TEFERI MAKONNEN SCHOOL
….. To be able to say that there are one hundred thousand students, one has to start with one.
It is over twenty-five years ago that We had conceived the idea of building this School, but as everything is bound to be accomplished with man as initiator and God as executor, it was built in its destined time and formally opened twenty-five years ago.
On this occasion when We celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the Teferi Makonnen School and recall the struggle We made to overcome the opposing internal political forces that We encountered at the time when, having the building completed, We were recruiting teachers and gathering students in order to get the work started, We thank Our God who helped Us to achieve Our aim.
Ever since the day We were elected by God to be the leader of Our beloved Nation, Our wholehearted desire has been to expand education with which Our people will develop and guarantee their independence, and since Our accession to the power of leadership, We have put on this cause Our utmost efforts as much as events permitted. And this school the Silver Jubilee of which We are celebrating today, has rendered evident Our desire and effort.
Among those who, in support of Our idea, have helped Us to found this School, We thank all who are alive and remember those like the late Blattenguetta Hiruy.
There have been gentlemen and ladies who, sharing Our conviction that there is no instrument better than education for the development of Ethiopia and the welfare of Our Nation, helped Us in different ways. Some of them have done so by inspiring their children to go to school and others by contributing financially to this cause, to an extent that proved their realization of the benefit of education. In this connection, We do not pass without remembering those, for instance, like the late Dej. Habtemariam Gabregziabier, who sent to the school twenty-three boys together with the school fees.
The names of the persons who had shown their good-will to support Our idea and expressed the love for education were written at the school hall in golden letters on the roll of honour which was removed by the enemy, and has now been renewed and restituted.
The Teferi Makonnen School started working guided by the internal regulations We had provided to it, with Dr. Workneh as Principal and a Frenchman called Monsieur Jean Guillon, as Director and concurrently teacher. Under them, there were both foreign and Ethiopian teachers for French and English languages and the number of students increased from day to day.
After a few years when it was arranged for the pupils of Teferi Makonnen School to receive examinations sent from schools in Europe, there were many who passed the examinations and obtained elementary school certificates. When We were then satisfied with the intelligence of the Ethiopian pupils and the diligence of the teachers, We were encouraged to double Our efforts. As We used to see for Ourselves, whenever We visited the School, their diligence which was resulting in the advancement of the pupils, We still remember the teachers who were here at that time.
Then We had only these students who proved progressive and diligent in their studies sent abroad for pursuing their education. Whereas most of these flowers of youth grown in this School were destroyed by Italy’s massacre, some have been spared by God and are now serving their country. But when We thought of sending them abroad for education, there was a great obstacle between orientation abroad and preparation at home, and the struggle We faced was worse.
But convinced that a nation is seen highly possessed of works of civilization due to its heritage of refinement from past generations and not as a result of work accomplished in one generation, and realizing that such heritage demands countless sacrifices, We exerted a great effort in order to remove current difficulties and to pave the way for the coming generations, and by faith passed the trial.
Moreover, as it was Our desire to improve all possible ways of distributing education to all the Ethiopian population, there has never been one We have not helped whenever an individual or a society wished to preach education to the Ethiopians or to open a school.
To Our Programme aimed at enabling the youth of Ethiopia to be prepared for the help of their country in different professions acquired by education and training, We had reinforced the establishment of modern systems capable of maintaining law and order, as well as of safe-guarding the security of the country, such as the Regular Army, Police and Air Force, and in general We had done all to have all systems of public education go hand in hand.
Even though work and time have a limited scope to human capacity, We were convinced that by working with faith, perseverance, firmness and foresight, it was possible to accomplish much. And Our efforts have been aided by avoiding arrears of work pending for the coming generations so that there might emerge a generation up to date with modern civilization to pursue its current life, and when We were organizing such a peaceful life for Our Nation, We had secured for it the international guarantee of peace by joining the League of Nations and signing the Kellog Convention.
But there came an enemy who interrupted Our peaceful work of leading Ethiopia to a high civilization and by invading Our country, destroyed all the products of Our work. Had it not been for all the various obstacles which We encountered and which hindered Our work, it is obvious that the result of Our initiative for the purpose of having Ethiopia combine her ancient civilization with the modern world progress would have appeared much earlier. Nevertheless, We thank God for the kindness We have never missed.
Although it had, following the invasion of the enemy, fallen sick for some time, the Teferi Makonnen School which We see today as a young school of twenty-five years has, in accordance with its age, served a generation and is therefore, seen with its head upright.
When We inaugurated this school twenty-five years ago, We extolled the merciful Lord and said: “To be able to say that there are one hundred thousand students, one has to start with one.”
Today in Ethiopia, there are more than 100,000 students. Hence, We feel very happy at the celebration of the 25th year of Teferi Makonnen School, where We have expressed Our wishes and see that the mercy of God is limitless.
We feel deeply sorry when We recall the memory of the youngsters who were educated at this school and who sacrificed their lives for the sake of their Emperor and country. When We turn to those who are alive and rendering valuable service to their country, including those who are attending this inauguration as well as those who are on duty in distant places, Our sorrow changes into happiness.
And you, students, should realize that for the benefit of Ethiopia and for Our Nation, Our most important work at present is the preparation of educated generations for Ethiopia, and We fervently hope that you will prove worthy of Our efforts for this purpose. We thank those who have been supporting Us in this cause and We strongly ask them to continue their support.
Ap. 27, 1950