ADISADEL COLLEGE: A HISTORICAL SKETCH
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Reverend Alan Knight was a great reformer. The black coat and straw hat for Church disappeared. A white suit became the official uniform for which a Kente cloth could be substituted, if so desired. Graduate members of staff had to appear at every morning assembly and at classes in their gowns. Evening dress was de rigueur for all members of staff during Visitation Day Ceremony, which was the name for what is now known as Speech and Prize-giving Day.
The ceremony constituted a great social occasion. It commenced with a Latin Oration, by the School Orator, nominated from among the best of the sixth form classicists! Sixth formers who had a hand in the preparation of the oration naturally applauded, intermittently, and all the boys took up such applause. This rather facetiously gave the impression that the whole school followed intently the learned discourse!
There were other changes by Knight. In the first place, a properly constituted Board of Governors was established for the School. Then, the three Houses were renamed: Primus became Hamlyn, in memory of the Founder of the School; Secundus became Quaque, after Philip Quaque, "the Castle Chaplain and Schoolmaster", generally believed to be the first African to have been admitted into Holy Orders of the Anglican Church after the Reformation; and Tertius became Elliott, after Canon C.H. Elliott.
Activities in sports were intensified. Rugby was introduced which tended to replace Soccer. Rigid training in Cricket and Athletics was instituted, and inter-House competitions became the order of the day. The School's teams for both Cricket and Athletics showed up brilliantly when they met competing teams.
Another novelty was the establishment of a Teacher-Training College, which was integrated with the School, with Knight as the Head. The students were housed in rented premises in town, but they actively participated in the life of the School, and shared common fellowship with the boys.
In due course, the nucleus of a Seminary was also added, with Knight as the Rector, to prepare young men for ordination. One of the students was Ishmael LeMaire, the first Ghanaian Bishop of Accra.
Knight was fortunate to be surrounded by a band of truly devoted teachers. It was remarkable what results these gallant men achieved. The Ghanaians among them included the late D. Jackson-Davies, the late T.J.O. Gyebi, and the late E. F. Andrews Ayeh; also A. W. E. Appiah (later an Anglican priest), S. G. Amissah and C. A. Ackah (Dr C. A. Ackah who became the first Principal of the University College of Cape Coast).
Others were H. Takyi-Mensah (later an Anglican Archdeacon), A. R. Otoo, E.B.O. Azu Mate, J. M. Awotwi, A.O. A. Hammond, K.O. Hagan, J. R. Amponsah and the late K. M. A. C. Ababio. Others who followed included Mr. T.M. Kodwo Mercer and Mr. J. Ade Sawyerr. One name must here be singled out. It is that of J. Maxwell Awotwi, an Old Boy, who was on the Staff of the School from 1930 up till 1970.
During Knight's time, the School ceased to worship at Christ Church, for another large building at Topp Yard was converted into a Chapel. Singing in Chapel took a new turn as The English Hymnal replaced the use of Hymns Ancient and Modern. It was in the School that The English Hymnal was first used in the Diocese of Accra. A ceremony which Knight instituted was also first performed in this Chapel. This was the 'Blessing of Sixth Formers and the Induction of the Head Prefect.'
Knight was a great advocate of the Classics, and did his utmost to reinforce the reputation of classical education that had been well established by his predecessor. This reinforcement found ample expression in the staging of Greek plays by the School. In particular, Sophocles' Antigone was publicly staged in 1934-35 with great éclat, and had repeated performances at Cape Coast, and then in Accra and at Sekondi.
Aeschylus’ Agamemnon was also staged in 1936. The choruses were rendered in the original Greek, and the narrative was in English. Nicholas, as the Senior Classics Master, was indeed the moving spirit behind the classical plays. As producer, he coached the actors with remarkable efficiency.
The School magazine, Santa Claus, made its appearance at this time. Another publication was the OWL, a weekly newsletter that was entirely managed and produced by a group of upper formers. The OWL became an Institution in itself. Through its columns of editorial comment, news items and gossip, the OWL looked quizzically into every conceivable aspect of the School's life. It was a familiar sight as Masters and boys alike craned their necks, on Monday mornings, to scan its pages, which were exhibited in a special glass case in front of the Assembly Hall.
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Rev. Alan John Knight
Induction of Head Prefect A
ceremony that still takes place during Speech Day