The Old Govconians Association of North America (OGANA) is the North American chapter of the alumni association of Peki College of Education (formerly known as Government Collegeâ€” â€œGOVCO,â€ for short) in the Volta Region of Ghana. OGANA was formed and registered as a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization in the United States to help promote Peki College of Educationâ€™s educational goals.
OGANA invites all graduates of the College who reside in the United States, Canada, Mexico, or the island states of the Caribbean to join its cause in support of their alma mater.
How We Got Here: A Brief History of OGANA
The idea to establish the North American branch of the alumni association of Peki College of Education was first mooted in May 2014. In a conversation about what they could do to honor their alma mater during the Collegeâ€™s 60th anniversary celebrations, a group of former graduates who were residing in the United States levied themselves, purchased, and donated a diverse set of sporting equipment and trophies to the College to encourage inter-house athletic competition.
Encouraged by that collective demonstration of love for their alma mater, the group decided to take the initiative further. They reached out to other graduates in their respective social networks, got a few more interested in the idea, and through a series of conference calls, they agreed to form a branch of their alumni association in the United States, with the aim to:
â€¢ enlarge the acquaintances among fellow graduates and bring them into relations of shared understanding and helpfulness;
â€¢ promote opportunities for members and help maintain connections to their alma mater;
â€¢ serve as a collective voice of former graduates in promoting the educational goals of Peki College of Education and its community;
â€¢ cooperate with other organizations and groups in public service to promote education.
As graduates of the college affectionately refer to themselves as â€œOld Govconians,â€ and to their parent alumni association as â€œOld Govconians Associationâ€ (OGA), the group decided to name their organization the â€œOld Govconians Association of North Americaâ€ (OGANA) because they envisioned a growing membership across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the West Indies.
In August 2014, a three-member committee was appointed to draft the associationâ€™s constitution and bylaws, which were adopted in March 2015, setting the stage for the election of the founding officers. Eight of the membersâ€”some of whom met in person for the first timeâ€”inaugurated the association on August 7, 2015, in Manhattan in New York City. They came from far and near states, including New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and Georgia. It was an extraordinary evening, with the promise of a new dawn for an association.
The eight fellows were joined the following day by other OGANA members and relatives to celebrate the inauguration of the association. They toured the Cityâ€™s buzzing Financial District, visiting such iconic sites as Wall Street and the fully reconstructed World Trade Center.
OGANA Since Its Inception
Since its inception, OGANA has embarked on several development projects aimed at meeting its goals and objectives. They include donations of sporting equipment and trophies to Peki College of Education. OGANA also purchased and installed a commercial dough kneading machine that has greatly eased the tasks of preparing food for the student body.
OGANA also instituted a scholarship scheme to help the brilliant but needy students of Peki College of Educationâ€™s Demonstration Junior High School pursue their academic dreams.
In addition to undertaking development projects, OGANA finds ways to bring its members into relations of shared understanding and helpfulness. Its social media platforms, monthly meetings, welfare scheme, and annual congresses offer practical ways to deliver on its commitments. The annual congress is organized in the summer on rotational state basis.
The Second Annual Congress
The second annual congress, following the inaugural event, was held in Woodbridge, Virginia, in 2016. It brought together 26 members, their relatives, and friends of OGANA. A sightseeing lunch cruise on the Potomac River and a tour of Washington, D.C. historic landmarks and monuments crowned the three-day meeting. It was an unforgettable grouping of people with shared values.
The Third Annual Congress OGANAâ€™s third annual congress was held in Atlanta, Georgia, in July 2017. It brought together several members of the association and their friends, some of whom drove over 800 miles from New York metropolitan areaâ€”a clear demonstration of commitment and love for OGANA and alma mater! As part of congress tradition, the group toured some of the major tourist sites in the city, including the Georgia Aquarium, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park, and the worldâ€™s headquarters of CNN, where they got an up-close look at global news in the making.
Renting a vacation home to themselves made this congress very engaging; it afforded the group an opportunity to interact on a level they never had before. They entertained themselves to a variety of musical forms, including traditional Ghanaian music such as Borborbor and Kpanlogo. It was a terrific gathering, with renewed commitment to the goals and aspirations of the association.
The Fourth Annual Congress
The lessons learned from the previous congresses were brought to bear on 4th one, which was hosted in July 2018 in a vacation home in Bayonne, New Jersey. A night cruise on the Hudson and East rivers offered memorable night scenery of New York City metropolis. The congress attendees also enjoyed the boardwalks of the famous Jersey Shore at Asbury Park, with the Atlantic Ocean offering them a rare chance to reminisce about life on the African side of the large body of water.
The Fifth Annual Congress In July 2019, OGANA hosted its 5th annual congress at the Hilton Hotel in Silver Spring, Maryland. The three-day meeting was attended by 35 members and their relatives and friends. Some of them flew in from Colorado and California. The over 2,500 miles in travel time did not prevent them from coming to bond with their fellows and to renew their commitment to the group.
The evening event on Friday, July 12â€”dubbed â€œRed-Carpet Nightâ€â€”was remarkable in many ways, not only because it was the first time OGANA had a more formal opening of its annual congress, but because it was superbly organized. On the second day, the group toured the National Aquarium in Baltimore, the largest tourism attraction in Maryland, where they enjoyed the conservation of the worldâ€™s aquatic treasures.
The Sixth OGANA Congress was scheduled to take place in Greensboro, North Carolina, in July 2020. Due to the emergence and impact of the 2019 global coronavirus pandemic, members of the association decided to hold a virtual conference. We are looking forward to the 2021 congress in North Carolina!
OGANA is as driven as ever to enlarge acquaintances among fellow graduates and to cooperate with other organizations in public service.
If you live in North America or associate with Peki College of Education, get in touch and be part of the OGANA family! OGANA needs your ideas and energy. Come on board, letâ€™s connect, rekindle old memories and provide support to our alma mater while we help one another.
You can reach us by email at [email protected]
For details on OGANAâ€™s goals and activities and how to join, please visit www.oganachapter.com.
Source: james amemasor, ph.d, contributor