Dear Parents, Teachers, Students and Honourable Guests.
I am overwhelmed with joy as we turn out the first graduating set, the Eldians (2022).
It gives me great pleasure to look at the Eldians. You and your parents have worked hard to achieve this, beginning from Good Shepherd, Owode, and today, we celebrate your success.
You are pioneers. A pioneer is one who is among the first to enter a school; thus opening it up for occupation and development by others.
This is the literal meaning. A pioneer is also a person or group of people who are among the first in any field of inquiry, enterprise or progress.
To be a pioneer means to move forward into a territory that is new. This means taking risks, but it also means great adventure and rewards. Some of you who are here today would remember that our departure from Tramfield College, our takeoff point, even though many left out of frustration, is now our story of success today. Thank you for having faith in God and me that it is possible.
Think back to the first day of school. Everyone was a little worried and nervous. New classmates, new teachers, new school with little or no structures; so many new strange things to get used to. Each one of you was very brave, determined to forge ahead.
Eldians, you have worked very hard this year, growing, not only physically, but also growing in character and in learning. Thank you for representing the school in major academic competitions, and always making us proud. Even in learning, you carried the weak along; you were always helping your classmates. You should feel very proud of yourselves.
Special thanks go to your parents who always work hard to see you through school, even in this difficult time. Your commitment and support is second to none. At the start of the school, many parents who left encouraged you to join them, but you did not follow such path. Instead, you allowed faith to guide you. “…Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not yet seen” (Heb. 11:1). It is indeed you faith that we are celebrating today. Your commitment and support was critical in helping our students keep up with their studies. You sat by your children to motivate them. You encouraged them when they felt overwhelmed, or even afraid of my koboko. You comforted them when they felt sad. As weeks turned into months, you had faith in the school and her teachers that your children would see light at the end of the tunnel. Today’s success did not come by accident. It is the result of students, teachers and parents working harmoniously together towards a common goal.
I also want to thank our teachers and staff, who have worked tirelessly for the success of our students. You indeed stressed yourselves so much in order to ensure smooth running of the school. Without your passion for education and commitment to our students, we would not be celebrating today. Special thanks to Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Uche and Mrs. Patricia Adingwupu.
Finally, dear students, cherish this moment. Look around you and capture some part of this day in your hearts. Be proud that today marks the successful end of one stage in your lives – secondary school – and the beginning of a new stage – university education.
Andrew, Chinaza, Gerald, MaryAnn, Sylvia, Chinyeaka, David Usifoh, Pascal, Kamsi, Ginika, Nwosu Anthony, Nicole, Somto, Catherine, Emmanuel, Daara, Christian, Josemaria, Marcel, Anthony Ibuzo, Victor, Sopulu, Abah, Egonye and Gloria. It is really difficult saying goodbye, but at the same time, I am happy that you are going. This reminds me of the strange episode towards the end of the Gospel of Luke, concerning Jesus and his disciples. It goes thus: “Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands, he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God” (Luke 24:50-53).
This conclusion surprises us. Luke says that the disciples were full of joy at the Lord’s definitive departure. We would have expected them to be perplexed and sad. Every parting causes sadness. How could his definitive separation from them not make them sad? And yet it is written that they returned to Jerusalem with great joy, blessing God. How are we to understand this?
In any case, it follows that the disciples did not feel abandoned. They understood a new manner of his presence. You will now become our Alumni; a new form of relationship as you continue with your university studies. I love you all and will always keep praying for you. Stay blessed and goodbye Eldians.