Mr Speaker, this is a congratulatory Statement on the 60 years anniversary celebrations of Our Lady of Apostles Senior High School (OLA), Ho, in the Volta Region.
Mr Speaker, this is to congratulate my alma mater OLA Senior High School, which is celebrating its sixty (60) years of existence on Saturday.
Mr Speaker, OLA Senior High School, Ho, which was once a full Mission institution, is now a Government-assisted girls' secondary school but still under the management of the Catholic Mission.
Mr Speaker, OLA Senior High School was officially opened sixty years ago on 1st February, 1954, in Keta with 35 students in the borrowed premises of the then Convent boarding school for girls.
In the beginning, the school was initially named “Queen of Apostles Secondary School”, but was later renamed “Our Lady of Apostles (OLA) Secondary School”.
Mr Speaker, OLA Senior High School was the brainchild of a Dutch national, Bishop Anthony Konings of blessed memory, who was in charge of the then Keta Diocese. As a firm believer in education for girls, Bishop Konings' vision was to establish a secondary school that would give girls in the Volta Region an intellectually sound, moral, spiritual and academic Catholic education.
Mr Speaker, as a result of the founding of OLA, girls from the Volta Region no longer had to travel over 200 miles to Cape Coast, which has a sister institution for girls.
The school adopted the motto, “Vitam Presta Puram”, meaning “Grant Us a Pure Life. A life Without Reproach.” To help actualise that ideal, the Bishop invited the Sisters of Our Lady of Apostles (popularly known as OLA Sisters), most of them Irish nuns, to administer the school. The first
Headmistress of the school was Rev. Sr. Theodorus Fahy (of blessed memory) who came to Ghana in January 1954 to take charge of the school. She was assisted by other Ir ish nuns and Ghanaian teaching staff.
There was also Sr. Dolores Davis, who helped in teaching music, and Rev. Fr. Herman Lubbers, the only male, taught religion, and later became the full-time chaplain of OLA from 1957 to 1973.
Mr Speaker, two years later, the school was transferred from Keta to its permanent site at Ho in January 1956.
The 1960s was a period of great infrastructural expansion built with grants from the Dutch Government and complemented by continued diocesan funding.
Mr Speaker, not only did the 1960s see the development of the infrastructure of the school, but it was also a period when the student population increased and courses being offered were expanded. Thus, from 1960, both arts and science subjects were fully taught in the school. In 1962, the school enrolled a double stream, and in 1966, Business subjects were introduced.
Mr Speaker, in 1976, the first headmistress Sr. Theodorus retired from the school and left Ghana after 22 years of sterling service, and was replaced by Sister Maire O'Driscoll. Bishop Konings, the founder of the school also departed Ghana for good, leaving an exemplary Catholic girls' secondary in the capable hands of the Rt. Rev. Bishop Francis Lodonu, who took over the administration of the then Keta/Ho Diocese.
To date, the school has had a total of eight very committed Headmistresses: