Menu

About Us

ABOUT DMGS

Theme: THE DENGRAMITE CHARACTER –LGHT OF THE NATION & THE WORLD

Fellow Dengramites, let us in pursuing the above theme turn our minds to the four words that make up the abbreviation D.M.G.S.
D - Stands for DUTY:

JESUS SAID: So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.'" (Luke 17 : 10)

DENNIS: He did not allow the fact that Igbo was a language totally new to him, with many different dialects, to dissuade him from embarking on the monumental task of standardising the language and translating the entire Bible.

DUTY TO PROFESSION:
DMGS was a late-comer in the comity of first generation schools. Others came decades ahead of us. In 1859, twenty years after the landing of the first missionaries in Yorubaland, the Rev. Thomas Babington Macaulay, the son-in-law of the Rev. Samuel (afterwards Bishop) Crowther, pioneered CMS Grammar School. In 1879 Methodist Boys' High School was opened. Then followed St. Gregory's College (by the Roman Catholics, 1876); then Baptist Academy (1886, by the American Baptist Mission); then Hope Waddell Institute (by the Presbyterians; 1895). Even the first government secondary school which was King's College, Lagos -opened in 1909- came much earlier than DMGS.

So how can one explain the amazing fact that DMGS, the late-comer, went on to produce the first Nigerian Professor of History, the first Nigerian Professor of Mathematics, the first Nigerian Professor of Pharmacology, the first Nigerian Principal, the first Nigerian Vice-Chancellor; and so on. How was it possible that when Nigeria had but a handful of Universities, D.M.G.S. alone had two Vice-Chancellors. How was it that in sports, the school produced the first Nigerian gold medallist, Emmanuel Ifeajuna.

The secret was that the early teachers at DMGS did their duty. Please permit me to divert a bit and lay some historical foundations.
To start with it is indeed surprising to observe that although the C.M.S. (Church Missionary Society) workers landed in Onitsha in July 1857, it was not until nearly seventy years later, until 1925, that the first secondary school was founded in the town. Part of the explanation of this phenomenon lies in the fact that for long the C.M.S., like other Christian missions operating in Nigeria, did not believe that secondary education was conducive to the propagation of Christianity. To them the aim of even primary education was religious instruction.
Bishop Crowther began his evangelization work in the Niger Mission with yeomen who had "little or no formal education - farmers, carpenters bricklayers, shoemakers, messengers and' stewards on boardshlps."

The expediency of the Holy Ghost Fathers, was ultimately to change the situation- they used the English Language as their medium of instruction. The products of their schools very easily secured jobs in the British government offices and in the commercial houses. When the local people realized, therefore, the economic advantages of literacy in the English language, they deserted the C.M.S. schools & flocked into schools established by the Holy Ghost Fathers.

The British government, by its Proclamation No.19 of 1903, published the Education Code and indicated that English should be taught in all schools, that religious instruction should no longer be compulsory and that grants-in-aid would be paid to schools that comply. The C.M.S. Niger Mission, for fear that this code may lead to the secularization of education, rejected it. The Holy Ghost Fathers, on the other hand, accepted this code and received substantial grants-In-aid.
With these they increased the enrolment in their schools, raised the academic standard, and made education free for their converts. The result of this difference in the policy and method of running their schools between the Holy Ghost Fathers and the C.M S Niger Mission was that still more converts from the latter switched their allegiance to the Roman Catholics.

The C.M.S. Niger Mission authorities were, therefore, forced to modify their attitude towards higher education. Among the advocates for a higher education was Archdeacon Thomas John Dennis, who in 1899 advocated the inclusion of English in the curriculum of primary schools, and even urged the opening of a secondary school at Onitsha, in which the English would be the medium of instruction.
On January 25, 1925, the Dennis Memorial Grammar School was opened, and thus a light in the educational development in lgbo land was lit by the Church Missionary Society which can never be quenched. (SIGNIFICANTLY, 25TH OF JANUARY IS ALSO THE FEAST OF THE CONVERSION OF ST PAUL).

