The Heart of Grace School (HGS) was a scene of jubilation for over hundreds of students and school administrators, who gathered on Monday, November 12 to witness the launch of the Liberian Youth Orchestra (LYO) by Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor at the school’s campus in lower Johnsonville Community, Montserrado County.
VP Howard-Taylor, who launched the LYO, urged the students to take serious advantage of the program that will impact their lives as well as improve Liberia’s musical industry.
She, however, asserted that if Liberian youths take a keen interest in the music program, it will help them explore greater opportunities.
“I urge you to learn beyond your imagination and doors will be opened for you beyond your imaginations. I will do what I can to come and help you with your education,” she assured the students.
VP Howard-Taylor said that it was unbelievable to see international partners coming to our country to help train young people in string music, an opportunity she wants Liberians to utilize.
She further indicated that it was no mistake that the HGS was selected by the international-based group for the music program due to its underprivileged stage.
She said, “It was good that these international partners take the move to help this school that is struggling for support. I can’t wait for the first performance, by God’s grace I will be there to listen to the beautiful songs.
“My uncle is one of the few Liberians who can play the Xylophone. It looks like a tree trunk and my son Philip sings all kinds of rap songs. Sometimes he can be political, but that’s another story.”
VP Taylor used the occasion to express her disgust at school administrators, who are in the act of putting their students out of school during examinations or regular academic period. According to her, students’ continual stay away from school poses a serious threat to their future and that of the nation. She beseeched those school administrators to desist.
Madam Taylor believes that a vibrant education system in the country will contribute greatly to patriotism and democratic governance.
“As we carry the system of education across the country in the next 10 years, we will begin to see strong and patriotic Liberians that will take their seats in government.
“Patriotism and commitment to duty should be a hallmark of performing national service and that goes in line with the zest for quality education,” she stated.
Julie McGhee, founder and executive director of LYO, thanked VP Howard-Taylor for the numerous supports received from her in the establishment of the institution.
Mrs. McGhee said, the LYO will train students in musical theory and the skills necessary to play the violin or cello in an excellent manner.
She told her partners that string music education improves academic learning and also focus on building a vibrant institution.
“The string music education will benefit students, community and the entire nation by creating an environment of teamwork and ensuring discipline among students,” Madam McGee added.
“It will build confidence in their skills and eventually serves as teachers for other youths in Liberia.”
The LYO founder further said that her vision for students is to see many children learning these instruments, gaining confidence in their skills, and eventually becoming teachers in other schools across Liberia.
Earlier, CEO of the Change Agent Network and founder of HGS, Edwin Wowoh, lauded his American partners for the initiative, noting that it will contribute significantly to improving programs at his institution.