METHODIST GIRLS’ HIGH SCHOOL
OLD GIRLS’ ASSOCIATION
The Methodist Girls’ High School
Founded in January 1, 1880
The Methodist Girls’ High School celebrated its 140th Anniversary on January 1, 2020. Thanks to members of the Wesleyan Mission Society who foresaw the importance of a girls’ secondary school to complement the boys secondary school, the Wesleyan Boys’ High School, twenty years after it was established in 1860. Talks for this project started in 1879. The Rev. M Godman, General Superintendent, of the Wesleyan Mission Society contacted some Sierra Leonean businessmen, including Rev. James Taylor, treasurer of the District Building and Extension Fund of the Wesleyan Missionary Society to establish the school.
On January 1st, 1880, The Wesleyan Female Educational Institution was inaugurated, with the Rev. James Taylor as the manager. However, the actual work did not start till January 9, 1880 under the supervision of its first principal, Mrs. E.H.C. Weymouth assisted by several deaconesses of the Methodist Missionary Society. Due to ill health, her administration was cut short. The school, at that time, was located at Lightfoot Boston Street in Freetown.
In 1901, Rev. James Taylor died after struggling to keep the school afloat for twenty-
In 1919, a land was purchased in Wilberforce to ease the building shortage that had plagued the school at its inception. Unfortunately, parents were apprehensive about sending their children to such a ‘far away’ place to school. Students had to go by train. So, when the school moved into its new buildings in 1921 there were only 43 students enrolled, the lowest number ever.
In 1932, the name was, again, changed to the present name Methodist Girls’ High School. A boarding department was added to help with the problem of commuting to and from school. The school was threatened closure because of poor enrollment and uncertain staffing. The principal in 1936, Miss Cairnduff, a deaconess, ‘got down on her knees and prayed for a miracle’. Her prayers were answered with the enrollment of 23 more girls to make a total of 63. The boarding department was closed during the war years as the school was used to billet the military from abroad. In fact, the school was moved into the city during this period.
The school returned permanently to the facilities in Wilberforce at the end of World War II in 1946 and continued to maintain extremely high standard during this period. There was a 100% success of students who sat to the Junior Cambridge Examination administered from England.
In 1953, Miss Jane Olivier arrived in Freetown from England with a 5-
It was an exciting period for the staff and students at the school when Mrs. Fashu Collier, an alumna was appointed in 1958 as the first permanent Sierra Leonean principal. She had just returned from England where she did her principal’s course. During her tenure, she worked diligently to raise the school’s educational level. In the process, she introduced the proposed commercial department which was most needed at the time.
In 1962, Mrs. Collier seized the opportunity to request a Peace Corp volunteer through the Ministry of Education for the commercial stream of the school. This was soon after United States President John F. Kennedy had just established the Peace Corps Volunteer program through executive order. In September 22, 1961, he signed congressional legislation creating a permanent Peace Corps that would “promote world peace and friendship” through three goals: (1) to help the peoples of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women; (2) to help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served; and (3) to help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans. Miss Billie-
The civil war in the 1990’s disrupted the smooth running of the school, but the school was proud to say that Mrs. Ayo Gilpin-
The result of the war was disruptive to schools in Freetown. Following the war, the Ministry of Education took a major decision and integrated all schools into a two-
The school now has a wide range of Liberal Arts, Science and commercial subjects offered to the more than 2,300 students enrolled. Several extra-
Several blind students from the Sierra Leone School for the Blind have passed through the school of which Ms. Marie Kamara was the pioneer in the early 1970’s. The school is proud that other alumnae can be found in Nigeria, Ghana, The Gambia, England, and Fernando Po. These alumnae and those in other parts of the world are actively engaged in business, teaching, medicine, law, government, the clergy, politics, and improving the life of society. The Alumnae Associations in Sierra Leone, United Kingdom, United States of America, and Canada continue to support the school in an extraordinary way.
We want to thank our current Principals, Mrs. Daisy McEwen at the Senior Secondary School, and Mrs. Mary Jambai at the Junior Secondary School for their hard work, and for continuing the work of their predecessors.
Long Live the Methodist Girls’ High School – Honour Before Honours
~ Submitted by Gloria Allen – MGHS Alumna