Tuesday 14th February is St. Valentine’s Day. A day when people for some reason show unusual love and caring to those they consider most deserving of the same. I am using the word ‘some’ to leave room for those who consider the day to be just another manufactured holiday with capitalistic interests. After all, I am yet to see a calendar where the day is marked in red. Even in schools, this day is known to cause a considerable amount of excitement among the students. It is not rare for students to burst into a rage of screams, whistling and applause if a teacher walks into the classroom in a red outfit, on Valentine’s Day. To them this is a sign that their teacher has also been a victim of the famed cupid’s arrow. On Valentine’s day, people dress-up usually in black or red outfits and exchange gifts, flowers and treats as signs of love. One of the commonest treats is a trip to a nice restaurant for a meal that is only complete with a glass of wine. Others take time to visit the cinema or simply go home and spend time watching love-themed movies. Although I am not a big fan of movies, I occasionally do find the time to relax and watch one or two. Moreover, if the question was posed as to which movies I really love the most, then it would be those where I learn important life lessons beyond the typical, how-to-kill-so many-people-in a-short-time movie or, the gossip/witchcraft laden Nigerian films.My best actor happens to be the American, Morgan Freeman. And it’s not just me who thinks he is a great actor, many people I know and the surveys I see online, list the movie, Shaw Shank Redemption in which Morgan Freeman plays as Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding alongside Tim Robbins (as Andy Dufresne) as the best movie of all time. I have actually watched this movie several times over. My love for films featuring Morgan Freeman includes a rather old film, Lean on Me that was released in 1989. Lean on Me is loosely based on the story of Joe Louis Clark, a real life school principal in Paterson, New Jersey (USA), whose school is at risk of being taken over by the New Jersey state government unless students improve their test scores. I watched this movie for the second time recently. In the movie, the test scores of Eastside High School had dropped largely because the levels of discipline in the school had also dropped to an all time low. The school was haven for gang violence and drugs. Teachers at the school were not respected at all by the rowdy students. Under such an environment, the students generally performed poorly on the state’s test of minimum basic reading and numeracy skills. To help the school regain some decency, Joe Louis Clark (Morgan Freeman) who had taught at the same school years before is hired and given a target of one year to see that students’ performance can be improved and therefore save the school from being taken over. In a practice test of basic skills only 33 per cent of the students passed yet the minimum passing requirement was 75 per cent. From then on, Mr Clark embarked on a campaign to prepare the students for the real test, mainly by being very strict on the discipline of both the students and the teachers as well motivating them to work harder each day. The film may be an old one but it has so many relevant lessons for school heads and teachers in general. I must confess that as I watched it this time, I had my notebook beside me and I did take notes. Next week in this column, I will share the crucial lessons I picked from Mr. Clark.