I wish to begin the first phase by making a rather controversial statement. This is that the two factors dominant in the founding of the Dennis Memorial Grammar School are the presence of the Holy Ghost Fathers at Onitsha and the thirst of the lgbo people for education. Although the Church Missionary Society began her activities at Onitsha in 1857, it took her sixty-eight years to build the firstGrammar School in lgboland. This long delay indicated that it was not the intention of the early missionaries to introduce grammar school education into lgboland. Their aim was to evangelize the people, and they did not believe that secondary education was necessary for the propagation of Christianity. Bishop Crowther began his evangelization work in the Niger Mission with yeomen who had "little or no formal education - farmers, carpenters bricklayers, shoemakers, messengers and' stewards on boardshlps." Therefore such men laid emphasis on vernacular education. They were. satisfied with bush schools and junior elementary schools, where the vernaculars became the medium of instruction. This policy naturally led to the production of vernacular" agents, catechists and clergymen, to whom the teaching of English language and secular subjects was abhorrent. The arrival of the Holy Ghost Fathers, a Roman Catholic Church missionary organization at Onitsha, was ultimately to change the situation. These Fathers opened schools at Onitsha in which the English Language became the medium for their instruction. The products of their schools very easily secured jobs in the British government offices and in the commercial houses. When the local people realized, therefore, the economic advantages of literacy in the English language, they clamoured for it. The C.M.S.
On January 25, 1925, the Dennis Memorial Grammar School was opened, and thus a light in the educational development in lgbo land was lit by the Church Missionary; Society which can never be quenched. The first intake consisted of nineteen boarders and forty-six day students. Most of the students came from Onitsha and the surrounding towns where the missionaries had worked for over half a century and where people had begun to appreciate the economic value 'of English education. Some of the first pupils are still alive and are, I hope, here for these celebrations. Among them may be mentioned Harford Anierobi (retired senior Administrative Officer, Isaac Iweka (the distinguished pioneer Civil Engineer, now the Eze of Obosi), Wilfred Mbqnu (retired Rev. Canon bf the Anglican Church) Isaac Nwangwu (retired Civil servant), Alfred Ogbolu (a retired'civil servant),' Jonathan Ogbonna Ekeocha (a retired educationist) and "Walter Onubogu (a well known medical practioner). To them, I am sure, it is "Bliss to be alive today", and we congratulate them. The foundation staff comprised the Principal, the Rev. H. Taylor, B. A. , and three Africans - the late Mr. Mark. Anyaegbuna, Mr. Samuel Achebe, who retired later as a civil servant, and the one and only Ven. Dr. B.C.E. Nwosu (retired Archdeacon of Onitsha). We revere the memories of these pioneers and congratulate those who are alive today. The curriculum took after that of the average English grammar school of the period and was essentially designed to produce a literary type of education. It was meant to produce an elite that would take to the high professional jobs. It was also meant to produce highly accomplished elites who are expected to perform their professional jobs effectively and also become effective leaders. The curriculum of the D.M.G.S. was divided into two sections: The Compulsory - Arithmetic, Religious Instruction, English literature, English Language (Composition, Dictation, Reading and Colloquial English); Secondary Algebra, Geometry, Geography, History, Drawing, Science, Hygiene and Latin. For the first ten years of her history with this curriculum, the D.M.G.S. provided an educated personnel for the ever increasing activities of the church and of the colonial government which followed the "pacification" of the hinterland of Southern Nigeria in the thirties of the present century. They were in great demand everywhere and, up to 1935, most of the pupils left after secondary two to take up appointment in government departments, mercantile houses or as teachers in schools. To teach this curriculum was not easy because teachers were not readily available. The chief source of the supply of staff for the school was Awka (C.M.S.) Training College. The first set of pioneer staff, 1925-1929, did not attend any secondary school nor study any secondary school subjects, yet were called upon to teach them. How did they manage to tackle this? The truth is that "they, while their companions slept, were toiling upwards in the night." They were devoted and gave of their best to raise the standard of their pupils above their own. Like John the Baptist, they were prepared to decrease in order to make their pupils increase. One of the pioneer staff wrote as follows: "I was placed in charge of Form 2, but to take other classes in science, drill, Religious Instruction, English Literature and also the theory of agriculture. I offered myself to teach the three subjects so that what happened in Asaba in about 1875 when Greek was dropped and in Awka College in 1923 when Algebra and Geometry were dropped because no student had ever passed them will not happen at our Grammar School." From 1930 upward, Old Boys of the D.M.G.S., beginning with Mr. J. U. Ekeocha, began to join the staff and were able to teach secondary school subjects, perhaps with the exception of science subjects, with greater confidence. Apart from the pioneer staff, the following were members of the staff during this pioneering period:
(iv) Entrance examinations into government training institutions, e.g. the Post and Telegraphs Department, and the School of Agriculture. The first Nigerian Public examination by pupils of the school was an entrance examination into the school of agriculture in 1926. Two candidates Lbuls Asika and T. Weekes, were successful. Unfortunately Weekes died soon after from drowning, the first bereavement suffered by the school. May his Soul rest in peace. By the end of this decade, the D.M.G.S. had laid a solid academic foundation and set the pattern for its future successes in examinations. Reporting to the Synod of the Diocese on the Niger in 1936 on the examinations in 1935, the Principal, the Rev. C. A. Forster, recounted that 34 boys passed the Cambridge Junior, giving the largest number of passes in Nigeria; 7 boys passed the Lower Middle II, 2 boys gained the scholarships at King's College, Lagos; 1 boy gained a scholarship for the new scholarship course at the Higher College, Yaba and 2 boys passed the qualifying examination for the African Technical staff of the P.W.D. During this first decade of the history of the school, great care was taken to build it on a solid religious and moral foundation. To this end, religious worship was insisted upon. In fact, one of the reasons why the Executive committee of the C.M.S. agreed to found the D.M.G.S. was the hope: Acting/Vice-Principals; Rev. A. M. Geisthorpe, November 1925 - Feb.1926
