The Catholic-run Spiritian Academy of the Bishop John Collins Teachers College, founded September 8, 2008 in Monrovia, has entered into a partnership with the government-owned non-Catholic Naforta Public School in Bopolu District, Gbarpolu County in Western Liberia.
The basis for the partnership is because Spiritian proprietor, Sister Mary Laurene Browne, believes that the Spiritian serves as their brothers and sisters’ keepers, because they have a moral obligation to share with the ‘less fortunate.’
Sister Laurene is also the president of the Stella Maris Polytechnique.
According to her, Liberia is too small a country for any child to be left behind, “because education is the life blood of any country, nation, or state.”
The exercise, she said, became necessary because we thought it was wise to partner with non-Catholic schools to make a better impact than partnering with our own Catholic institutions where we are already imparting knowledge in the students.”
For that reason, she said, the administration of Spiritian Academy will do all it can to bridge social, cultural and economic gaps; where every child is important to the country; every child’s needs, spiritual, social, moral and educational, must be met, “consistently and holistically.”
The goal of the exercise is to partner with public schools across the country beginning with the “least populated and most disadvantaged counties”—Gbarpolu, Rivercess, and Grand Kru; to invite “better” schools, including the Spiritian Academy, situated in Monrovia, to join the partnership of adopting public schools.
To give the partnership a boost, the school administration, headed by Sister Laurene and a representative group of four students from grades 4-6 (two boys and two girls) recently visited the Naforta Public School to get first-hand information about the immediate needs of the students.
Other members of the administrative staff that formed part of the trip with Sister Laurene included, Mrs. Florence B. Koroma, Dean of Bishop John Collins Teachers College, Stella Maris Polytechnic, and the Assistant Dean, Keke Nah.
Students who were selected by their classmates to represent the entire school on the tour were, Juliana Holder and Yitshak Quiah (Grade 4), Jethro W. Brooks, III (grade 5) and Frances Nyepan (Grade.) Students from grades 4 and 8, Serria Joe and Rashida Satie, represented the school where they donated complete sets of required books from Kindergarten to grade 8th for the teachers’ use as well as supplementary books, copybooks, pencils erasers, crayons, and poster papers.
Meanwhile, the Spiritian recently revisited the Naforta Public School to review the administration of tests, and to assess whether they have the needed books that would make an impact on the pupils’ learning process.
Moreover, Spiritian Academy had planned and designed the building of a library/reading room. They also began rising funds of about US$4000 for the school and the building project. This part of the initiative will be undertaking by students from the architectural department of the Monsignor Stephen Kyne Technical College, under the supervision of Mr. Peter Natt.
Two of the students, Serria Joe, 9, and Rashida Satie, 13, in an interview with the Daily Observer shortly after they returned from Gbarpolu, said they were sorry for the conditions of most of their colleagues at that school, “because, some of them don’t have proper clothing and foot-wear to carry to school.”
Most of the students, Serria and Rashida observed, were not wearing the school prescribed (green and white) uniform. “As such, we felt so bad to see our friends under such a poor learning condition.”
At the Naforta Public School, the student representatives remembered also that there was less number of teachers assigned to the school. As such, students could wait for longer time without doing anything before a teacher would show-up in a class.
With all that, the students were happy that they had a great time with their colleagues, “because, the students there were excited to see us too.”
“For that reason, we shared among them books, book bags, snacks, and in return, they took us to their parents’ cocoa drying and mat plaiting centers. Thereafter, they gave us bunches of plantains.”