Our History
What's all this stuff about Odadee?

Odadee at Presec-Legon circa 2002
I am “Odadee”. My name is popular among the Akans of Ghana for I am a massively huge baobab tree. I am a symbol of resilience and endurance as depicted by the toughness of my stem. I stand in the middle of an old School compound at Odumase Krobo, a compound which housed the early German missionaries, then became a primary School and later a Government Survey School.

When the Survey school vacated my premises for Accra I dwelt all by myself. I comforted myself in my lonely situation till one day in 1938 I had company again. A young enterprising educationist who had insisted on the Presby Church starting a Boys’ Secondary School discovered my vacant compound. He fought so hard and got the go ahead. This man with a vision started his mission right on my compound. A mission to train young men into worthy citizens. PRESEC was the school and Engmann Augustus Wilkens Engmann was the man.

Without much ado Engmann and his team made do with my limited resources. They toiled under the sun and in the rain till they made headway, a paltry one it was though. They continued, persevered and struggled, these brave men, for they knew very well that nothing ventured, nothing gained. So on they toiled, the pioneer members of PRESEC, 16 boys and four teachers with their 35 year old headmaster E. A. W. Engmann, an embodiment of stoic determination, in the lead. They trudged along in my ramshackle structures, often without water, electricity and without many amenities. Such a hard time they had, my poor, poor children. But they were a happy lot - they laughed in the heat of the day, they laughed in the cold of the night; they smiled in the face of difficulties and they braved the mosquitoes of day and night. They looked up to me, Father Odadee, as they affectionately called me, and I gave them the needed tools, tools of faith, determination and fortitude.

With these tools they overcame obstacles and conquered problems. Success was their reward. Their senses were sensitised, their horizons were widened and their minds were broadened.

Moments worth waiting for were slowly won by years of perseverance; happy moments when hope opened like a shell and showed success; Moments when Light broke through darkness and ushered in dawn. They could not he too grateful to their masters; the masters whose love and care helped them along, teaching them how to face the world, a world full of uncertainties and trials.

Many heard of them and rushed to join their ranks. New Sons nicknamed “Raws” were admitted from year to year. Clad in bed sheets with heavily powdered faces these ‘Raws’ went through initiation ceremony at my feet. This was a way of receiving them into the fold of PRESEC, as full-fledged children of Odadee. You should see them when they come, these Raws, timid, helpless and very raw. I worked hard on them, filling them with knowledge, perseverance, endurance. Christian values of propriety, humility, strict discipline were also inculcated into them.

My branches began to spread. My Odumase home became too small for my children. I was all out to spread and shine, increase and multiply with no Family Planning to stand in my way. The sky was the limit and my goal was boundless, I needed space to expand. I was suffocating. I felt choked. I cried out for help. My cry was heard by those who cared. Among them were Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of the Republic of Ghana, himself a great scholar, Rev. A. L. Kwansa the hardworking Synod Clerk at the time and La Traditional Council who provided land for my re-housing. I salute them all.

A new home was build for me at Legon, where my children referred to me as Mother Odadee. Whether Father or Mother I was and I am their parent and I keep ever watchful eyes over them. I produced daughters too. For 21 years (75 - 96) I had daughters rubbing shoulders with my sons. In February 1978, to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of PRESEC a seedling grafted from me was planted on the new campus at Legon, in front of the Library, by the then President of the Old Boys’ Association, Mr. Opoku-Boateng, a Barrister-at-Law and a member of the 1950 Year Group. Oh yes I have produced some of the greatest personalities in Ghana today: Doctors, Engineers, Teachers, Surveyors Lawyers, Ministers of State and Religion. You name them etc, all helping to build the nation.

Oh how happy I am now to see my children in their new surroundings, trudging along in His LIGHT, trudging along to victory and singing with all their might:

"Happy are we, Studious are we
Students of Presbyterian Secondary School"

Credit: Isaac K. Esseku - Odadee 1999.

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