Celebrates Birthday with Prayer Breakfast for “Jesus’ love for me, for Liberia and for the Liberian people.”
Mrs. Christine Tolbert Norman, co-founder and proprietor of the Isaac A. David, Sr. Memorial Pre-School, Elementary and Sr. High School, turns 75 on Sunday, November 18, 2018.
A former Deputy Minister of Education, Mrs. Norman is the third daughter of the late President William R. Tolbert, Jr., and his wife Mrs. Victoria David Tolbert, former First Lady of Liberia.
Christine was born on November 18, 1943, at the Carrie V. Dyer Memorial Baptist Hospital, situated at the corner of Capital By-Pass and Jallah Town Road. She attended the Suehn Industrial Academy as a boarding student beginning at age seven in 1950; three years at St. Theresa’s Convent-1953-55. She later entered the College of West Africa (CWA), where she graduated in 1963. She then matriculated to Cuttington College and Divinity School (now Cuttington University), where she took the Bachelor’s degree in Education in 1966. That same year, she entered Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, USA, and graduated in June, 1968 with the Master’s in Education. She returned home in August of that year. She and her foster sister, Mrs. Sadie David DeShield, founded the Isaac A. David, Sr. Pre School, Elementary and Sr. High School in 1968.
On December 20, 1969, she was wedded to Mr. Lawrence Norman, a son of Mr. Oscar Norman, Deputy Secretary at the Department of Information and Cultural Affairs, and Mrs. Laura Norman, herself a renowned Liberian educator. Lawrence and Christine’s marriage has been blessed with three biological children, all boys, several adopted children, and 12 grandchildren.
In 1972, Christine was appointed Assistant Superintendent of the Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS), and in 2004, Assistant Education Minister for Instruction. The following year, she was appointed Deputy Minister of Education for Instruction. Following the overthrow and murder of her father, President William R. Tolbert, Jr., Christine was imprisoned at the Monrovia Central Prison where she spent a night, and later placed under house arrest.
On December 24, 1980, she was released from house arrest. She later taught at Isaac David School from January to December 1981, and later departed for USA, where she spent three and half years in exile, then proceeded to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, where she and her family lived from 2002 to 2017 as refugees before returning to Liberia.
In Abidjan, Christine served for 16 years as a teacher at the American-run International Community School of Abidjan (ICSA). She returned to Liberia in 2003, and founded Restoration of Educational Advancement Program (REAP). REAP is a non-governmental, humanitarian and educational organization which, with the support of many friends and partners, has provided valuable support and opportunities for thousands of vulnerable youths and young adults, who have been affected by the 14 years of civil war, and the recent Ebola crisis.
On tomorrow, Saturday, November 17, beginning at 9 o’clock a.m., Mrs. Norman and REAP will host a Prayer Breakfast for Liberia primarily to celebrate life and God’s love for Liberia and Liberians. Several guests are expected for this event. Among them will be Christine and Lawrence’s first son, Dr. Carnley Norman, a chemical engineer; Christine’s sisters, Liberian Ambassador to Abidjan, Madam Willye-Mai Tolbert King and Mrs. Wokie Tolbert Tubman, and their niece Mrs. Therese Tolbert Curtis, daughter of their brother, the late A.B. Tolbert.
From United Kingdom will be Richard Wiggins, representing the Pointman Leadership Institute; and a Nigerian, Ibrahim Y. Dikko, representing Freedom in Christ International.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer yesterday, Mrs. Christine Tolbert Norman said that as a cancer survivor, she believes she has “every right to celebrate life in Jesus and His love for me, for Liberia and for the Liberian people.”