MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
Former students of St. Anthony’s College, Ubulu-Uku in Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta State who are graduates of 1985, 1986 and 1987 fondly called the ‘Akaraiwe Boys’ have put finishing touches to arrangements for the maiden edition of Academic Excellence Award initiated in honour of their former Principal; late Mr. Edward Iwegbunam Akaraiwe.
The event scheduled to hold on Tuesday 19th April 2022 at the College premises at Ubulu-Uku would showcase the honouring of no fewer than 35 students at junior and senior secondary school levels with Academic Excellence Award.
In an interview on Saturday with AtlanticNewsonline, Chairman of the Organising Committee of the Academic Excellence Award, Mr. Ifechukwude Ezinwa said the ‘Akaraiwe Boys’ group which is a sub-set of the larger St. Anthony’s College Old Boys Association has chosen to honour students who have excelled not only in academics but also in behavior.
According to Ezinwa, the initiative was borne out of the group’s desire to immortalise their former Principal (Late Akaraiwe) who stood for academic excellence and discipline throughout his eleven years at St. Anthony’s College.
Explaining further, he said “Akaraiwe was not just an educationist but a disciplinarian who believed in academic excellence; and of course, when we talk about academic excellence, it includes the behavioral aspect. So, we came together and decided that we should honour him by fostering the spirit of academic excellence he lived for and socialize amongst ourselves.”
The former Principal, late Mr. Akaraiwe who was the first University graduate
from his native town Okwe, “Community in Oshimili South Local Government Area of Delta State was a student of the University of London.
He began his teaching career in 1960 at Government College, Ibadan. He taught in several colleges before he was posted in 1979 as Principal at St. Anthony’s College, Ubulu-Uku. He was there till 1990.
Due to the great impact, he made in the lives of students of St. Anthony’s College within the period, the “Akaraiwe Boys” who passed through his tutelage three decades ago, came together three years ago to set up the Akaraiwe Boys platform which, according to Ezinwa is registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission.
In his words “the platform has provided an opportunity for bonding reminiscent of the warmth and the camaraderie we had while at St. Anthony’s College. It is a platform where we literarily debate everything like politics, economy, entertainment, etc.”
As thirty-five students have been earmarked for the Academic Excellence Award, Mr. Ezinwa pointed out that while thirty of them were selected purely based on academic performance, the remaining five were selected from among a group of indigent students in line with certain parameters. While ten out of the thirty beneficiaries were selected from the junior secondary category, twenty were chosen from the senior secondary arm of the College.
The Organising Committee Chairman disclosed that the maiden edition is strictly being sponsored by the ‘Akaraiwe Boys’ many of whom are residing in different parts of the world pursuing one career or the other. He added however that since the group has planned the award to be an annual event, there may be the need to seek external support as they intend to increase the scope to cover other areas.
While rationalising why the maiden edition of the award focuses on academic excellence, Ezinwa said, “infrastructure is very necessary and can never be overemphasised but we also believe that the objective of infrastructural development in schools is ultimately to drive academic excellence. We intend to use this opportunity to create healthy competition amongst students towards academic excellence. We also emphasize the behavioral side involving character and learning.
“This maiden outing is focused exclusively on students. We plan to have other activities in subsequent editions that would include teachers and others.”
The one-day event is expected to be graced by stakeholders in the College environment and education sector in Aniocha South Local Government Area.
According to Mr. Ezinwa, even though the Academic Excellence Award is being organised exclusively by the Akaraiwe Boys, “we are not outside the umbrella of St. Anthony’s College Old Boys Association. We are a sub-set driving the Academic Excellence Award.”