Liberia: Primary Students Receive Essay Competition Awards

Madam Maureen Sieh presents an award to the first place winner of the essay competition, student Samuel Ellis.   

Three sixth graders from the Monrovia Elementary Demonstration School in Montserrado County have been awarded for their participation in an essay competition. 

The award was provided by Betty Kolleh, a Liberian lawyer and owner of MK Law firm in Virginia, USA. It comes following the students’ field trip visit to the MV Logos Hope, the world's largest floating library.  The trip got MK Law inspired to sponsor an essay competition and provided prizes for winners of the competition. 

Samuel Ellis, Teddy Bah, and Anthony Paygar were selected winners, obtaining first, second, and third place, respectively. Each received a backpack (bag), with the first-place winner receiving three books from the Logos Hope Ship.  Apart from the prizes, she said, MK Law has vowed to purchase a set of uniforms for each of the winners for the next academic year based on their preferred school.

However, Maureen Sieh, who presented the prizes to the winners on behalf of MK Law firm, said they introduced the essay competition to the students following their return from the field trip visit to the Logos Hope Ship, organized by Mr. Vivien Jones, CEO of Mwetana Consulting and Technology Group. 

She said the aim of the field trip was to expose students to the world of books.

“As a result of that field trip, we arranged an essay competition in which students were encouraged to write about their experiences. I guess we got approximately over a hundred submissions. And we only needed to choose three from among the hundred. So we went through the process and today we selected the best three students.”

According to her, the decision was very hard to make because they only needed to select three winners. However, by process of elimination, they finally arrived at the three winners. 

“One of the things that I would want to say to the school is that, you really need to work with the students on writing, reading and comprehension and I think that is why the trip was organized by Mwetana — to expose them to the world of books — but reading is very important,” Madam Sieh added. 

“We really want you to emphasize reading and writing at this school because it is the cornerstone that will make you a better person tomorrow,” she told the students. If you don't have that foundation, you will have problems tomorrow when you grow up. Though Mr. Jones organized the field trip to the Logos Hope Ship, these prizes came from another Cuttington student, Betty Kolleh, owner of the MK law firm in America,” she explained.

According to Madam Sieh, the CEO of MK Law is a graduate of the College of West Africa (CWA) and Cuttington.

“All of us that came from Cuttington, we are very much interested in this school. Apart from the backpack, MK Law also vowed to buy a set of uniforms for each of the essay competition winners for the next academic year based on the school of their choice,” she said. "Growing up in Liberia, I looked forward to acquiring a new book from friends or from the little bookstore near the Ministry of Education,” Madam Sieh said, reading the message to the students on behalf of Madam Kolleh.

She added that reading all sorts of books stimulated her imagination and expanded her understanding of the world "developed language and listening skills and prepared me to understand the written word. I hope that this spurs the journey of where your imagination can take you.”

In a related development, students Fatoumata Kiazolu and Rancy Williams were granted a full scholarship at BWI Harris High School after being named to the honor roll list. 

Madam Sieh congratulated the two students for their outstanding academic achievements throughout the first semester. When she announced the fully-funded scholarship, she advised student Fatoumata to concentrate on her lesson and stay away from distractions that may impede her learning. 

“This is just the start. If you do well, your sponsor will cover the cost of your tuition at Cuttington University.  You must be an ‘A’ student in order for your college fees to be paid,” Madam Sieh explained. 

Madam Sieh also advised student Rancy to stay focused, saying that if he maintains good grades, he will be eligible for more scholarships in the future. 

Meanwhile, the beneficiaries and school administrators have expressed gratitude to MK Law for the initiative and promised to do more if given another opportunity.