School Gates


A 3-year boarding secondary school for boys (14-18years), Adisadel was founded on January 4th, 1910 by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (S.P.G.). The school was then named SPG Grammar School. In 1924 the name was changed to St Nicholas Grammar School. When the school was relocated to its present location in early 1936 from downtown Cape Coast, it assumed its current name-Adisadel College.

Adisadel College campus sprawls over an area of approximately 1.5 square kilometers over hills and valleys in a suburb of Cape Coast known as Adisadel. Located in the historic city of Cape Coast on the beautiful central coast of Ghana. Adisadel is among the many fine educational institutions that have rendered the central coast as the cradle of premium education in Ghana.

The school campus spreads above and below a hill that is rich with tropical ecological preserves. The lower campus, known as Katanga is joined to the upper campus by a stairway that rises over 150 ft. The upper school known as Leopoldville is where the academic and administrative facilities are located. With the current student population of 2000, the school has grown and evolved from an institution that started as training boys for the Anglican priesthood.

The vision of its founder, Rev Nathaniel Templyn Hamlyn has yielded great success when one surveys the alumni of this school who have achieved greatness for their country and excelled in various endeavors. The beautiful campus of Adisadel College has facilities that are unique among secondary schools in Ghana. Among some of its facilities are a language laboratory (at one time used by the University of Cape Coast), a gymnasium, lecture theatre, computer laboratory, Library, sports stadium, an Infirmary and a chapel.

There are ten dormitories that serve as student housing. Most of the student housing have housed family generations that passed through Adisadel, thus generating a loyalty unmatched on any Ghanaian secondary school.

Adisadel offers a rigorous academic training that prepares its student for university entry. However, students are encourage to actively participate in extracurricular activities. There are also many student clubs and organizations that caters to various social and political interests. There are various musical groups that comprise of the Adisadel Jazz Band.

A perennial sports power, Adisadel competes in various athletic events in track and field, hockey, soccer, basketball and table tennis. Intra-mural sports competition is an Adisadel tradition. One's latent talent surfaces through participation in extracurricular activities participation at Adisadel.

The school offers students a chance to grow spiritually. There are various religious organizations on campus that caters to the spiritual needs of students. Adisadel has always fostered the spirit of self-dependence. Students are trained to be disciplined and follow the school rules, the first of which reads "A breach of common sense, is a breach of college rule".

Most of the facilities on the campus were built by the pioneering students. Such self-reliant deeds has positively influenced the generation of students who pass through the school to amply give back to the alma mater. Thus Adisadel still enjoys the benevolence of its alumni who continue to honor the school through various gifts. Today there are Adisadel alumni associations all over the world. Most have achieved remarkable success and set enviable record. The competitive nature of Adisadel students can be found in the school motto "Vel Primus, Vel Cum Primis", a Latin phrase which translates "Either the first or with the first.

Origin Of the Name "Adisadel"

One advantage of having some of the school’s "oldies" around is the opportunity to settle a long-standing debate about the origin of the school’s name "Adisadel". This debate has spawned a number of probably apochryphal stories. The best known of these has it that the school took its current name "Adisadel" from the hill on which it has been situated since 1936 and the village adjacent to it.

"Adisadel", the story goes on, is a corruption or Anglicisation of "Alice a da" in Fanti or "Alice is asleep". The story has it that there was an English nurse who lived in the village around 1900 and she often needed a nap in the hot afternoons. Very often when the local people came to see her with their ailments, they got the message of "Alice a da" in Fanti and of "Alice a da" became the affectionate name for the village and the hill beside it. "Alice a da" eventually became anglicised to "Adisadel", or so the story goes. This tradition has however now been itself put to sleep .

The true story is something like this as told by some old boys who took part in the construction of the current school buildings in the early 1930s while the school was still based at Topp Yard in Central Cape Coast. As an economy measure, much of the labour for the construction of the current school buildings above the hill was provided by the students in the afternoons after classes and at weekends. The rallying cry for the student "labourers" during this period was , in Fanti , "Adisifo, mun fa mu Adere", or in English, "Workers, take up your cutlasses".

This eventually became shortened, corrupted and anglicised in a process that took the original rallying cry from "Adisifo, mun fa mu Adere" to "Adisifo Adere" and finally to "Adisadel". The then new buildings were opened in 1936 by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Cosmo Gordon Lang. The late Dr. A. A. Y. Kyerematen was the first Head prefect of the new "Adisadel" College on the hill in 1936. Mr. J. M. Awotwi, who was present at the 1998 year’s celebrations, was a teacher at the school way back then.

