Old girls’ association awards scholarship to brilliant students of alma mater


From  Chris Anucha, Port Harcourt

Four students of Saint Maria Goretti Girls’ Grammar School (SMAGOGA), Benin City, Edo State, have been awarded scholarship for their academic brilliance and performance. The beneficiaries, Unuafe O. Anita (SS1), Usman H. Faith (JSS1), Enokeran B. Irese (JSS1) and  Chioma Okafor, were recently issued with cheques to that effect, at this year’s annual general meeting of the Old Girls Association of the school which set up the scholarship scheme in the first place to encourage academic hard work and scholarly studies among the students.

The  AGM has   always   been fun for its members as it is  usually  characterised  by sweet memories and reminiscences of  their days and years at their alma mater.  This year’s  AGM, held  in  Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, was  no less  different. It afforded members the opportunity to interact, take   stock of  their individual  achievements and failures, assess the  state  of  their alma mater with a  view  to assisting in one form or the other, in meeting the needs of  their  great  school.

Some of the ways the association contributes  to the  development of  the school are:  through  rehabilitation  of   dilapidated  infrastructure,   construction of new  structures, award  of scholarships to deserving  students of  the school, among  others.

Saint  Maria  Goretti  Girls’  Grammar  school, founded  in Benin City on March  4, 1959,   by  a  Catholic Mission proprietor, Bishop P.J. Kelly, and named after  a canonised 12-years-old girl,  whose life stood for  purity in mind and  body, has produced  prominent women in the society. They include judges, medical doctors, educationists, engineers and successful businesswomen, among  others.

With this year’s theme: “The Role  of Women in  A  Depressed  Economy,” members tried to proffer some solutions  on  how women could  help  to cushion  the biting effects of the  current   recession in  the country, on their  families,   in line  with one of  the missions of  the association, which is: “to  promote  the welfare  of all members  and  the school.”

Welcoming members to the 18th National Convention and AGM/Reunion, the National President of the association, Dame Victoria Ekhomu listed the priorities of the association as: returning the school to the Catholic Mission, establishment of  Scholarship Fund  (which has just kicked off), renovating the school’s wall fence,  building a vocational centre for learning tailoring, tie-and-dye, bag-and-shoe making, engaging  in  charitable  works, among others.

Earlier in her welcome address, the president of the association, Port Harcourt Branch, Mrs. Angela Jesuorobo, noted that the association has been able to make   some progress despite  the challenges facing  it. Delivering a lecture entitled: “The role of the woman in a depressed economy”, Prof. Philomena Ejele, of the Department of Linguistics and Communication Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), described women  as,  not only managers of  homes, but bread-winners in the  event  of  their husbands  losing their jobs,   due  to the   depressed economy.

Given the fact that many women are finding it difficult to meet the needs and expectations of  their families in the face of outrageous increase in prices  of  foodstuffs  and  other needs, she advised them to develop the habit of saving during the period of economic prosperity by investing in small scale businesses, taking advantage of self-development  programmes of  various governments and changing their ostentatious lifestyle and wasteful spending. 

The high point of the occasion was the presentation of cheques to the four students of the school  who benefited   from the Old Girls’ Association’s  scholarship scheme.

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