By Mike Nnamah
INTRODUCTION: The role of Old Boys and Girls Associations is enormous. This is borne out of the fact that they were the products of these schools. From cradle these institutions made them all what they are in life, and as such nobody bites the fingers that fed him or her. Old Boys and Old Girls Associations are veritable means of paying back to society, what one got early in life. From this point of view it is quite important for one to be a member of ones “Old school” association in order to contribute to the development of his or her alma mater.
ROLE PLAY BY ORGANIZATIONS:
Organizations exist so as to perform certain functions, aimed at the growth and development of such organizations. In many cases, for instance human beings join organizations or associations in order to contribute to the progress of such entities and invariably reap the benefits from the activities of such ventures.
In terms of Old Boys and Old Girls Associations, members pull their resources together or individually to uplift and improve the status of their alma mater. When compared with the cooperative societies, members of Old Boys and Old Girls Associations, may not all benefit from the collective efforts but joining the associations, could strengthen and enhance individual member’s status, politically, socially and economically through one form or other.
Therefore, be longing and participating in the activities of Old Boys and Old Girls Associations will be of immense benefit to members and the institutions alike. A friend told this writer, that he was able to obtain his visa to Europe, in the early 1970s when he stumbled on a class mate, who happened to be a staff in the Belgium Embassy. These examples are legion, what one can benefit through class mates and school mates.
These associations, no doubt have made serious facelifts of their alma mater. For instance, the facelifts seen in such schools as CKC Onitsha; DMGS Onitsha, QRC Onitsha, C.S.S. Nawfia, and IGS Awka among others, were made by the efforts of their Old Boys and Old Girls Associations. It is equally a fact, that well placed individuals have either embarked on the renovation of a part of the dilapidated buildings or have attracted the construction of new ones. Old Boys and Old Girls Associations meet from time-to time to discuss about the projects they will embark upon. They also access the level of deterioration of some school equipment in their alma mater, with a view to refurbishing or outright replacement of worm out ones.
RE-UNION OF OLD BOYS AND OLD GIRLS
The conviviality and emotion of meeting ones school mates and class mates over a long while, is better imagined than described.
Apart from the regular annual meetings Old Boys and Old Girls meet periodically, in what is described as re-union. At this re-union, Old Boys and Old Girls coverage at their alma-matar for social interactions, characterized by fun fares, funds raising ceremonies and so on and so forth. These re-unions could be organized for as long as a whole week of events and activities giving room for a good number of Old Boys or Old Girls as the case may be, to meet with their various families.
Occasions of that sorts are used for jokes cracking and name callings, reminiscent of their school days. Also such occasions could be used to bestow on individual members of the Associations various merit awards.
CHALLENGES OF OLD BOYS AND OLD GIRLS ASSOCIATIONS:
Just as any other associations, Old Boys and Old Girls Associations encounter a member of challenges and problems. These include the challenge of recruitment of members as a lot feel non challant in the affairs of their alma-mater. This lack of interest and zeal prevent many old Boys and Old Girls Association from good memberships. To mobilize Old Boys and Old Girls to join their associations is not an easy task, because of the lukewarm attitudes of many in identifying with their Old Boys and Old Girls Associations.
Another constrain is the issue of communication gap existing between some students and their schools. Some students who went to far distant schools from their present location are always at a loss of happenings in his or her alma mater.
This may not be a more serious constrain as any one desirous to know of events in his or her alma mater could as a fact try to go once a while to his or her alma mater and see things as they are. Alternatively, one can organize a branch in his or her location and report to the headquarters of the association the activities of such branch.
CONCLUSION: As a conclusion to this write up, one can forget ones old school friends over a long time and the best option is to always identify with ones alma mater.
As one continues to identify with ones alma mater, one is better placed to contribute ones quote to the improvement and upliftment of ones alma mater. Also, identify and participating in ones Old Boys and Old Girls Associations could strengthen or improve ones status in life in one form or the other.
Mike Nnamah is the National Public Relation Officer of CSSNOBA