By Samuel G. Dweh/freelance journalist
Dr. D. E. S. Kandakai, former Minister of Education, on Friday, March 2, joined her relatives on an occasion marking the official opening of the fourth branch of the family’s educational heritage project named Family Nursery Center and Kindergarten School System.
The school is located in the residential compound of 99-year-old veteran Liberian educator, Jessie Wah King, in the Old Road community, Monrovia.
The other three branches are located in Brewerville, Mamba Point, and S. K. D. Boulevard in Paynesville. Dr. Kandakai is the chairperson of the school’s Board of Directors.
Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Kandakai said the opening of the new branch is in continuation of “our education-loving parents’ and grandparents’ passion and legacies to educate Liberians.”
Dr. Kandakai said the new building was acquired during one of her visits at her former teacher’s house when she noticed a large empty room in the compound and she felt the place was good for a learning center for kids in the community.
She said she appealed to the owner of the house to allow her to use the vacant place for a learning center for children in the vicinity. Dr. Kandakai is the author of “The Village Boy,” a fictional story about the determination of a young man from the rural part of the country in search of better life in the city; and “Facing The Sun” a memoir of her family’s experience during the Liberian civil war.
There were a cultural performances and musical renditions by student groups from some of the branches of the Family Nursery Center and Kindergarten School System. Students of the host branch did a musical selection titled, “This Old Man.”
The Brewerville branch also did a song titled, “These Hands Will Be Praying for You,” with the children closing their eyes and clasping their hands. The program also had the Unveiling of Bible Verses segment, where each adult at the program would pick at least one Bible verse written on a sheet pinned to a board, read it, and dropped an ‘offering’ into a green rubber bucket.
“All Bible verses were taken from the Good News Bible,” said Mr. Francis T. Wayne, treasurer, the board of directors, said during a brief interview at the program.
The Principal, Madam Viola B. Snoh, said she had been experiencing headaches because of the behaviors of many of the kids. “But I always love being with these kids and the rest of the student body,” she said.
Madam Benetta Joko Tarr, (Dr. Evelyn Kandakai’s sister), based in Nigeria’s political capital, Abuja, and a member of the school’s Board of Directors was also at the program.
The president of Liberia Association of Writers (LAW), Samuel G. Dweh, (author of this article) advised parents and guardians of students of the Family Nursery Center and Kindergarten School System to never leave the education of their children on the shoulders of teachers “because you’ve paid money for this person to teach your child or children.”
Dweh, the managing editor of Edu-Diary Newspaper, admonished teachers to see themselves as stand-in parents to their students. He also advised the students to look for a mentor in areas of their interest — reading, writing, drawing, and inventing, among others.
Three persons who were honored at the program included Hon. Cora Menjor Peabody, teacher Jessie Wah King (born in May 1919); and Madam Kathryn Urey White Dennis. Hon. Peabody’s Award was received by the principal of the new branch, Madam Viola B. Snoh; Dr. Chrislyn Kandakai received Madam Dennis’s award.
“I am the proudest person today,” honoree Jessie Wah King announced after receiving her certificate, and then informed the audience about her relationship to Dr. Evelyn Kandakai. “I taught Evelyn in 7th grade at the College of West Africa, and I knew her mother, who was one of the best caterers during those days.”