OPOKU WARE SCHOOL
Opoku Ware School, often referred to as OWASS, is a senior high school for boys in the Ashanti region of Ghana. It was established in 1952, as one of the five Catholic schools in Ghana that year. The school was named after Asante King Opoku Ware I. The students are known collectively as Akatakyie, an Asante word meaning “conquering heroes”.
It is located in Fankyenebra, near Santasi, along the Kumasi-Obuasi road.
The patron saint of the school is Saint Thomas Aquinas. The motto of the school is “Deus Lux Scientiae”, meaning “God is the Light of Knowledge”.
The school is governed by a board, who appoints a headmaster. It contains 10 boys houses, each headed by a housemaster, selected from the more senior members of the teaching staff, who number some 60. Almost all the school’s pupils go on to universities, about a two-thirds of them to the three premier universities in Ghana, being: University of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, and University of Cape Coast.
The current headmaster, F. Matthew Oppong Mensah (W4), an alumnus of the school is a member of the Conference of Heads of Assisted Senior Secondary schools (CHASS) in Ghana.
OWASS today is much larger than its inception. In 1952, the school began with 60 boys. This number has significantly risen to over 1,800 boys now.
There are 10 houses named after various in the Catholic faith. The houses are named St. John, St. Matthew, St. Mark, and St. Luke, St. Paul, St. Peter, St. James, St. Andrews, St. Philip and St. Thomas.
The idea of sustainability was incorporated not only in the architecture of the houses but most buildings in the school. Each of the houses as well as most of the staff bungalow has an underground well which provides water for the boys when there is shortage of water.
In addition to the housemaster, each house has a House Prefect and an assistant who are chosen from the oldest year. There are house gatherings once a week and usually happens in the morning before classes. The housemaster and boys have an opportunity to make announcements during house meetings; the boys get the opportunity to voice the views and express grievances.
Each house participates in weekly morning mass at the school chapel on rotational basis. Many inter-house competitions occur, mostly in the field of sport. For much of the school’s history, first year boys have to act as servants, to older boys. Their duties mostly includes cleaning, and running errands.
Student identification system
One of the most enduring legacies of Rev. Fr. Burgess was the student identification and numbering system, a proud tradition that continues till today. For easier administrative purposes, he decided to assign a letter of the alphabet to each year group, and then combine it with a sequential number to each student who gained admission.
The pioneering group had the letter K. Thus K1 was the very first pioneer student to gain admission, followed by K2 and on till K60 the last student to be admitted that year. The following year, the letter S was assigned, then P in 1954, M in 1955 and so on.
The choice of the letters did not follow the alphabetical order. When the single letters ran out with the Z batch of 1975, the school simply began a double letter assignment, with the AB group in 1976. After the AZ group entered in 1999, the following year saw the BC group.
A student’s number is an integral and unique part of his identity and stay at the school, and cannot be assigned to another person even if the original assignee leaves school after a day in the first term. Students are assigned to their dormitories on the basis of the last digit of their number. Thus when a student’s number is mentioned, it is easy to figure out his year group and dormitory. So a student with the number BQ 617 for instance entered in the year 2011 and is in St. James house.
The school has won the Science and Maths quiz twice and have been runners-up four times. It has also been runners-up in the 1995 Brilliant Science and Mathematics Quiz Competition, and champions in 1997. Kwadwo Nkansah Osei-Agyemang particularly stood out with his exceptional ability in Maths, Physics and Chemistry, and also that quiz team in 1997 was so exceptional in the answering of the riddles round. Joseph Amamoo and Richard Oteng were the other stellar candidates. In 2002, Paul Azunre, Aubrey Mwinyogle and Vincent-Michaek K Ampadu brought another national science quiz title to the school. OWASS has been in the finals of this championship 6 times, second only to Presec legon Boys. The school is voted # 2 best school in Ghana, 2nd only to Presec legon School. It placed second in the first and only time the SSSCE results were published in a league form in Ghana. In addition, OWASS has won the National Debate Competition once and placed second in the 2002 competition as well. This makes The School the most successful Secondary school in the National Debate Competition which is administered by the Government of Ghana and culminates as part of the Ghana Independence Day celebrations.
The school has won 9 out of the 13 Superzonals Athletic competition in recent years in the Ashanti region. The school has produced several national athletes and Olympians including Ohene Karikari, Sandy Osei Agyemang, and Christian Nsiah.
Until the 1980s, OWASS as they are affectionately called was the only authorised test center for the administration of TOEFL and SAT exams in Ghana. It attained about 10 8As in the 2012 WASSCE making it the second best school in Ghana. Opoku Ware School is the only school in Ghana who have handed the heaviest NATIONAL SCIENCE AND MATHS QUIZ defeat to Prempeh College, one of the grade A schools in Ghana, in a 96–46 score that shocked the air waves in Ghana.