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Dec 3, 2018 | Education

SPACO @60: The Conquerors

By Cephas Afornu
SPACO @60: The Conquerors

Old Students, former Heads, Parents, Students and well-wishers will throng Denu this weekend for the climax of the 60th Anniversary celebration of the St. Paul’s Senior High School (SPACO) in the Catholic Diocese of Keta-Akatsi.

The Anniversary will be climaxed this Saturday, November 8 with a grand durbar, Exhibition, Trade Show, Food Bazaar and Fundraising Dinner and Awards. The Durbar will be attended by dignitaries and stakeholders in education including the Bishop of Keta-Akatsi, Most Rev. Gabriel Edoe Kumordji, SVD, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Keta-Akatsi and the Emeritus Bishop, Most Rev. Anthony Adanuty.

Other week-long activities undertaken by the School as part of the Anniversary climax were General Cleaning, Donations and Charity work by SPOSA @ Ketu South Municipal Hospital, Vigil & Prayer for a successful Celebration, Quiz Competition, visits to sick and retired staff members by Conquerors, Blood Donation and Inspirational & Motivational Documentary Film Show.

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Clean up exercise as part of the Anniversary celebrations

The School is scheduled to hold a Career Counseling and Guidance Sessions on Wednesday, December 5 and a Cross country athletics, Open Forum for Stakeholders and Seminar for Students and Creative Art and Science Exhibition on December 6. On Friday, December 7, a Debate, Games and Sports, Bonfire & Candlelight procession from Tokor to SPACO and MIAWOEZOR Live Borborbor Session.

The establishment of St. Paul’s Secondary School now St. Paul’s Senior High School followed the Educational policies of Bishop Augustine Herman, the first Bishop of the Lower Volta Vicariate. Bishop Herman, between 1923 and 1945, sought to establish Schools in almost every town and village from Keta to Yendi.

When Bishop Anthony Konings became the Diocesan Administrator, his greatest desire was to continue the vision of Bishop Herman in the establishment of schools. He also sought to establish four great Catholic Second Cycle Schools in the Keta Diocese. Two Boys Secondary Schools, a Girls Secondary School and a Seminary Secondary School for boys. Some of these schools already began before he became a Bishop. Bishop Herman College was established as the first Boys’ School in 1952 in the Northern part of the Diocese; OLA School was moved from Keta to Ho as the only Girls School at the Central part in 1954.

It is very beautiful to recount the Odyssey of the “Border Varsity”, St. Paul’s Senior High School (SPACO). Bishop Konings, had yearned for the establishment of another Catholic Secondary School in the South, after the first two began in the north and central part of the Diocese.

However, he lacked personnel to open another Secondary School at the time. By God’s design, he decided to welcome Rev. Fr. James Cafferey, SMA, who was assigned to teach in Bishop Herman College at Kpando. He taught perfectly well most of the subject. These include Latin, French, Mathematics, Geography, English, History and BIBLE Knowledge. He later pleaded with the Bishop to accept him in Keta Diocese and was granted.

In 1957, Bishop Konings reassigned him to start the new boys’ school he intended to open in the Southern part of the Diocese. Fr. Cafferey began the school with 32 boys at Three–Town, a meeting point of Denu, Xedzranawo and Adafienu townships where we presently have the St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church new building with the motto, “In Deo Omnia Possum” - (With God all things are possible). He became the founder and the first Headmaster of St. Paul’s Secondary School. Right from the inception of the school, it was evident that the location of the school could not allow for expansion. Through the influence of the late Mr. Albert Yaovi Ayivor of Denu, the then Dufia of Hatsukofe in Viepe-Tokor in the Aflao Traditional Area, Togbi Pasaku III and his Elders generously donated a piece of land to the Catholic Church for the permanent sitting and future expansion of the school. The school was moved immediately to its current location.

Fr. Cafferey was personally involved in building the physical structures of the school. His military background paid off very well in this endeavour. He was later joined by Fr. Nicholas Steemers, SMA. They both worked so hard to the admiration of Bishop Konings such that the latter changed the first motto of the school to “Vince in Bono Malum” (Through Goodness Conquer Evil) to suit also the history of the Patron Saint of the School and perhaps as an admiration and admonition to Fr. Cafferey and for his new attitude. Unfortunately, Fr. Cafferey left after few years and Fr. Steemers continued. The later left the mantle to Rev. Msgrs. Joachim Eleeza and Rudolf J. Apietu.

When Msgr. Rudolph J. Apietu took over the leadership of the school, he initiated a green compound of trees around the year 1965 to fight the difficult harsh weather of Hatsukope. Till date, the staff and the students are very proud of the trees that give the school a unique panorama of a forest in a desert. Indeed, St. Paul’s Senior High School is a cradle of trees as it visible all around the campus which we are all proud of.

