The History of Mfantsipim Senior High School | The Methodist Church in Ghana agreed to start an all-boys secondary school with the goal of promoting intellectual, moral, and spiritual development at its Synod in 1870.
As a result, on Monday, April 3, 1876, the Wesleyan High School (now Mfantsipim), the first Methodist secondary school and first-second cycle in the erstwhile Gold Coast, opened its doors in Cape Coast.
James Picot, the first Headmaster of the school, was only 18 years old when it opened with 17 students. John Mensah Sarbah, George Grant, Henry Van Hein, William Fynn Penny (later Rev. Fynn Egyir Asaam), William Fynn, Robert J. Hayfron, Benjamin Pine Wood, Samuel C. Crankson, Brodie Arthur, and John James Clement were the ten foundation students present at the school’s opening.
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The school changed names multiple times before John Mensah-Sarbah, one of the pioneer pupils who had become an outstanding lawyer came up with the name ‘Mfantsipim’.
It started as the Wesleyan High School, becoming High School and Training Instruction, Wesleyan Collegiate School, Richmond College and eventually Mfantsipim.
For Sarbah and his pals, the word “Mfantsipim” was not to be divided into syllables to suggest “Mfantsefo Apem” (A thousand Fantes) (A thousand Fantes).
They were more focused on the future requirements of the country as a whole and to them “Mfantsipim” signified the ‘Soul of the People’ and it was in the School that the “souls of the people of Ghana” would mature. Mensah Sarbah also gave the school its slogan “Dwen Hwe Kan” which, translated literally means “Think and gaze ahead”
The school also changed locations multiple times. From the Mission House to the former Colonial School on Saltpond Road, Acquah’s house, Coussey’s house at the foot of McCarthy Hill, Government buildings near the Isolation hospital, Sea View House, Mount Hope and eventually settled on the Kwabotwe Hill.
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In 1891 the Wesleyan High School assumed the name of the Wesleyan Collegiate School at a time when it was saddled with challenges such as shortage of funds, unsuitable accommodation, and inadequacy of qualified staff. Under these severe circumstances, John Mensah Sarbah and a few others resolved to confront the challenges and created the Fante Public Schools Limited.
The firm set up in April 1905, a high school called ‘Mfantsipim’ which was distinct from the Wesleyan Collegiate School.
Unfortunately, both schools still had major difficulties and to preserve the situation, they were united in July 1905 under the control of the Methodist Church, with the name “Mfantsipim”.
Over the years, various Headmasters have served the School with distinction. Their vision, passion, and hard work are what has made the school what it is today.
Rev. W.T. Balmer of the Methodist Church, Principal of Richmond College in Sierra Leone arrived in Cape Coast in 1907 on an inspection and met only eight (8) dedicated boys in the school teaching themselves because there was neither a teacher nor a Headmaster.
He named them the “Faithful Eight” and accepted to stay and take charge of the school as Headmaster. During the centenary celebrations of Mfantsipim in 1976, a monument was erected in their memory.
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Source: InfoguideGhana | History of Mfantsipim Senior High School