HISTORY OF HOLY ROSARY COLLEGE, ENUGU
The inception of Holy Rosary College, (HRC) Enugu was on February 2, 1935. It was founded by Holy Rosary Sisters, during the episcopate of His Grace, (Most Rev. Dr Charles Heerey), the Archbishop of Onitsha (of blessed memory). It was the second Teacher Training College for girls to be opened in the then Eastern region of Nigeria, the first being St. Monica's teachers Training College, Ogbunike, founded in the year 1892.
The essence of opening H.R.C, Enugu was to boost teacher training college for girls to produce qualified teachers for the schools, as the teachers at that time were not trained. Again education for girls was a luxury, but there was then a need for a planned course for training. The idea of H.R.C, was started by Rev.Sr M. Columbia, who suggested opening a training college for girls during the recreation of the reverend sisters in 1934 as reported by the first principal of the college Rev. Sr Baptist Heraghty. There was no money available for such a building as would be required for the college.
But sisters suggested the bank of the River Niger where there was a property owned by the church, now the site of water side maternity. They suggested that the area could be used to begin the college. Sister M. felin , the then Superior of the Community approached His Grace , the Archbishop, and asked for his permission to use the building for the purpose of a girls training college, which was granted.
Work began in a few days on the site. Very few parents were willing to allow their girls to join the new college. Finally, eight (8) girls became the foundation students. They were mainly the daughters of catechists, teachers and others that saw the values of such training. Brother Boldmir assisted Sr. felin to renovate the building of the college. The eight (8) pioneer students, though limited worked very hard under the first principal, Rev Sr M. Baptist Heraghty.
Soon, the principal's health gave way and she was succeeded by Rev Sr M. Magdalene Brady in September, 1935. She piloted the affairs of the college, which grew from strength to strength. Among the pioneer students of the college were: Mrs Floy Emodi , Mrs Okolo Osu and Mrs R. Modebe Tagbo. These were the pioneer students were very loyal to the college. As students they did not find life easy. They took turns to prepare their meals, did all the cleaning, and worked together as a family. Under the leadership of Rev Sr Magdalene Brady, the college got approval for grant-in-aids. We owe gratitude to both Rev Sr Baptist and Sr Magdalene Brady deserved credit of pioneering success of the college.
As the year went by, the population of the college blossomed and the waterside site could not comfortably accommodate them, the college was moved to Ihiala on May 1, 1940, where a larger area had been acquired. Rev Sr M. Philip O Connel, took over the leadership of the college in January 1994.
There were only 12 students and the facilities were still not of best quality, but the standard was very high. As reported by Rev Sr M. Philip, the domestic science practical classes were in mat and mud kitchen at the back of the dining room. Coconut brushes were used to shine the floors as was the tradition in those days. Sr M. Magdalene Brady was the domestic science teacher in the early days in Ihiala. In February 1947, when Sr M. Philip went home on leave Rev. Sr M. Regina Malone who had been a tutor in the college since 1943, replaced her as the principal. After piloting the college for one year, Sr Regina went on leave in January 1948 and handed over to Rev Sr M. Christian Haverin. The population continued to increase so much that the Ihiala layout could no longer accommodate the college.
In January, 1948, the HRC College was moved to Enugu, to its present site. There was only one building. It was used for administration, class room, dormitory and for every other thing. In January, 1952, Rev Sr M. Philip O Connel, returned as the Principal. It was during her tenure at Enugu that the former chapel/Maria-gorretti dormitory block was built by Micheletti contractors. The increased facilities promoted the population of the college.
In July 1955, Rev Sr Bernard Price assumed office as the principal of the college until March 1957. During the period she erected the Rosary High Block, (T.T.C. Practicing school ), the first block of the primary school , which is now called Zik Avenue primary school.
In April 1957, Rev Sr M. Edward O Leary took over from Rev Sr. Bernard Price. She served longest among all the pre-Nigerian civil war principals. She was principal for nine fruitful years, from 1957 to August 1966. she enjoyed the singular privilege of celebrating the silver jubilee of the college in 1960. The highlight of the celebration was the performance of the gilbert and sulivan, Opera ‘The Milkado', produced by Rev Sr. Aine Talboid M.S.H.R. the performance was described by the leader of February 20, 1960 as the finest musical presentation ever seen in Eastern Nigeria. As a result, memories of Rev Sr. Aine tabloid became indelible in the minds of students, staff and well wishers of the college at that time. Rev Sr M. Edward O Learys” length of service and memories of the silver jubilee celebration has given her the advantage of being about the best known of all the pre-civil war principals of H.R.C., Enugu.
In September 1966, Rev Sr M. Adrian Toland became the principal when Rev Sr M. Edward O Leary went to Queen of the Rosary College, (Q.R.C.), Onitsha. She served for just one year before the civil war broke out. Here was the heart trending task of shutting the door of the college for the final time just before the war reached Enugu ,and abandoning the results of the labours and achievement of so many to fate.
Shortly after the end of the hostilities, the East Central State Government took over all schools and reopened them on March 19, 1970. The impact of the devastations of the war seemed insurmountable with the rubbles everywhere: roofs, windows, ceilings and doors completely destroyed, the compound overgrown with bushes. The great responsibility of making a college once more out of this confusion dwelt upon Rev. Sr Bernard Dimgba, a lady chosen for this arduous task because of her dynamism, dedication to duty and thoroughness. She tried her best to restructure and renovate the buildings, and also to modify the students mind and behavior because the effect of war has changed the behaviors of the youngsters.
