St. James Seminary Senior High School: Building character and achieving academic greatness in Sunyani

Stories and facts

St. James Seminary is a distinguished senior high school located in Sunyani, the capital of Ghana's Bono region. Founded in 1978 by the late Bishop Most Rev. James Kwadwo Owusu of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sunyani, the school has established itself as a prominent Catholic Minor Seminary.

It provides a comprehensive educational experience, catering to both seminarians and non-seminarians, encouraging students to recognize and achieve their potential. The institution places a strong emphasis on moral, spiritual, and character development alongside academic excellence.

Over the past decade, St. James Seminary has consistently been recognized as the best senior high school in Ghana.

It has maintained a spot in the top ten performing schools in the West African Examinations Council’s Senior School Certificate Exams (WASSCE), achieving the top position in 2006, 2009, and 2011. In 2016, the school produced the overall best and third-best candidates in West Africa.

Students at St. James, known as ‘The Saints,’ are celebrated for their high moral standards and spiritual integrity. Graduates of the institution are affectionately referred to as “Ɔhotenii” (plural: Ahotefoɔ), which means saint in the Twi language.

The history of St. James Seminary dates back to 1978 when it was established by the late Bishop James Owusu. Despite initial resistance, the school opened as a private institution with 14 students, under the leadership of Monsignor Robert Mensah Abrampah, its first rector.

The early years were challenging, with limited resources and teachers handling multiple subjects.

Notably, Monsignor Dr. George Kwame Kumi, the current Vicar-General of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sunyani, taught physics, chemistry, and biology alone for several years. The school also relied on part-time teachers from Sunyani Secondary School in its early years.

Significant support came from Rev. Fr. Joseph Glatzel (SVD), a former headmaster of St. Peter's Boys Senior High School at Nkwatia-Kwahu, who was transferred to Yamfo in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sunyani. He funded and supervised the construction of major classroom blocks and the first staff bungalow.

Other notable early contributors included Charles Oko Agyeman, Reverend Father John McVoy (the second rector), Rev. Sr. Gerald (the first female teacher), Monsignor John Oppong Baah, and Reverend Brother Joe Tsiquaye (Congregation of Holy Cross).

Initially, St. James trained seminarians through Ghana's old educational system and participated in the General Certificate of Education (GCE) Ordinary Level Exams, consistently producing excellent results.

In 1994, responding to the Catholic faithful's call for a boys’ secondary school in the Sunyani Diocese, the Bishop opened the seminary to non-seminarians, allowing them to study alongside seminarians and benefit from the institution's high academic and moral standards. This integration aimed to foster strong relationships between future priests and laity, both Catholic and non-Catholic.

In 1994, St. James Seminary Secondary School became a government-assisted institution, although its administration remains under the church's control. The collaboration between seminarians and non-seminarians has been notably positive.

St. James offers a wide range of high school-level subjects, including General Arts, Business Studies, and General Science programs, continuing its tradition of academic excellence and holistic development.

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