The first intake consisted of nineteen boarders and forty-six day students. Some of the first pupils were Isaac Iweka (first lgbo civil engineer, later the Eze of Obosi), Wilfred Mbonu (later a Rev. Canon of the Anglican Church) Isaac Nwangwu (later a Civil servant), Jonathan Ogbonna Ekeocha (who later retired as an educationist) and Walter Onubogu (later a well-known medical practioner).
The foundation staff comprised the Principal, the Rev. J.C. Taylor, B. A., and three Africans - the late Mr. Mark Anyaegbunam, Mr. Samuel Achebe, and Ven. Dr. B.C.E. Nwosu (later Archdeacon of Onitsha).

Teachers were not readily available. The chief source of the supply of staff for the school was Awka (C.M.S.) Training College. The first set of pioneer staff, 1925-1929, did not attend any secondary school nor study any secondary school subjects, yet were called upon to teach them. How did they manage to tackle this? The truth is that "they, while their companions slept, were toiling upwards in the night." They were devoted and gave of their best to raise the standard of their pupils above their own. Like John the Baptist, they were prepared to decrease in order to make their pupils increase.
From 1930 upward, Old Boys of the D.M.G.S., beginning with Mr. J. U. Ekeocha, began to join the staff, barely five years after the establishment of the school.

Amazingly, D.M.G.S. decided to introduce the teaching of science subjects. The first science laboratory was designed by, Dr. E. H. Duckworth, a government Inspector of Science education. Then in 1935, Dr. J. B. Miles, PHD, joined. In fact, by the mid-forties, the popular opinion, judging from the examination results, was that D.M.G.S. laid emphasis only on science subjects.
The other students, from King's College, Lagos and Government Colleges were staggered and reacted accordingly: “You D.M.G.S. boys! You do Religious knowledge, you do History, you do Latin, and you do Drawing and Carpentry. Will you displace us in science too?”
"Glorious Set of 1936": In 1936, DMGS presented her first set of candidates for the Cambridge (overseas) School Certificate examinations. There were twelve candidates. All twelve passed. Eight were exempted from the London matriculation. This was a marvellous and encouraging record, and sure evidence that a solid foundation had been laid in the pioneering period.
Among the candidates who set these enviable records was the late Kenneth Dike, the first African Vice-Chancellor of the first Nigerian University College and later Professor of history at Havard University.
DUTY TO GOD: Morning and evening services were conducted daily and, once a week, an address was given by the Principal or a member of staff. Every Sunday morning, the boarders and some day pupils in white suits and straw hats rimmed with school bat bands, marched in a procession through the Old Market Road to Christ Church, Onitsha, for Mattins.

It is not so surprising, therefore, that time was when all Anglican bishops east of the Niger were old boys of DMGS. Indeed, since the founding of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) on February 24, 1979, the position of Dean has always been occupied by Dengramites.
DUTY TO COUNTRY:

CONCERN: COMPANIES ARE RELOCATING FROM NIGERIA BECAUSE WE ARE NOT DOING OUR DUTY.

Why is there the gradual exodus of companies from Nigeria to Ghana? Some close shop totally in Nigeria while others do so as gradually as they can manage without raising alarm. Some notable companies that have moved are Dunlop, Michellin and Prilleri. THE REASON IS THAT WE HAVE AS A PEOPLE LOST OUR RESPECT FOR HARD WORK AND LABOUR. Some years ago Nigeria launched Ghana-Must-Go. If we do not have a re-think, Nigerians will continue to flee the country in droves in search of the elusive greener pastures, swelling the number of Nigerians all over the world. At the risk of sounding pessimistic, some countries, and definitely Ghana, might just launch Nigeria-Must-Go a few years from now.

It will take a great deal of sacrifice as well as strategic planning for Nigeria to be transformed. Perhaps it is no accident that in the coup of January 15, 1966, majority of the five majors were Dengramites; indeed the intellectual leader of the majors was Emmanuel Ifeajuna, a Dengramite, who provided the philosophical framework for the attempt to save Nigeria from early chaos.

