Search Site


Graduation Speech 2007

Your Excellency, The British High Commissioner, Sir Richard Gozney, Lady Gozney, The Honourable Commissioner for Education………… Dr and Mrs Adewumi, Members of the Board of Trustees, Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Honoured and Distinguished Guests, Colleagues, Ladies, Gentlemen and Students.

It gives me very great pleasure to welcome you all here today and in particular our Guests of Honour, Sir Richard and Lady Gozney. We are delighted that you are able to be with us on this important occasion in the life of the College, particularly at this very busy time for you both as you prepare to leave Nigeria in a few weeks’ time for your new posting as the Governor of Bermuda.
The interest that Sir Richard and Lady Gozney have shown not only in the College, but also our local community, are clear indications that the British High Commission is very much “hands on” when it comes to their activities in Nigeria.
The British Government are partners with Nigeria, and the recent high profile visitors from the UK coming to Nigeria, are clear indications that this country is important to the United Kingdom not only in terms of trade, which recently I understand, was recorded at well over 42 BILLION Naira for last year’s trading, but also in terms of social, educational and humanitarian programmes, to enable Nigerians to have a greater quality of life. We thank you for everything the High Commission is doing here in Nigeria, you honour us with your presence here today and we bid you ‘welcome!’

There is an amusing story told of three friends who died and who found themselves at the gates of Heaven, facing St. Peter.
Before being allowed to enter, St. Peter asked each a question “At your burial what would you like to hear family members and friends say about you?”
The first man said, “I would like to hear them say that I was a great doctor and a good family man”.
The second man answered, “I would like to hear that I was a wonderful husband and school teacher, who made a huge difference in our children”.
The third man thought for a moment, hesitated and then said, “I would like to hear them say………LOOK, HE’S MOVING!!!!!”

Well, Ladies and Gentlemen I have really good news for you today and the good news is that this school, celebrating its TENTH birthday this year, is not dead and really is moving and shaking, is going from strength to strength and is one of the best schools in Nigeria, outstripping our competitors.

In the simplest terms this year for the school has been another showcase of excellence.

Our results in the JAMB, WAEC, and Cambridge Examinations last year were the best in the history of the school, with a percentage pass rate of 96.5% at Junior NECO, a 98.1% pass rate Grades A-C in the WAEC Examinations and 90.4% pass rate Grades A-C in the University of Cambridge Examinations. These results were the envy of many of our competitors. For that our pupils and teachers are to be highly commended, for you are an example to Nigerians everywhere of hard work and dedication to academic excellence.
• Each year our pupils are winning more and more local and national recognition in a very wide range of competitions in Maths, the Sciences and General Knowledge. This year I am delighted to be able to tell you that, yet again, our pupils have won many Awards. Here I must pay particular tribute to one of our present SS2 pupils, James Uanhoro.
• James won the Bronze Medal in the State Finals of the Cowbell Mathematics Competition
• He came FIRST in the Mathematical Association of Nigeria Competition and will be representing Kwara State in the National Finals in Delta State in September.
• James came FIRST in the State Finals of the Science Teacher Association of Nigeria Competition and will be representing Kwara State in Sokoto at the National Finals in August.
• He came FIRST in the State Finals of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Science Quiz and will represent Kwara State in National Finals in Niger State later this year.
• Not satisfied with that James then came FIRST in the State Finals of the Nigerian Institute of Physicists Competition and will represent Kwara State at the National Finals in Lagos in August.
• Finally this year came SECOND in the State Finals of the International Junior Science Olympiad and will be competing in the National Finals in Abuja in August. If James wins this he will represent Nigeria at the World Finals in Taiwan in December.
• This is great news for Kwara State and for this College.
• We wish you the best of luck, James, and I think we should give him a resounding round of applause.
Congratulations to all those other winners amongst our pupils and of course their teachers for all their hard work.
• Two of our Graduating Class, Dolapo Ademokoya and Zainab Salaudeen achieved great success at this year’s Model United Nations Conference in Abuja. Dolapo was chosen as the best female Delegate at the Conference and also had the great honour of being elected as the President for the 2007 Conference out of over 2,000 Delegates. Zainab was also honoured by being elected as Secretary General. I think we should give Dolapo and Zainab a resounding round of applause for their wonderful achievements

These are the sorts of accolades which are marking this College as one of the best in the country. Two years ago we were named as amongst the top seven of the most elite schools in the country. In January of this year the College was named as ‘The Best Post-Primary School in Nigeria for 2006’. We are immensely proud of this sort of recognition and also to receive a congratulatory letter from His Excellency, The Governor of Kwara State and we should congratulate all those staff and students who have contributed to make all of this possible. Well done!

