The work of Messengers of Peace (MOP)-Liberia and the contributions of our young volunteer peace messengers are an inspiration to upstream work of peace building objectives.
This week, the entire staff of MOP-Liberia attended two graduation ceremonies and I am very pleased to present to the Liberian public one of our brightest young peace volunteers, Ms.
Chinyere Joy Onodugo who, not only made us feel special but proud at the graduation ceremony of Cathedral Catholic School.
Chinyere reminded us, in her valedictory speech that together we can contribute to high standards of education, peace and human security through voluntary effort. Our peace messenger received 14 awards and the entire faculty members of her school pinned her for an outstanding performance. Indeed, Chinyere has been touched by greatness and we are proud to have her as a youth volunteer.
-Gwendolyn S. Myers/Executive Director-Messengers of Peace-Liberia (MOP)-
Chinyere Joy Onodugo/Valedictorian of frux est Certus class of 2013/2014, Cathedral Catholic School
Good afternoon to all. Before I get started, I will like to thank the Almighty God for carrying us all through our academic sojourn.
Mr. Lawrence T. Sartee (principal of this ever-potent institution), Mr. John Pettiquoi (vice principal of administration ), Mr. Stephen Weah (vice principal of instruction), teaching and non-teaching staffs, guests, our loving and caring parents, Our families, well-wishers, my fellow graduates.
I am very happy to be honored amongst my equally diligent colleagues after so many years of academic brain storming as the valedictorian of this Frux est. Certus (Success is sure) class 2013/2014. Being the Valedictorian does not mean I am of greater mind than you are. I did not do this all alone, we all did it. It was not an easy journey but we finally made it through. There were some good and bad times, times that we cried on each other shoulders and times we were so scared about not reaching this far, but we stood together as a class through every barrier that came our way, now we are sitting with beautiful smiles on our faces. May God be praised!
There were also some funny and happy memories wherein we had tutorial classes to help our friends, how we studied together in the library especially Bernardine Jappah (one of the finest historians of our time) and I. We used to sit alone with others to read, day dream about today and how we will make through these high school walls. I remember how we could complete our assignments 10 minutes before submission time, especially for Math and Physics. There was this smart girl who was also one of our best students who often threatens us by saying” I am taking the assignments to Mr. Kamara” by then we will all be shouting, “ Please Tracy Robert we are not through yet” and she will reply, “OK, you have one more minute”.
This Frux est. Certus class learnt many different values and morals from many people. All graduates present know that when we have challenges, we remember the many sweet voices full of encouragement and advice wishing us to be careful in everything we do. We are obliged to thank our dearest sponsors in persons of Mr. Theo Tippaniu Brooks who has always been there, though we have our good and bad times but we will realize that it was for our own good, and our loving father, Augustine Branton Kaye Sr, who guided us during our academic sojourn. He always tells us that if we are serious we can be whoever we want to be. Students in Cathedral Catholic School nick named him Kayelo but today if I’m to call him I will refer to him as an” academic hero”. Mr. Kaye thank you for all you have done and we hope and promise not to fail you.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, please permit me to sum up this speech on the topic: “Yes we can and young women can contribute to national development only if we are fully prepared”. According to George Wilson who said and I quote” Yes you can, when you are given the tools to do the work”. Likewise, His Excellency President Barack Obama of the United States of America who said to the Americans “Yes we can”. And today I, Chinyere Joy Onodugo says to you that entire yes we can, and we can be great, especially for the girls. We can be ladies of substance and quality if and only if we are fully prepared and ready to meet up with the challenges of life.
There is a saying that opportunity comes but once, so we must make use of the one we have now. I know we shared many experiences but we must never forget the bonds that we had at the Cathedral Catholic High School. I am saying this because I know that one day the graduates of 2013/2014 will hold hands and seek the desire to advance education in Liberia and the world at large. We will also walk in the streets of Monrovia encouraging every youth that “Yes we can still go to school and learn, yes we can build our nation, yes we can be respectful and yes we can fight for peace and better tomorrow.
I have a dream to become one of Liberia’s First female Petrochemical Engineer, though it is not offered here and I do not have an international scholarship yet, I’m not deterred because I am convinced that yes I can be whoever I want to be.
Let us look at the story of our president when she was growing up as a young girl. There were so much trials and tribulations, but she was determined and I know she said to herself” yes I can” now she’s a great lady and a role model for young girls and women at large.
I am saying this because what we will be in the future depends on what we do with our lives today. If we work very hard and carefully plan our lives, we will end up with joy, success and pride.
Therefore we must start preparing our lives because he who fails to prepare, prepares to fail” yes we can”.
It will be unfair if I do not highlight some good bye lines.
Cathedral O’ Cathedral we will no longer be pupils of your great institution. Cathedral O’ Cathedral we will no longer gather three times a week for morning devotions. O’ our second home, Mr. Sartee will no longer urge us to be disciplined and orderly, the wish that complies with our motto: order, discipline and growth. Pa Kaye will no longer be there to remind us that if you are not here by 8am, you are late. We will never have the fear of going into Mr. Sartee’s office to settle dispute because we know if we are wrong we will never come out un-punished.
We will all go into the world to portray all what we learnt, like our school ode says “let the world see what we know” make sure the world sees a well-educated and disciplined person.
Thanks to all those who have greatly impacted my life-like my friends, especially Siafa F. Siryon, Tracy Robert and Andrew S. Kettor who were my competitors, family members, Susan Okikiola who has always been there like my big sister and a companion, Rev. Fr Kolawole John Paul Arowosoge, my second father who has always led me through the right path and prayed for me every day.
I’ll also like to extend special thanks to my wonderful Mentor Ms. Gwendolyn Seyonnoh Myers (Executive Director-Messengers of Peace-Liberia), for the professional guidance and coaching and for believing in me. Now to those we owe the greatest thanks of all, our parents. I will like to recognize my sweet and loving parents, Mr. & Mrs. Onodugo.
Before I leave, I’ll like to close with these words;
Dear Graduates I want you to repeat after me: Yes we can
Give us the tools and we will do the work: Yes we can
If you educate a girl, you educate a whole nation: Yes we can
We will be the best if we are determined: Yes we can
I wouldn’t leave without telling us, that we are all potential achievers, giving the same time, same opportunities and same environment.
May God bless Liberia and may peace prevail in our country and the world at large!!!!!!!!!!!!