“Invictus” was his ideology. We found it difficult identifying with it. We already had a motto: “the home of the humble and the great”, hence little need for a new logo. For weeks our lips struggled with invictus. It is a word barely used. Its tenets were unclear to us until the Governor’s debate in 2019. Then it dawned on us that invictus was not just a word; it is a spirit. The spirit of the unconquerable. Thus, we eagerly allowed ourselves to be possessed – we keyed in. Interestingly, the Invictus ideology steered us into the world of possibilities. For she believes and preaches that “man is a bundle of possibilities, operating in an uncharted horizon of possibilities; where the most possible is the most unpredictable”.
In the parlance of education, Invictus led us to see that education includes: the formation of the head (intelligence), the hand (skills) and the heart (morality). We were awed by the transformative power of this ideology amongst the students. There was a change from the seeming banking system of education to problem-posing system of education; a system that allows dialogue between the student and the teacher; a participatory system of education. At this point, schooling became engaging. There was a sincere love for English language driven by the desire for fluency in communication, and realized through weekly recitation of poems and monthly reading of new novels. Little wonder, the increased number of 9As in WAEC; the countless trophies in intra and inter state debates/quiz competitions and the sudden criticality and quest for analysis amongst the students.
The Invictus philosophy not only hatched the hidden talents in the students, it also nurtured to maturity the unprecedented skills innate in them. Mention must be made of the All Hallows Music Academy that started by telling few students to stay back in school during the holidays – in despondency, the students involved prepared their minds for some mason jobs, as they were wont to. On the contrary, professionals were sent to train them musically. Today, the said “few” students have metamorphosed to “many”. And the seminary now has a Music Academy. Sports is not left out. The newly built All Hallows FIFA-standard field and the five-star volleyball and basketball courts tell the story better.
Invictus as a synergistic pull encouraged students who feel left out in the aforementioned skills – especially when they noticed the change in their mates – to join the school mason, cobblers, farmers, barbers, tailors, electricians, plumbers, artists, etc. in order to form their hands. This latter spur to learn new things is as a result of the invictus policy that every student must master at least one skill before graduation.
Invictus spirituality modelled the hearts of the students to be human and to be holy. To see God in every man and to see every sin as conquerable.
What then is education if not educare – to rear, to bring out the best in every child by forming the head, the hand and the heart. Rev. Fr. Charles Onwumelu, in three years, has succeeded in bringing out the best in every student that passed under his tutelage. He has fanned into flame what is best in all. He spent himself, and in being spent, he has set new standards of excellence. To say the least; he breathed into us the spirit of Invictus.
This path he wrought for us is our delight.
By Anojulu Anthony