Unlike the ungrateful nine lepers who thought it unnecessary to return with their colleague and appreciate Jesus Christ for healing them of their leprosy, Noah Zawu Gibson, a visually impaired intellectual has lauded President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for her generosity in affording him the opportunity to obtain his first degree.
Gibson, 36, recently graduated from Cuttington University in Suakoko, Bong County with a degree in Public Administration.
Mr. Gibson said that he remains forever grateful to President Sirleaf for rescuing him after he was dropped from the Ministry of Education’s scholarship because he could not meet the MOE’s requirements as a result of his difficult start at CU.
He explained his initial tough experience, but yet joyous journey when he, accompanied by two of his sisters, went to the Foreign Ministry to personally thank and appreciate the President for funding his successful undergraduate studies at the Cuttington University.
He said he had a tough time entering Cuttington, and as a visually impaired person, especially during his freshman and sophomore years, he was forced to drop from the Ministry of Education’s Tuition Aid Program because of his inability to meet the required Grade Point Average.
Mr. Gibson noted that President Sirleaf came to his aid by intervening and offered to underwrite the rest of his schooling by offering a full scholarship, paying for 57 credits, accommodation, feeding and allowance from 2013 till the date he completed his undergraduate program.
“Madam President, I will remain forever grateful to you for this opportunity,” he said.
He also praised President Sirleaf for equally extending her goodwill and humanitarian gesture to many of his comrades who have also graduated. He named them as Emary Jessie (major in public administration & minor in education); James Y. Togba, (major in public administration & minor in sociology); Leon T. Kegbeh, (major in public administration & minor in sociology-currently employed at NASSCORP); Korto G. Kollie, (major in agriculture); and the late John Kolleh, whose major was in public administration & minor was in sociology).
President Sirleaf thanked him for taking his studies seriously and challenged other disabled students to see him as a source of motivation. She assured the visually impaired of her continued support to give meaning to their lives because as citizens they too have rights.
Gibson started his early education at the Morris Zayzay Elementary School in 72nd, Paynesville and later enrolled at the United Blind Training Academy where he acquired specialized skills in the use of the Braille. Gibson later entered the Kalita High School on Somalia Drive and subsequently enrolled at the Calvary Temple High School where he graduated in 2005. As a result of his popularity with fellow students at the Calvary Temple Assembly of God High School, Gibson was elected as the president of the Student Council Government during his senior year.
Gibson is a household name in the Paynesville City area, especially the Jacob Town and 72nd communities as a result of his level of intellectual ability, especially among the young people.
He is articulate in the English language and has a good understanding of global, African and Liberian histories, for which he is famously referred to as “The Historian.”
He has constantly told his friends, associates and students that he was not born blind. “I was not born blind, but this started on me as a sickness in 1989 when I was a child. It was the severity of the sickness at a time when there was no means to seek medical attention that led to my blindness,” he told the 12th grade class of the St. Francis High School in Jacob Town in 2006. This reporter was a member of that class.
Upon graduation, Gibson frequently went to other high schools on Somalia Drive to lecture senior students, usually during recess period, in his area of vast knowledge (history). He frequently visited the St. Francis High School, the Kalita High School, Royal Christian Foundation High School and his alma mater.
Upon graduating from high school, it took Gibson over four years to enter a tertiary institution, but he said the lack of opportunity did not deter his ambition to pursue greater knowledge.
On what message he had for other visually impaired and physically challenged, Noah Gibson called on them to learn to preserve; be able to withstand challenges and above all put their trust in God.