Students of the June L. Moore High School in Gbengbar Town have been deprived of the privilege of a conducive learning environment for many years, with the result that thinking of a better alternative would have been a dream they could not hope to realize.
And so over the weekend, when First Lady Clar Marie Weah, who had funded the renovation of the school and provided materials befitting a conducive learning environment paid a visit to the school, hundreds of students, who for many years had sat in a humiliating learning environment, were able to smile for the first time.
With US$30,000 used for refurbishment, the school now stands as a center of attraction—beautifully painted in green and white. It was officially dedicated at a well-attended ceremony in Gbengbar Town.
Madam Weah told the students, over half of them girls, to keep their passion for learning alive. “You should neither give up nor be complacent in your quest for quality education. Liberia depends on you for its development,” she said.
Prior to her intervention, the facility, especially the classrooms, barely had enough light and fresh air, with very few desks and instructional materials than needed. The roof was leaking and the ceiling had been damaged.
The schoolyard, transformed from sand to cement, was infested with parasites known locally as “jiggers”, which affects the toes of kids, causing unbearable pains. It was a shame, some said, that a school in close proximity to Monrovia had to endure an unfavorable and demeaning learning condition for so many years.
Madam Weah said education is the only hope for poverty alleviation in every society, and Liberia is no exception.
“We want to get the best for you so that you have a better place to acquire knowledge,” she told the students. For this humanitarian act, the First Lady has been described by many as a woman with a “good heart.”
Just as an unhealthy physical environment impedes learning, a healthy and well-designed school and class can benefit and boost learning, she said.
She was invited to the school by the Executive Director of Kids Education Engagement Project (KEEP), Brenda Brewer Moore.
“My first contact was when Mr. George Weah was elected President of Liberia, and I was still trying to absorb what it was like to be a First Lady. But I got captivated since my arrival here,” she said.
That interaction has culminated into a project that has brought joy to the hearts of many.
“I gladly accepted Madam Moore’s invitation, but little did I know that my presence here would put smiles on the faces of so many kids, parents, and teachers,” she said.
Though impressed by the kids’ skills, it was during her second visit that she discovered the deplorable condition of the facilities.
“They are eager to learn and passionate about school, which triggered my intervention,” she said.
As a mother and humanitarian, Madam Weah could not leave without doing something.
“In this light, I’m pleased to come back here at the June L. Moore School, after nine months, to dedicate this newly renovated facility,” she said.
“I’m happy that the virtually dark classrooms have been lighted up and well ventilated—the leaking roof and damaged ceilings replaced with new ones. My intervention was inspired by your eagerness to learn,” Madam Weah told the students who responded with rounds of applause.
In addition to the renovation, Madam Weah donated 150 desks, chairs and drinking water bottles each.
The head of KEEP, Madam Moore, lauded the First Lady for keeping her promise, and noted that the project will go a long way in impacting the community. She also called on the beneficiaries to collectively care for the facility so that it will meaningfully serve the community.
The principal, J. Sylvester Goffa, described the First Lady as a problem solver, adding, “Every human being is remembered for one of two things on this earth—either for the problem created or problem solved. You are indeed a problem solver and we are grateful to you.”