A REPORT ON THE VISIT TO F.G.G.C. LANGTANG BY MEMBERS OF THE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION (FLOGA) - #PROJECTINSPIRE
The event took place on the 15th and 16th of January, 2016.
After several weeks of planning, the day dawned bright and fair on Friday, the 15th of January, 2016. Even though, at first, it appeared to be just another day, in truth, it was a history-making day.
Delegates from Lagos Chapter arrived Abuja to join delegates from PH, Kaduna and Abuja. Team Jos and Team Gombe were picked up along the way and we were headed straight to Langtang. Nineteen of us in all.
The bus was filled with excited chatter which grew in intensity as the school walls came into view. By the time we got to the school gate, the excitement was palpable.
This Banner hung at the gate. A sneak preview of what was to come.
The gates were thrown open and our excited chatter quickly gave way to hushed surprise. We could not believe our eyes. Right before us, on either side of the road, lined a long row of students impeccably dressed in their blue and white school uniforms complete with cream-coloured ceremonial hats trimmed with blue sashes! What a sight it was. So much so that we asked the driver to stop so we could disembark.
We weren't quite sure what to make of it as our hearts swelled with nostalgia. We felt like hugging the girls one by one!
Up ahead, towards the Admin Block, the Principal beckoned to us and slowly we made our way towards her, the staff were there waiting for us.
Upon reaching there, a lovely little girl presented a bouquet of flowers to our National President - Abiola Awote (Osomo) and gave a brief welcome speech which left our eyes glistenning with the threat of tears.
The principal formally welcomed us all and the staff introduced themselves to us.
Darkness was quickly descending and the Principal acknowledged that the long trip would soon begin to
take it's toll on us. Dinner was ready she announced but first we needed to say hello to girls who had been waiting for us all day.
So it was, that we headed towards the Assembly Ground. As we approached, we could hear the 'Boom, Boom, Boom" sound of music from some loudspeakers and as soon as the girls caught the sight of us as we approached, they erupted in loud screams and the music got even louder.
The atmosphere was charged with excitement. It was all so surreal. We felt like superstars being welcomed on-stage at a large concert.
The girls kept on screaming and waving as we made our way up to the pavement. This time, we could not stop the tears. We cried!
[Link to the Video of our Hero's Welcome] - Forgive the quality!
One by one we all introduced ourselves to the girls. There were loud shouts and rounds of applause as we mentioned our years of graduation and the hostels we were in while in school. To hear that some of us graduated as early as 1986 must have been un fathomable to many of the girls who were not even born then!
Reluctantly, we left the girls with promises of more to come the next day and we were ushered into a hall where a delicious spread was set before us. We ate and drank to our hearts' fill and retired to our Tim Tali Hotel accommodation to rest our weary heads and reminisce on the Hero's Welcome we had just received. The next day was going to be packed with events and we would be needing all of the energy we could muster.
Saturday, 16th of January, 2016 dawned bright and fair and by 6:30am we were headed back to the school for our early morning Aerobic Session with some members of staff.
The Session was led by our nimble Falilat Shittu and it turned out to be one hour of exciting knot-loosening and muscle-firming moves. It felt good! Even the staff were able to keep up with the rythm.
After the aerobic session, we returned to our hotel to freshen up and get ready for breakfast while the National EXCO Members got ready for Hostel Inspection by 9am.
With the help of the Senior Boarding House Mistress Mrs Elizabeth, the EXCOS navigated the hostels, 7 Hostels with 2 Blocks each, Senior and Junior.
It took more energy than we bargained for but we were determined to complete the task and our hearts sank as we beheld various degrees of decaying infrastructure.
The girls did the best they could with cleaning their surroundings but one hostel stood tall among the rest. The winning hostel was to be announced during the main event later that day and prizes awarded. The EXCOs couldn't but notice one bed that was the best dressed. Smooth and crisp with sparkling white bedsheet. We took her name down as well and she was to be awarded a prize during the main event. It became critical to single her out because it appeared that majority of the girls simply did not know how to make their beds!
After inspection, the girls made their way to the dining hall for breakfast and we had some time to take selfies with them as they giggled, and pushed to get into
After breakfast, we set about getting the hall ready for the event proper. With the help of some students, we displayed the gifts we came with for the staff and students
and also the presentation to be made by the Abuja and Lagos Chapters - Books for the Library and Book Club and Supplies for the school clinic respectively.
Gradually, the hall filled up with the students and the staff took their seats. The stage was occupied by us Old Girls with the EXCOs and Management STaff at the high table.
Our MC was the amiable Ladi Akpa who took command of the event and steered us in the right direction.
A JSS1 girl volunteered to give the opening prayer after which the School Anthem was sung. Our delectable National President Abiola Awote (Osomo) gave the opening spech
and the Principal, soft-spoken Mrs ShiiShii-Gyer, gave the Welcome Address.