WHILST NOT CONDONING VIOLENCE OR MILITARY INTERVENTION IN GOVERNANCE, WE ARE STILL LEFT WITH THE PERTINENT QUESTION: WERE THESE DENGRAMITES THE JERRY RAWLINGS THAT NIGERIA NEVER HAD TO CLEANSE HER AUGEAN STABLE?
THE PROBLEM WITH NIGERIA IS NOT THAT WE HAVE WORSE SINNERS THAN OTHER NATIONS, BUT THAT WE HAVE LUKEWARM SAINTS. OUR EVIL MEN ARE PASSIONATELY AND CALCULATIVELY EVIL; OUR GOOD MEN ARE LUKEWARM AND LACKLUSTRE ABOUT DOING GOOD. THE 419 TRICKSTERS ARE JUST ONE EVIDENCE THAT WHILE NIGERIAN SINNERS MAY BE GENUISES, OUR SAINTS ARE CONTENT TO WALLOW IN MEDIOCRITY, BOTH IN THOUGHT AND ACTION. THE DENGRAMITE MUST RISE ABOVE THIS TENDENCY.

M - stands for MAGNANIMITY:
This term is here used in both its earlier and latter-day senses; greatness of soul; loftiness of thought or purpose; nobility of feeling; superiority to petty resentment or jealousy; magnificence.
JESUS SAID: “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." (John 12:32).
DENNIS exhibited this spirit of magnanimity when he gave attention in his translation to the various dialects of the Igbo language, as against choosing one dialect as was done by the Roman Catholic translators.

From the beginning boys came to D.M.G.S. from all parts of Nigeria - and beyond. When I was working in Baptist Hospital, OGBOMOSO, I met an old boy from that town on my first day in St David’s Church, Ogbomosho. Among the famous "Glorious Set of 1936", the first batch of students to obtain 100% passes at the Cambridge School Certificate Examination, was Theophilus R. Yirenki, a Ghanaian pharmacist; Joseph Wayas was one of the many non-Igbos who attended DMGS.
There were then four houses that pupils were assigned to: Aggrey, Livingstone, Stanley and Washington. The very choice of these names – African, European and American - was a sign of magnanimity.

In the upbringing of Dengramites in the early days, so much was made of the Churchillian injunction: "In victory, magnanimity. In defeat, defiance".
The classical text for riveting magnanimity in the boys' minds was Philippians Chapter 4, verse 8:
"Whatever is true,
whatever is noble,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is of admirable -
If anything is excellent or praiseworthy,
- think about such things."

The ethos of magnanimity at DMGS, the first secondary school in Igboland, no doubt helped to create a culture of tolerance that pervaded Eastern Nigeria. This can be exemplified by a political era when Professor Eyo Ita, an Efik, was the Leader of Government Business in the Eastern Region House of Assembly in Enugu, the heartland of the Igbos; and the first Lord Mayor of Enugu, the capital of defunct Eastern Region, was Malam Umaru Altine, a Fulani man who hailed from Sokoto. That was not all; some Hausa/Fulani also became councillors in Enugu. In the same manner, John Umoru, from Etsako in today's Edo State which was then in the Western Region, won election to represent Port Harcourt in the Eastern Nigerian House of Assembly. Later, Zik appointed him as Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier. A Mid-Westerner and incumbent Oba Erediauwa of Benin (then Prince Solomon Akenzua) and a Northerner, the late Abdulaziz Atta, the Gowon-era Secretary to the Government of the Federation, both served as Permanent Secretaries of the Eastern Nigeria Civil Service. When the Eastern House of Chiefs was constituted Malam Umaru Yushau, the Sarkin Hausawa or chief of the Hausas at Onitsha, was elected as a member of the Eastern House of Chiefs. In fact the Sardauna of Sokoto, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, was so impressed that, in a fit of reciprocity, he appointed the leader of the Kano chapter of the Igbo State Union one Felix Okonkwo, then known as "Okonkwo Kano", as a special member of the Northern House of Chiefs.
Dengramites must live out the ideals of our founding fathers as, according to the hymnist: “In Christ there is no east or west, in him no south or north; but one great fellowship of love throughout the whole wide earth”.

