Photography: The trailblazing efforts of BBHS

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When every picture tells a story

By MOSHOOD ADEBAYO, Abeokuta

Olusegun Michael Adeniyi, 32, a teacher with the Baptist Boys High School (B.B.H.S.), Abeokuta, Ogun State, is gradually leading a revolutionary talent hunt in photography, one of the trade subjects recently approved by the Federal Government for secondary schools.

During a recent photo exhibition, held on the school premises at Oke-Saje in Abeokuta North Local Government Area, Adeniyi with his students exhibited creativity in the exhibition tagged: “Every picture tells a story.’’

The graduate of the Federal College of Education, Osiele-Abeokuta and the University of Benin, told Education Review, that photographs are powerful tools to document and retain our most cherished moments.

His love for photography in the school is unsurpassed by his colleagues as he has become a pathfinder to many students of the famous school who intend to pursue a career in photography in line with the Federal Government’s introduction of the 32 trade/entrepreneurial subjects in the Senior Secondary Schools curriculum.

While commending government’s efforts on the introduction of entrepreneurial subjects, Adeniyi said it would encourage job creation, economic self-reliance and productive engagement of youths. Speaking on the reason for the exhibition, Adeniyi said it was aimed at projecting the image of the school as well as encouraging students to know that post-secondary education is not limited to studies in a university or polytechnic.

“This exhibition is part of the efforts of BBHS. management to facilitate the social, emotional and cognitive growth of its students as well as to put them on the path of realising their full potentials in life. “We have packaged the works of our students from the photography class, one of the trade/entrepreneurial subjects approved for the school by the National Examination Council (NECO) as well as the West African Examinations Council (WAEC).

The exhibition is intended to instil in the students the sense of intellectual wonder and aesthetic adventure in still imaging.”

According to him, “documenting moments – really, we cannot go back in time but with these pieces, the children are offered the chance to take a step backward and appreciate the time spent, events of the past and happenings in their academic adventure at BBHS. Acquisition of skills from the photography platform will offer the students an opportunity to build a life for themselves and their communities.

Organizing the exhiition, he noted, had many challenges which he said were surmounted with the assistance of friends and students who always encouraged him.

“We went through odds to organize this exhibition because of our desire to place this school on a global map not necessarily with morals, but one where entrepreneurial skills could be acquired for posterity.

I am encouraged by the students’ determination to learn photography in spite of the daunting challenges which we faced, but which I hope in future will be surmounted headlong.’’ On display were big format pictures on sports, wildlife, glamour, education, etc, some of which, were said to be taken by the students, through the assistance of Adeniyi.

Aside from projecting the school’s image, the exhibition was organized to empower the students to be self-reliant. “I need to say that this set of students are highly creative and smart such that in no distant future, they would be self-reliant and assist the country in reducing her high number of unemployment,’’ Adeniyi noted.

He disclosed that the present set of SSS 2 students would be offering one of the subjects approved for the school: photography, textiles and paintings and decorations, in the next year’s NECO (before the recent announcement on the proposal to scrap it) and WAEC examinations.

Adeniyi who sought assistance from individuals and corporate bodies on future exhibitions noted that some of the challenges facing the school in area of photography include lack of standard studio, cameras, computers and other support equipment.

He said that the three trade subjects approved for the school would be offered by Arts, Science and Commercial students. “Even if you want to read Medicine and later become a doctor, it is compulsory that you offer any of the three subjects at both WAEC and NECO in this school.”

He noted that although the school might not know the modalities for the setting of question papers by the two examination bodies, “we are sure that students of this school, irrespective of their class, would offer one of the three trade subjects. The beauty of these trade subjects is that they are practical-oriented and we are determined to make use of it for the benefit of our students.’’

Speaking on the benefits of knowledge sharing, Adeniyi said: “If you don’t share any knowledge you have with others, such will be a wasted one. No matter how talented you are, if you are not given the necessary exposure, you will not achieve much; hence my commitment and desire to impact my little knowledge of photography to my students.’’

On what the school would do with the photographs, he said: “We intend to keep them for posterity, at least to show to the outside world, the little efforts we were able to make in photography but we will not reject any offer of sale from anybody.’’ BBHS was established in 1923, by the Baptist Mission of Nigeria. It had Rev. S.G. Pinnock as its pioneer principal. It has produced many eminent Nigerians in its 90 years of existence.

They include former President Olusegun Obasanjo, erstwhile governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, the late publisher of the defunct Concord Press of Nigeria, Bashorun MKO Abiola and the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo. Baptist Boys High School, (BBHS), Abeokuta is in the pantheon of schools that have produced leaders in all walks of life.

The distinguished old boys of the school include former Minister of Finance, Dr. Onaolapo Soleye; the Minister of State for Agriculture, Chief Bamidele Dada; former Group Managing Director of NNPC, Engr. Funso Kupolokun; eminent jurist, Prince Bola Ajibola; former Deputy Governor of Central Bank, Chief Wole Oduyemi and the Olubara of Ibara, Oba Jacob Omolade.

Others are: Ogun State Commissioner for Environment, Engr. Tony Ojeshina; the Director General, Budget, in Ogun State, Mr. Kehinde Sogunle, the Special Adviser to the Ogun State Governor on Sports and Employment Generation, Mr. Bukola Olopade as well as Chief Alani Bankole and his son, the former Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole are all products of the school.

The school is partially relocated from its Egunya Hill in Igboore area of the state capital to its current site at Saje Hill. In the past decades, many of her alumni had returned to their alma-mater as principal.

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