Good schools though are more than individual teachers, however capable. Good schools are communities of teachers, pupils and parents. They represent a tradition of achievement, of discipline and of academic excellence; of curricula and selection criteria; of identity and aspiration. Good schools embody ethos and this is what I feel makes TAICO so special and the reason why this College being recognized as one of the leaders educationally in the whole of Nigeria.

We are gradually improving in the area of sports. A much more rigorous programme has been introduced which, together with improving facilities will ensure that all the sporting needs of our students will be met. The Sports’ Department is also commencing Varsity training for our elite sports’ students. To be entered onto this programme, students have to have a consistent and above average academic performance.

Our activities programme has also radically improved, with many clubs and societies meeting weekly. We have also had some wonderful drama and musical evenings, heated debates, cooking competitions, fashion shows, inter-school quizzes and spelling competitions. It has been a very busy year!

Our Performing Arts Department has also been energetic with performances in Abuja and Ilorin this year. It was very heartening to hear the comments of Professor Akanji Nasiru, Professor of Theatre Arts at the University of Ilorin who attended one of their performances. He said of our students: “It’s difficult to believe that these performers are Secondary Students and not professionals – they are wonderful!” Congratulations to the Performing Arts Department and our very talented students – well done!

In eight days time 70 students and staff leave for the United Kingdom for a Choir and Cultural Tour. Our students will be performing at the University of Oxford, Reading School, Winchester Cathedral, St.James’ Piccadilly, St. Bartholomew’s Brighton and perhaps the highlight of the Tour for everyone, Windsor Castle! They will also be visiting some interesting places on the Tourist map as well. We wish them a safe journey and I know they will not only be good ambassadors for the College but also for Nigeria. I’m sure they will have a fantastic time as well!

Part of our role here at TAICO as educators is to provide your children with the best start they can have in life so that they can achieve their dreams, fulfill their potential and realize their talents.
The philosophy of this school is that every student is recognized for his or her own identity. Differentiated teaching and learning must be the norm. High expectations can exist perfectly within an atmosphere of enthusiasm for learning. Young minds should not feel guilty because they don’t know something – they should feel confident and happy because there is another opening for a learning experience. Learning should be enjoyable.

We have come a long way from Charles Dickens’ Wackford Squeers who demanded, “Give me facts, sir, give me facts”. Knowledge has to be nurtured of course, but our quest must be to nurture excellent learning, so that our pupils become lifelong learners. In that quest though for lifelong learning, there is a danger that we as a society have forgotten what value there is in the non-technological.

Yes, technology is very useful in our lives. The computer, mobile phones and the jet engine, amongst others, have transformed our everyday living. But why is it that with all the time saved, we have less time to enjoy other things?
I enjoyed reading an advertizement recently which read:
FOR SALE BY OWNER: Complete set of the Encyclopedia Britanica. 45 volumes. Excellent condition. £300 or best offer. No longer needed. Got married last month – my wife knows everything!
The in small print underneath it said:
Of course the real reason is that I now have access to encyclopedic software!

All of us seem to have become slaves to computers, the email or messenger. Yes, the ability to communicate is important, but so is having something to say! Technology is a useful tool, but God forbid that it will entirely replace the human need for doing nothing at all connected with machines.
I am so looking forward to the day when restaurants will offer a choice of table, as they used to with smoking or non-smoking – with the greeting “Mobile phone or non-mobile phone?” Cell phones are so useful, but do we have to have them invade every space?
And what is your role as parents? As a society we seem bent on accelerating children’s lives. Children are glorious and fun. Slow down. Give them some space and give yourselves time, too, to enjoy them. Sadly, I often hear of children whose whole holidays are spent with extra lessons in order to push them on.

Formation is not about having classes every minute; formation is very much about the chance to sit together as a family and communicate, to listen and to share. Time spent sharing and listening to each other has incalculable value. When was the last time you spent sitting reading with your children? It saddens me that some parents would rather spend N3,000 on recharge cards rather than buying books for their children. It was Jerry Seinfield the American comedian and social commentator that said: “A bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking!”

To every parent here today, I urge you to create a ‘research atmosphere’ in your homes - encouraging reading and finding out. Yes, the internet is useful, but nothing beats the warmth of interest of say a grandparent asked to tell his or her experiences. That human interaction is irreplaceable for it is a true learning experience. Perhaps the grandparent does not even know how to use a cell-phone or a computer, but the communication of having something important to say comes from a lifetime of living, making mistakes, developing wisdom and then expressing the experiences with joy to a grandchild.

To balance the growth and pace of change, we must keep up with, and have a pure passion for, the power in human contact, as well as making space for the development of inquiry and creativity. This must also be the base of our teaching programmes here at this College.
Teachers are not merely teachers, they challenge and stimulate the children’s desire to learn; they develop brain-friendly environments. They must also give children a space for their brains to breathe and let them participate in activities just for sheer fun and let them enjoy learning for wholesome growth. Every person should have human dignity to apply technology to solve society’s problems, not become passive slaves to its influence.
And if you need a salutary warning to underpin the need for the open mind and a passion for life-long learning you should know that a Report published recently in the UK stated that the obsolescence of a career in engineering and technology is now just three years! You cannot go back to college every three years, but you can apply the power of lifelong learning to develop further.

This College also has a reputation for caring. It is a human school. Schools are people – or they should be. Very often visitors comment to me about the incredible ethos of this school and the warmth of relationships within the community. The reason is that pupils here have an identity, the staff has a sense of purpose and focus on the pupils; hard work is the norm, because there is a momentum in the whole way of life here at Thomas Adewumi International College.

Part of that caring role is not only to look after our student’s well being but to also to ensure that our local community is cared for as well. In May last year, Your Excellency came to open Oko Medical Centre which was partly funded by the British High Commission.
This Centre has made an incredible difference to the health and well-being not only of our students and staff but also the local and wider community. It may interest you to know that since its commissioning on 16th May 2006 the medical staff in its community outreach have delivered 23 babies; another 72 babies have been completely immunized against poliomyelitis, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis, yellow fever and measles; they have performed 12 major surgeries and 22 minor surgeries; 1,120 adults have had their blood pressure measured and urine tested and have been treated accordingly and 5,400 children aged between 1 and 16 have been de-wormed.
It’s good to know that this College, together with the British High Commission, is making a tremendous difference in the healthcare and mortality of residents in this small area of Kwara State. We thank you, Sir Richard, for the part you have played in enabling this work to go forward.

While we celebrate the achievements of our students today, we also recognize the loyalty and commitment of our staff. Their role is vital, unique and far-reaching and I would like to thank all the staff both teaching and non-teaching on your behalf for their dedication and hard work during this past year.

Thank you also to Mr Wright and his team in the Preparatory School for a wonderful and exciting year. Next year, with your new accommodation and classrooms I’m sure greater things will be achieved. I must also thank several parents in particular who have supported the school generously of their time. To those who sit on the Parents Advisory and Consultative Committee: Mrs Bello, Mrs Oniko, Mrs Giwa, Mr. Haliru, Mr Dada, Mrs Oladimeji and Mrs Adeosun.
I must also thank Mrs Olwuwo from Ejigbo who has helped us so much in promoting the College in many ways.

We must also thank Mr Francis Osasona and Mr Victor Ogundele for the donation of Academic Prizes to be awarded at this ceremony. Thank you too to the parent of ex-pupils, Dr John Akanya, for his ongoing interest in the school and for continuing to donate Academic Prizes. The generosity of you all is much appreciated and I hope your example will encourage more parents to support the school in these and other ways.

