Eritrean Gheez Rite supplementary School Celebrates 20th Year Anniversary with Passion
By Kidan Eyob
Wow, that was an unforgettable weekend of party, drama, food, dance and sunshine. The parents of Gheez Rite Supplementary School led by the Parents Committee (PC) have been making preparations for the last few months to ensure that current and ex-students, teachers and parents take an active part in the preparation and delivery of this fabulous and exciting event which took place on Saturday 6th July 2013. The school hall was hired until 1100pm, the students have been training for many talent shows, parents made various plans and Eritrean traditional musicians and media professionals were booked in advance.
This fabulous event formally commenced at 4:00pm with Father Kidane leading the audience with prayers followed by the national anthem. Afterwards, Fr Kidane made a speech which helped both parents and students and other invited guests to understand and appreciate the historical background as well as the vision of Gheez Rite Supplementary School.
The current and ex-teachers were then invited to the stage to make brief speeches about the school, their experiences and challenges. Demsas, Sara, Mulu, Nebiat, Letina, Betiel, Tsega and Tesfai are some of the current and ex-teachers who made brief speeches. One of the current teachers, Nebiat Michael, is an ex-student of Gheez Rite Supplementary School. After graduating in Journalism, Nebiat went to serve her country, Eritrea for a year. Nebiat started as a volunteer teacher at Gheez Rite and after several months of work experience and on the job training with her teacher, Sara Mengis, Nebiat became one of the employed teachers of Gheez Rite Supplementary School.
Also, another ex-student who attended the event and was invited to the stage to introduce herself and make a brief speech was Dr Niyat Berhane. Dr Niyat acknowledged that she benefited from Gheez Rite supplementary school as a student both academically and socially. Her speech made a huge impact on the students and she has agreed to make visits to the school to provide professional and academic advice and guidance to the students.
The Ambassador to the UK his Excellency Tesfamichael Gherahtu, who was invited to attend this event, was also asked to come to the stage to give a brief speech. The ambassador acknowledged that the mother tongue education provided by Gheez Rite Supplementary School is in deed in line with the Eritrean government’s education policy which promotes mother tongue education.
These speeches were followed by talent shows presented by Gheez Rite students. These talents included playing various musical instruments, singing, rap music and dance. The participants took part both in solo and in groups. Also, the Gheez Rite traditional musical troupe presented poems, drama and heroic Eritrean songs.
Following the aforementioned activities, Fr Kidane was asked to bless the food which all Gheez Rite mums cooked in their respective homes and brought to the party. All the mums prepared loads of varies of traditional and other foods with their own expenses in their homes. The food was delicious and plenty and everyone loved it.
After dinner, the great and talented Eritrean singer and song writer Uqbai Mesfin and his group blasted the school hall with Eritrean traditional rock music which suddenly and completely changed the atmosphere of the event into a loud and lively huge party. In his wisdom, Oqbai Mesfin composed a song especially for Gheez Rite which he sang on this historic occasion. After this beautiful traditional “Awlo” song, which was dedicated to Gheez Rite and Father Kidane, Oqbai was motivated by the cheering of the crowed and continued to sing many more traditional dance music so the Parents, teachers and students could enjoy many rounds of emotional and lively dances. Other talented Eritrean singers who supported Uqbai Mesfin in making this party exciting and fabulous were Hailab – “Salalia” and Tesfit. All these musicians and the media group kindly volunteered their services to this historic event and the Eritrean community at Gheez Rite free of charge.
To the surprise of all the parents, students and guests; a huge cake was delivered to the centre of the dance floor. Fr Kidane was invited to cut the cake and this part of the ceremony where Fr Kidane was surrounded by all the teachers and many of the students while the cake was cut, accompanied by beautiful music was one of the most memorable scenes of this beautiful occasion.
After the cake ceremony, Fr. Kidane had a traditional dance with many of the students making this party even more exciting for everyone. The traditional music and dance rounds, continued until 1030 pm with everyone having a great time in this party. From 1030 to 1100 pm, the parents got together and cleaned the school hall and everyone left the school compound by 1100 pm feeling very happy and proud to be part of this one big happy family, Gheez Rite Supplementary School where Father Kidane Lebasi is the head of this family.
Gheez Rite supplementary School also known as Saturday School by its students is a charitable organisation serving members of the Eritrean Community in greater London. This school took its name from the ancient classic language called Gheez and was established in 1993. Gheez Rite is currently based at Sion Manning RC Girls Secondary School in Ladbroke Grove area of West London.
The founder of Gheez Rite Supplementary School, Father Kidane Lebasi is also the school director. Father Kidane is supported by dedicated and committed teams of teachers, volunteers and parents. Also, there is a Parents Committee which plays paramount role in managing extracurricular activities such as sports, social events, dance lessons and Traditional musical troupe.
One of the many activities of Gheez Rite supplementary school is the provision of mother tongue education, Tigrinya. Gheez Rite plays a vital role and makes a positive impact in the upbringing of hundreds of Eritrean children in their personal, academic, social, physical as well as spiritual development. Furthermore, the school helps the children who are born in the UK learn more about their cultural identity and traditional heritage. The age groups of the students vary ranging from the youngest aged 5 to teenagers aged 16. Currently, there are about 140 children attending, Tigrinya, maths, English and science lessons at the school. The first three classrooms are designated for those children in primary or elementary schools such that the 5 and 6 year olds are in one classroom, 7 and 8 year olds in the second classrooms and the 9 and 10 year olds in the third classrooms. Similarly, there are three classrooms for secondary school students aged 11 to 16.
By Kidan Eyob [email protected]