It is inevitable that I reminisce about my high school days. I don’t know about girls’ schools, but boys’ boarding schools were hell -- at least for those of us who were not school prefects. This caucus of students called prefects wielded immense power, comparable only to a small section of the teaching staff. The prefects body had the authority to punish, to recommend a suspension, to hold school assemblies, to diffuse a looming strike and so on.
One day, I fell out terribly with the school captain. You see, it was a busy weekend in our school because we were hosting the regional drama festivals. As an active drama member, I was on the forefront in organising the event. This put me at the center of attraction with most visiting students, especially the girls.
Now there was one particular lass, a beacon of beauty, an endowment of nature. It happened that the school captain was interested in this girl and, as fate would have it, his suit was rejected. The following Monday, I was summoned during assembly for a myriad of mistakes -- from being unruly to noisemaking. It ended up in a suspension from school.
Another day, the dining hall prefect decided to pick an unwarranted quarrel with me. It was ‘diet day’ (the day a piece of meat and fruit were served at supper). The serving was taking a little longer than usual, so the bell for preps time had already gone by the time I was served. The dining hall prefect had the audacity to order me to dispose of my supper in a dustbin and run to class. Of course, I blatantly refused. This ended up in a scuffle and a summon to the principal’s office.
My class prefect was not left out. Once, he prepared a list of people to lead prayers at the end of studies every day, a very noble idea. But he never bothered to find out the religious inclinations of his classmates before according them these duties. Now as the adolescent I was at that time, I paid little attention to issues religion so when my turn to lead prayers came, I lackadaisically marched out. The following day, I found my name on all lists of classroom-related mistakes. I was leading on the list of noisemakers, the ‘most untidy students’ and students who missed preps. For all these, I received six of the best stokes of the cane from the deputy principal.
But the worst of it was an ordeal with the entertainment prefect, a heavily built guy who had this demeanor of complacency because he was repeating the Form Four class. Now, Saturday evenings were my best times in school because I could dress in my fancy civilian shirts and dance along to my favorite tunes. But, on this particular Saturday, this guy decided that everyone must be in full school uniform before turning up for entertainment. What the heck! To me, this was one of the most unilateral and poorly-thought-out decisions of my school life. I would have none of it. The punishment for this was that I was banned from attending any entertainment sessions for the rest of that term.
Friends, that was my encounter with school prefects. Whenever I meet any of them, we end up laughing our hearts out at the memories. CBC kids may never know what we 8-4-4 lads encountered.
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