By the time she left in November 1973, H.R.C had started coming back her lost glory. Sr Dimgba was succeeded by Mrs V.O Ibekwe, fondly addressed by the students as mummee. She served from that time to October 15, 1983. Her period of leadership of college was when universal primary education boomed. It was the period both the Federal and State Government supplied Teacher Training Colleges with equipments, infrastructure and facilities. The following were built in her tenure of office, the quadrangle dormitory complex, three one-storey buildings the laboratory, the library, three twin bungalow, staff houses and principal's house. Through her initiative the Parents' Teachers' Association of the college built the perimeter fence of the college, also covering the two primary schools in the compound. She commenced the present dining hall and built it to D.P.C. level. The PTA also built a 20,000 gallon concrete water tank, dug a well, a 16 cubicle pit latrines, which are however in disuse now. During her last two years, HRC won in each year over all cup in all T.T.C. sports competition in female events.
On October 15, 1983, Mrs V.O. Ibekwe handed over the baton to
Chief (Mrs) E.U. Onwuagha, who came from Rosary High School Awgu,
where she was the principal. This was at the request of His Lordship Rt Rev Dr M.U. Eneja of the blessed memory, the then proprietor of the college. The college was one of the four Teachers Training Colleges handed back to the Catholic and Anglican missions on July 20, 1983 by the then Anambra State Government (official gazette ,No 19 vol 8 of 16th September , 1983 ,refers).
Chief (Mrs) Onwuagha piloted the affairs of the college from 1983 -1997, when she handed over the mantle of leadership to the current principal, Rev Sr Dr Mercy Ani. Chief (Mrs) Onwuagha recorded a number of achievements during her tenure despite acute shortage of funds. She completed the magnificent PTA hall, repaired and painted all class room blocks, provided water 24 hours from the water corporation line, constructed a fence to demarcate the college from the primary school that were accommodated in the college premises. Planted flowers and grasses and beautified the frontage of the college, constructed pavements and network of drainages, etc . She created a conducive environment for discipline and academic excellence. She put in place the regulation of not allowing pregnant students in school. For four years running, the college captured the over all winners cup in women events in T.T.C sports. She instilled in the students positive attitudes and values, order, neatness and discipline for which H.R.C. students are noted. In 1984 /85 academic session, the college won 2nd position in the March past, silver and Bronze medals in festivals of arts and cultural dance displays respectively.
It was then the turn of Rev Sr Dr Mercy Ani to oversee the administration of the college in 1997. Like her predecessors, she has worked tirelessly and relentlessly to uphold the legacies left by them. This is evident by the population and the tone of the college since she became principal. She attained some milestones, among others such as, landscaping the college , maintaining discipline, successfully planed and celebrated the diamond jubilee and building of the college chapel (without contribution from any stake holders), which was dedicated by the most Rev Dr Callistus V.C. Onaga, the catholic bishop of Enugu Diocese, who is the current proprietor of the college.
On the opening of the college, His Grace , Most Rev Dr Charles Heerey, the Archbishop of Onitsha have been very pleased to assist at the opening today of this Training College for girls. “We look forward to the future of this college and have every hope and every reason to hope that God's blessing will be on it and that it will do very great work for the girls of Onitsha and Nigeria”. There is no doubt that His Grace hopes have materialized over and over above the expectations. H.R.C. has produced thousands of women who have distinguished themselves in every sphere of human endeavours. Educationist, academicians, medical personnel , judges, lawyers , business tycoons, leaders in government, financial institutions and other professionals in various fields, who have modeled and influenced the lives of thousands; mothers that have made and continue to make this nation, some are serving God in convents by living a life of celibacy.
We appreciate and salute all the great ladies (principals) who had upheld the legacies of the founding father of the college, without whom the history of H.R.C, Enugu could not be written. We thank all the teachers, workers and students whose individual and collective efforts have made H.R.C. what it is today. We are grateful to the Catholic Church, the Federal and State Governments, Parents and Guardians of the College, past and present and all the college benefactors for their contribution towards the growth and maintenance of this college. From a very humble beginning, H.R.C., Enugu has blossomed into a full-fledged, famous and big citadel of learning. By the Grace of God, and intercession of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, H.R.C., Enugu will continue to grow from strength to strength in promoting love, discipline and excellence.
SUCCESSION OF PRINCIPALS
1. Rev Sr. M. Baptist Heraghty 1935
2. Rev.Sr.M. Magdalem Brady 1935-1939.
3. Rev Sr. M. Eucharia Reynolds. 1940-1943.
4. Rev Sr M.Philip O Connel. 1944 – 1947; 1952-1955
5. Rev Sr Dr Regina Malone. 1947-1948.
6. Rev Sr M. Christain Haverin 1948-1951
7. Rev.Sr. M. Bernard Price. 1955-1957
8. Rev Sr M. Edward O Leary. 1957-1966.
9. Rev Sr M. Adrian Toland. 1966-1967.
10. Rev Sr M.Bernard Dimgba.1970-1973.
11. Rev Sr V.O Ibekwe 1973-1983
12. Chief (mrs) E.U Onwuagha.1983-1996
13. Rev Sr Dr Mercy Ani (MSHR) 1997 to date