Ricks Institute in Virginia, Montserrado County, one of Liberia’s top ranking secondary schools, on Sunday held its first post Ebola Convocation exercise with 42 12th graders receiving their high school diplomas.
Although Ricks Principal and Chief Administrator, Rev. Dr. Olu Q. Menjay, described Sunday’s closing convocation as a thanksgiving ceremony, it brought together several high profile personalities among them, Dr. Bernice Dahn, Minister of Health and other government officials who said they were there to celebrate as parents with their children who were leaving the walls of the institute.
Dr. Menjay said his action to host the closing convocation was not a challenge to the government or any legal authority on education matters, but added, “We owe no apology for doing what is right.”
“We make no mistake or do not have to apologize to anyone for keeping our students in class for a longer period of time in order to complete our well defined and standardized curriculum which we continued and successfully ended in October, as evidenced by the closing convocation today,” Dr. Menjay told the highly elated audience to a deafening round of applause.
“Our closing convocation,” he said, “is an occasion for pausing to thank God for blessing us during the course of another academic year. As a faith community, we are grateful to God for His favor on this institution over the years and particularly this ambiguous academic year 2014/2015. We would like to be crystal clear that the purpose of our gathering here this day is not to challenge any legal authority. We respect authorities and operate in the confines of uncomplicated rules and regulations.”
“We make no apology for educating our Liberian children. We make no apology for doing what we know is right for our students. We make no apology for staying longer in school to exhaust the curriculum,” declared Menjay.
“That which is started must be brought to conclusion. Today, we bring closure to this academic year while focusing on the challenges and the possibilities of a new one which starts on October 26, 2015.
“We offer thanks to our able academic team for their ingenuity and dedication especially when there were inexplicit decisions on the closure of schools by the Ministry of Education (MOE). Since there was no clarity as to when schools should close, our administrative team was able to re-adjust our academic schedule to address the imprecise decision from the MOE,” Menjay explained.
He thanked the parents for their support which enabled the school to continue and end its academic year successfully on October 2, 2015.
The graduation keynote speaker, Dr. Richard F. Wilson, president of the Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary, informed the graduating class of the importance of preparedness in building a nation’s future through the students. Dr. Wilson, a professor of
Theology and chair of the Christian Department at Mercer University, USA also admonished the graduates to not stop at anything but continue their academic sojourn beginning with the high school closing convocation.
Meanwhile, Ricks through the vice principal, Edwin B. Dorley, has announced that registration for academic 2015/2016 started yesterday Monday, October19 and will end on Friday, October 23.
First semester starts on Monday, October 26.
Rick’s graduation ceremony is being viewed by the public to be in clear (contradiction) of government’s policy pronouncement that no school was allowed to graduate 12th graders in the absence of sitting the West African Examination Council (WAEC) exams administered annually to students in the sub-region including Liberia.
Ricks Institute attracts students, many of whose parents are in the official circles of government owing to its high academic standard and the tuition.
Ministry of Education Director of Communications, J. Maxim Bleetahn, told reporters yesterday that the Ministry will appropriately address the issue of Ricks Institute, “because we will have to meet and discuss in-house before making any public pronouncement to the issue relative to the graduation.”
Ricks Institute established in 1809, is a direct descendant of the Christian missionary spirit and commitment of the Liberian Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention, Incorporated, according to the school’s historical information.
Ricks Institute is a faith-based and learning community that is committed to developing students through the integration of spiritual, intellectual, technological, physical, emotional, cultural and social dimensions of learning, the schools information states.
Formerly named “Zodokai Mission,” Ricks Institute began through the generous contribution of Moses U. Ricks, a Liberian Baptist farmer from Clay Ashland, Liberia. Mr. Ricks donated the highest gift of US$500. His generous contribution was used to purchase some of property where the institution currently stands, about 1000+ acres of land. Ricks Institute’s campus is located in the beautiful and scenic area of Virginia, about 16 miles east of Monrovia. The campus has limitless space for expansion.
Designed as a coeducational residential campus, the school’s boarding facilities have the capacity, once in full operation, of hosting about 620 students as well as housing for staff and faculties. Ricks academic program runs from kindergarten through Grade 12th grade. In 1974, the institution expanded to a Business school, and in 1978 began offering an Associate of Arts (AA) degree in Business. A few years later, however, the Business school was closed due to financial hardship.
Since academic year 2007-2008, Ricks Institute restarted both the boarding school and the day school (with students from the nearby community and villages.) In 2010, Ricks re-opened its elementary boy’s dormitory.