Aggrey Memorial A.M.E. Zion senior high School is a publicly supported Coeducational senior high school in Cape Coast, Ghana. It provides students in forms 1 through 4 a rigorous preparatory education with the aim of passing the WASSCE. The school has distinguished itself as a leading secondary school by placing a high premium on educating students in the Arts and Sciences.
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The school was founded on 22 January 1940 by the late Rev. Dr. A. W. E. Appiah with six boys. He named the school Aggrey Memorial College after his late uncle, Dr. James Emman Kwegyir Aggrey*. His aim was to perpetuate the memory of his uncle by means of an institution, which would give young boys and girls adequate secondary education which would fit them into higher fields of learning. The School is thus a living tribute to Dr. Kwegyir Aggrey.
During the first few years, the school occupied, successively, buildings in the heart of Cape Coast township, in the Central Region of Ghana. The first home was “Tandon Kuma”, House Number 39, Jukwa Road which also serve as the Headmaster’s residence. The rent was two pounds (£2) five shillings (5sh) a month. In April, 1940, with an enrolment of ten boys. The school moved to “Bucknor Villa” with rent of two pounds a month. Due to unhealthy conditions, the school moved to yet another house rented by a football team. This was on 1 November. The rent this time was six shillings, and there were 20 boys – nine of them were in the preparatory class.
The School went on the first Christmas holidays on 10 December 1940 and resumed on 21 January 1941 to meet another misfortune. Just a day to the re-opening, the football team decided not to share the premises with them. The second year was therefore started in the Headmaster’s residence in House Number 40 on Royal Lane with nine boys which later decreased to five in the second term.
Dark ominous clouds gathered but the school stood firm. The year 1942 ended with the school well shaken and battered but the founder was undaunted. On 8 February 1943, the school moved to a new house (No. C50/1, Commissioner Road) owing to the growing number of students. The rent was three pounds, five shillings per month. The founder established the primary and intermediary section of the school in this year to buttress the Secondary Department.
On 1 October 1943, with an enrolment well beyond two hundred students, the top section of the school (i.e. Standard 3, Intermediate and Secondary Department) moved to the sixth home of the school at Old Swanzy Factory at No.1 Royal Lane, which belonged to the United African Company (UAC).
Up to this time, the headmaster was the only member of staff. In January, 1944, however, Mr. Henry Abaidoo-Brew was appointed the first Assistant Headmaster of the school. The late Mr. Kofi Bentsi-Enchill, a Cape Coast merchant, very generously offered to pay his salary and the rent for the premises.
In 1945, a Board of Trustees and Management known as the “Aggrey Society” was formed and the school’s management came under this Board. Members of the Board were Mr. Kofi Bentsi-Enchill (Chairman), Dr. J. W. de Graft-Johnson, Mr. W. W. O.. Lindsay, Mr. J. Magnus Sampson, Mr. S. S. Wood and Chief Kweku Egyir Gyepi, II. The Secondary Department was separated from the Primary Department in February, 1946. Within this period that the school managed to be in existence, students were attracted from all places including particularly those who had been to other schools before but wished to improve their grades.
In 1947, the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Zion Church took over the realm of affairs of the school as a result of agreement between the “Aggrey Society” and the A.M.E. Zion Mission. The name of the school was then changed from “Aggrey Memorial College” to Aggrey Memorial A.M.E. Zion Secondary School”, and the first two boarders were also admitted. That year, the founder also enrolled his own fresh students. They were six boys who were later presented for the Cambridge School Certificate Examination (CSCE) in 1950. All of them passed with one achieving exemption from London Matriculation.
The School moved in October, 1948 to a three-storey building on the premises of the old Cape Coast. Post Office near Cape Coast Castle. The School occupied this building known as “Old Russell” from 1948 to 1958. In 1958, the A.M.E. Zion Church acquired a 43-acre land, released as a Deed of Gift by the then Nana Attobra of the Nsona Stool Family of Brafo Yaw, to the school.
In 1952, the school entered an important landmark; the A.M.E. Zion Church commenced the building of the first block on the site. The school was recognized as “Encouraged Secondary School” in receipt of Government grant in aid. A new beginning was made in that year and since that time the story of Aggrey Memorial A.M.E. Zion Secondary School has been one of steady progress and improvement. The number of students increased.
After eighteen years in temporary premises, the school moved to its present site at Brafo Yaw, Cape Coast in January, 1958. Girls in the boarding house were however housed in Cape Coast township on premises formerly occupied by the “Prospect Printing Press”. On 21 January 1966 the girls moved into their new dormitory block across the boys from the Accra-Takoradi road at Brafo Yaw.
In 1991 the school also started the educational reform programme which saw the coming into being of the Senior Secondary Programme. Alongside the Ordinary and Advanced levels programmes.
The school has also chalked a first in being the only second cycle school in the country to have fully computerized and networked its administrative system. The school also runs a computer literacy class for all students in the school to prepare them for the new world they would be entering after their schooling.
The Brafo Yaw campus is divided into two main areas by a major highway: the boys’ and girls’ campuses. The two campuses are connected by a footbridge which is popularly called “Bridge City” by students. All the administrative buildings and classrooms are located on the boys’ campus. The girls’ campus houses four Houses (dormitories): Lucille House, Segbefia House, Katherine Aikens House, and New House. Additionally, there are several living quarters occupied by female instructors located on the girls’ campus.
The boys’ campus hosts the Administrative buildings, the school’s assembly hall, dining hall, infirmary, living quarters for male instructors and four Houses. The two campuses sit on two hills and is the first educational institution one sees upon reaching the city of Cape Coast.
The houses in the school are overseen by a Boarding Council. The council is composed of house, compound, dining hall, entertainment, preparatory and chapel masters and mistresses. Every house has a Master or a mistress (an academic staff member)who runs the administrative duties of the house. The house also have prefects who are in charge disciplinary duties within their houses.
