By Elizabeth Uwandu
IT was sheer love, happiness and renewal of bonds for girls turned women of Reagan Memorial Baptist Girl’s Secondary School at the school’s 65th anniversary, who recounted their experiences turned privileges, as females in their quest for sound education.
Their joy became imperative as they have conquered societal and cultural restraints placed on the basic gender from acquiring basis education and acquiring certain positions in many instances, to become renown personalities within Nigeria and in the diaspora.
Reagan Memorial Baptist Girls’ Secondary School was founded in 1941 by the Southern Missionary Board, United States of America, USA, in honor of Ms. Lucille Reagan, a missionary who wanted the idea of having a separate Baptist high school for girls. But to Nigerians girls in the 60s. Reagan became a beacon of hope, an ivory of inestimable worth and tower for self realisation and bond recreation among girls that will span the test of time.
According to United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation , UNESCO , despite the importance of girls education to national development, over 5.5 millions girls remained out of school. “Girls’ education is a human right. It is also our responsibility as educating girls contribute significantly to the development of a stable, prosperous and healthy nation state whose citizens are active, productive and empowered. Yet data indicate that in Nigeria over 5.5 million girls are out-of-school (UNESCO, 2014) .
The report also gave the benefits of education to include exponential growth in the social and economic well being of a country. And the reduction in social disparity. “The children of educated women are more likely to go to school. Girls’ education spurs exponential positive effects on social and economic development for generations to come.
One extra year of schooling increases lifetime earnings by up to an estimated 10%. Girls’ education is good economics. It is the best investment in a country’s national development. We know this. Educating girls enhances growth rates and reduces social disparities.”
So, it was for the above reasons and more that Reagan Old Girls Association, ROGA under her current president, Mrs. Oyinkansola Cole hosted the 65th anniversary of the school to celebrate alumni whose impact and success stories deserve recognition; for the old girls to give back to their school through donations of newly renovated Physics Laboratory and Sets of classrooms; and also honour one of their pioneer teachers, Ms Cleo Roper , described as Mama gave 37years to the grooming of the students.
While some notable members of ROGA honoured at the occasion were Mrs. Remi Grace Omotosho. Nigerian first female Nephrologist, Dr. Titilola Farri and Mrs. Funsho Akin. Other past alumni of the school included: Prof. Ayo Badejo, Dean of Education, Lagos State University, Ojo; Late Mrs Florence Seriki, Managing Director, Omatek. Ventures Plc., Mrs Gloria Essien-Danner – Former Ex. Director Exxon-Mobil. Caulcrick Funmilayo Profile of Mrs. Omotosho – “Reagan was a blessing to me and other girls
Mrs. Omotosho, fondly remember for being the first ROGA President attended the school from 1953 – 1960. Nostalgically recounting how sheer grit and love of Baptist Teachers and mentors helped to be what she was today, Mama as she was called said, “This Girls’ School has been a big blessing to me and to every girl-child that has passed through the school. I thank God for this”.
Theme of the Reagan 65th anniversary: Love will keep us together
Speaking on the theme of the anniversary, “Love will keep us together”, ROGA president, Mrs. Cole said the 65th was remarkable in that it celebrated the virtues of the girl-child and the discipline being instilled on students by the founding fathers of the school.
Her words, “ Today, noble ladies, we have become a reference point in training the girl-child right in good morals, discipline , Christian virtues, hard work and love for one another. The founders of this great school of ours truly had the vision, belief and the perseverance to steer us on the good and upward path. “ Our theme this year, “Love will keep us together ,” drawn from the school’s motto, “ Love one another,” celebrates the achievements of the school in nurturing noble Christian women who have impacted meaningfully on the country.
“ I am also particularly delighted because we jointly celebrated our beloved Teacher and Missionary Emeritus , Mama Anita Roper who turned 90 years on May 5, 2017 at home in Atlanta Georgia.” added Mrs Cole.
Sermon of the day: Pray for our girls as God never created them to be weak in any way
Rev. Sam Oluniyi, Minister for Youth & Children, Yaba Baptist Church in his exhortation tagged ,”Pray for our girls,” dispelled the notion that women were created weak and ought to be relegated to certain positions.
Pastor Oluniyi added that the female gender could excel optimally if given the right orientation and prayers. “ We need to pray for our girls so that they can see themselves as not disadvantaged in any way to the men as God did not create the woman to be weak in anyway based on the Bible book of Proverbs. 30. They should not see themselves as lesser vessels.
“ Let us pray for our girls to have the right orientation, because the Bible say you can do all things through Christ. Again, pray for our girls to be good in whatever they do, to excel and develop in gifts and potentials. They also need prayers not to make mistake that will paralyse their future.” Expressing joy for the success of the event that saw awards given to deserving old students of the school, secretary ROGA, Mrs Olubunmi Odesanya noted that, “ Through this event, bond have been renewed and new ones formed. We thank the Lord for preserving those of us alive while we pray for the repose of the departed,”said Odesanya.