Cuttington University over the weekend had not only the regular and normal convocation ceremonies but also people in advanced ages to celebrate upon their completion of studies and all other requirements necessary to grant them a degree, each.
The most advanced in age among the over 300 graduates was Lorpue Gayflor Jaiway, a sixty-four (64) year-old who never gave up on her dream to become a degree holder through hard work.
In an interview with the Daily Observer, Mrs. Jaiway narrated how she began her University education at Cuttington in 1989 but could not continue due to the civil war, which began on December 24th of that year.
“Some of us did not know anything about a full-scale civil war. Therefore, we made so much fun about it. In fact, when we heard the name Taylor, we were happy and wished that he and his men should reach us sooner and help sew our torn-up clothes. Yes, we didn’t know what it meant but in early 1990, we came to realize that what we wished for was indeed something terrible,” she explained.
Mrs. Jaiway, who attended the Gboveh Central School in Gbarnga in 1974, narrated how she met her husband, Mr. Adama Jaiway and the role he played in her life all through the years.
“At Gboveh High, I met my husband and we have been together, standing side by side all through the years and we are still standing firm and united,” she said. “We began having our children and, as God did it for us, we have two sons and a daughter, all graduates of Cuttington University and now working and earning their own money.”
Mrs. Jaiway, the eldest member of Cuttington’s 2019-2020 graduating class, said she let go of furthering her education in order to work alongside her husband to educate their children.
“During the war, we ran to the bushes whenever there was war in our place, and when there was a ceasefire, we came back and opened classes for our children to receive education through us,” Mrs. Jaiway said.
She disclosed that she initially had no plan of becoming a teacher, especially since many who are teachers end up dying poor. However, she later had a change of mind and embraced the profession.
“I sat entrance at the Tubman National Institute of Medical Arts (TNIMA) and I made a pass. I wanted to become a nurse but I could not because I would get uneasy at the sight of human blood. In fact, the first day we were taken to the laboratory and had the chance to see surgery conducted on patients, that ended my dream of becoming a nurse immediately. So, I returned to Bong and enrolled at Cuttington in 1989 to study education,” Mrs. Jaiway narrated.
She also declared that her life would not end in the state of poverty, even if she remains a teacher until her retirement.
“I have not only prayed but worked hard over the years that God should change the living condition of my family. My parents were illiterate and poor. I am aware of that story and as such, I have stood my ground alongside my husband to change the narrative.
“This is why we are proud that one of our sons studied Agriculture at Cuttington and is now working. His sister, the last child, works at Phebe Hospital’s eye clinic and she is married to Rev. Dr. Kenety Gee, a well learned and respected man of God,” Madam Jaiway said.
Mrs. Jaiway, who is currently a principal at the Lutheran Church elementary and Junior high school in Suakoko, said she did not return to Cuttington campus as a student until 2015 when she decided to continue her studies.
“I was, on many occasions bothered by my fellow students of my children’s ages or even younger than I should have stayed at home and forget about pursuing a degree but I told them each time that my age did not matter and that I was determined to go through the storm, knowing that one day it would be over as it is now today,” she said with a smile on her face.
The sexagenarian (someone in his or her sixties) boasted that she even scored better grades than most of her younger classmates who teased her on campus.
“I am so happy today that I have gotten my degree in education after carefully and properly learning pedagogy and the methodology of the teaching career. Now, I can better lead my 28 staff as principal and come up with better results,” she promised.
Madam Jaiway said her next goal is to acquire her Master’s degree in education. Mrs. Girly N. Reeves Cooker, 55, a mother of four, as well as Madam Miatta J. Kerkulah, 50, were fellow graduates with Mrs. Jaiway. They too had their own tough times but said giving up was never an option.
Adama Jaiway, Lorpue’s husband, said he was happy he has a family of academically accomplished people.
“I too studied education and also General Agriculture at Cuttington. Knowing the value of education and how our parents were illiterate and poor, I thought that the best way out was for us to do our best and acquire quality education,” Jaiway told the Daily Observer.
He said he is thankful to God that his children listened to him and his wife and learned.
“They paid the tuition and other fees for their mother. I am so proud of them and I am grateful to God for that,” he said as he concluded the interview with the Daily Observer.
Meanwhile, the youngest of Cuttington’s 2019-2020 class was Chris S. Gbozuah. Chris, twenty (20) years, graduated Magna Cum Laude in Biology.