Bishop Watson through whom the A.M.E. Zion Church acquired the school from the “Aggrey Society”.
Mr. Kofi Bentsi-Enchill whose financial support enabled the school to battle with and weather terrific storms in the early years.
Houses the prefects and other students
Rev. Dr. Osam Pinanko who started the A.M.E. Zion Church in Cape Coast in 1903
Casely Hayfords House
Mr. J. E. Casely Hayford, a renowned educationist
Annie Lucille House
Mrs. Annie Lucille Alleyne, the wife of the Rt. Rev. Bishop Alleyne, for her interest in girls education in Africa and for her substantial contribution towards the construction of the school’s first block which started in 1952.
Mrs. Juliana Segbefia, the first housekeeper for her motherly affection for the girls in Cape Coast town.
Katherine Aikins House
Katherine Aikins, a student for her memory. Her tragic death occurred in the school in 1970 when she was crossing the Accra-Takoradi road after choir practice, to the girls’ dormitories.
The house is yet to be named.
The school’s infrastructure has seen a lot of improvement. For instance, the school’s dining hall has been expanded from its previous capacity of 450 to currently seat 1500 students. Streets lights have also been provided on campus.
The first Science Block was dedicated on 3 March 1957. It was a gift from Barclays DCO to commemorate Ghana’s attainment of Independence. The second Science Block was built by the Ghana Government, part of which is currently being used as a Science Resources Centre, serving students of three other Senior Secondary Schools in the Abura-Asebu-Kwamankese District.
Currently there are 4 male houses and 4 female houses. The first science block, which was a gift from Barclays Bank DCO to commemorate Ghana’s Independence, was dedicated on 3 March 1957. Presently the school boasts a modern science block, part of which houses the district’s Science Resource Center.
The present Administration Block was completed in 1972. It houses administrative offices, the school library and the staff common room.
New Assembly Hall/Chapel
The Full Gospel A.M.E. Zion Church of Temple Hills, Maryland, in the USA, under Pastor, Rev. Dr. John A. Cherry, funded the construction of the ultra-modern Chapel/Assembly Hall Complex with a seating capacity of 2,000 for the school. This project, valued at US$900,000.00, was started in November, 1995 and completed in February, 1998. His Lordship Bishop Warren Matthew Brown, the Bishop of the Western West African Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Zion Church dedicated and named the Complex, “Full Gospel A.M.E. Zion Chapel/Assembly Hall in June, 1997. At the dedication ceremony, the keys of the Assembly Hall were ultimately handed over to the then headmaster, Mr. Clement Bernasco Pobee.
The school’s dining hall, which was initially constructed to cater for 450 students in 1960, has been renovated and expanded over a period of time to cater for 1,500 students.
The academic performance of students has always been high compared to that of sister schools. The Ordinary and Advanced Level (‘O’ and ‘A’ Level) programmes were respectively phased out in 1994 and 1996 when the government of Ghana introduced the new “Educational Reform Programme” started in 1999. The school currently offers four of five programs that the new system addresses:
Vocational (Home Economics and Visual Arts)
General (Arts and Science).
The only programme that the school does not offer is Technical Programme. In 2001, Out of the total number of 500 candidates the school presented for the West African Senior High School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), 498 passed in five or more subjects out of 499 students who took the examination. Also, the best student scored 7 A1’s and a B 2 while three others obtained 7 A1’s and a B 3.
The school also participates in the Robotics Inspired Science Education (RiSE) Workshop mission that inspires and energizes teachers, middle school, high school and college students in Ghana to pursue education and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by using the motivational effects of robots to connect theory with practice.
Headmaster Tenure in office
Rev. Dr. A. W. E. Appiah (Founder) 1940–1952
Mr. Emmanuel Godwyll Biney 1952–1979
Mr. Pascal Kodwo Dadzie Godwyll 1973–1986
Mr. Clement Bernasco Pobee 1986–1998
Mr. Appiah-Danquah 1998–2009
Mr A A Amoantwi 2009–2013
Rev Franklin K Boadu 2014–present
In 1997, the Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations conducted by the West Africa Examinations Council, Aggrey Memorial Zion Secondary School was one of the schools honoured by the Council for academic excellence. The school produced the best Agricultural Science Student in this examination.
The school’s popularity in academics and other disciplines has grown year by year and this gives credence to the vision of the founder to provide secondary education the young boys and girls for the development of Ghana and the world at large.
The school has turned out 10,005 individuals made up of 6,337 boys and 3,668 girls majority of whom are in responsible positions.
The school’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) status is very high with a 120 feet transmission mast linked via satellite with AT&T in the US.
The Aggrey Memorial A.M.E. Zion Senior High School undertook a project designed to assemble and fly light aeroplanes in the country in 2010. The project, the first of its kind by an educational institution in Ghana, was in collaboration with the Franklyn College in the United Kingdom and the British Model Flying Association (BMFA).
Sempe Optimo Nitere
Amamezian, wake and rise!
And warble to the skies
And notes of praise of men whose
Race is ours today,
And to all the world proclaim
Our mother Zion’s name
And let the peace of heaven
increase for us always
Serve we must, so to fulfill our trust
Our time to live and strive to leave
Our country free
The word of God to sow on every sod
That afric’s sons the heavenly throne
May nearer be.
Amamezian, wake and rise!
And warble to the skies
And notes of praise of men whose
Race is ours today,
Semper Optimo Nitere
Our motto rings, kindly notes it brings
As it urges us ever forward to press
To make a name undying fame
That would inspire Afric’s sons to progress
Ken Kanda – Ghanaian Representative to the United Nations
Abrewa Nana- Musician
Yvonne Nelson- Actor