It was a rainy day; and so by midday, parts of Accra got flooded as usual.
Elsewhere in the capital, organizers of a special event were worried. A day before, two old boys of Presec-Legon had been on the Citi Breakfast Show to promote the Torch and Bonfire Night.
And with an amazingly positive reaction afterwards, the threat of rain would have scuppered everything.
It turned out to be a false fear, for Friday evening brought with it a cool breeze, perfect for what was to be an evening of laughter, fun and nostalgia.
Nobody was quite sure how things would turn out on the evening, because the buzz around the event, days before it happened, has been almost feverish.
What was not in doubt was the breadth of people willing to be there, and who had cancelled everything for this special evening.
Take Lt. Col. Setornu of the Ghana Armed Forces, for instance.
“I’m not one to be moved by old school this, or old school that. But I just knew this one was something I could not miss.”
And he didn’t. The army man, of the 1975 year group, arrived at the grounds at 7:30pm, just two hours after landing at the Kotoka International Airport from a mission in Central Africa.
“I thought I was late, but when I came in the party was just getting started,” he told the press.
His classmates, as well as his juniors and seniors were already seated, helping themselves to the food and drinks available. They could be heard all night exchanging scandalous old-school jokes and uproarious laughter.
And all around them were many more from the younger generation, who formed the majority of the crowd – the ’80s, ’90s, and the millenials.
“I’m from the 1992 year group and these guys here are my mates. Many of the others are just coming from the office and we expect a good night,” said Terryl Ngoloma.
A few metres away from them, the stage was jumping.
Three familiar voices, all old boys, compèred the crowd through the evening’s activities – Joy FM’s Kwame ‘Lexis Bill’ Sakyiamah (2003), MePosttro TV’s Paul Adom-Otchere (below, pictured with phone; 1991) and Citi FM’s Bernard Avle (second from below, 1998).
The one word that was heard, over and over again, from those who attended the event was ‘classy’. And Lexis Bill (above, pictured) agrees.
“It’s not because I’m from this school but as someone who does events and emcees them as well, I have to say I am quite amazed at how well put together this is. Big cheers to everyone involved!”
But beyond the fact that it was well put together, it was of no doubt that this night was a moment of fierce pride for everyone associated with the school.
Emmaus Bremansu Gyeabour (1997) mentioned: “You have no idea how proud I am. Presec is known for many things, but for many years our old students grouping has not been very vocal. Maybe, from now, the change we’ve wanted all these years is here”.
Presec is traditionally aligned to Aburi Girls as its sister school, and their alum was heavily represented on the night, too.
“This school is known for many things, but not for its vibrant old students’ union,” said a beaming Loretta Adu-Skelley of the 2001 year group, “but together we’ve all seen what a united front can do. I hope my ABUGISS year groups are learning!”
Sandwiched between the beginning and the end was great music, topped of with performances from Choirmaster of Praye fame. Also an old student of the school, he disclosed that his musical career had roots in Presec, when he was known as ‘Blinko’.
“It’s an honour to be part of this family. I started rap and singing right here on this campus, and I didn’t know it was the beginning of great things to come.”
The great things led him (pictured above) to be part of the hit musical group, Praye, which has since split. But that did not stop the man formerly known as Praye Honeho from serenading the crowd with hits from the group’s glory days.
“We salute all of you who have come here to make this event so special. It’s been amazing,” he said before leaving the stage.
And how right he was.
Friday’s event was put together in just under one month and considering the sheer scale of the publicity and media blitz, was ‘a fantastic achievement’, as the National President of the Presec Old Boys Association explained.
“I have to say and the speed and attention to details that’s gone into this event is on a scale I would want my own church to emulate,” said Rev. Ebenezer Markwei (pictured above, centre), head of Presec’s old boys union and also General Overseer of the Living Streams International.
“And in saying so, I want to give a special shout to the 2005 Year Group, for spearheading this drive. It’s a landmark event and one, we hope, will set the standard for years to come.”
The 2005 Year Group, led by their President, Michael Blay (aka Marc Miezah) were completely blown away by the sheer success of the event.
“We know we’ve put a lot of work into this but to see this kind of response from old students, and even from people from other schools…it’s humbling.”
Blay (pictured below, left) led his dancing, singing and chanting year group mates through the induction ceremony.
It was to be more humbling when, at 9:35pm, the main event of the evening happened.
“It’s now time for the moment we’ve been waiting for. The countdown to the fireworks begins….now!” bellowed Lexis Bill.
And after a compound filled with voices engaged in a ten-second countdown…
….the lights were dimmed, and while everyone was looking at the stage, the spectacular pyrotechnics went on behind them.
It was official: the year group had been inducted. And they could now use the name Ɔdadeɛ – a name given to students of the school ten years after graduation.
Shortly after 10pm, the heavens opened and the rains started, but by then the central attractions of the night were done. And for many, the rains were just a confirmation of divine approval for what had been a snazzy evening.
On his part, Citi FM’s Avle was overwhelmed by the occasion, and could be seen smiling from ear to ear all night. “It’s the single largest Ɔdadeɛ event I have witnessed. This event has shown how massive the Presec presence in Ghana is and will set the tone for Ɔdadeɛ activism in the coming years.”
Baaba Brew, an old girl of Holy Child School, summed up evening up.
“This is very, very good.”
It is not clear if she meant the event only, or the cake that was cut (pictured below) to mark 10 years of the 2005 group’s graduation!
A section of the host year group, 2005, taking the front row at the grounds.
And then, more general shots from the spectacle.
Photos: Seyram Hormenoo, Kofi Boafo Biney, Karl-Von Bruce Quaye (Ɔdadeɛ 2005), Ralphotography by Ralph Essaba (Ɔdadeɛ 2003). Words: Gary Al-Smith (Ɔdadeɛ 2005).