“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).
Everything that has a beginning definitely has an end. Every good thing must come to an end some day. “If you’re brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello.” – Paulo Coelho
“Don’t cry bause it’s over. Smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss.
Six years ago (2016), the baton of leadership of the Ashanti Regional Students Representative Council was handed to me by Honourable David Ohene-Amoako at a colorful handing-over ceremony at SDA Senior High School at Bekwai during the 19th Residential Congress of the Ashanti Regional SRC.
THE DAVID OHENE-AMOAKO ERA
David Ohene-Amoako had managed to lay a good foundation of the ARSRC with a lot of interest and excitement around the ARSRC. The activities of ARSRC attracted a lot of interest from students, Patrons and APEC. Most of the activities of ARSRC were purely internal. General Meetings, Congresses, Educational Trips, Orientation Exercises, Literary Group programms among others. There were other initiatives like the Model Student, Essay Writing Competition and ACME Quiz Competition initiated by David. David Ohene-Amoako had the strong support of Mr. Raphael Sarkodie who served as the Chairman of the Supervisory Committee in David’s era.
But after six years of dedicated service, David had to leave the scene. After a thorough vetting exercise at the 19th Annual Congress, Mr. Raphael Sarkodie, then a teacher of Adu Gyamfi Senior High School in Jamasi, received the nod as the new Co-ordinator.
THE CHALLENGE FACED BY MR. RAPHAEL BY SARKODIE WHEN HE ASSUMED OFFICE
The Free Senior High School Policy was implemented by the NPP government in September 2017 , one year after the new Co-ordinator took over. Dues payment became a challenge because payment of recurrent expenditure by government from which the SRC dues could be paid, were not forthcoming. The reality dawned on the new Co-ordinator that it wasn’t going to be a honeymoon. the Money Problem was real. The new Coordinator needed to be creative and innovative to navigate that challenge.
2ND CHALLENGE: Around the time the new Co-odinator took over, the then leadership of the Conference of Heads of Assisted Second-Cycle Schools were beginning to question the relevance of the ARSRC and the need to justify why heads should pay dues to the Regional Office for the running of the Regional Council. The then leadership of CHASS had raised questions to the Regional Education Directorate on the relevance of the Council. CHASS had every reason to demand for answers on why they needed to part with the little money they receive from government for SRC. The new Co-ordinator had the challenge of positioning the ARSRC as a relevant body that deserved the support of all.
The ARSRC had stayed internal with its activities for a long time and it was time to showcase what the Council had to the outside world.
The challenge of Mr. Raphael Sarkodie was clearly defined.
THE LEGACY OF MR. RAPHAEL SARKODIE
- Formation of Writers and Debaters Society (WDS)
Mr. Raphael Sarkodie with the support of some key people managed to engage the leadership of the then Writers, Drama and Debaters Club (WDDC). The new Co-ordinator had the vision of having the Debaters and Writers wing of the Council. Through the engagements, Mr. Raphael Sarkodie birthed the Writers and Debaters Society (WDS) which was inaugurated at a Congress at Our Lady of Grace SHS in Mamponteng. There was a new dawn. The WDS had become the new kid on the bloc through the vision and the instrumentation of Mr. Raphael Sarkodie. A by-law governing the WDS was also enacted to guide their activities.
2. THE HIGH SCHOOL DEBATE FOR WDS
To create a unique program for the WDS and to keep it functioning and active, Mr. Raphael Sarkodie engaged the Management of Luv Fm, a subsidiary of Multimedia Group, who were initiating a Debate Program for Senior High Schools in Ashanti Region. The engagement led to the the birth of the High School Debate Competition for the WDS of member schools. Through this competition, many students have showcased their talents to the general public and the world at large. Some have won some amazing prizes including a trip to Dubai and some great prizes have been won by schools including cash prizes. St. Monica won the competition and visited Dubai last year while Kumasi High School will be enplaning to Dubai as current winners.
3. The Ultimate High School Quiz Competition:
The need to find a lot more relevance for the ARSRC led to the rebranding of the ACME Quiz into the Ultimate High School Quiz with partnership from Gh One TV, Ultimate Fm and the EIB Network. The Ultimate High School Quiz which was aired live on Gh One Tv and Ultimate 106.9fm gave a lot of exposure to many schools. The Quiz competition on English Language, Social Studies, General Knowlege and Audio-Visuals exposed the ARSRC brand to the world with Mr. Raphael Sarkodie acting as the Quiz Master for the Competition.
