The Humble Beginning of Wesley Girls’ High School

Founded in 1836 by Mrs. Harriet Wrigley, the wife of the 2nd Methodist Missionary to the Gold Coast, Wesley Girls’ High School began with 25 girls and aimed to provide them with basic training in housekeeping and Catechism, as well as education in writing, reading, sewing, and religious studies. Classes were initially held at the Manse, in the Standfast Hall near the Victoria Park in Cape Coast.

However, Mrs. Wrigley passed away just five months after the school’s founding. It wasn’t until 1837 that Mrs. Elizabeth Waldron assumed leadership and ran the school for 43 years, laying a solid foundation for what would later become the Wesleyan Girls’ School and Training Home. Students at the school quickly became known for their values of fortitude, integrity, and truthfulness.

Students of Wesley Girls’ High School

The school’s high academic standards led the Methodist church to provide funding for higher education for girls, and in 1884, Rev. W.M. Cannell started the Secondary section of the school with 20 girls while serving as the Headmaster of Mfantsipim School. However, funding shortages led to intermittent closures of the school’s primary and secondary sections, and at one point, it had to team up with Mfantsipim as a co-educational Secondary School under a new name, the Collegiate School.

By 1900, the school was independent again, with Mrs. H.J. Ellis serving as Headmistress. Sister Evelyn Bellamy, a deaconess, then headed the school from 1914 to 1943 and made significant contributions to its constructive work and able leadership. During her tenure, Dr. Kwegyri Aggrey famously stated that “to educate a boy is to educate an individual, but to educate a girl is to educate a family” when he visited the school on June 8, 1925.

In 1951, the Secondary School section was permanently separated from the primary when Miss Olive Compton moved it to its current location at Kakumdo. Miss Compton conceptualized the school as H.M.S. Excellence and had the school designed to reflect this. The High School continued to excel, while the primary section struggled to regain its former glory.

Today, Wesley Girls’ High School remains one of the best girls’ schools in Ghana, known for its academic excellence and all-around outstanding performance.

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Sophia Celestina Apenkro

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