Man, 77, Earns High School Diploma


– Asked about going to college, Fayiah maintains: “It’s never too late to learn.”

Three years ago, when James Fayiah, 77, a great grandfather of four (three girls, one boy) from Lofa County, who now resides in Gbarnga, Bong County, completed the 9th grade, no one ever thought he would continue to finish his high school studies. Born in 1940 in Foya District, Lofa County, Fayiah remembers how his parents kept him and his other siblings (all deceased) only for farming activities.

But not to waste time on his past, Fayiah said finishing high school is not the end for him. In fact, he told the Daily Observer that he plans to go to college; and thereafter, enter law school. Fayiah believes that age cannot be a hindrance to pursuing his dream. He said that ever since he was young, he had dreamed of becoming a lawyer. “I had it all planned. I said to myself, I will get married. I will have a dozen children. I will raise them and send them to school so later on they will spend for my tuition fees,” Fayiah said.

Now, he has every reason to celebrate after he obtained his high school diploma on Thursday, August 10, from the Liberia Opportunities Industrialization Center (LOIC), Gbarnga Satellite Extension High School. At 77, Fayiah makes it a point to read something out of a program he created to help prevent youth from making some of the mistakes he made that kept him out of school. “My young people, do not allow your parents to stop you from attending school. Encourage them to send you to school, because you will redeem them from the bondage of hardship and illiteracy. So do not make the mistakes some of us made that tied us to where we are today” he urged.

Holding his diploma, the excited Fayiah said his parents did not give him the opportunity to go to school, adding that his mother always wanted him around to help with farm work. “I hope the young people pay attention to my story and make the right decisions. Never give up. When one starts attending classes at a tender age, it is good to continue to the end. This is what is happening with me. With life in me, I will finish college and enter law school,” Fayiah lectured youth of school-going ages.

He recalled how he started school at the LOIC Extension High School as a beginner about 14 years ago not knowing how to read and write. “I kept the courage and hope that one day God will keep me alive to obtain my high school diploma. And so today, I am a proud graduate from high school, for which the sky remains my limit,” he remarked with optimism. He told this newspaper that his hope is to earn a bachelor of science (BSc) degree in agriculture, either from the University of Liberia or Cuttington University. Fayiah said he was always denied by people whenever he asked them to either read or write a note for him, either for a job or to friends, adding: “My request was always turned down, something that served as a driving force for me to enroll and complete high school.”

“Now, I can read and write any communication. Moreover, I will be sitting the upcoming Cuttington University entrance exam on August 12, because I want to reach my academic potential,” Fayiah hopes. “God blessed me with a son and he is currently in Europe doing everything for me. I have no reason to go to school, but because of the disrespect from the young ones that boasted about education, motivated me so much to go to school. My son is married in Europe and I have several stepchildren, some of them already out of high school,” he bragged.

The LOIC Extension High School registered 12 candidates for the WAEC for this academic year and only two students, including Fayiah, made a successful pass, according to the school’s registrar. “When Mr. Fayiah enrolled in this school as a beginner, we conducted extra classes for him because of his age, so we could not place him among the kids for psychological reasons,” the registrar said.

“Even in the 12th grade, his classmates referred to him as ‘grandfather,’ but we were able to control that. And interestingly, that did not deter him until he graduated today with the rest of his colleagues,” the registrar added.


    • Rodney Chesson, what kind of tea you drink in the morning before making this weird posts you always make on articles? I’m interested because as an elderly person, certainly your behavior don’t demonstrate these qualities of an elder. Type your comments in lowercases except for words that need to be capitalized; the beginning of a sentence and proper nouns. Writing in high caps is some form of insult. Besides, your writing always incite some form of anger.

    • Rodney Chesson, just because you are a naturalized American citizen, does not mean that we all are. please stop posting that nonsense!!!

      • This shit is ridiculously contagious. What Chesson citizenship has to do with anything, am I missing something here? Lol!

    • This is totally irrelevant! It would have been better not to comment. Your comment is totally out of sync with the contents of this article.

  1. An Anonymous person once said, “My education began with a set of blocks which had on them the Roman numerals and the letters of the alphabet. It is not yet finished.”
    Mr. Fayiah, age is just a number. Where there is life, there is hope. Let the sky be your limit: you can achieve whatever you put your mind to achieve as long as you have life.

    May you be an example to many Liberians who never had the opportunity to pursue their dreams. Remember, “Your education is not yet finished.” Maybe, one day you will represent me in court. I mean it respectfully.
    God Bless You Sir!

    • You can’t be more right Sir ! I realistically look forward to him representing me in court as well. He is a role model for other elderly folks that might think it is too late to learn. Nice comment Sir!

  2. I can’t get this shit, we are congratulating some old guy graduating from high school and Chesson is talking about racism and calling for the shutting down of our only country? What am I missing here guys?

    • Your sense of sheer decency and respect and empathy that’s what is missing in you. What are you insinuating by your mindless bigotry. I guess you are the conventional type that can swallow a dose of real creativity. Learning is an endless process. Only the very shallower mind puts a limit on education. The fact that he can achieve a high school diploma at this age and as a successful candidate says more about his state of mind than mere physical appearance. I truly envy the dude and wish I had a mind like his. So what you are missing? Just check it out Mr. Missing.

    • Rodney does not know that freedom is not free. No matter how the Liberian situation affects him, he should be able to articulate his views using acceptable words. This reminds me about President Trump’s communications director who worked for only 11 days. On his first few days in office, he used all the seven “Forbidden” words. There are certainly words that are not allowed on TV or in cyberspace.

  3. Well done Sir. A stable and disciplined mind can accomplished anything even well-beyond societal stereotypical musings. Keep up the courage, pursue your dream, don’t be deterred. The “will”never grows old. It’s not subject to time nor restrain or constrain by circumstances. Only few people like you can do what you’ve done. Only few people live in the third dimension. Quite often it transcends any physical barriers even age. Unruffled by circumstances and time, you have revealed the hidden gem inside of you. Bravo!

  4. This is a timely lesson to all Liberians. The future of Liberia certainly requires people of such repute. People who are undeterred by their circumstances, focused, disciplined, self-motivated, with a clear vision of what they want. You resilience endured and there is no reason the future will not be obtained. Great job. You’re an inspiration.

  5. ♫♫♫♫♫♫♫♫♫♫♫ I have a gift for the graduate ♫♫♫♫♫♫♫♫♫♫♫

    Daily Observer, please use my info to tell me how can I contact him.

  6. Naturalized as well, Americans, should not be participating Liberians confidential heritage Only Liberians are capable of deciding their own destiny. Are you an American? Are you a Liberian? Are you an American citizen?Your nation has an eye on you.
    Answer the Liberian people.
    Gone to 57% silence.

  7. You can get to my Fayiah through my contact +231886440322/ +231777329885.
    I am who wrote the article, I write for Daily Observer correspondent for Bong County in Central Liberia.
    Mr. James Fayiah is resident of Gbarnga, particularly the Sugar Hill Community.


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