The class of 1976, the Etoile Filant, (French word meaning Shooting Star) of Ricks Institute in celebration of its 40th anniversary, dedicated a refurbished science laboratory with assorted equipment worth over US$8,000, on Saturday, December 17.
During the ceremony held in the school’s auditorium in the presence of the students and staff, a consultant at the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation, William G. Nyanue, on behalf of the class, stressed the importance of an equipped laboratory to the teaching and learning of science. He is also an alumnus of Ricks.
He said this gesture is a way of giving back to a school that contributed so immensely to making them what they are.
Nyanue assured the students of more to come, adding, “This is just the beginning of our attempt to make the Ricks Science Laboratory one of the best, if not the best in the country.”
The decision of the class to focus its attention on the rehabilitation of the science lab was reached after a series of meetings in the United States to identify a meaningful project that would make a tangible impact on the lives of the students.
Each of the seven members of the team representing the class made brief remarks recounting his or her Ricks experience and the impact the school made on their lives.
In response, Reverend Doctor Olu Q. Menjay, Principal and Chief Administrative Officer of Ricks Institute, thanked the class and recounted the incalculable contributions the Alumina Association continues to make to the school.
This, he said, is an embodiment of the school’s motto,“Not
For Self, But For Others.” Menjay then encouraged the students to emulate the example of the Alumina Association and cultivate the habit of giving back.
Giving, according to him, is an attitude, not just an art.
Dr. Menjay used the occasion to admonish the students to work hard, study hard, behave well and build decent and responsible friendships. “The people with whom you share your dormitories, your classes, your seats in the dining hall and in the auditorium today are the same people that you will meet in the larger society tomorrow. They will judge you according to your deportment today,” he said.
The program was climaxed with a sumptuous dinner hosted by the Class of 1976 at the Monrovia City hall. Representatives of the class at the 40th anniversary of their graduation from Ricks Institute were Reverend Doctor Charles H. Jones, (Gospel Minister); Sam G. Russ, (Geophysicist/Lawyer); Ms.
Augustus Moore, (Civil Engineer); Ms. Gloria V. Cooper (Educator/Social Worker); George Brown (Administrator); Ms. Clavenda Hall-Varfley (Educator/IT Analyst); and William G. Nyanue (Civil Engineer), among others.
Ricks Institute established in 1887 out of the missionary spirit of the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention (LBMEC), was said to have developed one of the best science laboratory facilities in the country before the civil war. Like other facilities in the country, its facilities were not spared the vandalism by the series of wars that the country suffered for 14 long years.
At the apparent end of every phase of the war, rehabilitation work was done on the laboratory facility just to be vandalized or destroyed by the outbreak of another phase.
“It is our hope that this gesture by the Etoile Filante class to refurbish this science lab and their commitment to raise it to the level of the state- of-the-Art will not be frustrated or undermined by any eventuality,” Menjay said.