Many of the Principals of DMGS stand out, including Rev. J.C. Taylor – the pioneer principal; C.J. Patterson – the first & only principal to become a bishop (later archbishop); Mr. S. J.C. Cookey – first African principal; Mr. S. 0. Ogazi, first Old Boy principal, who was in office from 1960 to the beginning of the civil war; and the late Ven. Thomas Mbanugo, the first indigenous clergyman principal {MAY THE SOULS OF THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED REST IN PEACE, AMEN.}
I shall illustrate the aspect of the building of a magnanimous character in the Dengramite by reference to its longest-serving Principal. No history of D.M.G.S., however scanty, would be worthwhile without a special mention of the Principalship of Mr. (later the Rev.) E. D.C. Clark. Mr. E. D. C. Clark was appointed the Principal of D.M.G.S. in October 1939, and served in that capacity up to December 1950. Thus he had been principal for thirteen years when the school was celebrating its Silver Jubilee in 1950. Mr. Clark came up to the school from Achimota College, Gold Coast, with a vast experience in school administration.

A middle-aged English graduate, he approached his task with a missionary enthusiasm that infected all around. He changed the academic, social and moral standard of the D.M.G.S. in many ways. Mr. Clark worked hard so that D.M.G.S. pupils might achieve versatility in many aspects of life. He wanted them to have an all-round education in order to be true citizens.
HOBBIES: Mr. Clark, in his bid to make his pupils versatile, introduced “compulsory hobbies” – an oxymoronic expression and veritable contradiction in terms. Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12 noon was set apart for these hobbies. They included agriculture - for good measure every fresher was allotted a plot of land which he cultivated during the year and for which he was awarded marks - Carpentry, Photography, Motor Mechanics, Tailoring, Gardening, Watch repairing, Painting, Blacksmithing, Fretwork, Shoe-making and repairing. The products of these hobbies, along with scientific experiments and traditional dances, were exhibited by boys on a day like Parents Days towards the end of the school year;

CULTURE: language (SPILC), music, etc.; SOCIETIES;
CIVICS: This was taught both in theory and practice. The principal set the example himself, for Mr. Clark was a versatile person who was not only an academician but also a man of his people. Mr. Clark made his pupils interested in the problems of their societies. Clark was the leader of the School Social Service Club, an organization which would go into various quarters of Onitsha, in term time, to help build huts for the widowed, the destitute and the aged; and during vacations, would travel on the same mission as far north as the Nsukka area and as far west as the Isoko country. The society also carried out anti-erosion work. Many students accompanied him to Nnobi, Oraukwu, Alor, Agulu and elsewhere to plant araba, bamboo, and cashew trees in order to check erosion.
It was the tradition on Good Fridays for boys to visit as a team the General Hospital, Onitsha, or lyi-Enu Hospital, Ogidi, or any other charitable institution for the orphaned or homeless, and help in keeping the surroundings clean and doing other menial jobs. The more religious and more didactically-inclined went to the churches around on Sundays to teach Sunday School.

SPORTS: Mr Clark was the first in the playing-field for physical training after prayers in the morning - a practice which was often most embarrassing to boys, since he knew every boy by name during his first term in the school and so could easily spot late-comers for discipline. The golden principle was Mens sana in corpore sano, but then the Dengram way went further than that i.e. tripartite - Spiritus sanus in mens sana in corpore sano.
ACADEMICS: Whether it was in the arts or the sciences, DMGS left no stone unturned in the quest to make her sons the best.
"A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not of the Pierian Spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again”
In the field of educational development, the founders of the D.M.G.S. were not disappointed. In the field of secondary education, Eastern Nigeria owes a great debt to the pioneering mission of the D.M.G.S. Many young men went out from her to teach in the mission schools. Some of the senior staff and old boys of the D.M.G.S. continually moved out to aid the growth of new secondary schools. Okrika Grammar School, St. Augustine's Grammar School, (Nkwerre), Oraukwu, Agulu, Ogoni, Nsukka, to mention a few, had as their first principals, former senior staff or old boys of the D.M.G.S.
ACCOUNTABILITY: To instil duty and discipline, there were individual or group marks awarded for nearly every activity at D.M.G.S. - from classroom performance, through hostel cleanliness, to craftsmanship in carpentry.
This all-round excellence was lived out by Dengramites. For lack of time I shall make just one example, and I have chosen Sir Walter Eze who attended DMGS from 1942 to 1945, before proceeding toYaba College of Education, Lagos (1946-1948), University College Ibadan (University of Ibadan), Ibadan, (1948-1949), University of Toronto, Canada and USA (1949-1957), obtaining an in M.Sc. in Experimental Surgery.