The 1st Onitsha Troop was Mrs. E. Jones, the wife of the Principal. She was assisted by Mr. Levi Dike, a schoolmaster at the Onitsha Central School. Finally, through sports and games such as football and lawn tennis, the pupils were taught the qualities of endurance, fair play and courage. Inter-house matches and matches against local primary schools, secondary schools and the Teacher training colleges were encouraged. On Friday, 22nd February, 1935, the D.M.G.S. celebrated the tenth anniversary of the school. A large gathering of visitors and boys listened to Bishop John when he declared the new extension to the school building open. After a photograph of the visitors and the school had been taken, a football match against Awka College was played. Among those present were the three Bishops of the Diocese on the Niger, the Rt. Revs. B. Lasbrey, A. M. Gelsthorpe and T. C. John, the Resident, W. H. Lloyd, Esq., Dr. G. T. Basden, and many representatives of the local community. Within the space of ten years, 1925 to 1935, a real advance had been made by the school in the following directions:
Morning and evening services were conducted daily and, once a week, an address was given by the Principal or a member of staff. Every Sunday morning, the boarders and some day pupils in white suits and straw hats rimmed with school bat bands, marched in a procession through the Old Market Road to Christ Church, Onitsha, for mattins. The pupils were encouraged to qualify for the Christian rites of baptism and confirmation. All types of immoral practices such as drunkenness, sexual immorality, stealing, lying or cheating in examinations were strictly forbidden and offenders were heavily punished. The House system of administration was adopted. There were then four houses that pupils were assigned to: Aggrey, Livingstone, Stanley and Washington. A prefect took charge of administration of each house. Only students of proven administrative ability and integrity were appointed Prefects. The system thus offered students the opportunity for inculcation into the art of leadership. A scout troop consisting of two troops of scouts and a Rover crew was attached to the school and this also provided a valuable supplement to character training methods adopted in the school. 4. The school had a befitting sports ground. Thus by the end of this decade, the pioneering period was over and the school was ready to enter another period in her history - the Vintage Years.
This period in the history of the D.M.G.S., which covers about thirty years, or a generation, is regarded as the most important part of her history. Each of the dates chosen constitutes a significant landmark in the history of the school. In 1936, she presented her first set of candidates for the Cambridge (overseas) School Certificate examinations. There were twelve candidates. Twelve passed. Eight were exempted from the London matriculation. This was a marvelous and encouraging record, and sure evidence that a solid foundation had been 'laid in the pioneering period. It also clearly demonstrated that among the few grammar schools in Nigeria, the D.M.G.S. had 'arrived.' Among the candidates who set these enviable records was Kenneth Dike, later the first African Vice Chancellor of the first Nigerian University and now Andrew W. Mellon, Professor of African history of that celebrated American University, Harvard. Edmund Ekwulugo, a retired Chief Magistrate, C. 0. Odiakosa, well-known agriculturist, Alfred Bovi, a retired Educationist, Theophilus R. Yirenki, a Ghanaian pharmacist and Daniel 'Onwugbuzia, a retired Customs officer were also candidates. 1967 saw the beginning of the 30-month Nigerian civil war which had a far reaching effect on the political, social and economic life of Nigeria. This civil war affected, too, the cause of education in Nigeria and thus affected the character of the D.M.G.S. it has even temporarily changed its name somehow. I shall mention a few highlights in the history of the school during this period;
1. The Introduction of Science Subjects into the School Curriculum: By the beginning of this period, government policyon education had progressed from that of merely' producing clerks for government offices and commercial houses to that of giving more basic scientific education to the pupils to enable them to prepare themselves for the high profession in engineering, medicine, agriculture, teaching, et cetera. To this end, the Higher College, Yaba, was opened and some of the brilliant pupils from the secondary schools went up to that institution to pursue higher academic courses. In order to meet up with this new trend in educational development, the D.M.G.S. decided to introduce the teaching of science subjects. The first science laboratory was designed by, Dr. E. H. Duckworth, a government Inspector of Science education. Then in 1935, Dr. J. B. Miles, a specialist in organic chemistry, joined the staff as the science master. From his time, the study of science subjects began in earnest. Under his successors, the Rev. F. E. Drinkwater, Mr. J. W. L. Thompson, Mr. D.C. Erinne, helped'by Messers Nathaniel Ohaeri, Clement Ikejo, Samny Ogwo and old boys who had graduated. DMGS have a basic understanding of science. The other students, from King's College, Lagos and Government Colleges were staggered and reacted accordingly: You D.M.G.S. boys! You do Religious knowledge, you do History, you do Latin, and you do Drawing and Carpentry. Will you displace us in science too? In sports and games, too, the D.M.G.S. pupils were versatile. Lack of funds made it impossible for the boys to play cricket but they played other games like football, hockey, lawn tennis and badminton. There were inter-house football matches and inter-collegiate matches with the Secondary Schools and Teacher Training Colleges. A football match with the first eleven of Christ the King College, Onitsha, usually drew a large crowd from Onitsha community and invariably turned into a denominational contest between the Catholic and Anglican communities in the town. Such rivalries helped to add some spice to the society of the period. The school was also heavily interested in athletics and, in order to get every student to participate, there were inter-house competitions in which each house fielded three categories of competitors Junior, Medium and Senior. The school produced the first Nigerian international high jumper and Commonwealth gold medallist, Emmanuel Ifeajuna. Mr. Clark trained his students not to confine themselves to their classroom subjects. They were encouraged to borrow books from the library and to read novels and other books totally unrelated to their classroom work. General intelligence tests were set once every in Higher College, Yaba, and returned to teach science, a solid foundation was laid in the D.M.G.S. and its pupils soon rivaled and surpassed the pupils from King's College, Lagos, and other government colleges. In fact, by the mid-forties, the popular opinion, judging from the examination results, was that D.M.G.S. laid emphasis only on science subjects.
