From all walks of life around the world, old students of Aggrey Memorial College Arochukwu gathered on December 29, in answer to a clarion call by the Alumni association for a historic re-union of its old boys and girls.
It was a day hundreds of old students of the college came together to raise funds, to rebuild their alma mater, in an effort to restore its past glory.
They equally attracted friends of the college that share their passion for quality education, which the college in its heyday provided kids who have now become important personalities.
Starting with a novelty football match of the oldies on December 28, a road show followed, with the old girls donning customized T-shirts and their trademark college skirt, leading to a special dinner session hosted by an alumnus, Sir Chikwendu Udensi. The exercise served to sensitize the communities of the unfolding epochal event.
The celebrations climaxed on December 29 during an electrifying Gala Nite, where the essence of the gathering was drummed home at the Arochukwu Civic Centre.
In her address, chairperson of the organizing committee, Mrs. Grace C. Okaro, welcomed the old students to where she described as “your former place of sojourn,” thus igniting their feeling of nostalgia.
President of the Alumni Association, Mazi Emmanuel Okoro Egbukwu, traced the historical trajectory of the college, which was founded in 1932 by a foremost educator, Dr. Alvan Ikoku. Appealing to the old students and their friends that indeed Aggrey Memorial College Arochukwu needs help, Egbukwu regretted that its infrastructure had decayed due to years of neglect.
He, however, said that “a new era for our alma mater is here, and I urge you all to be steadfast and firm in your belief in a renewed Aggrey for posterity.”
According to him, urgent attention of the Alumni is required in identifying areas of intervention for sustainable development and improvement of the institution, and to liaise with relevant authorities with the aim of restoring the school’s decayed infrastructure.
Specifically to the old students, Egbukwu said: “I am pleased to report that many of you have keyed selflessly and generously into these objectives. And because of your time, financial, intellectual, moral, and sweat equity, we have already made great strides towards the actualization of some of the objectives within the short span of time we have been in office.”
For their achievements, and to the credit of the college, some notable old students were accorded official recognition denoted by presentation of plaques.
Also, some influential persons in the catchment communities earned the recognition of college for their contributions to development.
Notable personalities that graced the occasion included Prof Okoro Ijoma, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, Dr.O.J Nnanna, Prof Solo Umeham, Mazi Dave Imoko, Dr. Uche Orji, Sir Chikwe Udensi, Dr Emma Nwadeyi, Elder Ike Onu and his wife, Engr. Nnamdi Udoh and Mazi Udo Torty among others.
In the mood of the Yuletide season, Rocobath Choral Group provided the musical entertainment, complemented by the Ugochinyere and Ojojo Cultural Dance groups.
And when it was time to write the cheques, the special invitees did not disappoint. They demonstrated their support to ‘Make Aggrey Great Again’ by donating in hundreds of thousands, and in millions of naira.
Suffice to say that the old students had long yeaned for such a forum to bring them together after decades of leaving school and migrating to different parts of the world.
First sitting in Class clusters, one of the ways they demonstrated their yeaning to mingle once again was the spontaneity with which they broke the ranks, converting every space of the floor for dancing, in response to familiar songs of the ‘old skool’ genre. It was indeed a no-holds-barred exercise, some with glasses of wine in their hand.
A cross-section of the old students expressed delight at the occasion, giving kudos to the Alumni executive for organizing the event.
Mrs. Ivuoma Ndukwe, an old student of the Class of 1979, who flew in from the United States of America for the re-union, said her trip home was worth the while.
She, it was, that championed the return of the trademark tartan skirt uniform, which the college had jettisoned, with a consequent loss of identity by the female students.
For Dr. Henry Onyeador, another Diaspora-based old student, the re-union represented a remarkable milestone in the history of the college.
The post-event feelers indicate that those who could not return for the ceremony are already looking forward to the next.
Similarly, potential donors who could not also attend the ceremony have reportedly promised to make up in cash donation for their absence.