His versatility is evidenced by the fact that he was not only Chief Consultant Director, Toronto Hospital Ltd., Onitsha, but also a Captain of Industry; Traditional Ruler (Igwe); President-General of Ukpo Improvement Union, President of Onitsha Sports and Recreation Club, Sidesman and Steward at All Saints’ Cathedral Onitsha (1959-1991 i.e. for over 30 years), President of the Knights of The Order of The Society of Saint Christopher, Diocese on The Niger, President of Anambra State Boys Brigade, Chairman of Board of Governors of D.M.G.S., Onitsha, (1978-1991), President of D.M.G.S. Old Boys Association, Onitsha, Fellow of The Royal Society, London, and Fellow of The New York Academy of Sciences, USA.

G stands for GRATITUDE:

GRATITUDE FOR HAVING THE PRIVILEGE, RESOURCES AND OPPORTUNITY TO ATTEND DMGS WAS UNIVERSAL AMONG DENGRAMITES AND IN MOST CASES BECAME THE HALLMARK OF THEIR FUTURE LIVES.
This was because it required tremendous sacrifices on the part of parents, guardians or communities to send their children or wards to The Grammar School, particularly at a time when money was extremely tight. In the early forties, for instance, tuition fees were about N4 per term and boarding fees about N 6 per term. (At that time primary school pupil teachers were earning about N I.25 a month). And many students lived as day boys because they could not afford the boarding fees, and many day boys and boarders had to withdraw from school because they had no fees at all.
The school had the means of helping bright lads who had not the wherewithal for paying their fees. A number of school scholarships were awarded annually based on the results of the entrance examination. The school authorities built into this scholarship scheme a means whereby beneficiaries could demonstrate their gratitude in kind. They were requested to serve the C.M.S. Niger Mission for a minimum period of three years after the end of their careers.

A few examples will suffice to demonstrate how highly valued admission to attend Dengram was. Chinua Achebe: the foremost Nigerian novelist took entrance exams to both DMGS and Government College Umuahia; when he passed both his father said, of course he should go to DMGS; his brother John, an Anglican priest insisted on Government College Umuahia, which was the cheaper option. Senator Uche Chukwumerije tells whoever cares to listen that he could have been a Dengramite, and that the only reason he went to Our Lady’s High School Onitsha, was that he failed the entrance exam to DMGS (according to him, due to illness). Cosmas Maduka proudly states that he did class one in DMGS but could not proceed because of the death of his father. That one year in DMGS was enough to lay the foundation for his outstanding entrepreneural success, as told in his biography “From Trial to Triumph (The Coscharis story)”. Chu S.P. Okongwu, economist and former minister of finance, having first attended Government College, Umuahia, 1947-1951 still had to proceed to Dennis Memorial Grammar School, Onitsha as a kind of finishing school to crown his secondary education.
"How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child."

II. DENGRAMITES ARE GRATEFUL TO THE MISSIONARIES:

TO SAMUEL CROWTHER, who founded the Niger Mission that gave birth to DMGS on July 27, 1857; he wrote the first book in Igbo, and the first Igbo dictionary and was consecrated at Lambeth Palace, on June 29, 1864 as the First Bishop on the Niger. LUX FIAT, the motto, byword and battle cry of Dengramites is one we affectionately share with the Diocese on the Niger, Nigeria’s mother Diocese.
Incidentally, Thursday this week 19th of December, 2009 marks the 90th anniversary of the inauguration Of the Diocese of Lagos, the second Diocese in Nigeria; in contrast, the Diocese on the Niger is 145 years old.
TO THE DENNIS FAMILY: especially to Archdeacon T.J. Dennis, (MA, Durham); Union Igbo was created out of his excellent attention to details. A favourite example of mine is how he carefully chose the names of the three persons of the Trinity between expressions from Onitsha, Owerri and Riverine Igbo
Lord: Onitsha: Di nwenu anyi; Owerri: Onye nwanyi (preferred)
The Son: Onitsha: Nwa; Owerri: Okpala (preferred)
The Holy Spirit: Riverine: Muo Oma; Onitsha: Muo Nso (preferred)
Dennis completed the translation of the Bible into "Union" lgbo in 1906.