2. The Principalship of Mr. E. D. C. Clark: No history of D.M.G.S., however scanty, would be worthwhile without a special mention of the Principalship of Mr. (later the Rev.) E. D.C. Clark. Mr. E. D. C. Clark was appointed the Principal of D.M.G.S. in October 1939, and served in that capacity up to December 1950, when the school celebrated her silver jubilee. Mr. Clark came up to the school from Achimota College, Gold Coast, with a vast experience in school administration. He changed the academic, social and moral standard of the D.M.G.S. in many ways. Mr. Clark worked hard so that D.M.G.S. pupils might achieve versatility in many aspects of life. He wanted them to have an all round education in order to be a true citizen. The D.M.G.S. Boys of this period achieved that academic versatility. They were at home in arts as well as science subjects, and in some technical subjects, too. This fact is well illustrated by the experience of one of the old boys, Mr. H. A. Okwuosa, the present Commissioner for Information in the East Central State Government, who was a student of Higher College, Yaba, with David Ekwulugo. The Science Lecturer in that institution, Dr. Barnett, had openly declared that Only students from Dr. Miles School. (S.P.A.C.). Mr. F. C. Ogbalu, who is the present head of Department of lgbo Language and Culture at the Alvan lkoku College, Owerri and a prolific author of lgbo books, was an ardent and enthusiastic member of S.P.A.C. During the holidays, members of the S.P.A.C. went into the village homes to conduct research on the local customs and history. Mr. Clark also made his pupils interested in the problems of their societies. Many students accompanied him to Oraukwu and Agulu to plant araba, bamboo, and cashew trees in order to check erosion. The D.M.G.S. pupil of this period, exposed to all these opportunities, turned out to be a real versatile person who was not only an academician but also a man of his people. This training enabled Dengramites to play an important role In Nigeria during the forties, fifties and sixties of the present century. Wherever they went, they caused their light to shine before men, and men took notice that they were indeed products of the school whose' motto is "LUX FIAT." Rev. Clark left in 1950 and, for the next seventeen years of the period under review, the Principals were Rev. P. J. Ross,'1952-1954; Mr. D. C. Erinne had acted from 1950 to 1952; Mr. S. J. Cookey, 1954-1959, and Mr. S. 0. Ogazi from 1960 to the beginning of the civil war. Under these distinguished principals, the D.M.G.S. continued to hold sway among the secondary schools in Nigeria. This time saw the introduction of a vigorous Higher School Certificate Course in science subjects, through which many students from D.M,.G.S. and other secondary schools found their ways into the term in which all the students took part. Prizes were' awarded to the best students. Students were taught cleanliness and orderliness through organized weekly inspections of the dormitories and, classrooms by the staff and the Principal. Marks were awarded during each inspection. House gardens, lawns bathrooms and latrines were also inspected. The school lawns were kept neat and trim. Each pupil had a patch of the school lawns allotted to him to tidy and, on inspection days, pupils stood all over the compound by their own portions of the lawns waiting for the Inspector. At the end of each school term, marks were added up and the tidiest dormitory and class received shields. Mr. Clark, in his bid to make his pupils versatile, introduced hobbies, which were made compulsory for boarders and optional for day students. Students were generally engaged in these hobbies on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12 noon. The hobbies included carpentry, tailoring, photography, motor mechanics, gardening, watch repairing, painting and drawing. Exhibitions on Parents Days were very popular and gave parents an insight into the curricula of the school. Mr. Clark also introduced societies. Pupils were encouraged to join several societies through which they broadened their knowledge on extracurricular matters. Students were encouraged to have pride in their culture. Various groups organized traditional dances and the study of lgbo culture was well promoted. In this regard, mention must be made of the efforts of~Mr. N. E. I. Obiaeri and his Society for Promotion of African Culture present boys, therefore, let me say, in the words of St. Paul - "seeing that you are surrounded by so many a crowd of witnesses, you should run the race that is set before you." In the field of educational development, the founders of the D.M.G.S. have not been disappointed. In the field of secondary education, Eastern Nigeria owes a great debt to the pioneering mission of the D.M.G.S. Many young men went out from her to teach in the mission schools. Some of the senior staff and old boys of the D.M.G.S. continually moved out to aid the growth of new secondary schools. Okrika Grammar School, St. Augustine's Grammar School, Nkwerre, Oraukwu Grammar School, Ngwa High School, Agulu Grammar Schools, Dirabi Memorial Grammar School, Bori Ogoni, Anglican Grammar School and Nsukka, to mention a few, had as their first principals, former senior staff or old boys of the D.M.G.S. Of no less importance than staffing are those intangible effects which filtered through the old boys of the D.M.G.S. and which helped to mould the traditions of the new secondary schools. Uppermost in the minds of the founding fathers of the D.M.G.S. was the role it had to play in the evangelization of the people. Among the reasons advanced by some of the missionaries to convince the Parent Committee that the project of building the D.M.G.S. was necessary is that it would "hold and influence those at an impressionable age whom we, afterwards, hope will be the C.M.S. teachers and clergy." The D.M.G.S. has fulfilled this role. It has among its old boys a large number of schoolmasters in the former mission, primary, secondary schools and Teacher University of Ibadan. To meet with the problem