4. TOP 8 GALA COMPETITION
The famous Top 8 Gala Competition was introduced in 2016. The competition which was played on 6th March Day brought the best eight soccer schools together to compete for honours in soccer competition. Sakafia SHS won the first edition while Kumasi High School won the second edition. Adu Gyamfi SHS won the 3rd edition. The competition was held at the Baba Yara Stadium every 6th March, 2022. Schools were craving for this competition until COVID-19 brought things to a halt for two years.
5. THE VOICE OF ARSRC HEARD ON THE BIGGEST MEDIA PLATFORMS
The deliberate attempt to calve a niche for ARSRC and give it recognition in the nation inspired Mr. Raphael Sarkodie to position the Council as a strong students association whose voice ought to be heard on students issues of national concern. Powerful national platforms and media platforms were made available to the Council. Platforms like Citi Fm’s Point of View, Joy Fm’s PM Express, Asaase Radio, TV3, Luv Fm, GH One TV, Ultimate Fm to were some of the platforms that felt the relevance of the ARSRC. Sir Raph contributed to national discourse to position ARSRC as a formidable force.
6. HIGH SCHOOL EXCELLENCE AWARDS
In his quest to re-package the ARSRC Annual Dinner and Awards, Sir Raph introduced the High School Excellence Awards which sought to award performing students, SRCs, teaching and non-teaching staff of Ghana Education Service. The program which was held at the auditorium of Anglican SHS was a huge success. Many people called for the sustenance of the program.
7. PARTICIPATION IN NATIONAL YOUTH POLICY DIALOGUES
The relevance and recognition of the ARSRC led to its invitation and participation in policy dialogues of national dimension. The ARSRC actively participated in the review of the national youth policy draft, the review of the draft of the Students Code of Conduct among many others. The ARSRC lived its mandate of championing the welfare of students by making their voices heard during such reviews.
8. STRONG BOND WITH CHASS LEADERSHIP, REGIONAL EDUCATION DIRECTORATE & TEACHER UNIONS
The recognition that ARSRC could not function in isolation and that it needed to collaborate with other relevant bodies in education motivated Mr. Raphael Sarkodie to form a strong partnership with Teacher Unions like Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT), National Association of Graduate Teachers and GNAT. The strong bond of cooperation between ARSRC and CHASS-Ashanti led to a greater collaboration on many issues. All ARSRC programmes were done in consultation and with the partnership of CHASS-Ashanti. This brought the ARSRC a greater buy-in and massive support from the members of CHASS. No one questioned the relevance of ARSRC again.
The support from the immediate past Regional Director of Education, Madam Mary Owusu Afriyie also contributed massively to the face-lift of the ARSRC. That support was earned for the ARSRC through the instrumentality of Mr. Raphael Sarkodie.
9. PARTNERSHIPS WITH VARIOUS ENTITIES
The ARSRC through the instrumentality of Mr. Raphael Sarkodie entered into many partnerships that were benefitial to the Council. Aside the partnerships with Media Houses like Gh One Tv and Luv Fm for the Ultimate High School Quiz Competition, Sir Raph partnered DPS Pens and Plastics with Brand Ambassador Kwadwo Nkansah Lil Win to entertain and advice students in many schools across the Country. ARSRC through the instrumentality of Sir Raph also partnered TV3 and Akoma FM in the Ashanti Marathon Competition which gave the ARSRC a lot of mileage.
ARSRC also partnered Y-FM to deliver another entertaining program to member schools with some famous Artistes who toured some schools.
10. MENTORSHIP SERIES WITH ULTIMATE FM
The ARSRC-Ultimate Fm Mentorship Program took a lot of prominent Ghanaians to many schools to inspire and motivate students to aspire to be more by taking inspiration from those who have gone the same path before.
11. ONE-STUDENT-ONE PEN PROJECT WITH KWADWO NKANSAH LIL WAYNE AND DPS PENS
The ARSRC partnered DPS Pens and Plastics to distribute pens to schools with Brand Ambassador Kwadwo Nkansah Lil Wayne. This generated so much excitement in the Local SRCs as the affable Entertainer toured schools across the Region.
The successes achieved would not have been possible without the able support of these noble men and women.
- Aboagye Bediako Jnr. (for his counsel and constructive criticisms that kept me on the right path)
- Manaf Ibrahim (for his support and leadership during his tenure as APEC Chair)
- Kwasi Owusu Amankwah (for his support and leadership during tenure as APEC Chair)
- David Ohene Amoako (for his support and dedication as Supervisory Committee Chair)
- Baffour Osei-Akoto (for his guidance and advise)
- Osborn Nana Fredua Agyemang (Esq)
- Patrick Ayittah (for his commitment and sacrifices as APEC Chair)
- All Local Patrons of the various schools (for their commitment, dedication, sacrifices and support all these years.
- APEC members (for their support and dedication)