President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has applauded the administration of Ricks Institute for responding to the Government’s call to provide quality education to Liberian youth.
She also praised the school’s administration for instilling discipline, respect, and honesty in Liberian youth. “We have observed what is going on at Ricks Institute. We have monitored and followed what they teach, what they instill, and the quality of their academic and practical work. The discipline that they instill have so impressed us that today we say that Ricks Institute is one of the leading high school institutions in the country,” she said throwing out a challenge to Education Minister Etmonia Tarpeh to prove her wrong.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader was speaking Sunday, June 29, at the Ricks Institute’s Washington Chapel Auditorium in Virginia during the official close of academic year 2013-2014. Forty-one students received diplomas after completing the prescribed course of study at the institution, including one of the students she personally sponsors, Fate Tapson, son of fallen Liberian journalist, Bobby Tapson. Bobby worked for a number of media institutions including The Inquirer and News newspapers. He passed away in 2006.
The Liberian President stressed how proud she was to witness the achievements of Fate Tapson. “Today I’m so proud that Fate has gone through from where we took him to the point where he’s graduating today and his father somewhere in heaven can look down and say that’s his son in whom he’s well pleased.”
Besides Fate Tapson, President Sirleaf supports five other students at Ricks Institute - Sam Tekie, Lawrence Sahr, Priscilla Waritey and more recently, Harriet Kollie and Benjamin Page. “These students are more than who I pay tuition for. I consider them my grandchildren and I take care of them in that respect,” she said.
The Liberian leader expressed appreciation for the work the principal and chief administrative officer of Ricks Institute, Rev. Olu Menjay is doing in the country by preparing young minds to take leadership roles in the society while instilling in them the values that are lost in the society today; the values of hard work, honesty, discipline, respect not only for older people but respect for oneself, the country and its leaders.
President Sirleaf urged the graduates that as the move forward, she can count on them in the near future to take their rightful places when they go through the next phase of their education journey. She warned that high school is not the end of an education, but rather the beginning because they have college, graduate school and even post-graduate school to prepare themselves properly to take over the helm of leadership in the country.
On behalf of the Government and people of Liberia, she thanked the Liberia Baptist Missionary & Educational Convention, Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary, Mercer University, U.S.A., and all of Ricks Institute’s partners for adding to whatever the graduates have accomplished to enable them attain higher education to serve their country.
Earlier, the principal and chief administrative officer of Ricks Institute, Rev. Dr. Olu Q. Menjay, speaking at the official closing of academic year 2013-2014, thanked God for guidance, provision and strength especially this academic year, noting that God has remained faithful to the institution in the midst of challenges and possibilities.
Rev. Dr. Menjay reiterated that the educational offering at Ricks Institute is aimed to secure growth and efficiency in the students. He reported that the academic year at the institution had been an excellent year and highlighted, among other things, two Baptist missionaries that have been seconded to the institution for the next four years, the first time in the history of American Baptist churches international ministries to send missionaries to Liberia; an intern from World Hunger that has been with the institution for the last eight weeks working with the agriculture team; and the enrollment of 30 young girls from Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, Montserrado and Gbarpolu Counties on full scholarship worth US$75,000. The school is working in joint partnership with the Ministries of Gender and Development and Education, among other activities.
Ricks Institute, established in 1887, through the missionary spirit of the Liberian Baptist and Educational Convention continues to embody its motto which states: “Not for self but for others.”
Delivering the graduation discourse, the Chief Executive Officer of the Artos Group of Ljubljana, Slovenia, Andrej Tos Jr., defined success as not always written in money or fame; but can be helping your community get clean water, helping your church gather food for people or providing education for people in need. “In fact, real success is achieving your own personal expectation.”
For him, he said his expectation is to strive to make the world a better place and his happy to be on his way doing that. Currently, he’s a social entrepreneur, rebranding his family business into a vibrant social business while studying at a business school in London, United Kingdom.
He congratulated all the graduating students, praised Rev. Menjay for achieving excellence in his students, and the parents and guardians for supporting their children over time to reach this far.
Meanwhile, Fate Tapson his commended the Liberian leader for affording him the opportunity to continue his education following the death of his father. “It is beyond words that I will appreciate the President for what she’s doing for many Liberians - affording them the opportunity to go to school. He thanked President Sirleaf on behalf of the Tapson family.