By Alloycious David (Freelance Journalist)
The administration of Ricks Institute in Virginia, outside Monrovia, on Tuesday, September 20, dedicated the Lanette K. James Educational Building, which is expected to serve as an annex at the school’s main campus. The building is reported to have been constructed at a cost of US$170,000.
Ricks Institute (K-12), a leading co-ed boarding school in Liberia for more than 124 years, has a rich legacy. For many generations, young students have sought Ricks Institute and taken advantage of its rigorous academic, moral formations, extensive athletic offerings, and a wide variety of social and cultural opportunities.
The school seeks to achieve a distinction throughout Liberia and beyond in offering a balanced and integrated education of the head, heart and the hands by providing its students with a firm foundation for life and the inspiration to serve others.
President and Chief Administrator of Ricks Institute, Dr. Olu Q. Menjay, said the new six-classroom building, which has other essential compartments and a courtyard, was built through a partnership with American Missionary Lanette K. James, in whose honor the school is named. Missionary James is a Kids and Family Minister at First Colleyville Church in the United States of America.
“The Ricks Institute Annex was named in her honor, for she had been instrumental in securing funding for the construction as part of efforts to discourage substandard learning activities in the country,” said Dr. Menjay.
In an interview with reporters at the end of the dedication ceremony, Minister James said that the US$170,000 was provided by the 1,500 members of the Green Acres Baptist Church (GABC) in the United States. She said that “all the 1,500 members gave their money to the mission account, and Reverend Dale Pond of the Green Acres Baptist Church decided that it be used to construct the building.”
Minister James then lauded Rev. Pond, “because the church is blessed and, therefore, wants to share its blessing with others in Africa, particularly in Liberia.” James, who once lived in Liberia prior to the start of the civil war in 1989, said she decided to help Liberian children, adding: “It is my desire to see children come to know Jesus Christ and be educated to lead their country in the next generation.”
According to her, the partnership with Dr. Menjay and the Ricks family has enable her to visit Liberia five different times since the civil war ended in 2003. Her first visit was made on the Mercy Ship to Liberia in 2008.
Through her regular visit, she has been able to renovate the administrative building on Ricks campus and the school’s main building as well.
Minister James said that they have also provided shoes for students of Ricks Institute as well as offering help to school-going kids in the past years up to present.
While cutting the ribbon to the building, the minister in charge said the Lanette K. James Educational Building was dedicated in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit to the glory of God and the service of impacting knowledge to the human family in Liberia as well as to the excellence of teaching, learning and service.
Several individuals, among them former Gender Minister Julia Duncan Cassell, and a cross section of teaching staff from Lott Carey Baptist School, led by the principal, attended the ceremony.