Sixty eight Bridge Schools hold electrifying graduations nationwide as the School year comes to a close

All Girls’ choir at Martha Tubman

For the last couple of weeks the ecstasy and excitement has been high from Maryland to Bong County, Grand Bassa to Grand Kru, from Bomi to Grand Cape Mount etc.

The schools, the geniuses, the parents, the stylish celebrations and dances were just so ecstatic to see how the atmosphere is at graduation ceremonies across Liberia. Learning never used to be so exciting.

Some gripped onto motorbikes, others banged tops of pots, and some tied used cups around their waist and necks, all in huge exhilaration as kids moved from one stage of their school career to another.

The whole community is involved, the teachers have given their best, the parents have engaged, the children have progressed. The celebration is deserved.

The celebration is the closing program at  68 schools managed by Bridge in partnership with the Ministry of Education (MOE) covering ten counties. Almost twenty thousand students are benefiting from a world class education through Bridge tech-enabled education model. Also,  Bridge provides impressive support for teachers through continued professional development with focus on education innovation.

Studies have proven that Bridge Public school students are succeeding at an accelerated speed compared to their peers in neighbouring public schools. Its a reason for celebration and this is why the end of the school year and the achievements over that year are a reason to rejoice.

The Buchanan Excitement

In Buchanan, Sarah Sampson George Public School held its 2nd graduation and closing ceremonies on 8th July 2018 at an overwhelming celebration event.

Growth at the school has increased tremendously since Bridge took over its management. It had 175 students but today there are 385 students. At least  285 students eligible for promotion to the next class, showing that their time in the classroom has been well spent.

Graduates with cross section of parents and onlookers

Dressed in blue gowns and caps to go along, the thirty eight graduates heroically walked the ark in prominence as parents and onlookers cheered.

Coming high amongst her peers was Francis Mamanduno who hails from Lofa County, northernmost portion of Liberia. Mamanduno intends to be President of Liberia one day and being dux of his class speaks to the bright future ahead and hopes of achieving his dream.

Third grader Nuch-Boy Joe impressed the audience by revealing  a 97.8% average, which saw him secure the overall prize for student of excellence during the year.

 

Nuch-boy, dux of 3rd school, Sarah Sampson

During his valedictorian address he called on students to respect their teachers and parents which will enable them keep providing better opportunities for their children and students.

‘Our Parents are the bread winners for us, while our teachers are providing us quality education so we need the support of both of them to help us stay in school and learn,’ he stated.

Nuch-boy comes from a family which struggles to survive. His father is a construction contractor who barely gets enough contracts to feed his family; besides, payment for his type of work is poor.

Despite  life’s difficulties Roosevelt Joe, who proudly witnessed his son’s address, thinks Bridge has bridged the gap to provide opportunities for striving kids like little Nuch-boy ‘He’s smart and a proud to us, thanks to Bridge for the opportunity.’

These are just few of the heartwarming stories from Bridge schools where everyday struggling kids are given a lifetime opportunity to keep keeping hopes alive it’s education for all and not for the privileged.

‘Girl Power’ at Martha Tubman Public School

Two hundred and forty three girls attend Martha Tubman Public School in Salala District, Bong County compared to one hundred and sixty boys.

That’s not the news of the minute but the girls have amalgamated their strength and two came out as highest scorers at the school overall far above their male counterparts.

Highlighting the importance of educating girls, Bridge’s Deputy Country Director Joe Gbasakollie said ‘A new World Bank Report states that the world will lose 15- 30 trillion dollars if girls are not educated but we are proud that here in Bong, because of Bridge, more girls are able to take advantage of education.’

It proves that if girls are given the opportunity in the classroom they will succeed.

Nancy Williams of the K-II valedictorian

Kolu Beyan another girl of sixth grade graduated with honors as the dux of her class which has majority boys. She graduated with 90% average and in addition was recognized as the best quizzer in her school.

Outstandingly Kolu helped her school team bring home an award in a county wide Quizzing competition despite tough challenges from other competitors; ‘A total proud to Martha Tubman,’ a teacher who announced her, said.

An All Girls’ choir also brought chill to onlookers when they sang ‘Liberia, Sweet Land of Liberty’ an innovative, reawakening song that placed many in a patriotic  mood especially ahead of Liberia’s 171st Independence celebrations slated for the 26th July, in the school holidays.

All Girls’ choir at Martha Tubman

The month and these celebrations bring out Liberia’s best patriotism and courage to keep forging ahead despite difficulties as one nation in a sense of optimism and hope, something being provided not least by the success of students in Bridge managed schools.

Graduation scores bring pride to the Gba Foboi Community

Gba Foboi in one of the remote towns of Grand Cape Mount County was another scene of attraction and celebration when parents, teachers and locals gathered to see kids in these glamorous outfits graduate from the kindergarten to the first grade.

