About WM Bristow

WILLIAM MUCKLE BRISTOW SECONDARY SCHOOL, Gboko, was founded on 15th February, 1960 by the Sudan United Mission now NKST. Its motto: “VOS ESTIS LUX MUNDI” meaning “You are the light of the World” is a mission statement of the founding fathers. They hoped that the school would give leadership training in Christian virtues and knowledge of God. This was amplified by Canon E. J. Hughes, Vicar of St. Giles Cathedral, Northampton, England, who visited the school in 1961 and remarked:

“But grow in grace, and in knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory for now and ever, Amen.”

Thus, the founding fathers wanted the products of the school to be leaders who would shine for Christ. The source of this light is Christ “for except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain who build it.”

With this noble and ambitious objective, they started the school at Lupwe, near Takum, on a temporary site. The founding Principal was Mr. Harold Bergsma. Mr. Ahula Sen was Boarding Master. It admitted 30 boys only. Girls were admitted for the first time in 1963. In the same year (1963) approval to operate a double stream was granted. Thus 1967 was the year that the first set of girls passed out of Bristow.

The years 1963 and 1964 were important milestones in the history of the school. Apart from the school becoming a co-educational institution and running a double stream, approval to present candidates for the West African School Certificate Examination was obtained in 1963. The school also moved from Lupwe in the same year to its permanent site in Gboko.

The importance of these events lies in the fact that they were to shape the history of the school. Since inception, Bristow has been conscious of its role in the society and she planned for it. The principals that succeeded their predecessors had been on the staff of the school for years before taking over the mantle of leadership. This development ensured continuity of programmes and policies, paving the way for the development of a school culture and tradition.

This tradition was based on love – the Christian dictum of “do unto others what you would want them to do to you”. This tradition blossomed during the era of Miss G. Vandenberg as Principal, with Pever Ge and Sarah Tsebo as Boarding Master and Matron respectively.

Another aspect of this tradition worth mentioning is the relationship between senior and junior students. Junior students are treated with tenderness by the senior students. In fact, this relationship, without rancour, is what makes Bristow Alumni Association (BAA) different from the other old students’ associations.

As students of Bristow now, heed the advice of Miss Vandenberg, (Principal 1963-1976) “Take as much as you can out of Bristow so that in future you will have something to give to Bristow”. Those who heed to this advice never regret.

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