To ‘Senior Philip’ with love.

To ‘Senior Philip’ with love.

Dear Senior Philip,

You may not remember me but I will never forget you. I was seven years old and you were only ten when you walked into my classroom and changed the course of my life. Our paths never crossed again after that encounter but you made quite an impression.

Before that day, I was a rambunctious child, content with viewing primary school as my personal playground. I cared more for playing than attending classes or doing home work. Now I wonder how I scaled through Primary 1 and 2 without being at the bottom of the class. Primary 3 dawned bright and promising, I had made new friends like me, and it was turning out to be a bigger fun fare than my previous school years.

I remember that day like it was only yesterday. Our teacher, Mrs. Esho, had not shown up all morning. The class managed a façade of orderliness, which we could not sustain after lunch break when it became obvious she was not going to show up at all. Primary 3A was ecstatic, and all hell was let loose. We turned our classroom into a mini playground and invented all sort of noisy games. That was when the Headmistress sent you to find out what was happening. You were not the Head boy and I am not sure what position you held then, but handling the raucous was your responsibility.

We all ran for our seats when you suddenly appeared. With apprehension, we awaited your punishment. Rather than punish us, you decided to conduct a spelling competition. I would have preferred the punishment though; I would have preferred anything but an academic competition. I tried to hide my face but I was chosen to represent my row. I remember how my heart thumped furiously like it was going to jump out of my chest when you called me to the board. My feet must have turned to lead or I am sure I would have made a dash for the door. My teacher never asked me to answer questions, and I never volunteered. I was content with just taking home my average grades.

As I shuffled to the board, I felt very faint with grief; I wanted to be anywhere else but in that classroom. The class was very quiet while I laboriously made my way to the blackboard, I imagined the quiet was a befitting sequel to the jeers that will explode once I goofed the spelling. I looked up at you and you smiled encouragingly, I finally made it to the board. The word you asked me to spell was ‘egg’. In my dazed state I began to write, waiting for the jeers to erupt behind me. I clung to the chalk as I dejectedly looked down. Then I heard your smiling voice asking the class to clap for me. I couldn’t believe I heard right, until I looked up and saw you looking at me with a beaming smile. That set me on the path to believing in myself. I can’t now remember your exact words to me, but I know that at the end of the third term in Primary 3, I came 1st place and for the first time in my life I realized that I could actually be the best at school work. Till I graduated from Primary school, my grades never strayed from the top percentile.

Now I am older and wiser, but each time I am asked to write down the names of the people that have influenced my life positively, your name is one that readily comes to my mind. I don’t even know your surname, but etched in my memory is ‘Senior Philip’, what we called you back then. Wherever you are, I just want to say thank you for walking into Primary 3A and making a little girl know that she could be the best with just a little push.

Yours truly,


43 thoughts on “To ‘Senior Philip’ with love.” by Mercy Ilevbare (@efearue)

  1. This is really good. Really sweet. But we didn’t use senior in my primary school and whenever a teacher didn’t come, every student in the class goes to any of the other classes. But this was really sweet. Sometimes, mostly as children, people make impacts in your life that you would never forget. Even though you forget their names. Very good one mercy. Short, simple and sweet.

    1. Thanks Jay…In my primary school we called our prefects ‘Seniors’
      Everyone else was known by their first

    2. On second thoughts , maybe it is because he appeared so big then…but that’s how I remember him.



    1. Muchos gracias Seun..

      1. err Mercy, I agree with the sweet part but I have to ask, are you short? lol

        1. Ha ha ha ha!!! See what Presido has caused o!! I don’t think so sha.. But if you are one of them Amazonian Chicks, then I may be called ‘short’ by Till we meet at our first NS party, hopefully

          1. lol
            Ama…what!? I still look up to quite a number of people so am guessing we are prolly on the same err, what are those things called again? lol

            Till then!

          2. No Mercy’s not short. If I remember correctly, first time I met her, I thought she was Darego’s sister! :)

  3. A lovely one…thanks you for reminding me of the then in my days too…My primary too called them seniors but well, it was good….

    Nice remembering the unsung heroes we all keep in them golden days….me likey….

  4. aawww.. this is so sweet! I likey!

