Liberia: Citizens of Grand Kru County Rally Support to Give 100-yr-old School a Facelift

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MONROVIA – Grand Kru County’s Senior Senator, and President of Liberia’s Senate, Hon. Albert Tugbe Chie, has donated five hundred United States dollars toward the upgrading of the Gbanken Public School in the Wedabo (tribe) District of the County. The upgrading project comprises of two phases: completion of the construction the school building (which is now at the window level) and adding additional four classrooms as Junior and Senior High sections (9th grade to 12th grade)

The total cost of upgrading is seventy five thousand United States dollars (US$75,000), a member of GDA’s Financial Unit/Secretariat disclosed to me at the Program.

The Gbanken Elementary & Junior School started as a Tutorial Center in 1932 by Peter Neh, a native of Gbanken, to reduce illiteracy among his people, the School’s current Principal, Mr. Augustine F. Tarh, Sr. had informed this writer (native of Gbanken) at a general meeting—to discuss the main program—held on November 11, 2021 in a neighborhood named “Grebo Yard” in Kesselly Boulevard, Barnesville, Montserrado County. 

Giving additional historical information on the school, Principal Tarh said the school was shut down, or closed, few years later, due to lack of finance, but reopened in 1942 Mr. Nimene Waltehyea,  of Grand Cess, a teacher  sent to Gbanken by the Government of Liberia for his teaching assignment in the Wedabo District. In 1956, teacher Waltehyea left, on the expiration of his teaching assignment in Gbanken, and Mr. Peter Quaye, of Gbanken, took over the school

Senator Albert Tugbe Chie’s contribution was given during the school upgrade-related building Fundraising and Honoring program by the Gbanken Development Association (GDA) on November 29, 2021 in the Township of West Point, Monrovia.

“All members of Grand Kru County will expect to see the product of today’s program. Mr. Aaron Wleh Mahten, representative of Senator Chie, said to his guests during the program’s Remarks segment for Special Guests.

“The Senate Pro-Tempore had wished to be at this development-related program, but he had another function to attend, so couldn’t personally be here,” Mr. Mahten, a member of the Pro-Tempore’s Office Staff, added.

Senator Chie is a career Geologist, former Assistant Minister at the Ministry of Lands & Mines, and had served as part-time Lecturer in the University of Liberia’s Geology Classes.

The Senate President’s representative was later given the task of installation of Elected Officers of GDA, which had been reserved for Hon. Jonathan Fonati Koffa, Representative of District #2 of Grand Kru County, and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, who was absent and no representative for him.

 Cllr. Thompson Jargba, Managing Director, Law Offices of Jargba, served as the Program’s Keynote Speaker.

Introduced by the Chairman of the Gbanken Students’ Association (GSA), Mr. Francis Kumeh, the Keynote Speaker stressed the need of “unity” among members of Gbanken.

“It is unity that made our ancestors of the County, named Grand Kru today, successful in their break-away from Maryland Land County,” the Keynote Speaker said.

He also said it’s unity among members of the Wedabo ethnic group, mother body of Gbanken, as well as those of other tribes of Grand Kru County, that enabled their relative smooth migration to and from Ghana, Nigeria, and Cameroon for “greener pastures centuries ago.”

At the conclusion of his speech, the Keynote Speaker advised all members of Gbanken to support the Government of George Manneh Weah. “Remember, he’s of the County, Grand Kru, you are of,” he reminded the body of his hosts.

The educational condition of the entire Gbanken is “appalling”, declared Mrs. Anna J, Wleh, a prominent Gbaken woman, and Liaison Officer in the officer of the Johnsonville’s Commissioner, Montserrado County, during her remarks. “We must worker harder, and together, to leave from this shameful condition.” She represented her son, Mr. Alfred S. Boe, aspirant for Grand Kru County’s District #1 in the House of Representatives for 2023), invited as one of the program’s “Special Guests”.

The chronic educational problems will be solved when the ethnic group has a representative in the National Legislature, said Mr. Daoda Socrates Carlon, Project Manager of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC),  who made a personal donation of Liberian dollar equivalent of hundred United States dollars. “I’m Alumni of the Gbanken Public School,” he said.

Mr. James G. Nyanneh, Chairman Emeritus of GDA, was bestowed with “special service honor” by being gowned (attired with shirt and hat) and issued a “meritorious service” certificate. Three other male officials—Theophilus Quaye, Thomas G. Nyengar, and Rev. Alfred G. Yloe—were certificated, done by the Keynote Speaker.

The Planning Committee added “Birth Month Rally”, of the Men’s and Women’s Group, as another fundraising strategy. Over LRD35, 000 was raised as sum total amount.

Giving his speech, the Chairman of Gbanken Development Association, Mr. Joseph N. Seyon, pleaded for peace and development-oriented collaborations, and declared: “We will  upgrade the Gbanken Public School, even with the money in the lappa’s nose of our coconut-selling mothers and sisters.”

The Program was spiced with Wedabo songs; the women did the “Wedabo dance” 

The Program’s banner was printed by the Gbanken Youth Association.

Other Towns— Beloken, Juduken, Ylatwen, Wedabo Beach, and Zoloken—of the Wedabo ethnic group were listed in the Program to participate.

The educational deficiency of Gbanken is a reflection of the entire Grand Kru County with a national record “outstanding dismal performance” in West African Examination Council (WAEC), through all representatives of all the County’s High Schools. Examples: All the County’s High Schools failed in all the subjects at the 2015/2016 edition of West African Examination Council (WAEC) examinations; only two students——Kieh Wisseh and Fred Wesseh (of Barclayville Central High School)—passed (out of 133 students from all the County’s High Schools) got a “passed” Average (with eight subjects including English and Mathematics) in the 2016/2017 edition of WAEC;  and the number of the County’s 100-plus 12th graders (from all the High Schools) that sat for WASSCE  in 2020 was less than nine (9).

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