BIFOBA President: Kingsley Essien (Barrister)
Global President's Remarks on the Occasion of the 59th Founders' Day Ceremony of Birch Freeman High School, Surulere, Lagos.
The 6th day of February is a very important day in the history of Birch Freeman High School, Surulere, Lagos State.
It is the school’s birthday. In keeping with tradition; we, the old boys of Birch Freeman High School, Surulere have resolved that every year, we should rejoice with our Alma Mater and celebrate HER.
Slow and steady, our Alma Mater is advancing gracefully. This year She turns Fifty-Nine (59). A child that was born Fifty-Nine years ago, is certainly an adult. Our Alma Mater is now in the League of Senior Schools and taking Her rightful place within the Committee of distinguished schools.
We give God all the Glory and Honour for the life of our Alma Mater. She is a child of circumstances. A child that went through serious trauma in the course of Her growth and was nearly abandoned by her parents has come of age. Birch Freeman High School, Surulere is a child that was meant to live despite all trials and tribulations.
As Old Boys of Birch Freeman High School, Surulere, we have every cause to be thankful to God for the wonderful ways HE has preserved our Alma Mater. That is why we have kept alive the tradition of celebrating her birthday. We are indeed happy that we have been able to sustain this wonderful tradition.
Those days, when we were tiny tots, we used to walk in twos from our School compound to Hoares Memorial Methodist Church, Sabo, Yaba, to celebrate the birthday of our Alma Mater with a commemoration service. However, today, by the special Grace of God we are celebrating our Alma Mater's birthday at Her Home and in a befitting Auditorium made possible by Her Children.
We are also using this auspicious occasion to present to our young brothers (current students of BFHS) Desks and Chairs to assist them in their studies. We feel embarrassed that our young brothers now sit on the floor and write their examinations using planks as a table. This is unacceptable to us. That is why we embarked on this Desk and Chair project. It is not the first time we have intervened to rescue our Alma Mater from embarrassment. Sometime in June/July last year, we spent a huge amount of money to replace a portion of the roof that was blown away by the strong wind. Through our intervention, we saved the Physics, Biology and IT Laboratories from destruction from rain and elements of weather. We did the same thing about two years ago.
We have also turned a swamp to a football field.
It cost us a lot of money to get the field to the level it is today. Work is ongoing and by the Grace of God, we will complete the project. We will be grateful if we could get any assistance from friends of BIFOBA.
For the first time in twenty years, our Association has successfully enrolled our Alma Mater in the Comity of Schools that participate in the Masters Cup.
The Masters Cup competition is sponsored by Guaranty Trust Bank Plc. and is equivalent of the Principal's Cup of those days. Our school used to take part in the Principal's Cup and yours truly was in the school's football first team. I played no 7.
Competitions such as this are necessary to expose our students positively and showcase the school to the outside world in a good light.
I like to seize this opportunity to thank our old boy who initiated the idea, followed it through, and funded the kitting of the team. He also enrolled the team with a Football Academy where the Boys have been training and getting ready for the football fiesta. For now, the old boy has chosen to remain anonymous.
The people here may not know you, I know you and God knows you and will definitely bless you and your family.
On the issue of the chairs and Desks, for now, we are donating 132 Double chairs and desks and 55 single desks and chairs. A Total of 187 Desks and Chairs.
We hope to produce and donate more.
We make this donation with the understanding that the Government cannot provide everything for our Alma Mater. Indeed, we seek to partner with the Government to provide adequate infrastructure for our Alma Mater.
On that note, we plead most passionately with the Government through our amiable Tutor General and the Mushin Local Government Chairman, most respectfully to grant us the permission to put our Auditorium to guided commercial use in order to raise funds and assist in the maintenance of our Alma Mater's infrastructure and to expose the children positively and broaden their horizon so as to get them meaningfully employed and move them away from mischief.
Our next project is the provision of a befitting Gate for our Alma Mater. We have already started with the sand filling of the gate region.
By the Grace of God, we intend to donate the Gate during the 60th birthday anniversary of our Alma Mater come February 6, 2020.
On behalf of all Old Boys globally, I thank all the dignitaries that have found time to be here to celebrate with us. All the old boys who endowed awards and all the old boys who donated towards the hosting of this event. May God bless you all.
I also thank the Old Boys and Sets who collectively and individually made it possible to carry out the Desk/Chair project. Special thanks also go to the young committee that put this event together. I feel happy that we have been able to train young Old Boys who will take over from us. Thank you, Mr. Olise-Emeka Nwachukwu and Team. You have proven to me that you were truly trained for duty and for God. I equally thank the Principals of the Senior and Junior Schools and all the teachers for their hard work and support at all times. I thank our Lords Spiritual from the Methodist Church who despite their very busy schedule have granted us the indulgence and graced this event. Thank you, my Lords. I want to say that our school may be a Government school, but she is a school with a tradition. Before she was taken over by the Government, we used to observe and celebrate her birthday strictly. Old Boys are very passionate about our school and are determined to sustain the lofty tradition that saw us through and that endeared the school to us.
It is the tradition that we met in our Alma Mater and which we believe in, that has made us be so, so passionate about our school. We believe that in any other school, we are strangers. This is the only school we can call our own. We shall continue to invest in this school to the best of our ability.
We plead with the Government to accept our partnership proposal so that together, we shall move this school to lofty heights. We plead with the Tutor General to grant our school the indulgence of allowing only our JSS3 students to be the only ones to proceed to SSS1. Posting of strange students from schools that are not as disciplined as ours and do not share our core values pollute our young students and cause problems for our teachers and our Association.
Once again, I welcome you all to this memorable event. Please relax and celebrate with us.
" HAPPY BIRTHDAY BIRCH FREEMAN HIGH SCHOOL, Surulere”, Lagos
Long live Birch Freeman High School, Surulere, long live BIFOBA. Up School, Up BIFOBA.
Barr. Kingsley Essien (MGA)