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Sierra Leone News: Principal Lasite bows out after 48 years

On Friday 31 August 2018, past and present pupils of the Sierra Leone Grammar School (SLGS) organised a thanksgiving service at the St. Georges Cathedral
to mark the retirement of the indefatigable Canon Akiwande Josiah William Lasite after 48 years of service
Lasite started as a pupil at the SLGS in 1964 and later joined the SLGS as a teacher in 1970. He spent 11 years as vice principal of the school and was finally appointed as a principal of the school in 1985.
The Sierra Leone Grammar School was founded on 25th March 1845 in Freetown, Sierra Leone, by the Church Mission Society (CMS), and at first was called the CMS Grammar School. It was the first secondary educational institution for West Africans with a European curriculum.
The Church Mission Society founded Fourah Bay College in 1827 to provide training for African missionaries. As the academic standards of the college rose, the regular schools in the region were unable to produce students with sufficient education to be admitted to the college. The grammar school was founded to fill the gap.
Opening on 25 March 1845, the CMS Grammar School was the first secondary education institution in Sierra Leone and the first in sub-Saharan Africa for Africans.
It was a jam-packed service, filled with present and past regentonians together with well wishers to reflect on the theme “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”, which was extracted from 1st Thessalonians 5:18.
While reflecting on the theme, Reverend Thomas Wilson (Bishop of Freetown) said thanks should be given to God for the character of somebody who started in a very moderate pace and ended in a tremendous way. He noted that prior to the thanks giving service, he asked up to 20 people to describe Mr Lasite in one word. After several positive descriptions, the last person said in krio “Mr Lasite is one of the last good people that God made.”
Reverend also said that thanks should be given to God because, Mr Lasite was guided through by him in order for him to stay for so long and deliver quality service to the school and the nation as a whole. “During the reign of Mr Lasite as principal, he went through many challenges but was able to stand the test of time.”
He said for someone to reach the pinnacle of life, he has to pass through so many hurdles, citing the hurdles Joseph in the bible went through. He described Mr Lasite as a very unique individual that stood out amongst many, referencing Psalm 139 for the creator to give Mr Lasite such a unique quality. “Who used his uniqueness to shape and structure the SLGS. Grammar school is synonymous to Mr Lasite and Mr Lasite is synonymous to the Grammar school.”
Reverend Wilson said Mr Lasite made Grammar School the head of all schools, noting that he was not a blind leader. “He did not allow an iota of corruption to padlock his mouth. He started well and ended well and he must be remembered for something.” Prayers were offered by the Reverend together with the congregation for the outgoing principal of the school and the incoming principal.
The Proprietor and Chair of the Board of Directors, Bishop Thomas Wilson inducted Reverend Leonard Hambly Kenneth Davies as Principal of the School. He also conferred on Mr Lasite the title of Emeritus Principal.
Mr Lasite formally handed over the keys of the school to the proprietors, together with the school prospectus, the conditions of service of staff and the Memorandum and Articles of association of the school.
According to an old Boy of the school, James Wilson, “Today is a great day for the school. And it is an honour to have witnessed such a ceremony for a person that has done so well for the school to see him leaving the helm of affairs. We will always remember him.”
Another old boy, Lansana Kamara, said, “What Lasite has done for the school and for us, only God will give him the reward for his hard work. He will be leaving the seat but he will ever remain in our hearts. The service ended with, Regentonians singing the school song.
By Mohamed J. Bah
Monday September 03, 2018.

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