By Mercy Hill
The atmosphere at Austica Memorial College, Nanka, was filled with joy, jubilation and nostalgia for the Alumni, parents, past and present principals ,students, and friends, as they commemorated the 20th Anniversary of the institution on Saturday, 9th February, 2019.
The celebration which featured Founders' Day and Fund Raising for the school held at the school premises in Nanka. The event was preceded by a Holy Mass presided over by the Bishop of Awka Diocese, his Lordship Paulinus C. Ezeokafor.
Austica Memorial College is a school named after two martyrs of faith,Augustine and Scholastica,who died while propagating the gospel. The blood of these martyrs became a seed in 1999, when Austica was birthed.
The school since 1999 to present date had the successful directorship of priests who were theprincipals namely: Rev.Fr.Jeremiah Okeke,the pioneer priest;Fr. Joseph Nwanna, and Fr. Cosmas Okechukwu Ebebe who handed over to the incumbent priest,Fr.Obiorah Okeke.
Speaking during his homily,the Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Ezeokafor, urged the students to remain focused so as to be successful in life. He said this while commending past and present principals of Austica,for their immense contributions and achievements in ensuring that the school attained such standards both in infrastructure and academics.
The cleric went further to appreciate the teachers for their efforts channelled towards instilling discipline in their students which was evident in their comportment at the event. He also advised that teachers and parents alike should be formators and not deformers of their wards.
'Teaching is a vocation, and so teachers should work, not only for earthly gains but with hope for reward in heaven' he pointed out.
Speaking during his opening remark, the incumbent principal of Austica, Fr. Obiorah Okeke, appreciated all present, noting that the celebration was held to thank God for the heights attained and to honour the instrumental hands of parents and other sponsors who had brought Austica thus far.He went further to say that he inherited what he described as a healthy institution from his predecessors, which he later improved on.
Fr. Okeke therefore solicited for assistance for the expansion of the school and for building a father's house and other appurtenances.
For his part, one of the past principals of Austica, Fr. Cosmas Ebebe, who spoke in an interview, said that it was a thing of Joy to see Austica grow, while he recalled most of his contributions to the institution. He commended Fr. Obiorah, and other priests for their immense contributions to the development of the college.
In their various speeches, the chairman of the event, Chief Ikenna Okafor, and the traditional ruler of Nanka,Igwe Godwin Ezeilo, both registered their commendations towards the growth of Austica, even as they said that the institution has been a blessing to the community and the society at large.
Some old boys who spoke to Fides,included the president of Austica Alumni, Dr.Michael Omenugha, class of 2007; and Bar. Somtochukwu Ileka, noted that the formation in Austica contributed to their success stories.
Presentation of awards, donation of 500 books by Fr. Adolphus Chukwuka, to the school Library ,performances by students and old boys formed the highpoints of the event.