{DMGS OLD BOYS HAVE A SPECIAL DEBT TO PAY –THE PRESERVATION OF THE IGBO LANGUAGE MUST BE OF SPECIAL INTEREST TO US}

GRATITUDE TO OUR FOUNDERS/BENEFACTORS:

Before DMGS was founded, sons of Niger Diocese had the trouble and expense in time, money & energy of travelling to Lagos or Calabar, or even to Ghana or Sierra Leone, in quest of secondary education.
The members of the Executive of the Niger Mission, under the leadership of Archdeacon T. J. Dennis, pressed in 1911 for the opening of a well equipped central school at Onitsha with elementary and secondary departments. A name, "The Onitsha Grammar School" was agreed upon.
In February 1919, the Grammar School Building and Business Committee was inaugurated with the Rev. S. R. Smith, Secretary of the Niger Mission, as the Chairman
Under William Watson, a British (Newcastle-on-Tyne) businessman, an appeal for funds was launched in England. Mr. C.A.A. Barnes, a Gold Coast civil Engineer and a member of the committee, offered to draw the plans and erect the buildings-free of charge. Labour for the construction of the building was supplied free by the church members who took their turns in providing the water and sand and in carrying the burnt bricks and cement with which the school was built. Donations came from the Onitsha District Council; the Enugu Ngwo District; generous donations came from the Niger Delta Pastorate, etc.
Finally S stands for SACRIFICE & SERVICE (SERVANTHOOD):
JESUS said: "It is more blessed to give than to receive."
"I am in the midst of you as he that serveth."
"He that will be the greatest among you shall be your servant."

THE SACRIFICE OF THE DENNIS FAMILY: May I note at this time that apart from his wife Mattie, the other siblings of Thomas John Dennis also made sacrifice for the spread of the Gospel. His sister Ellen (“Nellie”) served as a missionary in Nigeria and died in Nigeria in 1916, a year before Dennis’ death. Another sister Frances (“Fanny”) worked with him as a missionary. On the eve of her wedding, her husband-to-be, another missionary known as Geoffrey Hensley died of malaria. His brother Edward (“Eddie”) spent twelve years as a missionary in Nigeria. His youngest sister Margaret (“Meg”) was also a missionary. Her husband died of malaria, leaving her with two young children.
The sacrificial nature of Dennis’ life is exemplified by his last journey.

On August 1, 1917, when the steamship Karina was torpedoed, Dennis was the only passenger that died. Why was Dennis the only passenger that died? The best account is that written by his wife, Mattie. Whilst on board the ship Dennis was translating the Sunday School lessons, as he had no time to do this while at Egbu; his last translated words was “Ka m gwa gi, Chineke anyi bu Chineke huru anyi n’ánya.” (I will tell you, our God is a God of love). Dennis insisted on strapping the manuscript to himself, and so missed the lifeboat. He was a good swimmer, but the manuscript must have been an impediment. But again, God worked a miracle, for the manuscript became the only thing saved from the ship when it was washed up off the Welsh coast and picked up by a fisherman who forwarded it to Mattie.
Dennis’ death at 47 was a terrible loss for Mattie and his five children and for his own family of which he was the first born. His elderly mother in 18 months had lost two children and a son-in-law – all missionaries. It was also a deep personal loss to missionaries of the Niger Mission. Archdeacon G.T. Basden wrote: “By the torpedoing of a steamer, the Niger Mission has been deprived of a steadfast missionary, a faithful steward of the Word, a valued counsellor, an indefatigable worker, an earnest evangelist, a patient ‘overseer’ and an Archdeacon of the Church of Christ, and withal a man of prayer and spiritual power, in all things giving Christ the pre-eminence, and whose daily prayer was that he might adorn the doctrine of God. Truly he endured ‘as seeing Him who is invisible. ”

Dennis died on AUGUST 1. Coincidentally and providentially, the first day of August has been the ancient Festival of the First Fruits or LAMMAS DAY (loaf mass), in the church since at least the ninth century.
The feast was particularly anticipated because it marked the end of the ‘hungry gap’, the time of year when food stocks were at their lowest, just before new produce was available at harvest time. The feast celebrated fruitfulness and plenty.
The first harvested grains were milled and baked into loaves of bread, taken to church, blessed and then offered as thanksgiving to God, to celebrate the safely gathered crops.
When it was time to bring in the harvest, most members of the community played their part. Whatever occupation each person followed for the rest of the year, everyone’s labour was needed for the important harvest weeks.
Out of the many rituals attached to the Lammas feast, one very popular tradition was for the first loaf of the harvest to be allowed to go stale and then scattered around the corners of the barn where the harvest was stored.

