A visit to Community Secondary School, Obukpa , Nsukka to speak on Developing Reading Culture…’

Sometime in September 2016, I had a visitor at the office who was patiently waiting to see me. I had earlier stepped out to attend to a few things. When I returned, I met this ‘Corner Shun’ or ‘Ajuwaya’ as many would call them in Nigeria. Corper Peter was determined to see former Corper Helen (me) whom he bumped into while he was READING through a Community Development Project Report available on this blog. Take note of the word, ‘reading’ (capitalized). Yes, this post is all about ‘Reading, stayng hungry and staying foolish (Peter Chia). According to Peter Chia, he was surfing the net and bumped into my Community Development Report which I posted on this blog. He shared his experience of having facilitated the establishment of a school library for CSS, Obukpa and currently attracted another project for the school CSS, Obukpa) where he is serving. Peter Chia has done wonderfully well for CSS, Obukpa which made the Principal of the School – Chief Eze Johnson Uche, the staff and students of the School fall in love with him. He asked for me to share my personal experiences of  the Library Project which I carried out in Niger State, Mokwa, 2005 as a corper which fetched me the Governor’s Award. He told his Principal about me and our discussion ended up with them  offering me an invitation to CSS, Obukpa to speak to the entire school on the need to inculcate  good reading culture and utilizing the school library in this effort. Now that the Library has been set up, especially after the old library building got burnt (as the Principal informed us), there is need for students and teachers of the School to take reading as a habit. As we arrived, the students were called out on the Assembly ground. I was surprised to behold a multitude of students trickling out. The Principal introduced me to his staff and students and I took over. I spoke and charged the audience to make reading their lifestyle 😀

The benefits of using the Library was unleashed and illustrations given. I advocated for ‘Library Hour’s to be created in the school to enforce proper use of the Library in the school. I also encouraged the teachers to utilize the library also, in teaching the students. Afterall, in the context of objectives of school libraries as stipulated by UNESCO, libraries are not meant for students only.  After my talk, Peter Chia gave them an inspirational talk gearing towards making reading a lifestyle. He told them that he got in contact with many great people (which includes me, right?😋) from the pages of books and websites. On this note, I state that  ‘Reading matches you with destiny’. Much knowledge are hidden in the pages of a book. He ended his talk with the saying: Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish’. This means that you should hunger for more knowledge even when people think you are foolish. Remain foolish by not attending all the parties in thee world. Get busy and let your friends hate you for reading.

This was followed by the Principal coming up to appreciate us for doing justice to the talks. He shared an inspiring story about reading and ended by saying they all choose to be Oliver Twists so that we could always visit their school to help build the personnel and students. After the students were dismissed, we headed to the library which had already been commissioned. Mr. Damian is the teacher-librarian that mans the library, alongside a school library prefect. Coming in contact with them reminded me of my days in the secondary school as the deputy school librarian.   Find pictures after the cut…

Students rushing to the assembly ground.

The Principal invites me to speak

Helen Okpala Speaking to the students.

Addressing the students

Trying to find out if students knew their purpose of being in school

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