev. Fr G. Aghedo, thus becoming the fourth principal of the school under Rev. Fr Sylvester Nwaokolo OP, the then parish priest and manager of the school. He also continued with the uplifting of the education and moral standard of the school. Fr. Emmanuel hosted the 2nd and 3rd annual inter-house sports of the school. He did his best to ensure that the welfare of the teachers and students were looked into. He never joked with providing conducive atmosphere for teaching and learning. As such, he made sure that the block A,B,C were all ceiled and the wooden windows were replaced with louver blades and burglar proofs. He also introduced the wearing of trousers for the senior boys of the school and the plaiting of hair by the senior girls which he later discontinued because of the problems that came with the latter.
With the transfer of Rev. Fr Emmanuel Azike to the United States Of America (USA) in mmay 2007, Mrs Monica Igwe was appointed the principal of the school by Rev. Fr Sylvester Nwaokolo O.P. the priest and manager of the school, While Mrs. Petrolina Oparaku was made the vice principal. The manager, following the Diocesan Education Guideline, constituted an eight (8) man education committee made made up of himself as the chairman, Engr. Onyegbule (vice chairman), Mrs. Monica Igwe, the Principal and secretary, with Engr. P. Ikwuagwu, Engr. D. Nnanna, Mrs P. Obiechefula, Dr. Val Onah and Engr. J. Nwadika as members.
Rev. Fr Slyvester Nwaokolo O.P, within the twelve (12) years he managed the school, he did a lot to improve the administration and structural projects of the school. He cordoned off the school compound from the church premises. He continued with the two storey foundation of block D on 15th January 2009 and completed it. He then de-roofed block C, re-enforced the foundation for a storey building and decked it before his transfer. As a sports fellow, he did his best among other things to build a standard lawn tennis and basketball court for the school and also hosted the second inter-house sports. While working hard structurally, he never neglected the welfare of both the teachers and the students. He also provided the school administration with a bus in 2010 to enhance the school logistics. Fr Sylvester Nwaokolo OP handed over to Rev. Fr Dominic Mbomsom OP on the 24th June 2016. Among other things in his hand-over notes were his intentions to increase the staff salaries and also start up the dormitory.
Rev. Fr Dominic Mbomsom OP, the current manager in his ingenuity and managerial acumen has continued to bring to life the un-hatched dreams of his predecessor while delivering his own lofty plans for the school. Without wasting time, he attended to the teacher’s welfare package in September and has worked hard towards making the school boarding house a reality. In view of the security of both lives and property, he has taken up the parameter fencing of the dreaded Nwanji area of the premises and has turned it into a habitable sight-seeing zone with a good landscape in-view.
This year 2017, the school marks her twenty (20) years of existence. Like a twenty year old child, All Saints’ Secondary School is now an adult school. It has produced many graduates in different walks of life. All Saints’ Secondary School has given foundation to students who are now lawyers, Doctors, Architects, nurses, great teachers, successful business men and women, bankers, engineers, Rev Fathers, scientists, politicians etc. The history of this great school will be incomplete without a deserved mention of the Parent-Teacher association (PTA). It is worthy to note that since the year 2003 till date, the school has enjoyed a formidable, Peaceful PTA from the chairmanship of Chief Mike Akhigbe to Engr. Thaddeus Nneji Ibekwe, who is the current chairman. The PTA has been proactive in supporting the projects of the school from the association levies. The PTA during the years of Chief M Akhigbe donated a good number of quality books on different subjects for the school library. In 2010, led by Engr. Thaddeus Nneji Ibekwe, the association donated one million naira worth of laboratory equipment to the school. It has also contributed immensely towards the building of block C.
Staffing and academic wise, the school have never cordoned mediocrity. All the teaching members of staff are experienced and qualified. The students are also given a good academic grooming as we maintain the policy of “pass and move on”, “fail and repeat or fail-out’’. The school is noted for zero tolerance to examination malpractice and we make HARDWORK our watchword while striving for the best in moral and academic pursuits.
The school as a secular entity has not been without blemishes. Within its two decades of existence, the school witnessed two different crises between 1998 and 2002, but was able to resolve them intelligently and move on. Other hitches are structural and finance based. These were being tackled by the running managers at different stages following the graphic charts of needs and scale of preference.
So far, the school, through the grace of God and the intercession of the saints is doing great, and we thank all the people mentioned and even those who were not mentioned (if any), but who have impacted on the life of the school whether financially or otherwise . We thank all the present and out gone management, staff and students as well as parents of the school for maintaining the life of the school.
We are most grateful to the Almighty God and we say to him be he the highest glory and praise forever and ever. Amen
Long live All Saints’ Secondary School,
Long live Catholic education
Long live Nigeria.
By Mrs. Monica Igwe