  5. Everyone should have at least one ‘senior phillip’ figure in their lives. Good one, Mercy.

    And thank you, senior phillip, wherever you are. Who knows, without you we might not now have the benefit of reading from the talented Mercy!

    1. Thanks Uche, this is the sweetest comment I have recieved in a while..

  6. Mercy dear, anytime I hear or read the word “rambunctious” (I have never checked it up save for today), I see and hear the first sound ‘ram’ and I judge by that. I see my ‘word processing’ skills (I have always done this with just about every word lol. What can I say? It works for me) have not failed me this time as well. Its hard to picture you like that; even though I know children are prone to a lot. So, I also thank ‘Senior Philip’ {what’s with all the senior stories on the site today eh?) for helping to curb the ‘ram’ spirit or is it tendency in you. lol

    Nice piece girl. Shout out to all the ‘Senior Philips’ out there. God bless you aplenty!

    1. You must be a genius Abby! I almost always consult my He he he..It’s hard to picture me as anything when you don’t really know me, but I am counting on Presido to deliver on that parry (wink, wink)…Thanks dear..

  7. The good Lord know when to send an Angel to save one of his own. An inspiring piece I must say. Thanks Mercy for reminding us that a simple act of goodwill can change the world of another.

    1. The good Lord surely knew that time..Thanks Chimmy.

  8. oh Mercy (I just shed a tear now …) u make me remember some good memory which I misused … how I pray they are back … God Bless you dear … I just love this!

    1. oh dear! I didn’t mean to make you Glad you love it though…Thanks babe!

  9. You just succeeded in reminding me of my primary school days.. i didn’t have the ram spirit tho…i think sheepish would have been a fitting description for me…lol! Lovely story mercy…small actions can cause a ripple effect,as u have so beautifully shown in your trip down memory lane…

    by the there really going to be a NS party? that would be super cool! yay!!

    1. Super dupper cool oh. We so hope there’ll be one but seeing as our Presido no gree leave Aro…

      Oh you were sheepish; isn’t that nice?

    2. Sheepish eh? I can almost picture you looking Estrella. As for the NS party, like Abby said, we hope Presido relocates from Aro

  10. @ estrella,if you’ve been to the foroom,you would know about the party,lol.
    Mercy,this is the sweetest thing I’ve read today,it’s so heartfelt and even made me do sth extraordinarily nice to s/one that could be my own senior Philip,I wish Philip gets to read this.God be with him.

    1. Awwwww…Gretel..I can’t believe I influenced your act extraordinary kindness today… That makes me very glad.
      Thank you again.

      1. Well, let’s hope Gretty girl writes a diary post on her day influenced by ‘Senior Philip’; let’s hope it’ll be better than her attempt at being extraordinarily nice and sweet. lol Remember that one; her 1st diary post? lol

        1. ABBBBBBBYYYYYY,stop tickling me,roflolmaofiaw,ok,maybe I should do that,are you trying to muse me?mtchewwwww.

          1. Abi now, nothing wrong with me musing a fellow gal now. I would be honored if you are ‘mused’ to write about that. lolz


  12. I can’t even spell it,thank God I’m using my hand to spell not my mouth,I for???

    1. ha ha ha ha!!! Gretel love, you are so cracking me up..Thanks dear.

  13. Mercy this is sweet and touching, hope he gets to read this. i like.

    1. Glad you like it Elly..Thanks

  14. @Mercy,

    Try spelling these words:





    That’s how I felt about your story. :)

    1. This, coming from one of my most respected critic on NS!..I am greatly honored.. Thank you TolaO.

  15. There’s nothing i can say that hasn’t been said already. Thank you, Senior Philip for playing your part in giving NS the Mercy we know and admire and love.

  16. This is very good Mercy.Enjoyed reading and it gave me some memories too.should try to come up with something like this too.

  17. Nice one Mercy! This spurred me to do some ‘Personal History writing too’ lol.

  18. MercyMe o … la la la la la la la la la la … hmmm … gtta remember somethings too … u know I’ve got lots and lots of memorable and not-too-memorable memories coming up now … hmmm … nice obe once again!

  19. awww…this is so sweet! i found myself wishing i had a senior Phillip in my time…very nice dear…ver nice…

  20. Ah! This is really good Mercy. Very articulate. We all have our individual “senior philips” dont we? mine was Senior daisy. sweet girl. No mind me jare. really good piece.

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