"Adisadel College" is generally shortened as "Adisco". At sporting events students are also cheered on with a long loud  phrase of "way schooooo"

Santaclausians and Adisadel College

Students of Adisadel College – both past and present – are known collectively as "Santaclausians". This is because up until 1936 it was known as St. Nicholas’ (Santa Claus) Grammar School and the students as Santaclausians. The name "Santaclausian" has stuck to this day. In fact the first line of the School Ode goes: "Up Santaclausians! Stand up to Honour ……". Other verses also accords praise and honour to St. Nicholas: "Nicholas, the Saintly Bishop our Patron; Prays that his sons may be good men and true..."

The School chapel is called St. Nicholas and it has a statue of the saint just above its main entrance. The statue is among others featured at the website of the St. Nicholas Centre - Discovering the Truth about Santa Claus.

The school crest also embodies 2 of the St. Nicholas symbols - a miter and the 3 gold balls

More information on St. Nicholas can be found at the St. Nicholas Centre website.

Adisadel Motto

The school's motto is "Vel primus vel cum primis" which in Latin means "either the first or with the first." It enjoins Santaclausians to strive to be among the best, if not the very best, in whatever they do. Adisadel College is currently one of the few secondary/high schools in Ghana still called a 'college'. Santaclausians actually pride themselves as being the only real college in the country.

Adisadel Colours 

The school's colors are black and white displayed as stripes. Students are sometimes mocked by other institutions as the 'zebra boys' which has found its way into the school slang.

School Crest

The school crest has had many different renditions over the years - some versions have been based on students' artistic impressions. The crest portrays 3 crowns, a coconut tree, symbols of Saint Nicholas (the 3 gold balls and the miter) and the school motto (vel primus vel cum primis) inscribed at the bottom. Of the five renditions shown below, the first from the left is actually the original Adisadel school crest:


School Uniform

The uniform of the school is black and white shirt on black shorts. It is commonly referred to as "zebra" due to the fact that the black and white are striped together like that of the zebra.

Leopoldville and Katanga

The two wings of the school, on top of and below Adisadel Hill, came by these names – Leopoldville and Katanga – because the Houses below the hill were opened during the school’s golden Jubilee celebrations in 1960 whenKatanga in 1960 showing Jubilee, Quaque & Aglionby Houses with Adisadel village in the background the then Congo crisis was commanding world attention.

The students in the old Houses above the hill teasingly referred to the students in the then gleaming new Houses below the hill as "Katanga" with reference to the then secessionist southern Congolese Province of Katanga. The "Katanga" students responded in kind and called the old Houses on top of the hill "Leopoldville" and somehow the names got stuck.

Katanga and Leopoldville are separated by a long flight of steps which the Katanga boys have to climb and/or descend each day since the administration building, dinning hall, classrooms and other campus facilities are on the hill.

Climbing the stairs are tough but a good exercise for those with houses in the valley. There are 83 steps which also happens to be the post box number of the school...coincidence?

The Acropolis

Acropolis in Greek means "highest city", literally a city on the extremity ("akros" meaning edge, extremity + "polis", city). In ancient times they were used for purposes of defense; early people naturally chose elevated ground to build a new settlement, frequently a hill with precipitous sides.

Adisadel was built on a hill and during those early years of the school's establishment, the highest point on the hill  was definitely used to build the Headmaster's have a better oversight of the school compound. The Acropolis is the residence of the school Headmaster. It has a great view of Cape Coast suburbs including Adisadel village and the Atlantic ocean to the south.  The original building was somewhat small (meant for an Anglican priest) -  it had 2 bedrooms and a small area to entertain guests.


In recent times it has undergone massive restructuring, resulting in a magnificent one-storey eight-bedroom new Acropolis with three boys rooms.  The headmaster can now conveniently host visitors and guests on campus. The whole Acropolis has a fence wall with a security post and an underground garage outlet. 

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On Sundays students normally wear the traditional Ghanaian cloth




The School Fountain popularly known as 'Awotwe Babies'





Portion of the Science Block also known as 'Job 600'




The White House -
Official residence of the Head Prefect




Inside St. Nicholas Chapel





The Katanga steps -
The main link between the 2 wings of the school for students






School Uniform