Omotoke Faniyi is the President of ’96 set of St Teresa’s alumuni, a graduate of accounting from Obafemi Awolowo Univeristy, Ile Ife. She is a successful business woman who is happily married with children. She spoke to us about on how relentless’96 set have been, their giving back to the school , her lowest point in life and many more.
Tell us a bit about your alma mata?
St Teresa’s college (STC) was founded in Lagos, in 1933, as a branch of St Mary’s Convent school which had been founded in 1873.
The college was named after St Teresa of Lisieux, one of the founders of the Carmelites Teaching order whose official colour was brown.
It’s first location was 72 Campbell street and several of its 1st pupils were from St Mary’s convent.
Its first principal was Sister Brenda Hayes while Mrs Cyrilla Ajike Campos Nee Akerele was the 1st native Nigerian to teach at the school.
In 1946, St Teresa’s high school for girls as it was known then moved to its current location of Oke Ado Ibadan, on the hill, where its graceful presence dominates until this day. STC till today is the most influential and one of the oldest classy catholic girls school in Nigeria.
When did you finish?
I finished in 1996 that is about 20 years ago.
What makes 96 set unique?
The number one factor is that we have a great bond in our set and it had always been like that. We are all great friends .Also, I am not about to brag but, we are a bunch of intelligent and hardworking girls. In fact, I will say we are a set of beauty and brains. STC have helped shaped our lives in positive ways and because of the great influence our school had on us, we all excelled in our chosen careers.
It’s been twenty years you all left school, what promoted your coming back together after twenty years?
Well, I will say the of our reunion started last year and that was when we had our first reunion. But because this year marks our 20 years since left school, we decided we had to give back to the school that gave us so much. We then decided that we should celebrate our anniversary by saying thank you to the school that moulded and brought us together.
What is the state of the school now?
When we visited our school in May this year, we identified the various needs of the school. We then decided to help with the toilets which were in a bad state at that time, bearing in mind that the students were all girls who are very prone to infection.
We decided to do a complete makeover of 22 students toilets and refurbishment of 6 teachers toilets.
We wanted a standardized toilets and these involved getting new WC’s, tiles, paintings, doors and converting some pit latrines into proper water toilets. We will be commissioning this project on the 9th of November this year. We also intend to have talks on careers, sexuality and many more. It is not going to be all talk alone, we will be giving gifts to the senior students and also appreciating some of our old teachers.
What was your most memorable day in school?
Wow! I had so many beautiful memories of STC and as a boarding student it was an exciting period for me all through.
However, the most exciting of all the memories would be during a quiz competition. I remembered I was asked a question in physics but because I wasn’t a science student. The moderator said the question should be passed on but the opponents insisted because my group was already winning.
I decided to take the risk, I did some calculations and I got the answer right. Everyone went wild because they didn’t believe I could get the answer right. I remembered , I was the star of the night and there was jubilation everywhere.
As a child, were you a nerd or a popular kid?
I was very popular as a kid. I was a quite hyper and very social too. Many people knew I loved dancing and listening to music. Among my peers, the name Mary Akerele was a bit of a popular name among my peers especially in the hostel. Mary is my English name.
What was your lowest point in life?
That was when I lost my brother. It was a trying time for my family and I don’t think I can ever get over it. The day he was buried was the saddest day of my life. I have a big picture of him in my living room and each time I look at it, I just wonder why he left too soon ,without even saying good bye. May my big brother Segun Kasunmu continue to rest on. Amen.
What are the greatest lessons you learnt from your dad that you still hold dear to your heart?
Oh my dad…of blessed memory. From my dad, I learnt to be content and honest. My dad loved children so much. I took that part from him, though he is very strict he showed us so much love. I learnt from him to place my kids 1st above everything and to be truthful always. Honesty was always a key word with my dad.
What advice do you have for young girls?
They should study hard, finish school and be confident of their abilities and in themselves. They should not be afraid of hard work, be polite and be respectful to all.
They also need to be focused so they don’t end up in the kitchen and other room……LAUGHS.
What do you have to say to wrap it up?
I would like to thank all my mates who believed we can do something meaningful for the school. Especially, those who contributed their time and money, working relentlessly to make this project work out, I and my Exco’s really appreciate your efforts.
I would also like to appreciate our various sponsors who when we called them, answered us. May God replenish you all.