of increasing population of students, an extension of D.M.G.S. was planned and executed during the principalship of Mr. Cookey and Mr. Ogazi. CONCLUSION We have briefly traced the history of the D.M.G.S. from 1925 to 1967. As we think of the Golden Jubilee, we ought to take stock of our achievements. The founders of the D.M.G.S. had several aims. One of them was to build an institution, which could help to produce the manpower required by an emerging nation in Africa. In this respect, D.M.G.S. is easily one of the leading institutions that have contributed to the manpower required by Nigeria since the early thirties. She has produced a large number of civil servants, workers in the commercial houses, teachers in the primary schools and technicians who have helped to build up this country. Many distinguished medical and legal practitioners, educationists, administrators, army officers, engineers and pharmacists trace their secondary school career to the D.M.G.S. She has also produced some of the distinguished 'firsts' in this country - the first Nigerian Professor of History, of Mathematics, of Pharmacology, etc.; first Nigerian Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the first Nigerian University; first lgbo civil engineer and so on. Among the few Vice-Chancellors of the Federal Universities of Nigeria now, D.M.G.S. has claim to two – the University of Nigeria and the University of Jos. Who will not be proud to belong to such a famous school and distinguished family. Training Colleges. It has produced, too, some leading clergymen. Above all, she has the honour of producing three Anglican Bishops - Bishop Benjamin Nwankiti of the Owerri Diocese (at D.M.G.S. from 1943 - 1946) Bishop Gideon Otubelu of Enugu Diocese at D.M.G.S. (from 1943-1947) and Bishop James Onyemelukwe of the Niger Diocese. Of no less significance is the large number of old boys who are leaders of their churches and who serve as lay readers, members of the parochial committees or show great examples by their Christian living. The D.M.G.S. is asking its old Boys, "Whom do ye say that I am?” I wish to conclude this talk by reading to you a few extracts of the old boys answers to this question: In the last fifty years D.M.G.S. has contributed immensely to the progress and prosperity of this country. In every walk of life, Old Boys of D.M.G.S. figure prominently and effectively. (Arthur N. Ozumba-National President) D.M.G.S. Old Boys Association. What makes Dengramites tick, I do not know, and I only feel. It may be the way we were raised. It may just be a shameless pride that one is a Dengramite. But it may also be that we had something many other schools did not have – the joy that goes with service. The service that seeks no reward except the knowledge that we serve. The main aim of the school has always been training in Christian character and D.M.G.S. has continued to provide leadership and to show the light which is ever shining more brightly so that many who have found the way may glorify not us but our Father who is in Heaven.
R. A. Ekwuaguna (1952-56), former Member of Staff. And finally, we must give thanks to God in this Golden Jubilee Year for what God has done for Nigeria and, beyond through the missionaries, turned out from D.M.G.S. in a short period of fifty years. The role of Dengramites in the development of Nigeria is inestimable and invaluable. LUX FIAT.
Dr. W. C. Eze, National Secretary
Rev. Canon R. N. C. Nwosu
Rev. J. unyemelukwe
C. I. Anene at the choral Evening.
The late civil war has had disastrous consequences for schools in the eastern State of Nigeria, not least of all for Dennis Memorial Grammar School. The war has also been followed by the take-over and reorganization of schools by the Government of the East Central State. Not unexpectedly, the enormous activity involved in these processes has brought about a state of flux in many secondary schools in the area. It is hoped, however, that stability will be achieved before long, but there is no doubt that many schools may not soon or ever regain their pre-war positions and characteristics. In this state of affairs, it is easy to lose sight of some of the principles which an institution like D.M.G.S. has stood for over the decades, the expectations of the founding fathers who opened the institution nearly fifty years ago. And so, on an occasion like this, perhaps a brief discussion of the background to the existence of secondary schools in Nigeria and of some of the ideals which D.M.G.S. has striven to inculcate in her pupils may serve to remind us of the stabilizing anchor which the labours of years have laid for our Alma Mater, and to strengthen our faith in her and in her ability to weather the storm of change. Such a discussion will, it is hoped, also help to prepare our minds for a fuller review and assessment of the past of D.M.G.S. which, we trust, the Golden Jubilee organizers will provide for us when the time comes. It is indeed surprising to observe that although the C.M.S. missionaries landed in Onitsha in July 1857, it was not until seventy years later, until 1925, that the first secondary school was founded in the town. Part of the explanation of this phenomenon lies in the fact that for long the C.M.S., like other Christian missions operating in Nigeria, did not believe that secondary education was conducive to the propagation of Christianity. And evangelization was, basically and overtly, the principal object of the European missions in coming to Nigeria, and to other parts of West Africa for that matter. To them the aim of even primary education was religious instruction, especially with respect to the young who, they believed, were not so wedded to the ancestral ideas and practices as their fathers. The delay in founding secondary schools was thus not a pecularity of the C.M.S. Niger Mission. In Lagos, for instance, the development of secondary education began almost in spite of the missionaries. In 1859, twenty years after the landing of the first missionaries in Yorubaland, the Rev. Thomas Babington Macaulay, the son-in-law of the Rev. Samuel (afterwards Bishop) Crowther, managed to convince the Parent Committee of the C.M.S. in England to start the C.M.S. Grammar School. But, as Professor Ajayi has shown, Macaulay had nothing for this beyond his salary and four rooms in an old cotton warehouse in Lagos. It was a repatriate from Sierra Leone, Captain J.P.L. Davies, who advanced him the sum of N1OO for equipment - a loan that was later repaid, and other teachers were also employed. The example set by the C.M.S. was soon followed by other missions. In 1874 the leading Wesleyan Methodists in Lagos, tired of urging that Methodism was losing ground in society and of waiting for their mission to found a grammar school, collected the sum of £500 and asked the mission to add the same amount to provide a suitable building and a principal. Eventually, in 1879, the Methodist Boys' High School was opened. As for the Catholics, they started with severely criticizing the C.M.S. Grammar School in Lagos and its products. A Rev. Father wrote that one could see boys of the school "walk arrogantly about the streets of Lagos a packet of books under their arms, believing themselves to be doctors before they are scholars, so that later when they are employed they become unbearable both to those they have to command and to those who have to obey them". Nevertheless, In 1881 the Catholics 'in Lagos constituted the senior boys of their primary schools into St. Gregory's College, to be run on the same line as the C.M.S. Grammar School, which they had ridiculed. Similarly, five years later, in 1886, the American Baptist Mission followed suit by founding the Baptist Academy. In eastern Nigeria, it was nearly fifty years after the arrival of the first missionaries in Calabar (1846), when the first secondary school, Hope Waddell Institute, was opened (1895). But there the Presbyterian missionaries who founded the institution would appear to have compensated for the delay by making Hope Waddell Institute a unique establishment, the 'most comprehensive educational institution in nineteenth~entury Nigeria. It had not only a secondary department but also a teacher training and an industrial department. It offered courses for boys in, among other things, carpentry, and masonry, coopering, brick making and blacksmithing; and for girls in domestic science and dressmaking. Nearer home, on the Niger, Bishop Crowther felt that the best people for spreading the gospel were men with little or no formal education -- farmers, carpenters, bricklayers, shoemakers, messengers and stewards on board ships. It was argued that such men had the tact and wisdom for dealing with the local rulers that they did not only preach' Christ but lived Him. As a result, in its own primary schools, the C.M.S. mission laid emphasis on "vernacular" education, a policy which naturally led to the production of "vernacular" agents, catechists and clergymen; a course of action which has persisted into our own times and whose dire consequences are still with us today. It has recently been stated that part of the explanation of the retarded development of secondary education here around was the rejection of government grants by the C.M.S. "But for opposition by Salisbury Square", writes Professor, Ayandele, "the first secondary school among the Ibo would have begun as early as 1899". He also asserts that later the C.M.S. Niger Mission in fact drew up its own education code in 1905, revised it in 1910, and set up an education department at Onitsha in 1911. These assertions indeed call for further investigation, for it would be interesting to know fully why at this stage the C.M.S. Niger Mission would not develop secondary education either on its own or even with help of others. It must be stated however that, until Lugard's second term of office (1912-1919), the British administration itself took little interest in education. Proposals put forward by British administrators in Nigeria were thrown overboard by the Colonial Office in Britain. Hence no government schools were established before 1900: King's College, Lagos, for instance, was opened in 1909, and by 1914 interrupted by the recent Nigerian crises and conflict, during which all the Information collected was lost; and since the end of the war the inquiry has not yet been resumed. But the matter must be taken up again if a realistic picture of the circumstances in which the school was founded will be obtained. However, what one has so far gathered would suggest that the establishment of the school had something to do with the urge for education on the part of the local people. Fifty years after the C.M.S. Grammar School was founded in Lagos, and thirty years after the Hope Waddell Institute was opened in Calabar, members of the C.M.S. churches in the Niger Diocese must have felt that they had to set up a grammar school for their sons and other comers in their home area and thereby save the desirous among these young people the trouble and expense in time, money and energy of travelling to Lagos or Calabar, or even to Ghana or Sierra Leone, in quest of secondary education. Traditions are current about how the men and women in the churches in this area made financial contributions gave their widow's (and widower's) mites - for the achievement of this purpose. In keeping with the age-long communal practice of the people, the labour for the construction of the building of D.M.G.S. was supplied free by the church members. Congregations took turns in providing the water and sand, in fetching the burnt bricks and the cement, with which the school was built. Their labours came to fruition when in January 1925, Dennis Memorial Grammar School was opened with great jubilation and merriment. slightly more than one r;'er cent of the country's revenue was spent 0; education, including grants to mission schc~ols. Yet in 1903, the Southern Nigeria Administration did offer to take over the responsibility for all schools in eastern Nigeria, and in 1919 in Yorubaland, through grants and promotion of efficiency - an offer which, if it had been accepted, might have changed the whole