Soon after, a welcome song was done by the school's Music Club who gave a beautiful performance. During the course of the programme there were performances by the Taroh Dance Group, Hausa Dance group and Igbo Dance Group. The main event however was the series of talks presented by our FLOGA Delegates:
1. Bliss Danagogo-Jack Adekola (1988) - PH Chapter: Self Esteem: Implications and Impact
2. Grace Gangson Wang (1997) - Jos Chapter: Surviving in a male dominated world
3. Abshe Sani (1997) - Gombe Chapter: Goal Setting and Decision Making
4. Nkiruka Pedro-Iyalla - (1995) - Lagos Chapter: The Seed of Dreams
5. Nkechi Kwalmi (1991) - Abuja Chapter: Observations
6. Binwana Gazuwa (2006) - Abuja Chapter: A testimony of how FGGC Langtang changed my life
The girls listened with rapt attention as the speakers shared with them nuggets of wisdom, inspiring them to be the best they could possibly. Their faces shone with hope because standing before them were successful women who had walked in their shoes many years ago, in whom the seeds of greatness had been sown on these very grounds.
It was evident that that day would be forever etched in the memories of many of the girls. Project Inspire had laid the foundation for greater things to come.
At the end of the talk sessions, it was time to make our presentations.
Fati Muritala-Ibrahim, the General Secretary of Abuja Chapter and National Vice President, made a presentation of books to the school library. The books were received by
the Principal. She also inaugurated the Book Club by handing over the books to the Library and Press Club Prefects with a mandate to kick start the new club's activities
where members would pick a particular book to be read within a given period and meet regularly to have discussions on the book. Regular reports were to be sent to the EXCO.
Nkiruka Pedro-Iyalla, the National Secretary General, made a presentation of the School Clinic Supplies on behalf of Lagos Chapter. The supplies were also handed over to the Principal.
In order to express our gratitude to the Principal and the Management team, gifts were also presented to them. Biola Awote, The National President, did the honours.
The Principal - Mrs Shiishii-Gyer
The V.P Special Duties - Mrs Pam K.N.
The V.P Student Affairs - Mrs Kum
The V.p Admin - Mr Ogboru
The delegates then proceeded to hand out sundry gift items and souvenirs to staff (Academic and Non-academic). The students were not left out as they were called upon class by class and handed gifts. By the time we reach JSS2, we ran out of gifts! But the National President was on hand to save the day. She made a promise to have the remaining gifts sent to the principal within 2 weeks so that no one was left out. We are glad to announce that that promise has been fulfilled.
Gifts were also handed out to the winner of the hostel inspection - Limpopo House - they came first with 97.9points. The best dressed bed award went to Miss Sapaai of JSS2E.
Some books were also handed out to the President of the F.C.S. The National President handed out special gifts to all the groups that entertained us during the course of the event.
It was on that note that the main event came to an end. The girls were reluctant to go but their faces lit up again when we promised them we would be back later that night for Social Night.
We all dispersed for lunch after which we took a tour of the school.
We started from the classroom area. There was evidence of some refurbishment but in many of the classrooms, there were missing louvres and blackboards which were not black
From there we moved to the hostel area. Again there were quite a number of abandoned building projects and the existing buildings were at various stages of disrepair.
Ceiling fans were bent out of shape, many of the windows had absolutely no louvres! The toilets were broken and many of the bathrooms unusable. The apartment floors had potholes that gave the rooms a perpertual dirty and untidy look. There was no water and so the girls fetched water from a well! We were aghast to find out that the well was the relic of a previously functional borehole.
From the Hostel we went to the dining hall where we found out that the dining hall was no longer large enough to cater to the needs of the students. Many of them had to eat outside during meals. The Kitchen beside the dining hall is still the same old dilapidated, dark, smoky kitchen. We interacted with the kitchen staff who went about their duties preparing dinner.
The next port of call was the school clinic. It was indeed an eyesore. Empty drug cabinets. Torn mosquito nets. Worn out bedsheets on limp mattresses. Dead medicine fridge and a generally dank atmosphere.
But it was not all bad news. The Federal Government under the Universal Basic Education programme UBEC had successfuly built, completed and handed over the new e-Library.The Administration Block had also been recently re-modeled and re-furbished. There was the ongoing solar powered street light project.
In the light of all that is needed to be done however, the new projects were just a drop in the bucket.
The realization that our Alma Mater was in dire need of support dawned on us. And indeed, it is up to us to do something that will make a real difference.
Later that night, we gathered again for Social Night. It was lots of fun with music and dancing. Many of the delegates even performed some old school dance steps.
To wrap the night up, we spoke to the girls about the etiquette and how important it was that they carried themselves with grace and self respect. Fati Muritala-Ibrahim led the charge. Earlier on, many of them were seen tying wrappers on their chests as they milled about the hostel area. It was an eyesore and a sign of poor sense of decorum. We also admonished the prefects to take their work seriously by asserting themselves and the authority bestowed on them by reason of the office they occupy. It was difficult to see any form of leadership attributes from their part as they could hardly keep the other students in line.
By the time we dispersed, everyone felt a deep sense of accomplishment.
Project Inspire was a success. But this was only just the beginning. There was so much to do and it was clear that the school would be needing our support on an on-going basis.
The principal came by to bid us farewell as we left Langtang on Sunday 17th January, 2016. We promised to keep in touch with her as FLOGA was geared to make a visible difference in the coming weeks.
The Time to act is Now!