In attendance was Marcus Wleh, Country Director of Bridge who has supported the school as it constructed a new annex.

Country Director, Marcus Wleh presents certificate to graduates

He expressed amazement at Musa Watson, dux of the school with a 96% average; as he presented him with a prize to mark his success.

The new annex will enable more children to attend the school and learn rather than staying at home  or farming during school hours.

The school is also in the process of having the entire campus fenced, Bridge Area Supervisor, Lovetta David told the team.

Gba Foboi Public School has for years now been rendering educational services to students in the region and that service has been enhanced and improved, thanks to the Government  partnership with Bridge.

Fifty six students graduated on Sunday at a very decorative event that saw parents jubilating. That is 56 more children that will be able to support the development of their community and ultimately Liberia.

Guest speaker, Mr. Ansumana A.M Dukuly, Project Coordinator for Restoring our Children Hope (ROCH) and an advocate for less fortunate children in Gbah Foboi Community, praised Bridge  for the level of exceptionality brought to the educational program of the country; encouraging parents to support Bridge in doing more.

He encouraged the community to appreciate the teachers who are doing everything possible to mold the minds of their kids in very difficult surrounding

Dungbo Public School Bong County graduates

Under rainy atmosphere, the graduation program at G. Dungbo Public School in Bong County brought together students, parents and teachers amongst others in an air of celebration.

The rain didn’t stop the huge turnout of parents and others who have come to watch their kids perform.

Bridge awards graduation certificates

Thousands of Liberian dollars were raised by parents for the school’s bulletin board project which, when completed will have important materials of the school posted.

The success of the Bridge program which has largely being possible because of community engagement and support has changed the way that education is viewed. There is now a growing realization that Liberian parents should no longer fold their arms and expect others to take responsibility for every aspect of their kids’ lives; they too want to be involved in the educational transformation of their kids. They no longer see school as pointless because children are learning and they can see that change, in turn they are inspired.

Like these parents from G. Dungbo in other Bridge run schools, parents are contributing in little ways possible to support their kids activities which motivates teachers and principals more and more.

The Principal expressed delight and enthusiasm that a relationship was being cultivated and more closeness and interaction between parents and administrators a must be advanced to keep that cohesiveness; a display of the reading skills of Bridge students is indicative of the level of work they do daily he stated.

Sean O’Malley of Bridge Liberia with students from G. Dungbo

Sean O’Malley, Bridge’s Academic Director at the event praised the parents for their continuous support to their kids education and Bridge is here to continue to strengthen that support.

He promised a better and enthusiastic next academic year as he presented certificates to deserving kids during the event.

Miss Bomi adds flavor to Bridge Liberia kid for excellence at graduation

Excellent reading skills being displayed

Moved by the excellent achievement of little Obediah Smallwood,the new queen of Bomi County, Miss Piusline H. Chinnwinn presented a wrapped gift to the delight of the winner .

Obediah Smallwood scored 98.7% average amongst his peers,the highest the entire school could experience this school year.

The brilliance and excellence of his valedictorian speech marvelled everyone who attended the event.

Weakama Public School is a host to many students, some of whom come from remote towns and villages of Bomi county to acquire the opportunity that comes with learning. Thanks to Bridge and the Government partnership, the school’s educational quality has significantly improved.

Miss Bomi presenting gift to dux of Weakama Public School

Delivering a heartwarming oration, little Obediah Smallwood called on his colleagues to study their lessons and be respectful to elders.

He said this is the only way that students, can make more of the future and help build the future of Liberia.

The event was attended by dignitaries of local government in the county,parents,teachers amongst others.

The enthusiastic Southeastern graduation turn around in Bridge’s operations

Teachers at Little Wlebo in Maryland County dress smartly for graduation

Built by UNHCR, Little Wlebo Public School was initially built for refugees coming from troubled Ivory Coast. Since then, it has provided success and astonishment for community dwellers in Maryland County. The school is the centre of the community and run by Bridge, the learning that is taking place has impressed elders and parents alike.

Bailakpoh Public School staff dances during Grand Kru mini parade

Despite being in one of the country’s remote places,Grand Kru County Southeastern Liberia, Bailakpoh remains a giant for education advancement.Their recent graduation saw at least thirty six students walk out to the next level.

The teachers too were elegantly ready to display an awesome job they have all done during the school year and  celebrated by wearing impressive local dress; African fabrics worn with black trousers.

The kids paraded their neighborhood on graduation day pulling hundreds of onlookers onto the main streets.

The Principal Martha Dobbor was captured dancing to the songs being sung by the kids,neatly dressed in their Bridge uniforms for the occasion.

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About Cholo Brooks 11624 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.