course of secondary education in these parts. But, presumably for fear of secularism, the offer was rejected by the C.M.S., the largest and most influential of the Christian missions at the time. Nevertheless, the desire for education was gradually increasing among the people of what is now the East Central State of Nigeria. The people were getting over the impression, partly created by the practices of the Christian missions themselves, that Christianity and the Western education that came with it were meant for slaves. The people now wanted their children to be given Christian religious instruction so long as they also had Western education. In course of time, unlike what obtained in Yorubaland, by the second decade of this century lgbo children were paying the salaries of their teachers and for the equipment used in their schools. The files, minute books, diaries and other papers pertaining to the founding of D.M.G.S. itself have not yet been fruitfully examined. Nor have the founding parents and sponsors, many of whom are still alive today, been purposefully interviewed. A most promising piece of work begun by a distinguished old boy of D.M.G.S. on the whole subject of Anglican missionary enterprise in lgboland from 1857 to the beginning of this century was travelling with his wife was torpedoed off the coast, of Ireland and the Archdeacon lost his life, and the MSS., together with his baggage, disappeared. Towards the end of August, a fisherman found the box containing the MSS. on the shore near Town, Wales, where It had been washed up. He found a letter inside with an address, to which he sent the MSS., and in this way they came into the hands of Mrs. Dennis. The, edges of the paper had been worn by the action of the water, but most of the writing was legible, and the rest which was a little difficult to decipher was copied out by Miss Berwick, one of our C.M.S. missionaries." But, before he died, Dennis had also extensively revised, enlarged and reissued, in 1916, an elementary grammar of lgbo compiled by Julius H. Spencer, a Sierra Leonean who had a Yoruba father and an lgbo mother and had served as a school teacher in Freetown before he came to the Niger as a catechist. As an appropriate tribute to all his invaluable contributions to lgbo linguistic studies and other missionary achievements, the' first secondary grammar school established in lgboland was named after Archdeacon T. J. Dennis. In discussing some of the ideals symbolized by D.M.G.S., I shall be drawing largely on my own personal experience and that of my contemporaries. But I believe that much of what I shall say would also hold good for many of our predecessors and successors alike. The matter will be considered under four major heads, represented by the initials of the school - D.M.G.S. The school was named after Archdeacon T. J. Dennis, an English missionary who has immortalized his name by the linguistic work he did on lgbo. Dennis's major contribution was in the translation of the Bible, the compilation of the dictionary and the preparation of a grammar. The translation of the Bible into lgbo had been begun by two lgbo-speaking Sierra Leoneans, John Taylor and Henry Johnson helped by two other lgbo men, T. 0. Mba and T. D. Anyaegbunam, and by another English missionary, Archdeacon H. H. Dobinson, Dennis completed the translation of the Bible into "Union" lgbo in 1906. With respect to the parallel compilation of an lgbo dictionary, the C.M.S. missionaries in Onitsha, especially Miss Warner, the Hon. L. E. Portman and Miss Bird, had' undertaken the collection and collation of a considerable amount of lexical material mostly from "Onitsha and its neighbourhood", including Aboh, Awka and other areas. To this Anyaegbunam added new words as they occurred in the course of the preparation of the Union lgbo Bible. Dennis supervised, revised and added to all this material, until it was decided to issue a dictionary of lgbo principally for the use of English-speaking people. Dennis was requested to see the manuscripts of both the Bible and the dictionary through the press during his furlough in England, But at this point, we must allow the preface to the Dictionary of the lgbo land, gauge: English-lgbo (1923), a complementary work which was, again, largely the responsibility of Dennis but was published posthumously, to tell the rest of the story.
D - Stands for DUTY: Almost like William Wordsworth, D.M.G.S. regarded duty as the “Stern Daughter of the Voice of God". After its establishment, the early members of staff of D.M.G.S. fully appreciated that the duty and responsibility of the institution was to serve the youths of this part of the world - of West Africa - who had the ability and the means to obtain secondary education. From the beginning and until the recent re-structuring of the country into twelve states, boys came to D.M.G.S. from all parts of Nigeria - and beyond. Among the famous "Glorious Set of 1936", the first batch of students to obtain 100% passes at the Cambridge School Certificate Examination, was a Ghanaian. Until very recently, the D.M.G.S. entrance examination was held in centres in nearly all parts of Nigeria. I did my own entrance examination at Jos, for instance. And in our final-year set of 1945 we had boys from Hausa, Edo, Yoruba, Ijo, Isoko, lgbo and other ethnic groups. D.M.G.S. was simply a secondary grammar school for boys, established under the aegis of the C.M.S., with its doors open to alors open to all comers who were qualified and had the resources. And even to many of those who had the ability but not the resources, the school, as we shall see, was most helpful. Throughout one's career at D.M.G.S., one realized that the emphasis in nearly all spheres of activity was on duty and responsibility. In academic work, high standards of scholarship were demanded, and every boy had to do his duty. Ours were the colonial days when the famous sayings of Horatio Nelson at Trafalgar meant more to Nigerians than they do now. They were constantly dinned into our hard ears:
"England expects every one will do his duty."
