FORM ONE BOY IN NAVASCO, GHANA, SERIES 12
THE GREAT MASTERS CONTINUES….
The great masters continues after posting series 11 under the above title, I realized that I did not include other special areas in which our Headmaster; Collin Macdonald was fantastic. He made students to produce most of the food we ate through agriculture. Land was cleared and ploughed for students to plant, weed, thin and harvest on a large scale. Food produced were stored for consumption by the students. He also introduced Agric. Six formers that were allocated one tractor per two students to produce food. This helped greatly in the feeding of the students.
During the civil war in Nigeria, the Headmaster; Mr. Collin MacDonald knew the negative impacts of a civil war more so that he got transferred from Calabar in Nigeria to NAVASCO as the Assistant Headmaster. He became the Headmaster after the sudden departure of Mr. Crawford the then Headmaster. Mr. MacDonald introduced, ‘miss a meal and save a life in Biafra’. This made all students to miss their Saturday lunch. Most of the students went to either the town, Navrongo or Bolgatanga. The amount realized from this exercise was added to the large sum of money contributed by the Masters too. The money and materials realized were forwarded through the Red Cross for onward transfer to Biafra.
In another time, when a form one student; Agongo lost his bag and all its contents while travelling from Bolga to Navasco, Mr. MacDonald, addressed the students to launch AGONGO TRUST FUND. The money contributed was handed over to the innocent and exceptionally quiet boy. You will read more when I write on the excellent students. However, now that the boy is now a ‘big man’ renowned medical Doctor. I expect him to continue with a Trust Fund to help the poor and the indigent students from his area. We must learn to give back to nature part of what God has endowed us with.
Mr. Nunira like the forest of thousand demons had thousands of proverbs with a lot of meanings, warnings, advice and others. This quiet man set an unprecedented record during our time. He was the Agric master that knew his onions. Nunira was good in all areas of agricultural science be it; arable or cash crops, animal husbandry, weeds and animal feeds and others. I can recollect vividly that during the 1970- 1971 academic year, (Senior Ibrahim Alabira’s time), he set a new record where 36 students scored what you call A1 today in agricultural science. I think there was no single ‘acrobatic 6’ (9) that year in agricultural science and the least was only a 6 by one student. Due to this, students respected and loved him so much more so that there was always an interlude of many jaw cracking jokes and proverbs during his classes but with all seriousness because he hardly laughed. Here goes some of his proverbs.
‘An empty bag can never stand up right.
A decorated donkey is still a donkey.
The subject is above the sea level.
If you are pointing an accusing finger at a person, the rest are pointing at you.
A fool at forty is a fool forever.
If you need your life, do not awake a sleeping tiger.
If you want to eat a toad you should eat the one with eggs.
You don’t know, I don’t know and that is why we are all here’.
Mr. Nunira was very interesting and an excellent master.
Mr. Owen Temple; a junior brother to another Miss Temple who was equally one of our great masters. Owen taught us mathematics in form one. He introduced us to bases, Arithmetic and geometric progressions, Simple equations and others. He was excellent in teaching. To those that were not good in mathematics, he would call them, ‘Des yams’. His class was always lively. His sister, Miss Temple never taught me but I know much about her. She was the first Mistress to get married in NAVASCO. She got married to Mr. Baxter in a well-attended ceremony. It was quite a coincidence that around her wedding period, we witnessed an outbreak of flu epidemic that affected some students. Doctors were invited to the School to examine and diagnose those that were affected. Those students that were affected were quarantined at Republic House and were treated with cough syrup and probably ‘antibiotics’.
Mr. Stocks alias Acid was a great and fantastic chemistry master. He started teaching us chemistry from form three third term through form four and five. Here was a master that would neither use a notebook nor a textbook to teach students. He was just naturally gifted. Our practicals were regular, thorough and accurate. He made us know chemicals to be used when testing for either any of the cations or anions. Our titrations were accurate to the nearest (ppm) parts per million of acid. He made us write chemistry tests every Friday throughout the two and half years he taught us. This made us to have completed our syllabus far ahead of time. He gave the confidence that made most of us scored at least 3 in the subject.
Ms. Evie Kashnow Kingsley was a physics and mathematics mistress but never taught me. Most of those she taught made their credits in the subject with ease. She was however our matron in the Science Club. She successfully introduced Science Club and nurtured the club from an embryonic stage to a well-recognized one. She was in charge of our first ever successful Science Fair in NAVASCO in 1972 at that time, I also served as the science club president (1972/73 academic year. The Fair brought out the best in the students’ research abilities. We made mini-computer, tooth paste, rocket and others. The Military Head of State; Col. Acheapong added glamour, fame and honour to our great school by visiting NAVASCO unannounced during the Fair.
