Renowned Educationist, Modupe Oni Celebrates Mentor, Margaret Olaide Sasegbon At SBS 25th Anniversary
When you’re someone like Mrs. Modupe Adeyinka- Oni (aka Miss Seriki), a woman with a vision and a mission, coupled with the energy and drive needed to actualize that vision, along with an unquenchable faith in the Providence of a God of possibilities, one thing you’re never short of is detractors – but also mentors,
facilitators and so-called ‘Destiny Helpers’. MRS MARGARET OLAIDE SASEGBON falls squarely in the latter category. Of all the people who have crossed her path and helped her in some way or other, Mrs. Modupe Oni places Mrs. Sasegbon at the top of the totem pole of Destiny Facilitators. It was Mrs. Sasegbon who – over forty years ago – helped direct her personal and professional trajectory, especially during her early years as a teacher at the prestigious Corona School Victoria Island in Lagos.
Back in the day, the young and impressionable Miss Modupe, fresh from University where she had graduated with a first degree in Fine and Applied Art, had just gotten a job as Teacher at Corona V. l. Still green and unskilled in the profession of teaching, she was inexperienced and unsure how to proceed. Happily, though, she was practically was handed over by her mother to Mrs. Sasegbon, who was at the time Headmistress of Corona V I – and went on to become the longest-serving Headmistress of that institution.
At a time when the study of Art was not considered a pursuit as worthwhile or as ‘respectable’ as that of, say, Law, Medicine, or Engineering, etc., Mrs. Sasegbon was quick to sense the mettle of her young protégé as an intensely passionate and creative person, for which reason she did not hesitate in giving her a platform – a platform upon which she was not only able to actualize her own potential both as an artist and as a teacher, but also to impact generations of students, as she has been doing for four decades now … and counting. It was no other than Mrs. Sasegbon who instilled in the young Miss Modupe Seriki an unlikely love for teaching, a love which eventually took on a life of its own and developed into a passion for the optimum development of young minds and skills.
It was (and still is) a love fueled by her almost uncanny – indeed telepathic – affinity for young people and a keen understanding of their psychological makeup. It was (and still is) a love propelled by an impulsive (but also totally intentional) desire to see that she did everything within her power to ensure that every child in her charge attained to the outer limits of their potentials – with nothing standing in their way apart from the size and beauty of their dreams, and their belief in themselves.
Like an alchemist, Mrs. Sasegbon was the catalyst for the transformation of Miss Modupe Seriki, the diffident art graduate and teacher of yesteryears, into Mrs. Modupe Adeyinka - Oni, veteran educationist, proprietor of one of the most modernist and innovative schools in Nigeria, and a tireless global advocate for educational paradigms designed to breed generations of innovators and record-breakers, corporate, civic and thought leaders, as well as artists and educators that will change their worlds for good.
The venerable Mrs. M. O. Sasegbon – now an 82-year old grandmother – was the very picture of contentment and the power of grace and divine Providence as she lent her amiable presence to the 25th anniversary celebrations at the Standard Bearers School.
In her remarks, she waxed nostalgic as she rolled back the years of her own career as a teacher, record-setting Headmisstress and mentor, and especially her engagement with the woman who is now Mrs. Modupe Adeyinka - Oni. “I think I have done well with you, Dupe,” she said unabashedly. “You are my source of pride. You have surpassed me.” Of the Standard Bearers School (her protégée’s brainchild) Mrs. Sasegbon also expressed confidence that, thanks to the grounding the children have received from their instructors and from their Proprietress, Nigeria was going to have a far better set of good politicians in future than obtains at present. As for their parents who have made enormous sacrifices to ensure that they received an SBS education, she declared that they would never suffer lack of any kind. “These ones shall be your source of pride forever.”
Mrs. Sasegbon urged the students of SBS to continually be thankful for their experience in the school, and to always remember their teachers and Proprietress in their prayers – wherever they might find themselves in future. “It is God who provided the teachers you have. I'm a very proud person. What is the source of my pride? God provided for your parents to be able to send you to a school just like this.” She also urged them to develop critical thinking abilities to complement their academic learning. “If you cannot think, you can't do anything. All that your teachers are trying to push into you will go nowhere unless you learn how to think. There are schools and then there ARE SCHOOLS. SBS is in the latter category.”
Mrs. Sasegbon ended with a sustained prayer for the entire SBS community – management, teachers, parents and students alike: “You are going to be a source of pride not only to your parents, but also to your teachers, to your country, and indeed to all who are looking at you now. You shall walk tall anywhere you go, you shall let people know that your foundation is very sound … Teachers are not made, they are born. Each day I realize that if you don't have a good head to point you to the right direction, you may be a teacher but you won't make an impact. A teacher who throws light in the path of others shall never know darkness. It can never be dark or cloudy for any of you. These children shall be a source of pride forever.”
As the Standard Bearers School celebrates a proud and illustrious past, and looks forward to a bright and promising future, the words of Mrs. Margaret Olaide Sasegbon will continuously ring across the years and years to come, like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
It was, indeed, a fitting way to set the tone for the next 25 glorious years of the Standard Bearers School.