I am ” Ɔdadeɛ”. My name is popular among the Akan’s of Ghana for I am a massively-huge baobab tree. I am a symbol of resilience and endurance as depicted by the toughness of my stem. I stand in the middle of an old school compound at Odumase Krobo, a compound which housed the German missionaries, and then became a primary school and later a government survey school.
When the survey school vacated my premises for Accra, I dwelt all by myself. I comforted myself in my lonely situation till one day in 1938 I had company again. A young, enterprising educationist who insisted on the Presbyterian Boys’ Secondary School discovered my vacant compound. He fought so hard and got the go – ahead. This man with a vision started his mission right on my compound. A mission to train young men into worthy citizens. PRESEC was the school and Engmann Augustus Wilkens was the man.
Without much ado, Engmann and his team made do with my limited resources. They toiled under the sun and in the rain till they made head way, a paltry one it was though. They continued, preserved and struggled, these brave men, for they knew very well that nothing ventured nothing gained. So on they toiled, the pioneer members of PRESEC, 16 boys and four teachers with their 35-year-old headmaster, E.A.W. Engmann an embodiment of stoic determination in the embodiment lead.
They trudged along in my ramshackle structures, often without electricity and without any amenities. Such a hard time they had, my poor, poor children. But they were a happy lot – they laughed in the heat of the day, they laughed in the cold of the night. They smiled in the face of difficulties and they braved the mosquitoes of the day and night. They looked up to me, father “Ɔdadeɛ” as they affectionately called me and I gave them the needed tools and they overcame obstacles and conquered problems”. Success was their reward. Their senses were sensitized, their horizons were widened and their minds were broadened.
Moments worth waiting for were slowly won by years of perseverance; happy moments when hope opened like a shell and showed success; moments when light broke through darkness and ushered in dawn, they could not be too grateful to their masters: The masters whose love and care helped them along, teaching them how to face the world, a world full of uncertainties and trials.
Many heard of them and rushed to join their ranks. New sons nicknamed “Raws” were admitted from year to year. Clad in bedsheets with heavily powdered faces these “Raws” went through initiation ceremony at my feet. This was a way of receiving them into the fold of PRESEC, as full-fledged children of Ɔdadeɛ. You should see them when they come, these Raws, timid, helpless and very raw. I worked hard on them, filling them with knowledge, perseverance and endurance. Christian values of propriety, humility, strict discipline were also inculcated into them.
My branches began to spread. My Odumase home became too small for my children. I was all out to spread and shine, increase and multiply with no Family Planning to stand in my way. The sky was the limit and my goal was boundless, I needed space to expand. I was suffocating, I felt choked. I cried out for help. My cry was heard by those who cared.
Among them were Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the Ist President of the Republic of Ghana, himself a great scholar, Rev. A.L. Kwansa , the hardworking Synod Clerk at the time and La Traditional Council which provided land for my re-housing. I salute them all.
A new home was built for me at Legon, where my children referred to me as Mother Ɔdadeɛ Whether Father or Mother I was and I am their parent and I keep ever watchful eyes over them. I produced daughters too. For 21 years (75-96) I had daughters rubbing shoulders with my sons.
In February 1978 to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of PRESEC a seedling grafted from me was planted on the new campus at Legon, in front of the Library, by the then President of the Old Boys’ Association – Mr. Opoku Boateng, a Barrister-at-Law and a member of the 1950-year group. Oh yes, I have produced some of the greatest personalities in Ghana today – Doctors, Engineers, Teachers, Surveyors, Lawyers, Ministers of State and Religion etc. You name them. All helping to build the nation.
Oh how happy I am now to see my children in their new surroundings, trudging along in His LIGHT, trudging along to victory and singing with all their might.
“Happy are we, Studious are we Students of Presbyterian Secondary School”
“In Lumine Tuo Videbimus Lumen”