In 1972, Msgr. Apietu initiated an expansion move and additional land was acquired bringing the land space of the school to 100 acres. Mention can be made of Dr. Andre Badohu who donated his piece of land boundaring that of the school land. Unfortunately, as a result of survey fraud and encroachment the school is now left with less than 70 acres.

The school which started with 32 boys, ended with 22 in the 5th Form. Some of these pioneers were Messrs. Michael Adorvlo, Amuzu Vincent, Amable George, Ankrah Albert, Ankrah Francis, Amekudzi Philip, Dushie George, Kwakumensah Johaness, Gakpo Simon,Teygah Nicodemus to mention but few.

As the School marks its 60th milestone, the authorities doff their hats for them for braving the several difficulties that they had faced especially shortage of water which made some of them use a bucket of water a week for their bath. They also salute several thousands of young men and women who passed through the walls of SPACO and are force to reckon with in our national development agenda. Again, some of the pioneer teachers worth mentioning were Messrs. Patrick Huledey, Etse Agbe-Carbonu, Zoewu, Dziwornu Mensah, Adogli, Nyonator, Kokoroko and Venyo. We congratulate them for their selfless dedication.

In 2000, as an experiment, Bishop Anthony Adanuty, the first Bishop of Keta-Akatsi Diocese gave permission for the admission of few girls. These girls admission was stopped in September, 2004 when it ran into some difficulties. However, this move gave birth to St. Catherine Girls’ Senior High School at Agbakope in 2009. Further, in 2003 the Bishop built and attached a Seminary to the school. This continue to have positive impact on moral and academic climate of the school.

It is worth noting that the school which began purely as boarding school will have to change tone in the 1980s to accommodate day students. Currently, the day students form about 30% of the total population of the school. Although, the introduction of the day system has increased the enrolment over the years and has afforded great opportunity to those who could not afford the boarding, of late it has become more challenging. Majority of the disciplinary challenges of the school currently come from the day students.

All SPACANS/CONQUERORS must hold their heads high for the School who made us who we are today for the past 60 years. We would like to acknowledge sincerely the contribution of some of our hard working teachers who have dedicated their lives to the formation of the young men who passed through the walls of our “Border Varsity”. Further mention can be made of the Catholic Church, Government of Ghana, the PTA, the Board of Governors, the Old students and the community for their outstanding contributions in various ways which have made the school what it is today. The staff is highly commended. We thank God for all these.

The school has passed through the administrative leadership of eleven substantive and three acting heads. They are:

  1. Rev. Fr. James A. Cafferey 1958 – 1959
  2. Rev. Fr. Nicholas Steemers 1959 – 1964
  3. Rev. Msgr. Joachim Eleeza 1964 – 1965
  4. Rev. Msgr. Rudolph. J. Apietu 1965 – 1981
  5. Mr. Thomas. K. Gadzekpo 1981 – 1984
  6. Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Quashigah 1984 – 1985
  7. Mr. J. K. Kpongor 1985 – 1987
  8. Mr. Matthew K. Attigbor 1987 – 1989
  9. Mr. M. K. Kukah 1990 – 1995
  10. Mr. P.R.M. Deku 1995 – 1999
  11. Mr. S.E.K. Adzamli 1999 – 2010
  12. Mr. H.E.K. Votuame 2010 – 2014
  13. Mr. Francis .K. Hlorgbe 2014 – 2018
  14. Mr. A.D. Amedeker 2018 – date

However, the late Msgr. R. J. Apietu, (popularly called Champion) who headed the school for over 18 years, needs to be singled out as the most outstanding, as of now. He worked hard for the first ever Secondary School Naval Cadet Corps in Ghana to be established in SPACO in 1976. He was able to achieve this fit through the help of the late Col. Paul Nkegbe who was highly placed in the government at the time.

It is also on record that the then President of the country Col. Ignatius Acheampong visited the Naval Cadet of the School on one occasion. Several students went through two-week Naval rudiments at the Eastern Naval Base at Tema every holiday till the programme was scraped in the early 1990.

It must be mentioned that some of our cadets are now outstanding officers in the Ghana Armed Forces as well as paramilitary institutions in Ghana and beyond. As a pressure group the Naval discipline has great impact on most of our students till date. The Old Students recognized the contribution of Msgr. Apietu and therefore raised a monument and named the school’s avenue in his honour.

St. Paul Senior High School, as an institution, could not have offended anybody. We apologise on behalf of the school to all those who passed through the school as students, those who taught in the school or had some connection with the school in any form who might have been wronged in one way or the other either by commission or omission. We would like to plead that we forgive and forget as we celebrate this 60th Jubilee.

Great CONQUERORS, let us move forward to make SPACO greater still. There should be no running back, no sitting on the fence, no recollection of bad memories. Forget about them they are past and gone forever. Rise to the challenge.

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