Stella Maris Polytechnic (SMP), owned and operated by the Catholic Archdiocese of Monrovia, on Friday, August 21, hosted an elaborate 19th Commencement Convocation for 500 students who completed their respective courses of studies in various disciplines over the last four years.
SMP, formerly Don Bosco Polytechnic, received its charter from the Legislature on August 15, 1988. With the change of name to SMP, a bill to amend the charter was presented to the National Transitional Legislative Assembly and approved on November 18, 2005.
Situated on the main campus on Capitol Hill in Monrovia, where the institution has constructed one of the largest and privately-owned auditoriums, the Polytechnic boasts of five colleges, including the Arthur Barclay Business College, Bishop John Collins Teachers College, Mother Patern College of Health Sciences, Monsignor Stephen Kyne Technical College, and the Monsignor John Ogé Agriculture College.
Some of the graduates listen to Sister Mary Laurene Browne as she confers degrees on them.
Of the number of graduates, 20 obtained Masters of Science degree in Nursing Education (MSNED), 79 in Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Medical Laboratory Technology, Biology and Health Sciences, and Bachelor for Social Work (BSW); 59 in Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from Arthur Barclay Business College, and BSc in Economics; 40 obtained BSc from Monsignor Stephen Kyne Technical College; 15 (BSc) in Elementary Education; 12 (BSc), Monsignor John Ogé Agriculture College, while 91 others obtained Associate of Arts (AA) degree in various academic disciplines.
Of the 20 that obtained Masters Degree, five of them graduated with distinction. They are Audrey P. Taire, Magna Cum Laude, Yei Leyah-Zeantoe, Magna Cum Laude, Blossom Y. Hodges, Cum Laude, Peter S. Wainpa, Cum Laude and Rebecca M. Galary, Cum Laude.
One captivating scene that made the audience, including parents, guidance and well-wishers to give standing ovation, was the moment Sister Mary Laurene Browne, SMP President, announced Mr. Jallah McGill as one person that had obtained an Associate of Science degree (A.Sc) in general agriculture, while his daughter, Venus W. McGill, also graduated with Bsc from the Monsignor John Ogé Agriculture College. They were both called to face the audience while everyone applauded.
Sister Mary Laurene Browne, using McGill’s example, urged other parents to consider learning as something that is “never too late.” Her admonition was greeted with rounds of applause from the audience, some of whom hailed Mr. McGill for his steadfastness in advancing himself along with his daughter, Venus.
The commencement’s speaker, former Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, cautioned the graduates to always advance themselves in education, “because education is indeed the enabling tool for continued development and fair distribution of national wealth.”
“Unless such distribution is in the hands of distributors who have the thought of country, the love of country, and are committed to building country, I am afraid the fair distribution process can become a source of serious disappointment for young graduates who want to serve their country,” Mr. Boakai said to the delight of the graduates.
Friday’s ceremony was attended by high-profile individuals, among them Chancellor of the Polytechnic, His Grace, Most Reverend Lewis Jerome Zeigler, Archbishop, Catholic Archdiocese of Monrovia, Reverend Father Doctor Patrick Kabba, Chairperson, SMP Board of Trustees, Dr. Franklin T. Dalieh, Sr., Vice President for Administration and Mr. Karney Johnson, elder brother of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.