‘Trailblaze with Hard Work, Honesty, Humility’

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Stella Maris Polytechnic 2019 Commencement Guest Speaker, Nobel Peace Laureate (2011) and Founder, Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa, Leymah R. Gbowee

— Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee challenges Stella Maris grads

On the occasion marking the 1st graduation exercise of Stella Maris Polytechnic University, Madam Leymah Gbowee, one of Liberia’s Nobel Peace laureates, has challenged the 556 graduates of the university to create new paths that would help them to meaningfully contribute to the growth and development of the Liberian society.

Madam Gbowee named hard work, honesty and humility as three of the many qualities a trailblazer should possess before contributing to the growth of society.

“Nowadays,” she said, “there are some of our young people who have changed from their Zogos’ life to those that have embraced literacy.”

Madam Gbowee said many years ago, said she obtained her AA from the Stella Maris Polytechnic and her degree was presented to her by the late Archbishop Michael K. Francis.

“As a single mother returning home with four children and barely a job but a volunteer at the Lutheran Church in Monrovia, my cumulative grade-point average (GPA) was 3.0. If I didn’t have children, it would’ve been 4.00.

“It taught me the value of perseverance hard work but, most importantly, to visualize a better life for myself and family.”

“Trailblazers are individuals who dare to get on a journey that no one has gotten on. They make the path”, she noted.

“For an example,” she said, “going into a village and looking at the bush, nobody put a path there. You as an individual say, ‘I will go’. You also have to know that going in there, you will encounter thorns, snakes, scorpions, rocky path. Once you go on that path road, you have become a trailblazer and others will come and see. Somebody will say, if one person has passed this road, let me try too.

“Anything that comes easy in life is not worth fighting for,” Madam Gbowee advised.

“Because some of us don’t wear our titles on our forehead, they’ll give you crossword before they know who you are, then they apologize”, she recalled.

“Hard work is a trailblazing quality. We have lost hard work in this country. Mediocrity has taken over and students don’t compete anymore for As and Bs. As long as I make my 70, all of us will graduate.”

Nowadays, “even your records at the hospital are being screenshot and used for social media conversation. We need to bring back the values of hard work with excellence into our lives”, she told the graduates.

Honesty is a trailblazer quality that we need to take up in Liberia. Madam Gbowee: “I say to you today, graduates, one shining light can brighten and chase away darkness. If everyone is saying these groups of young people are dishonest, you be the trailblazer and say that I’m going to be different.

Her last quality of a trailblazer she mentioned is “Humility.”

“We do not have young people who even want to come to homes anymore and say, “how can I help you, Sir?”

She also went on to say that people who follow the role of cheating and lying to get rich quick are never remembered in history.

She named Nelson Mandela and other great leaders are people who carry qualities of good moral character and more — and they are the ones remembered in history.

“Remember to always take the path of honesty, hard work with excellence and a path of humility. We need exceptional representation of Liberia and in Liberia. Our quest to eradicate poverty should prioritize becoming the light in our various communities. This is not a one person’s task, she said

Candidates for Bachelors degree: 5 candidates from the Bishop John Collins Teachers College, 7, Monsignor John Ogé Agricultural College; 51 candidates from the Arthur Barclay Business College; 100 graduates, Mother Paterň College of Health Sciences; Stephen Kyne Technical College, 83 candidates.

For Associate of Arts Degree: 25 candidates from the Monsignor John Ogé Agriculture College; 88, Arthur Barclay Business College; 50, Mother Paterň College of Health Sciences; and the Monsignor Stephen Kyne Technical College, 137.

Even as the Polytechnic is now a University, Sis Mary Laurene Brown said that the institution must remain true to its Fonder, Bishop Michael K. Francis and continue to equip students to enter rapidly and work in the certificates and diploma programs.

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