Welcome to ST. PIUS XTH GRAMMAR SCHOOL, ONICHA-UGBO
The story of St. Pius Xth Grammar School began as a dream of the Onicha-Ugbo community in the early 1950s. The community fathers in their wisdom wanted their off-springs to partake in the mystery of the white man’s written word .They had the dream of establishing a Secondary School on their own soil, even though it was neither the era of community schools which became the vogue much later, nor the era of individual entrepreneurship in matters of education. Rather, it was the era of voluntary agencies; or better still, the era of the Missionary Societies (CMS) and the Baptist Mission championing the establishment of Schools.
Championing this dream was the Onicha-Ugbo Central Union of Nigeria (O.C.U.N), which later metamorphosed to the present Onicha-Ugbo Patriotic Union (O.P.U). This was the Umbrella organ which crystallized a dream into a resolution which it passed on the 6th of September, 1955 at its National conference held at Onicha-Ugbo.
This resolution was communicated to the ministry of Education of the western Region of Nigeria in Ibadan by Chief S. M. C. Chiedu, President General, on behalf of O.C.U.N. in 1957. And the government gave authorization in principle for the establishment of a secondary school in Onicha-Ugbo. Spurred by this development, O.C.U.N. began its requests and invitations to Missionary Organizations for the establishment of a School. The Catholic Diocese of Benin, under Bishop P. J. Kelly, responded positively to this request.
On the 7th of November, 1959, the final authorization for the establishment of a school was given by the government. Before this date, however, the zeal and frenzy of Onicha-Ugbo community for the anticipated school had taken its toll on the President General of O.C.U.N. who was impeached in 1958 for his alleged foot-dragging in releasing approved funds for some of the preliminary aspects of the school project.
As a condition of the Catholic Mission in such matters, the sum of two thousand pounds (£2,000) was paid by the community to the Catholic Diocese.
The site initially chosen for the establishment of the school was around “Enugwu-Nwanikpa’’ along Onicha-Ugbo/Idumuje-Ugboko road. For greater consideration of nearness to the then Trunk A road, however, it was changed to the present site. Clearing of the site was done by communal labour, supervised by “Okwelegwe.’’
The actualization of the dream of Onicha-Ugbo community for a secondary school brought with it, the charismatic pioneer Principal of the Institution, Chief J. I. Izah, Akajiobe of Onicha-Ugbo and a darling of the community. Chief Izah, then a young but senior member of staff of St Patrick’s College, Asaba, was saddled with the responsibility of establishing the school by the Benin Catholic Diocese, under Bishop P. J. Kelly of blessed memory. In January 1960, the Principal was responsible for recruiting the teaching staff, admitting students, organizing a boarding system and generally, managing the school. The task was enormous but the young Principal attacked his job with vigour and rigour, such that by the time he left the school in 1969, he had established a Catholic Secondary School that compared favourably with much older schools in and around the Diocese, and had carved a niche for himself as an educationist. Chief Izah put together a crack teaching staff recruited from Onicha-Ugbo, other parts of Nigeria, England, America and Ireland, which included Messrs Rex Atugboko, Clement Okwechima and Late Prof R. Uwaje; and also admitted the first set of thirty (30) students. The dream of Onicha-Ugbo community to have a secondary school on their soil has been realized and the entire community was prepared to sustain this reality.
True to the expectations of the community in the areas of academics, sports and conduct, the pioneer students of the school simply blazed a trail for their successors in all of these endeavours. But it was not all ‘akada’ in St. Pius, as the school also excelled in sporting events. In zonal sports competitions like the All Catholic Secondary Schools Athletic Competition, the school produced such athletes like Francis Areh and Eugene Eze, who dominated the competition in the 400 metres and pole vault events respectively for many years.
In a 1965 letter to the Principal of the school by Chief S. G. O. Atugboko, then President General of O.C.U.N, he wrote, inter alia: “…on Saturday 15/5/65, I watched your boys in soccer against Pilgrim Baptist T. T. C. Iselle-Uku on the latter’s ground. I was much impressed by the performance of your boys. Please keep it up and more grease to your elbows...’’ Even in activities like quiz contests and debates, the school very easily became a force to reckon with in inter-collegiate competitions. Like the proverbial child, SPGS had washed its hands clean and could, therefore, dine with elders. The rest is now history.
SPGS is presently, only a shadow of its former self. The School of Thirty Students had at a time become a school for more than 1000 students, and as is usual with such situations, facilities became over stretched. Today, age has taken its toll and decay has seriously set-in. This is not to suggest that facilities have not been multiplied over the years, but certainly, it has not been at the rate of growth. The present picture is really bad and one only needs to visit the school to be convinced. Whereas decay may have affected other areas, it is more forcefully evident on the structures.
The Administration of Governor Emmanuel E. Udaughan came to the rescue of the school when it waded in and embarked on massive renovation of existing structures and construction of ultra-modern classroom blocks in the school compound. This has brought a lot of infrastructural relief to the school. It is however, pertinent to point out at this juncture, that these newly constructed edifices and renovated structures would serve the intended purpose if the boarding system is revamped. As at today, none of the previously known hostel block is standing and there is need for them to be rebuilt in order to reposition the school for the next millennium.
Now that the school has been returned to the original owners, the Catholic Mission, the task of fully rehabilitating it in order to restore it to its former glory calls for all hands to be on deck. Dormitories have to be rebuilt, the library needs to be put back in shape and restored, the premises require perimeter fencing and adequate teaching and non-teaching staff have to be provided, if the dream of resurrection is to be actualized to the glory of God and the good of humanity.
The Mission of St Pius X Grammar School is to achieve academic excellence while instilling in our students, Catholic values.
We know that school is more than achievements in the class rooms. At SPGS, we are committed to academic development, but we are also committed to a deeper knowledge of the Catholic faith and moral. That is why we believe SPGS is a place to learn and be formed.