In the Beginning…..
The history of St. Patrick’s College dates back to 1930 when Monsignor James Moynagh took over the Prefecture of Calabar comprising areas now known as Akwa Ibom, Cross River States and Abakiliki district. There was no catholic secondary school in the area. The nearest catholic institutions were Christ the King and St. Charles colleges both in Onitsha. Access to secondary education for students from the area was limited to only the rich who could afford to send their children to Lagos and Onitsha. Recognizing the dangers in losing young catholic boys to the Presbyterian teachings at Hope Waddell and Duke Town colleges, Monsignor Moynagh and the church leadership made the establishment of its own school a top priority.
In 1934 St. Patrick’s College became a reality. Born out of the necessity to absorb the graduating pupils from Sacred Heart primary school, Calabar, the new institution also attracted students’ enrollment from the wider Eastern Nigerian community. Priests formed the core of the pioneer teachers. Their singular mission was to grow an educational institution second to none. There was a charge to keep young boys to guide with firm hands as they grow into young men deep in values that are rooted in the catholic tradition. The students embraced the school with a legendary sense of purpose. An infectious passion grips every student that walks through the halls of St. Patrick’s College. This is our legacy, this is our story. Long live SPACO!
In the Dorms….
Dormitory life at SPC remains an indelible part of cherished memories. Second year students sat at the helm of the disciplinary chain charged with the task of directing the rites of passage – the initiation of first year students into the ranks of the “civilized” by “cutting” their foxes’ tails. Yes, November 11th was the most anticipated day when freshmen became “worthy” to be full members of the “civilized” community of scholars.
Life in the dormitories presented a unique form of socialization where the older students assumed the role of older siblings to the younger students. The younger boys “served” the “masters” diligently. Knowing that as a junior student, you’ll someday become the senior student made the experience rather charming. Clean hearts serving their “masters” faithfully.
Study hall, siesta, and meal times were cherished events on campus. Rice and beans were the hallmark meals only rivaled by afang soup – sweet memories, sweet meals, fun times.
On the field…
The crown jewel of SPC athletics was soccer. The community came to life whenever we had matches against neighboring schools. A match against Hope Waddel Training Institute (“HOWAD”) was always a thriller. The priests’ devotion to soccer gave our team “heavenly” shield. Soccer players were given classroom skill drills with geometric precision. They ate specially prepared meals at their reserved tables. Soccer was serious business. We played to win. And win we did. On occasions when we lost, the campus was quiet as a grave yard for days. We lost appetite for food as we mourned the loss for days. A number of SPC soccer stars went on to represent the state on Academicals tournaments and national teams. Most played successfully professionally.
In the classroom….
The ‘devine’ calling of all SPC students was academics. There were distinctive chains of commands responsible for the academic success of all the students. We had dedicated priests and lay teachers whose dedications to teaching were legendary. The curriculum was rigorous and we had well-equipped instructional support facilities like the library and the science laboratory.
We were always reminded that excellence is our duty to the higher authority. Being accepted into the SPC learning community was a privilege never to be abused. We forged a life-long love affair with the school as we matured into life-long learners. This love lives on in all SPC students.