"Let me look that bucket."
"Oyelade, what did you say?"
"I said 'let me look that bucket.'"

This conversation took place between me and a senior boy with whom I found my missing bucket, in the first few weeks of my stay in the boarding house at GCI. My deficiency in the English language turned me from being the "accuser" into becoming a "defendant." I had omitted the article "at" from my statement. I should have said, "Let me look (at) that bucket." The senior literally dragged me before his friends and classmates to repeat this statement. Coming from ICC Primary School, Apata Ganga, a public primary school which shared its perimeter fence with GCI, it was clear, I had a long way to go in order to catch up with the new grammar standard expected of me. Welcome to GCI, Oh, My GCI.

Before the end of the first year, the excellent standard of the school had greatly rubbed on my grammar, sophistication, neatness and all round decency. GCI ran a well-balanced curricular with attention to academics, sports and recreation, thanks to our principal, Late Chief J.B.O. Ojo, an urbane educationist and a great sportsman.

Apart from a little attempt at playing hockey at the house level my specialty was the clapping event in athletics and other sports. Every GCI student was primed for leadership. The student body was largely self-governing. The Head of House was in charge of the house with his cabinet of house prefects. The Head of School was like the Executive President of the students, with a posh self-contained apartment in the block housing the dining hall. It was "Aso Rock Villa" of some sort with mess boys nominated from different houses to serve him first, and then the rest of the school. Obedience to rules was not an elective. 50 years after, I find it difficult to cross the lawn anywhere in the world. GCI, Oh My GCI!

I pity current secondary school students who have no opportunity of being in the boarding house. At the boarding house in GCI, we found friendship, shared fellowship and had fun. Field House boasted of gentle boys like David Oyesina and not so gentle ones like Tayo Banjo. We received our "baptismal" experience with the house test in which Oyesina came first dusting all of us. April Fool's day was kept top secret from new students who were woken up at exactly 12 midnight by a false alarm of fire. You needed to be there to see the uninitiated Class 1 students scamper out of bed and out of the the hostel; some with pajamas; others, stark naked!

It wasn't all good news, a few unpleasant experiences. Let me recount one. I had a senior in the boarding house (let's make him anonymous) who seemed to always know when my parents visited and brought along provisions. Starting from the night of my new stock, he would bring his cup and say, "My boy,....For energy."
That's was his code to ask me for bournvita. He usually ended up taking far more than half of my bournvita!

The movement of Queen School from Ede to Apata in Ibadan shortly before our set resumed brought us a twin sister school. We took "A" Level classes together, held joint parties and had a common choir. Our first choirmaster was Late Mr Dayo Dedeke who was succeeded by Mr Fasina. Mr Fasina and became the school principal, some years later.

In the joint choir with Queen School girls we had our rehearsals in the GCI assembly hall. Like most choirs, soprano were in the front row, alto singers on the 2nd row, tenor on the 3rd and the 4th and last row was occupied by bass singers. One of the choristers, 2 years our senior, was a very tall boy with a tiny female voice, so he was placed in soprano. By the time he was in form four his voice had not broken as it was the case with most boys when they reached puberty. He had to remain in the front row with form one boys and the junior girls. He was so oddly and embarrassingly conspicuous in the front row because of his height, so he "promoted" himself to the 4th row to stay with his classmates. The organist and choirmaster detected a discordant voice and left the organ to closely watch and listen to us as we sang. The highly proficient music teacher that he was, he soon identified the owner of the "offending” voice. It was no other than the tall chap. So the teacher quipped, "ABC what part are you singing?" Our friend answered in his tiny, female soprano voice, "I am singing bass sir!”; not only the teacher failed to resist a guffaw!! GCI, Oh My GCI.

I would like to end with the first line of the Field House song composed in 1964 by Femi Osofisan.

“Foremost stands the sun in heaven" May the sun rise and shine on GCI again; to restore her glory that she may resume the fulfillment of the vision of her founders. AMEN!

- Olufemi Oyelade (’69 – Field House)


Submitted By: 

OYELADE M. Olufemi
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