Armitage High School for those who do not have the privilege to learn at this great School, the Sankore Mosque of the Gambia, the Misira University of the Smiling coast, I belief without doubt have missed an opportunity of a lifetime. This institution used to be the best in terms of academic performance in the country. A school of the highest competition per excellence where students pride themselves as masters of spoken terminology. Like any other schools in the Gambia, cause it has students who care little or less about making it big or some who allowed themselves to go astray. On the other hand even that cannot be compared to any other institute. Arbitrage is the only institute in the Gambia where a king's son cannot be distinguishable from a beggar's child. All are the same and treated as such. No fancy cars picking/droping students, no sense of favouritism towards a minister's child from a carpenter's child.
Prayer times are respected likewise church times are never missed by Christians. Students regardless of their background repeat classes when they fail or get expelled for misconduct. Debates are more regular with fanfare on weekends. Regular checks on health and cleanliness round the clock with trophies to win for outstanding cleanliness.
The idea of dry dance, I have never heard at Armitage may I must have left but during my day and before since 1927, we elect our own chiefs Alkalolu and other councilors without interference from government or School authority. Though I learnt there are some changes to that but all the same a lot still remains the same like boys don't visit girls domery visa vis, lights out, study time no disturbance, regular prayers and prayers before and after every meal. Can someone tell me how many homes or families behave or treat family matters like this in the Gambia from Koina to Kartong?
On alcohol consumption and other unruly behaviours, Armitage is far far better than most schools in the Gambia because because even schools affiliated with Islam like the three Ahmadiya schools and Muslim high, some students drink alcohol where as at Armitage, it has never been that students would drink to the knowledge of teachers no! I was stubborn at Armitage yes but I would say I was lucky never smoked or drank maybe because my dad put a course on it or maybe I was striving to do well at school so that I escape 7 to 7 farming something I hated I don't know which was true but yes some people do some of the things but just for a while because the moment they realise it's affecting their performances and as a result, they could repeat they stop.
Armitage is no doubt the best institution that teaches and prepares students for the task outside school. It moulds a stubborn child into a responsible adult like myself and it exposes you to the fact that no riches or parental position can propel or catapult one from class to class but academic performance from hard work. I knew because when I remember at the ministry of education, I was called by then deputy Pam. Sec. begging me to go and teach not to join the army saying am too intelligent and can do better in teaching where I can go to college, do HTC then go to university, I realised studying hard had paid off. People who do not know me from Adam, taking out their hard earned money and giving me as pocket money just to convince me to self progress and thus saving my life. I would have been dead by now for sure. I had so much ego for the military because of the rapid promotions straight to cadet attached but after some thought, I choose teaching and here I am today thanks to Armitage.
My friends the school is just second to none. A home away from home, a social class set up found nowhere else, a village, town and city of its own where the wealth of tolerance resides.