Ms Kopachek was good in linguistic. She was kind and much interested in the academic performances of her students. Most of the time, she would counsel students. She taught us French in form one and two. She was equally our class Mistress in form one gold. Her method of teaching was Superlative. Students were used to the sentence of, “Je veux manger lafarine de manioc”. I would ever be grateful to this woman for volunteering to carry me in her Vox wagen car to check my parents in Bolga during the aliens’ compliance order of December 1969.
Mr. Paul Caswell was another fantastic master. He taught us physics in form four for only one term. We regretted for being re-deployed to teach senior classes. He was thorough and his teaching methodology was superlatively excellent. Those students he taught could say much more about him. He was involved in the Construction of the school’s bungalows. Assembly hall, the Chapel and a host others by direct labour using students. He was always busy in charge of designing, carpentry, mason and many others.
Mr. Kevan Wildy, was an agricultural master that could be described as utility master too. He was not involved in teaching alone. Here was an handsome man that was always on top of the tractor fetching water for either the students or the kitchen. Mr. Wildy once wrote in my school report as a General Science Master, ” a quiet boy that seems to understand quite well.” He once led a fire fighting operation in the school using sand to put off the fire before much harm could be done.
The Gearys were great geography master and mistress respectively. I used to wonder how they knew Ghana geography so well. Mrs. Geary taught us English and Geography in form two. She was also our class mistress. Mrs. Geary was thorough and serious. She impacted much knowledge on us. In form two, she made us learn that the branches of trees in Southern Ghana to be intertwined. She also taught us why there was poor annual rainfall in Accra.
Ms. Teresa Smart was another fantastic and wonderful mathematics mistress. She taught us (the science class) both elementary and additional mathematics from form four to five. I can recollect that only thirteen of us eventually sat for the additional mathematics in the WAEC examinations of 1973 and we all made our credits. Ms. Smart never missed a single class. She would teach, teach and teach. She would also explain thoroughly, especially, questions on graphs, integrations, complex numbers, simultaneous equations, binomial theory, algebraic expressions and others.
Mr. Miazygah was a biology Master but taught us General Science in form one and Biology in form three. Due to his advanced method of teaching, students nicked name him (OS). You could imagine in form three, Mr. Miazygah taught us chromosomes, (DNA) De-Oxy Nucleic Acid, genes, nucleotides and others. He was a lively master.
Mrs. Harvey was our English mistress in form one (1st and 2nd term). She was hardworking, thorough and punctual too. Anytime she gave us essay topic to write, she would mark it promptly and also ensured that students learn from the mistakes. When new houses were about to be created, we were made to write and recommended at least a name by a student. I was among those that chose Kennedy house. I chose President Kennedy for his love for peace and the black race in particular. I think she gave me a book as a prize.
Mr. Baba Sofianu was our senior that became our master too. He was the Imam for our small mosque and also our Islamic Knowledge master. He was gentle, cool and very intelligent. He used to lead students during the Monday morning assembly to read Suratul Fathia in English.
Mr. Alokore was our senior too that became our master in government. He was a brilliant and a disciplinarian. He was a no nonsense man. He was thorough and original in his teachings. He loved new ideas.
Mr. King Bruce was our Geography master in form three. Students would remember him for the topic, “above sea level” which eventually became a nick name for a student.
Mr. Tejroh was our history master in form two. He would be remembered for teaching us on all about Charlemagne the conqueror, the civilizer, the ruler and others.
Mr. De-Boer was a great and exceptional master despite his little knowledge of English language. He was known to be tough too and in good physical education. Anytime he took students out for P.E., the students might find it difficult to wake-up the following day. He never taught our class but the form three Gold students would remember him for his single sentence, “I will throw you straight out of the window”. He also had a powerful Motorcycle that he used most of the time.
Madame Bedock was our French mistress in form three. Here was a woman who spoke little English. She spoke English with much difficulty but very excellent in French. She made some of us crammed passages in ‘Le petit Kofie and practical French books one and two. Most of the time, she would say “Baba, tu as zero, tu perd ton temp, tu ne pas serieux…Ils ne me tres pas, ce la metegal, ce la beau bracelle qui ne vou dis rien”. Please forgive me with my poor french spellings because I only learnt it up to form three.
Mr. Baa Alhassan was our English master in form five. She used to lay emphases, on comprehension and summary. He was also an excellent P. E master and football referee.
Finally, when a master bought a car instead of the rest masters to have appreciated it, their conclusion was that Mr. and Mrs. John (pseudo) bought a match box of a car. No quarrel, they all laughed it off.
This is how far I could go as a summary of what my memory could recollect and release for the moment. I expect comments and reactions from NABIA be it, colleagues, seniors or juniors on these great masters. All those I failed to mention should please forgive me because it was not intentional. This is just a summary of the masters and mistresses I interacted with during my five years in NAVASCO. Please expect my series 13 on superlative and excellent students with their exceptional reading culture.
Thank you all.
Muda Dayo Ogunsola, 1087