The St. Joseph Campus of the Stella Maris Polytechnic (SMP), a Catholic run tertiary institution in Monrovia, was last Friday a scene of jubilation when degrees in various academic disciplines were conferred on 452 students who had completed their prescribed courses.
The excitement of parents, friends, family and students attending the convocation in the school’s huge, unfinished gymnasium was so intense that it spread outside to the crowds which jam packed the campus. The gym, which is still under construction, will be a state-of the art basketball court.
She described education as the foundation for everything, but said it must go along with the fear of God, patience, dedication and good work ethics. “This is the only way you are going to succeed in life,” she admonished the graduates.
The five colleges that conferred degrees on the graduates are the Mother Patern College of Health Sciences —B.S.c and A.Sc.; Arthur Barclay Business College – B.BA, B.Sc, and A.A; Monsignor Stephen Kyne Technical College – B.Sc. and A.Sc.; Monsignor John Oge Agriculture College — B.Sc. and A.Sc.; Bishop John Collins Teacher College —B.Sc. and A.A.
Although the SMP’s president, Sister Mary Laurene Browne, was absent, the vice president and acting president, Franklin Dalieh, performed the ceremony to the delight of the crowds.
A total of 12 students, predominately female, graduated with distinction. The student with the highest distinction who received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Post Basic Health Science—graduating summa cum laude— Jestina Zoleh, was elated over her achievement, she said, “because of the level of time and energy I invested in reaching such level.”
“Today is one of the most remarkable days of my life. I was honored as the graduate with the highest cumulative grade point average. This is the achievement I wanted when I entered Mother Patern College of Health Sciences a few years back; and by the grace of the Almighty God, I was able to work tirelessly to achieve it. Thanks to my partner who stood by me all these years to make sure that my dreams came true,” she said. She later wrote on her Facebook page, “Finally I have earned a BSc Degree in General Health Sciences with the highest honor (SUMMA CUM LAUDE); so much grateful to God for the strength, knowledge and wisdom that He gave me to accomplish such an achievement. I want to thank the Lord for another level in my life.”
The commencement speaker, Angelique Weeks, chairperson of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), spoke on the theme, “The Necessity of Serving God, the Family and One’s Community.” Chairman Weeks told the graduates to cultivate the attitude of hard work and the love of God if they are to succeed in their educational and other earthly endeavors. “We must be people who put the love of God and hard work above every other thing,” she said.
Among the guests were the Archbishop of the Catholic Church in Liberia, Lewis Jerome Zeigler, and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Stella Maris Polytechnic, Reverend Patrick Kabba. Bishop Zeigler lauded the administration for the level of academic and infrastructural works that are taking place at the institution. He indicated that SMP is indeed serving its purpose of molding the minds of the youth of the country in a positive way for them to impact their communities and country at large.