St. Peter’s Senior Secondary School, porpularly known as PERSCO, is a Roman Catholic boys’ senior high school in the Eastern Region of Ghana. The school was established in 1957 by the Divine Word Missionaries (SVD). The school is located in the town of Nkwatia Kwahu on the Kwahu Ridge.
The idea to establish the school started in 1956 when a delegation approached Fr. Cletus Hodapp of Society of the Divine Word Missionaries (SVD) with a proposal to establish a school in Nkwatia. After a meeting between the then Nkwatiahene, Nana Asante Yiadom III, and his elders, and Bishop Joseph Bowers of Accra, a decision was taken to start the school and the present location was given by the people of Nkwatia.
Fr Clement Hotze was appointed as the first headmaster of the school on 10 January 1957. Classes began on 5 February 1957 at Mr. Onwona Farkye’s house with 36 students and two tutors, Mr. Agyare teaching the sciences and Fr Hotze teaching the art subjects. In 1958, the first science block was built with the help of labour from the Nkwatia people, followed by the SVD house, the offices and the dining hall in 1960. In September of that same year, the school received approval from the West African Examination Council to present science candidates. The first speech and prize-giving day was held in June 1961, the same year during which the first class of 15 fifth formers graduated.
In October 1964, the school enrolled 15 students to start its first form six class. November 1964 marked a turning point in the life of the school when Rev. Fr. Linzenbach, SVD architect and director of planning Steyl (Rome) arrived to stake out plans for a new dormitory block to be jointly financed by the bishops of Germany and SVD.
In June 1965, the class of fifth formers who sat the ‘O’ Level Examinations were the first to get 100% pass in the history of the school. The first old boy of the school graduated from the then University of Science and Technology. In December 1969, the hockey team won its first Eastern Regional Championship and retained the laurel for three consecutive times.
After 10 years of WAEC approval for science candidates, the school received approval for O Level art courses, followed by A Level business courses in 1972. Agricultural Science and German courses received approval in 1974 and triple stream ‘O’ Level was begun and Music in 1975.
The academic side of the school, popularly referred to as the Class Side, is the site of classroom blocks, science laboratories, a computer laboratory and the administration block. The classroom blocks house the Science, Business and General Art classes .
The laboratories are used for science practicals for the mandatory science courses of Physics, Biology and Chemistry.
The school has five dormitory blocks housing six houses named after Roman Catholic saints who were associated with Africa or Black people.
Claver House is the first house on the ground floor of the old dormitory block. It is named after Peter Claver who is the patron saint of the school. The house colour is green.
Luanga House shares the ground floor of the old dormitory block with Claver House. It is named after Charles Lwanga one of the Martyrs of Uganda. Luanga House is one of the two houses in the school named after the Ugandan martyrs. The house colour is yellow.
Porres House is the first house on the first floor of the old dormitory block, named after Martin de Porres. The house has a view over the school’s football pitch and classroom blocks. The house colour is blue.
Augustine House was named after St. Augustine of Hippo who is arguably one of the most influential Christian Scholars and philosophers the world has known. Augustine house is the second house on the first floor of the old dorm. The house colour is red.
Foucauld House is the only house on the ground floor of the new dorm. The house is named after Charles de Foucauld a French martyr who was killed in Algeria. The house colour is purple.
Kizito House is the second house to be named after another Ugandan martyr. The house is the only house on the first floor of the new dorm and the sixth house of the school. The house colour is light blue.
The school offers three programs of studies – General Arts, Science and Business. Until the introduction of the computerized placement system by the government for the placement of junior high graduates into secondary schools, the school conducted placement examinations for its first years.
The placement test was to make sure only the best students were selected to the science programs. St. Peter’s is known to have produced one of the highest numbers of medical doctors in Ghana.
The school has won the prestigious Ghana National Science and Maths Quiz (NSMQ) competition three times, winning in 2000, 2005 and 2018.
In 2000, Raymond Avornyo, Bernard Anim, and Jones Gyedu became the first team to win the NSMQ trophy for the school, beating rivals like Prempeh College, Wesley Girls High School, and Mfantsipim School, in the quarterfinals, semifinals and final respectively. Their historic victory marked the first time the trophy went to Ghana’s Eastern Region, and broke the dominance of schools from the Ashanti, Greater Accra, and Central Regions.
Five years later, Emmanuel Owusu Arkoh, Solomon Kotey, and David Avornyo (younger brother of Raymond Avornyo), won the school’s second NSMQ trophy. To date, Raymond and David remain the only sibling pair to have won the competition.
In 2018, Kwaku Kissi Annoh and Benjamin Fenny broke a 12-year barren run to take the trophy to Persco for a third time.
There is a football pitch, athletics oval, basketball&volleyball courts, hockey pitch and tennis courts. Students have gone on to represent the Kwahu zone in the Super-Zonal sports festivals.
The school has produced the best basketball players in the Kwahu zone. Between 2000 and 2003 the school was the sole representative of the Kwahu zone in basketball at the Super Zonal games.
The school has two large palm plantations; one at the entrance of the school and the other at the mid-eastern side of the school. Apart from being a free source of palm fruits used to feed the student body, the plantation at the entrance also serves as a place where students receive and entertain their visitors.
The chapel building can accommodate the entire student population. Sunday mass is attended by the student body and Catholic staff members. Catholic residents of the township also worship in the chapel. There are visits from the Bishop of the Koforidua Diocese under which the parish falls. Mass is officiated by the School Chaplain and sometimes by other priests who are usually members of the teaching staff.
The school has crocodiles which are considered as important components in the school’s tapestry. The crocodiles are almost like the school’s mascots and also serve as a tourist attraction to many first time visitors; most visitors visit the crocodile enclosure first before undertaking other businesses at the school premises. The welfare of the crocodiles is the responsibility of the school’s wildlife club.