"Thank God, I have done my duty." In order that boys might appreciate the importance of duty and self-reliance, they had, from the first, to compile their own notes from the lessons taught in the classroom. Never were lesson notes dictated or handed out. Pupils had to observe, record and report for themselves the experiments performed in the science laboratory. The ordeal of note-making was of course a nightmare for the youngster who had just left the primary school. But he was soon to understand the tradition of The Grammar School in this respect, and to reconcile himself to it. No student who was not sufficiently dutiful and industrious could make the expected and recorded progress from week to week, from term to term and from year to year. And in the final year of his course, the student signed on the dotted line the completed entry form embodying the subjects he was expected to have studied during his career and to offer at the School Certificate Examination. If there was to be any change in the programme which had been formulated for giving the pupil as much of a rounded education as possible, the school had to be satisfied that this change was imperative; and the decision of the school to effect such a change was often based on the performance of the student in the material subject throughout his career. In one of the regular Sunday sermons preached in the school chapel, one of the masters chose for his text. There were the hostel and house duties for boarders and supervised day boys respectively to perform. These entailed undertaking almost all domestic chores except the actual cooking of food - cleanliness of the dormitories and classrooms; gardening; keeping the playing fields, the tennis, and badminton courts in excellent trim; washing plates; etc. And since ours were the bleak years of the Second World War, we even helped to tread the mud and make the blocks for building Aggrey and Howells Houses. There were also compulsory hobbies - a veritable contradiction in terms - and the stipulated hobby for the first-year student was agriculture, for good measure every fresher hland which he cleared and cultivated during the year and for which he was awarded marks which counted towards his progress - or draw-back! To instill duty and discipline, there were individual or group marks awarded for nearly every activity at D.M.G.S. - from classroom performance, through hostel cleanliness, to craftsmanship in carpentry. Other hobbies practised by boys included blacksmithing, fretwork, shoe making and repairing, tailoring and photography. The products of these hobbies, along with scientific experiments and traditional dances, were exhibited by boys on a day like this towards the, end of the school year.
M - stands for MAGNANIMITY: This term is here used in both its earlier and latter-day senses; greatness of soul; loftiness of thought or purpose; nobility of feeling; superiority to petty resentment or jealousy; magnificence. In this respect the "What went ye out into the wilderness for to see?" Outside the school room, duty was incessantly harped upon in games and athletics which, like many other activities at D.M.G.S., were compulsory, every boy was exhorted to play his part. The senior 'boys never lacked sayings and quotations to support their exhortations: "Honour and shame from no conditions rise Act well your part there all the honour lies." The spirit of healthy inter-house rivalry and competition urged boys to play to win. But they also learned when they lost that their wholehearted participation could be as important and rewarding as winning. In purely domestic affairs, the stress on duty was equally unabating. And if the seniors saw that the juniors were becoming remiss or recalcitrant, they read them St. Paul's homily on attitude to the civil authorities: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God." Academic programme of the school did not comprise only the liberal arts, even in those early years of secondary education in this area, when much of what the schools taught was dictated by their severely limited resources. As we have seen, not only were scientific subjects promoted; so also were several handicrafts and rural pursuits. Part of what the varied contests and competitions conducted in almost every aspect of life in the school were designed to teach was high-mindedness; being a good winner as well as a good loser. So much was made in those Second World War days of the Churchillian injunction: "In victory, magnanimity. In defeat, defiance". Above all, students were, in numerous ways, enjoined to study tolerance, "the supreme teaching of man's history". But I am not so sure now whether this injunction was also meant to include religious tolerance. For, as we now look back on those days, there does not appear to have been much evidence of religious tolerance in the official policy and practice of the school. But maybe, like much else pertaining to adolescents, the boys were not supposed to know what was good for them with respect to religion. Intolerance was sometimes also shown in reaction to awkward views which were inconvenient for some teachers. The boy who expressed such views might be marked as trying to be smart or clever. But the most intolerant of criticism and opposition were the senior boys, especially those who could not answer back. They were strongly tempted to behave -- and often did behave -- like bullies. There was scarcely among such persons enough of that foresight and sense of history which views present actions in the light of future developments when, in some ways at least, the gap between the parties concerned chapel was used to the utmost. The classical text for riveting magnanimity in the boys' minds was Philippians chapter 4, verse 8:
"Whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report; If there be any virtue,
And if there be any praise, Think on these things."
We did think on these things. (Indeed we had a surfeit of thinking on these things.) And if anyone did not, he was made to; and he sometimes paid dearly for it. There is so much glib talk these days of "Expo 70" and "lgwebuike". Parents, guardians, elders and all often make light of the dreadful disaster to which our boys and girls are dangerously drifting. D.M.G.S. always set great store by character building. Every set of students could count how many of their colleagues, or of their junior and senior contemporaries, were severely punished for offences which today would pass unnoticed or simply call forth a shrug of the shoulder. Some students lost a year for slightly and almost imperceptibly tampering with marks awarded by their teachers for class work. Proven cases of pilfering, dishonesty or gross indiscipline of course meant outright dismissal. Breadth of outlook and loftiness of spirit were also inculcated by the diversity of the mental and physical activity to which the boys were exposed during their school course. The school had the means of helping bright lads who had not the wherewithal for paying their fees. A number of school scholarships were awarded annually based on the results of the entrance examination. The school authorities built into this scholarship scheme a means whereby beneficiaries could demonstrate their gratitude in kind. They were requested to serve the C.M.S. Niger Mission for a minimum period of three years after the end of their careers. The significance of this may be lost on those of us who grew up to find the state deeply involved in the financing, and latterly in the running, of schools. But, as we have indicated earlier, the situation has not always been so. It required tremendous sacrifices on the part of parents, guardians or communities to send their children or wards to The Grammar School, particularly at a time when money was extremely tight. In the early forties, for instance, tuition fees were about N4 per term and boarding fees about N6 per term. (At that time primary school pupil teachers were earning about Ni .25a month.) And many students lived as day boys because they could not afford the boarding fees, and many day boys and boarders had to withdraw from school because they had no fees at all. Thus it was probably easier then than now to appreciate what was taught at school about gratitude to God for the great and small things of life, and to man - to one's relatives and friends and well wishers - through whom one had the opportunity of secondary education. Having acquired such a habit of thought, boys of the school were in a position to appreciate with gratitude, in retrospect, the stupendous zeal and energy which their teachers had thrown into their work, in spite of their obvious academic limitations and inadequate financial may not be as wide as it appeared to be when both were at school. "The child is father of the man."
