School Days At GCI Weren’t All About Academics!

School Days At GCI Weren’t All About Academics!

GCI students were primed to excel in academics, sports and other extra-curricular activities. We were involved in March Past pageants during Independence Day and Children’s Day; and GCI always came tops – obviously because we were better for them through our exposure to a very strong military Cadet Unit. One remembers Major Akinyemi ’66 (a.k.a. Carter).

Our Dramatic Society was also very active. There was a play production every school year. It was an avenue for students to showcase their creative talents via stage performances, either as a cast or crew member. The Play Week was the climax of stiff auditions and months of rehearsals and preps, under the grooming of our Fine Arts teacher, Mr Oguntonade. The School Plays were coproduced with QSI. Previously, before our time, GCI coproduced with St Anne’s. Especially, in the years that DJ Bullock and Miss Groves were principals in the respective schools.

The Play Week was six days of performing the drama that we had spent months preparing for to private audiences. On Day 1, we performed for GCI and QSI students only, in the GCI Assembly Hall. On Days 2-4, as many as five/six schools based in Ibadan were invited on respective days to watch the show. Token Entry fees were charged daily for the show. However, GCI boys weren’t beyond sneaking in or waiting until after Interlude, when the gates were normally thrown open. On Day 6, parents and special guests were invited for the Grand Finale – for which the better of the alternate casts in each role performed.

The cast and crew always gave their best. On Days 1-5, GCI boys showed up unfailingly in the audience or not, to make new ‘friends’ from among the invitees from other schools (as you must have guessed, GCI NEVER invited boys schools!) GCI boys that showed up would wear their best formal dresses to impress; and would seek every chance to chat up girls. The whole idea was to get a ‘catch’. Luckier still are those whose catches followed up with the exchange of letters after the play week.

After the Play Week, an exclusive Cast Party was arranged by the school for the cast and crew members. Our principal- Chief JB Ojo always attended as the “Chief Host”, chatting with and cheering the GCI boys and QSI girls to mix, dance, eat and drink.

Sometimes we were invited to stage performances outside the school. We were once invited to perform before the University Community at the Staff School Hall of the University of Ife. Two of the plays that took place during my years at GCI were ‘Monsieur Tartuffe’ – by Moliere (1970) and ‘The Rivals’ by RB Sheridan (1972). I acted in both productions, pairing with the late Dapo Durosaro (’69) in ‘Monsieur Tartuffe’ and with Gboyega Akin-Deko (’70) in ‘The Rivals’. Some other school mates active in the in the Dramatic Society were Soremekun Bolade (Sohe) (’68), Dapo Abe (’67), Oredugba (Bolero) (’66), Yanju Adegbite (’67), Gboyega Adesiyan (’69), Seun Oyefeso (’69), Gbuyi Adesanya (’69), Tunde Aboaba (’69) and Akinyemi (’71). From QSI, I remember Gloria Akpana, Ala, Adeniji, Giwa Osagie, etc.

Our stage productions were usually enriched by the standard sets and props, lighting, costumes, makeup and sound effects that we had access to; thanks to the accumulated investments on the GCI stage during the DJ Bullock era. One prominent member of the crew was the set designer- Odeyemi (’67, Field House). Students’ input into stage management and operations was very high and provided good training for enterprise, innovation and creativity. GCI gave us the opportunity to hone these raw talents early in life. From stage to Television, Radio, etc., it was no surprise that some of us progressed into successful careers in the Media, after GCI. Aside me, there’s Seun Oyefeso, Yanju Adegbite and Gboyega Adesiyan who spent time in the industry.

- Jaiye Ojo (’69 Carr House)


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