… As Angel Gabriel’s College marks maiden investiture
By Jude Michael
Two students of Angel Gabriel’s College, Okpuno, on Sunday, March 5, became lucky beneficiaries of scholarship by the Catholic bishop of the Awka Diocese, the Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor.
The scholarship award was given during the 9 a.m. pontifical Mass at St Gabriel’s Parish, Okpuno, with many people in attendance, including parishioners, staff, students, parents and friends of the college.
The event also witnessed the investiture of 124 students, as well as the two students who went home with scholarships for one full academic session.
The holy Mass was presided over by Bishop Ezeokafor, who is also the proprietor of the school. The Mass, as requested by the manager of Angel Gabriel’s, Rev. Fr Fidelis Odunukwe, was offered specifically in thanksgiving to God for making the day a reality and for the well-being of the college.
During the homily and drawing from the readings of the day (Second Sunday of Lent, A), the prelate emphasised the intrinsic quality of listening, pointing out that genuine listening is faith-oriented and has the character of obedience to Jesus and his Church.
Bishop Ezeokafor explained that faith makes listening possible, especially in moments of crisis and difficulty, even as he said that listening with faith does not end up in mere words but compels the listener to act godly too.
Speaking about the joyous and maiden investiture of the students, the bishop said the thought to have something like St Patrick’s College down at Okpuno was intensified by October 2021, noting that around February 2022 the translation of that thought into reality began.
“The target was to start the 2022/2023 academic year here; we thank God that it happened as planned and we are celebrating it today,” said the bishop, who disclosed that the establishment of such schools was not for monetary gains but rather in imitation of what he described as the good legacy of the early missionaries who, he said, allowed the opening up of churches to go hand in glove with the establishment of schools.
“Again, it is our conviction that since man is a composite of body and soul, the two must be developed and nurtured simultaneously. Because the human person is born tabula rasa, nurture and nature are paramount in the formation of any human being and the choice of school is highly essential. Parents are the first teachers of every child and those who are teachers in missionary schools must also be good Christians; they are to inform and not deform,” Bishop Ezeokafor said.
He lauded all who contributed in making the school to have a very promising future and encouraged the students to be docile to formation and to be malleable.
At the conclusion of the Mass, the address of welcome was presented by Emmanuella Ugochi Ogu and Rosaria Ifunanya Igboanugo, both students of JSS1.
In that address, they praised God for making that day a reality and for making them grow from the thirteen of them who kicked off the school on 19th September 2022, to 124 students. They thanked the bishop, the manager, the new principal, Lady Edna Ubboe, and all those who helped them in the journey.
Disclosing the values that the colors of their uniform embody, namely, safety, purity, cleanliness, trust and stability, they expressed confidence that they would make their parents and the society proud.
An elated Bishop Ezeokafor granted Emmanuella and Rosaria scholarship for one full academic year. They thrilled the audience with their distinct voice and articulate manner of presentation.
Later, an overjoyed Emmanuella Ugochi Ogu gushed, “I have never won any scholarship in my life before and I thank God that I was privileged to be among the students chosen to present the address.”
She went further to thank the bishop and her supervisor, Mrs Nfor MaryBruno, and her English teacher, for their tutorship and encouragement.
In a similar vein, the excited Rosaria Ifunanya Igboanugo said she was filled with tears of joy because the scholarship would help relieve her parents of the financial difficulties they were passing through.
On her part, the principal said she was filled with goose pimples while her students were performing because their performance was superb.
“To cap it, His Lordship surprised them with scholarships,” she said, thanking the bishop, even as she noted that the whole event provided hope and journey to excellence for the school.
At the end of the celebration, there were group and class photographs with the bishop, as well as light refreshment.
It was a memorable, historic and joyous celebration for the students and all who came to see the newly built school, which has “discipline and character formation is our watchword” as its motto.