There is nothing more rewarding than a teacher seeing his students turn out well in society and Mr William Okantah carries a great sense of pride in his chest.
He has for the past 14 years, been teaching at the Tema Methodist Day Senior High School (Great MEDASS) which has produced some of the new crop of artistes making waves in the country currently.
Some of his old students who are serious players in the country’s entertainment industry include Stay Jay, Eno, Mix Master Garzy, Stonebwoy and Sarkodie.
An obviously proud Mr Okantah,who teaches English, could not hide his joy knowing that some of the biggest stars that Ghana can boast off today were once his students when he spoke with Graphic Showbiz last Monday.
“I am proud of them and I sometimes tell my friends about them. And the least chance I get, I tell people that I once taught them. I am very happy to have been a part of their lives.”
Asked about his former students now making waves in the entertainment industry, Mr Okantah said while some of them exhibited their talents in school, others surprised him with the paths they took after school.
According to him, Stonebwoy was a calm Business student who comported himself very well.
“Honestly, we didn’t see him coming out as a musician at all. It was a surprise to us all. Stone was unassuming. One thing I remember him for was his humility.
“You know something, the day he completed school, he walked up to me and gave me a disc which apparently contained some songs of his. He handed it over to me and said to my face that he was going to be a star. And he has done just that”, he said of the ‘Go Higher’ hitmaker.
According to Mr Okantah, hiplife artiste, Stay Jay who was a Visual Arts student, was cool and committed. He said the ‘Shashiwowo’ hitmaker made sure he stayed out of trouble.
He described rapper Eno who was also a Visual Arts student as a tom boy who did not initially exhibit her music talent. “She is the daughter of a pastor so we didn’t see her coming out like she has. She was a tomboy but was cool and responsible.
“ Interestingly, she became the entertainment prefect during their time and that was when it dawned on us that she was a talent to look out for.”
Beat maker Mix Master Garzy started his trade right in school, according to Mr Okantah. ”He was a guitarist and I remember we used to give him the necessary directions he needed to be an instrumentalist,” he said.
Another Visual Arts student who is raising the flag of Ghana high through music is Sarkodie whom he also taught. “He was very respectful. For him, we knew he was going to do music because anytime he was done with school, he went to the studio. We knew it because, he sometimes mentioned our names in his rap songs.”
Throwing more light on the 2012 BET International Act-Africa award winner, Mr Okantah said: “ One remarkable attribute of his was how he made sure his assignments were done and delivered on time.
I don’t remember him skipping or running away from school He was an average student but with high potentials.”