Saturday, February 28, 2009
Speech Day Dancing...
Last weekend Accra Girls’ Secondary School had their annual “Speech and Prize Giving Day”. The celebration is a bit of a misnomer because the school prefect was the only student that gave a brief speech. There is a guest speaker, this year it was the Director General for the whole of the Ghanaian Education system. The students do get prizes based on academics, athletics, and various other categories. The week leading up to the event was quite busy in preparation and when Saturday arrived nearly 3000 people were in attendance. The day was nice, long, but nice and I think that the girls had a good time.
On Sunday the girls went to church, as usual, but this week all of the staff was asked to attend as well. After the service the teachers sat around and talked, snacked, drank, and listened to music. At one point someone had the great idea that we should all have a dance competition. As each person got up and danced, the teachers, very jovially, would rank them on a 0-10 scale. I managed to remain out of the competition until the very end when they dragged me up to dance for 10 or 15 seconds in front of my colleagues. They all got a kick out of it and told me “ieko” which means “well done”.
The teachers the went to lunch with all of the students. I sat next to Madame Akapame, the Headmistress, and she told me that she was going to ask the three teachers who tied for second place to dance in front of the students so that they could judge. I asked who won first place and she told me “ I did, of course, I am the headmistress”. After lunch she called the three teachers up and they danced in front of all the students and everyone loved it. The girls were happy and the teachers took it in stride. After it was done the girls started chanting “Mante, Mante, Mante”; the name of the assistant headmistress who is also the disciplinarian. So, Mrs. Mante danced in front of all and, again, the girls all loved it. When all was said and done we prayed and started to leave. I stood up pushed my chair in and I heard some one call my name. I looked but could not find who called it, and then I heard it again, and again, and again. Before I knew it all the girls were now chanting “Coryell, Coryell, Coryell”. I looked over at Madame Akapame and she just smiled and told me that it looked like I was going to have to dance. As embarrassed as I have been in recent times, I went out onto the floor in front of everyone and did the only move from the only Ghanaian dance I know and the girls, faculty, and staff loved it. Roughly 1200 people altogether and I danced in front of them. It was rather nerve-racking, but pretty comical as well.
The next day at school, every class that I had asked me about the dancing, told me it was their favorite part of Speech Day and asked if I would freestyle for them. Also more of the students said “hi” to me than ever before.
Posted by Matthew W. Coryell at 4:04 AM