G stands for GRATITUDE: Gratitude and appreciation were built into the physical structure of D.M.G.S. from the very beginning. Some of the prominent features that struck a new boy on approaching the portals of the school for the first time were the commemorative tablets, the inscriptions on marble of the immortal names of the donors and benefactors of the school. These inscriptions often took one's mind back to the early beginnings of the school and made one give thanks for the life and labours of all who had made possible the coming into being and continuance of the institution. In chapel hymns and sermons, boys were taught to be heartily grateful for the priceless but costless things of life:
"All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small All things wise and wonderful
The Lord God made them all."
Boys quickly picked up the messages of the English literature lessons, and along the dormitory corridors you could hear one exclaim to a disappointing friend: "Et tnd: "Et tu, Brute!" And another: "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child."
Finally S stands for SERVICE: D.M.G.S. consistently implanted in her boys that "service is the rent we pay for our room on earth". If there was anything a student of the school did not fail to learn it was humility and service. To show how ludicrous boys could be when they were wanting in humility and to prevent the kind of behaviour for which those C. M.S. Grammar School boys in Lagos were derided by the Catholic reverend father, one master one day told us a short story of a first-year secondary school boy, whose class had been learning the Latin words for the numerals. During the mid-term break the boy visited his home village. On Sunday he went to the village church to worship and, as was the wont in those days, he was asked to enumerate one section of the congregation. With his left hand in his pocket and pointing along with the index finger of his right hand, the youngster intoned in subdued but audible voice, to the amazement of the illiterate villagers: "Unus, duo, tres, quatuor, quinque; sex, septem !" The religious exercises at D.M.G.S. also provided excellent opportunities for driving home the precepts of humility and service.
It is more blessed to give than to receive."
"I am in the midst of you as he that serveth."
"He that will be the greatest among you shall be your servant."
The principal set the example himself. The Rev. Eric Clark, a middle-aged English graduate who had been principal for thirteen years when the school was celebrating its Silver Jubilee in 1950, approached his task with a missionary enthusiasm that infected all around. He was the first in the playing-field for physical training after prayers in the morning - a practice which was often most embarrassing to boys, since he knew every boy by name during his first term in the school and so could easily spot late-comers for discipline. Clark was also the leader of the School Social Service Club, an organization which would go into various quarters of Onitsha, in term time, to help build huts for the widowed, the destitute and the aged; and during vacations, would travel on the same mission as far north as the Nsukka area and as far west as the Isoko country. The society also carried out anti-erosion work in parts of Nnobi, Oraukwu, Alor, Agulu and elsewhere. It was the tradition on Good Fridays for boys to visit as a team the General Hospital, Onitsha, or lyi-Enu Hospital, Ogidi, or any other charitable institution for the orphaned or homeless, and help in keeping the surroundings clean and doing other menial jobs. The more religious and more didactically-inclined went to the churches around on Sundays to teach Sunday School. During one vacation in the mid-forties boys. Lux fiat. D.M.G.S. has shown the light and many have found their way. By January 1971 there were some 209 secondary grammar, and some 24 secondary commercial, schools in the East Central State where, fifty years ago, there was only one. All over Nigeria and in other parts of the world, old boys of D.M.G.S. can be found holding positions of responsibility and leadership in universities and colleges, in church and state, in foreign embassies and mercantile firms, in state boards and statutory corporations, in the civil service and private business. A most illustrious member of the "Glorious Set of 1936", Professor Kennet Ouwuka Dike, was the first African Vice Chancellor of a Nigerian university. The premier secondary grammar school of the East Central State cannot abdicate her well-earned and well-maintained position of leadership. In this connection, I believe I am speaking the minds of all old boys of D.M.G.S., recent and remote, when I say that we are solidly behind her in these times that try men's souls. Within the limits to which we have all been reduced by the recent events, D.M.G.S. can always count on our moral and material support. To the present boys of the school, I would reiterate the oft quoted but eternally true admonition of Alexander Pope:
"A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not of the Pierian Spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again”
Duty, Magnanimity, Gratitude and Service: These are some of the abiding values, which D.M.G.S. has always symbolized. These are some of the ideals that will rescue D.M.G.S. in these times of strain and stress. The school had trouble enough when at the end of the late war her pupils returned to find her buildings - classrooms, laboratories, hostels and all – in ruins. It was as if the ground had caved in beneath their feet. The problems were many times multiplied when the old school was merged with other institutions each with its own traditions and conventions, its own tremendous post-war problems. The task of reconstruction and re-orientation is indeed monumental, and the mere contemplation of it could make even the stoutest heart almost buckle. Nevertheless, this' task is by no means Insurmountable. Proportionately, it is probably in many ways not much greater than that which confronted the founding fathers nearly half a century ago. What they achieved then, with few precedents to guide them and with their incomparably meager resources, we can even excel now, with the experience accumulated over the decades and the vastly increased possibilities which modern science and technology have opened up for us. True education does not make a man proud rather, as Plato said long ages ago, "you will be soberer and humbler and gentler to your fellowmen, not fancying you know what you do not know". True education fits a man for the battle of life; for when school days are over there are new ideas to be entertained, new methods to be adopted and new inventions to be studied. Chained, therefore, to the everlasting values of Duty, Magnanimity, Gratitude and Service, spend and be spent in the pursuit of truth. Be true to your trust, true to your home, your country and your God; and your predecessors will not fear to leave their glorious heritage in the faithful keeping of such as you.