We continue to be a leader in Kwara State in the teaching of the new French courses and I am continually grateful to Mrs Joyce Ayinmodu, Director of the Alliance Française in Illorin for her wonderful support of the school and also for donating prizes to be awarded at this ceremony.

We are still a young and developing school and there is a great deal yet to be achieved in improving our resources, classroom and extra-curricular facilities, but we have an ongoing development plan which will see this come to fruition as and when funds are available. We shall continue to develop our Library which is essential for the future academic development and excellence of this College. It was the early Roman poet and Philosopher, Cicero, who commented that “to give a library to a house is to give that house a soul”. We should read books not only for the knowledge they provide but also for the fire it will ignite in all of us.

These developments will not be possible, however, unless all parents pay the school fees of their children and pay them on time. In this connection please read very carefully the information that you will find in your child’s Report package concerning fees and many other important matters. None of our achievements though would be viable without the constant support and encouragement of the Founders of the College, Dr and Mrs Adewumi and without that my task would be impossible. Their strong and wise counsel is essential, so that both the traditions of TAICO and its need to be innovative are well catered for and we thank you.

I continue to be very impressed by the pupils of this school. They are some of the nicest children I have encountered in the whole of my teaching career. Your cheerfulness, patience and good manners are to be commended and you are a credit not only to the College but also your families.

Sir Richard and Lady Gozney, Ladies and Gentlemen: The success of TAICO depends on many factors: the hard work of the students, the vocation and commitment of the staff, the dedication of the Founders, the gift of education and, at times, the huge sacrifice of you the parents. Pupils only get one chance to have their school education and they are entitled to expect the best possible provision.
I can assure you it is my intention, and that of the Board of Trustees, to face the challenges ahead and continue to provide an education which has high expectations of all pupils and staff and which seeks constant improvement to achieve standards of excellence.

Members of the Class of 2007
You have probably wanted this day to arrive for many reasons. I remember feeling years ago that I was ready to leave school and yet, when it came closer, those feelings became mixed and I wanted to slow things down just a little. The feeling of a new freedom and the anxiety of leaving something secure is very normal.

Anatole France wrote “All changes, even the most longed-for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind is part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter into another”.
What you have become today is an amalgamation of so many sources, so many experiences, not all good perhaps, but then not having difficulties to face and from which to learn, would limit you and make you unable to make choices and decisions. So, difficult, challenging times are essential in your growth.

Perhaps those sources have included loved ones, your parents or other members of your family. Perhaps too you will remember those teachers who have inspired you to try to do something new, to break boundaries and stretch towards an as yet unknown potential – someone who believed in you.
Always remember the values you have learnt here in College and you will not go wrong. Remember that if you want Rights you have to accept the Responsibilities that go with those Rights as well, for you cannot have one without the other.

Nor must you forget the single most important principle that unites Christianity, Islam and Judaism – the three Abrahamic faiths:
In Judaism: “Love your neighbour as thyself”
In Christianity: “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them”
In Islam: “no-one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself”.

Respect for others and for what is precious to others – in other words, good manners, civility and a willingness to listen – ensures respect towards our own values and ideals.
Whatever your feelings are right now – excitement at the prospect of facing new challenges, sadness at not being together as a Class again – I hope you can look back at all your experiences here at TAICO, both good and not so good, and feel a great sense of pride in your having successfully reached the next door to be opened. Pass through that door confidently - you are more than equipped to face your new life, whatever it may bring.

I hope too that the love your College has for you will encourage you to come back and visit us often – the doors will always be open for you. I know that we will be proud of you in the future. Good luck to you all.

May I take this opportunity to wish you all a very safe and relaxing holiday and, to those of you returning, I look forward to seeing you again for the beginning of the next academic session on Sunday, September 9th.

Happy Holidays!

Home | Introduction | Alumni | Admission | Fees | Application Form
Campus Map | School Tour | Location | College Calendar | Contact Us
(c) Thomas Adewumi College, Oko, Kwara State, Nigeria