Written by Paul A.K. Agbakpe – Fifty years ago, the Dominican Sisters from Speyer, Germany were looking for a location in Ghana to promote girls education founded on the Catholic faith.
For some peculiar reasons, the Catholic Church, whenever it established its presence, was interested in establishing schools along gender lines. So they have boys and girls senior high schools scattered all over the country.
Again, the Catholic Church always wants to support people in deprived and remote communities, hence its health and educational facilities are not usually located in cities and towns but villages and rural communities.
Perhaps because the Catholic Church will always look for large tracts of lands, the rural settings provide the best environment for such projects.
Thus in looking for land to establish the St Roses Senior High School, the Dominican Sisters settled on Akwatia in the Kwaebibirem area in the Akyem Abuakwa State in the Eastern Region.
The name ‘Kwaebibirem’ suggests that Akwatia is located in the green belt of the country where land was available, not only for a school project, but also agricultural ventures. Today, St Rose’s Senior High School, which started in 1965 as a teacher training college, is 50 years.
History of St Roses
St.Rose’s Senior High School is one of the girls’ schools in the Eastern Region being managed by the Catholic Church.
The school first started as a teacher training college with 80 students but in September 1969, the teacher training college was converted into a secondary school with the initial intake of 72 students. The then chief of Akwatia, Barima Kofi Bempong II, the Akwatia Town Development Committee and the Akwatia Traditional Council passed a resolution that gave birth to the establishment of the school.
The founding Sisters were the Dominican Sisters from Speyer, Germany; Rev. Sr. Victricia Koch, who was then the Superior General of the Dominican Sisters in Ghana; Rev. Sr. Beatrix Koob, Rev. Sr. Zita Simon and Rev. Sr. Solamen Ott. They were brought to Ghana by the Most Reverend Bishop Joseph Oliver Bowers, the then Bishop of the Accra Diocese of the Catholic Church.
Old students of St. Roses
The products of St .Rose’s Senior High School are in responsible positions both in Ghana and elsewhere in the world. They include Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong, the current Attorney General and Minister of Justice; Miss Abena Amoah, an Investment Banker and the CEO of Baobab Advisors; Major Laurinda Xolali Adusu-Donkor, Ghana Armed Forces Mechanical Corps of the 37 Military Hospital and Supt. Phyllis Ama Osei of the Ghana Police Service and a Deputy Co-ordinator/Clinical Psychologist.
The rest are: Eunice Ijeoma Aku Ogbugo, Civil Engineer/Projects Consultant, CEO, Eugo Terrano Limited and Mrs Edinam Adjei-Sika (nee Adzosii), Head of International Co-operation, Brazilian Embassy, Accra.
Heads of St. Roses school to date
This noble institution has had the following distinguished leaders as heads over the years. They are: Rev. Sr Beatrix Koob, First Principal/ Headmistress, 1965-1979; Rev. Sr. Zita Simon, Second Headmistress, 1979-1980; Rev. Sr. Solamen Ott, Third Headmistress, 1980-1998 and Mrs Victoria Amaning, fourth and the first Ghanaian Headmistress,1998-2010; Mrs Margaret Bangfu, who is the Fifth Headmistress, took office in 2010 and she is the current headmistress.
Successes chalked up by the school
St. Rose’s Senior High School is noted for its discipline which has culminated in the high academic performance of its students.
Over the years, the school has participated in the National Mathematics and Science Quiz and national debate for second-cycle institutions.
The school’s performance in sports is also good. For instance, in 2013, the school’s athletic squad had six gold, five silver and 12 bronze medals during the inter-school competition. This hard work resulted in the school obtaining gold for its overall performance during the inter-school sports and games festival in 2013.
As of now, St. Rose’s Senior High School is believed to be the only girls’ school without a wall. This poses a security risk to the school.
Besides, its source of potable water is a mechanised well. This always increases its electricity bill since the well is powered by electricity.
About 45 to 50 per cent of the teaching staff is currently housed outside the school. The lack of accommodation for teachers on the school compound is a great challenge.
The school has a student population of 1,138 students. This has put pressure on the existing infrastructure. The Elective Mathematics room, General Knowledge in Art room and a small library have all been turned into dormitories for students.
A storey building that will serve as dormitories for the students has not been completed.
St. Rose’s celebrates its golden jubilee today on the theme: St. Rose’s at 50, the impact of Catholic education for girls: The way forward.
Catholic education is holistic; the emphasis is not only on cognitive, but also moral and physical training. Education is geared towards helping the students to address the needs of the society.
The Motto of the school, which is VERITAS- truth and responsibility, is what has guided the school to be what it is today.
The headmistress, Mrs Margaret Bangfu said the journey of 50 years had not been easy but with determination the school had established itself as one of the best in the country. She expressed the hope that in the coming years the school would be able to surmount its challenges to provide better quality education to the students.
Mrs Bangfu also urged the old students, parents, the public and government to assist the school to overcome its challenges.
The writer is the acting assistant headmaster (academic) of St Rose’s Senior High School.
Written by Paul A.K. Agbakpe, culled from graphic.com.gh