I BELIEVE THAT DMGS DAY SHOULD HOLD ON AUGUST 1 EVERY YEAR, AS A PRELUDE TO THE UNIVERSAL OBSERVATION OF THIS DAY IN MEMORY OF DENNIS.
For want of time I have dwelt in detail only on a few individuals, but the influence of DMGS is woven intricately into all that is most noble and ennobling in Igboland, Nigeria and beyond. Dennis sowed a good seed and reaped the first fruits, but left behind for us a bigger harvest, especially as by his death he has himself become a potent seed. In the words of St. Paul - "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and ... run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

CLOSING REMARKS

Duty, Magnanimity, Gratitude and Service:
These are some of the abiding values, which D.M.G.S. has always symbolized. These are some of the ideals that will rescue D.M.G.S. in these times of strain and stress. The school had trouble enough when at the end of the Biafran war her pupils returned to find her buildings - classrooms, laboratories, hostels and all – in ruins. It was as if the ground had caved in beneath their feet. The problems were many times multiplied when the old school was merged with other institutions each with its own traditions and conventions, and its own tremendous post-war problems.
Today, in 2009 we face a similar task. DMGS is in ruins - physically, morally, financially and otherwise. The task of reconstruction and re-orientation is indeed monumental, and the mere contemplation of it could make even the stoutest heart almost buckle. Nevertheless, this task is by no means insurmountable. Proportionately, it is probably in many ways not much greater than that which confronted the founding fathers about 85 years ago. What they achieved then, with few precedents to guide them and with their incomparably meager resources, we can even excel now, with the experience accumulated over the decades and the vastly increased possibilities which modern science and technology have opened up for us.
Our attitude must be that of Nehemiah
The words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah: “… while I was in the citadel of Susa, Hanani … came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them … about Jerusalem. They said to me, "…. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire."

… the king asked me, "Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart."
... I said to the king, "May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?"

Let us rise and rebuild, DMGS, which is our Jerusalem. We owe it to the illustrious memory of Dennis to ensure that DMGS regains and surpasses its former glory as a leading light among schools. Havard in Cambridge, Massachusetts is held to be the best college in the world. It was named after John Harvard, a young English clergyman, who bequeathed the College his library of four hundred books and £779 pounds sterling, which was half of his estate. Reverend Havard gave half of his income after one year of active service in Massachusetts; Dennis gave his life after eleven years of service in Nigeria. At his death the Egbu District which had been completely heathen when Dennis had moved there eleven years previously had 1 African clergyman (Rev A.C. Onyeabo), 100 lay agents, 88 outstations, and nearly 10,000 converts.

If one man could make such a difference so can we, but we require faithfulness! Ours must be a wholehearted commitment like that of the hymnist who asked:

And we shall we be faithless?
Shall hearts fail, hands hang down?
Shall we evade the conflict?
And cast away our crowns?

Not so: in God’s deep counsel
Some better thing is stored

YES!

His mercy will not fail us
Nor leave His work undone
With His right hand to guide us
The victory shall be won
And then by men and angels
His name shall be adored
The triune God who called forth light out of darkness, who is unequalled in excellence, endless in wisdom, boundless in providence, Worthy of all honour and worship, forever and ever more. Amen.

========================================================================

REFERENCES

*E. Chukuka Ezekwesili (Deceased, 2001) B.A, Econs, Lond., Dip. Ed.
Former Acting Dean of Students Affairs, UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA, NSUKKA
* John Q.S. Phillips (Deceased, 1995); Missionary & former Vice-Principal of DMGS
* The Rev Canon John Goodchild; Missionary & former Tutor at DMGS
* Hymns: Thy hand, O Lord has guided: Edward Hayes Plumptre, 1889
In Christ There Is No East or West: William Dunkerley, 1908
*Bible passages: the New International Version

[Message delivered by: Canon Kin J-Egwuonwu]

Give us a call on +08000000000