…As He Changes Students’ Psyche To Responsible Citizens
… Sent Forth 354 Students in Grand Style
By Saviour Ekpe
Gone are the days of an African cliché that ‘teachers’ rewards are in heaven. Today, teachers are celebrating their fellow teachers, especially those that perform above average in administration and practice while expecting that of heaven for the future. This is in line with the Holy writ that posits, “Elders who lead effectively are worthy of double honor”, 1 Timothy 5:17 (Berean Study Bible).
This Biblical standpoint plays out strongly on a born leader who has distinguished himself for service to mankind without considering any pecuniary benefits. The true leadership quality of dedication, exemplary, selfless, humble but disciplined, fair but firm, commitment and indeed, self-sacrificing is epitomized in the person of Elder Isonguyo Thomas Ekanem, the Principal General (PG) of West Itam Secondary School, Ekit Itam 2 in Itu Local Government Area.
Maybe the Chairman of the State Secondary Education Board (SSEB), Dr. Ekaette Ebong Okon and her team of Commissioners were divinely directed to redeploy this leader personified to a school that was hitherto, a den of atrocious acts where students got engaged in violent and ferocious lifestyle, cult and cult-related activities were the order of the day, crises were common name, destructive lifestyle was seen as a norm. Given his ecclesiastic calling as an elder of a revered church coupled with his penchant for an exemplary leader with a good fatherly mix, upon assumption of a challenging duty, Elder Isonguyo Ekanem swung into realizable action of tackling the infrastructural decay of the school to give students hope and an ambiance of learning by writing letters to appropriate bodies for the fencing of the school to be able to curb excesses of students and given the pragmatic and understanding leadership of the governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel who immediately granted the prayer of the Principal by fencing the entire premises.
The principal went ahead to remove the waterlogged and filled potholes along school’s major entrance; stopped hawkers/hawking in the school compound during school hours; stopped loitering by students during school hours; provides toilets for teachers and students; crushed cult activities; stopped class by class fighting; provides a good learning environment that resulted to good performance in internal and external examinations, vis-a-viz, the just concluded WAEC examinations results of students; improved security in the school compound; planting of ornamental plants/trees around the school among many others with intensive monitoring by the State Ministry of Education, State Secondary Education Board and the Education Monitoring team led by SSA, Senior Special Assistant and SA, Special Assistant to the Governor.
Elder Isonguyo Ekanem quality and selfless leadership style of gingering students to strive for excellence in all spheres of life contributed immensely to the school and students’ good performances in extra-curricular activities culminating in students of the school representing the State in national and international events.
In his quest to celebrate excellence in the students he mentored to stardom, Elder Isonguyo Ekanem organized the first ever graduation ceremony for the outgone Senior Secondary 3 students and splashes a series of awards and prizes to the deserving graduating students as over 350 students were sent forth on that faithful and eventful day, precisely on the 13th day of August, 2022 as Century Newsfront lens were able to surreptitiously capture the event as usual.
These could have informed the teaching staffers of the school to ambush and celebrate him on the 15th day of August, 2022 in the school compound even when the school went on a long vacation. These teachers with appreciative hearts bought household equipment including a standard gas cooker/cylinder filled with gas and so many other items in appreciation of his selfless leadership style exemplified in the school that made them proud of their profession.
This array of confidence by his staff members call for Jonas Edward Salk, an American virologist and medical researcher who once said that “reward for a job well done is more work to do”. It then behooves the Principal General (PG), Elder Isonguyo Thomas Ekanem to buckle up his leadership belt for the challenges ahead of him by making more requests to the listening governor to commence the fencing of the stadium/Sports complex to separate it from the school; provide more toilet facilities, desks/lockers for the students, tables and chairs for the teachers and invite for regular monitoring of the school by security personnel and posting/provision of permanent security to the school if his achievements must be complete.
Speaking to Century Newsfront, a member of the Ekit Itam community that hosts the school, Dr. Ime Etim Asuquo poured encomiums on the principal and his team, saying that it is amazing to see the school change suddenly for the better, “this is my community, I was born of brought up here though I don’t stay here I am at home with my people and I know what used to transpire in this school. The school, at a time, became a threat to members of the community because of the incessant cult activities that were prevalent within the school premises, regular and frequent fights and violence recorded at that time, but today, the story is different and I am personally impressed. I will advise the government to convert the school into a full-fledged boarding institution because our community had already annexed a vast land to the school activities”.