Liberian School Reminds President Charles Taylor of US$25,000 Pledge

By: Martin C. Benson

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

April 22, 2003

The administration of the JJ Ross High School in Monrovia is humbly appealing to President Charles Taylor to fulfill his US$25,000 pledge made to the school few years ago.

Making the appeal during the school's 29th Gala Day celebrations, several speakers who took part in what was termed, "Operation Turn JJ Ross To Concrete" spoke of the noble task required in the transformation of the wooden structure to concrete, but noted quickly that such could only be possible through a collaborative effort, therefore they were hoped that President Taylor will make good his promise to the school.

"Mr. President, we know that you mean well for the youth of this nation", interjected Mrs. Elizabeth Henries Pelham ,Administrative Directress of the institution, who in a rather passionate manner continued, "maybe you gave the money, but it has not reached us, so we are seeking your understanding to assist us get the money in order that we would achieve our objective of turning the school into concrete."

Mrs. Pelham recounted how in 1999 at the institution’s commencement program held at the First United Methodist Church, President Taylor promised to give the amount of US$25,000 as assistance towards the transformation of the institution into a concrete building.

"We are moving towards that objective and come what may, we are going to turn the school into a concrete structure before the next Gala Day celebration."Mrs. Pelham assured.

Their efforts are geared towards keeping the dream of the founder alive. Popularly known as the Good Samaritan, the late Mrs. Louise Ross Rogers founded the school in memory of her late father, a one-time vice president of Liberia. The school was earlier located on Lynch Street opposite the Anderson Funeral Parlors. The present premises was offered by the Liberian Government some few years ago.

The proprietor, Rev. Maurice M.G.V. Pelham who inherited the school from his parents told the gathering that his objective is to leave a legacy which his late father did not do. "Only visionaries live to see their dreams actualized. So come what may, we are going to transform this building into concrete," Rev. Pelham assured confidently.

Mr. Pelham acknowledged ongoing efforts by the school’s Alumni Association based in the USA under the leadership of Mr. Mabu Richards. He however, frowned on the school’s Board of Directors for its dormancy and for not being assertive to work for the growth of the institution.

Delivering his key note address, Mr. Milton Quai speaking on the theme: The Transformation of J.J. Ross - A Noble Task, said such is a tedious task but pointed out that there are also vast possibilities for the accomplishment of the mission.

He said such can only be achieved collaboratively by all stakeholders including the state, the school administration, students, the government and the teachers.

Mr. Quai who is also Economic instructor at the school, called on the state to play its role by building and supporting institutions around the country adding, "if the youth are not trained the nation will go down into chaos".

He frowned on the act of forceful conscription of young people into the army, adding, "that is deception, which must be halted in our country."

During the program, several donations and pledges were made towards the construction of the school, but the donation of US1,000 received applause from the students and administration came from the school’s Alumni Association based in the United States. It was delivered by Ms. Johnetta A. Stewart Massaquoi, founder of Africa Aid Program.

© 2003: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.