Wow! It has been an inexcusably long time since our last post, so for that please forgive us. We are planning to ramp up our blogging efforts over the next few months as the FUEL Youth team prepares for its second official trip to Liberia (more on this later). We write today to update you all on some of our recent activities.
In Liberia, high school students must take and pass an exam in order to graduate and be eligible to continue onto university. This exam is called the West African Senior School Certificate Exam (WASSCE), and it is required of several West African countries like Liberia. We found out that, in the past ten years, NOT ONE student in Grand Cape Mount County has passed this exam. Startled by this finding and by its implications, we decided to jumpstart a tutoring program for high school students in Grand Cape Mount County to lead up to the WASSCE in May of 2008. In the months prior to the exam, an extraordinary group of University students, who hail from Grand Cape Mount County and who were eager to assist their community agreed to help prepare students for this exam. FUEL Youth provided these amazing tutors with meals and transportation to and from the county from the capital, Monrovia, on the weekends, and in May, our high school students sat for the exam.
In August of 2008, we received the results from the exam: 7 students passed! Though this may not seem like an impressive number, we were absolutely thrilled! These 7 students now have the opportunity to continue onto University, and they will undoubtedly inspire their younger siblings and fellow students to work towards that goal as well. We are also happy to report that 21 additional students scored high enough to retake the exam this coming December, so we have provided each eligible student with the funding to register for the December exam. We hope to step up our tutoring program for these students this fall, so that each of them can graduate and set their sights on University.
We would like to recognize the 7 students for their outstanding achievement. They are:
1. Miatta Paasseh
2. Eli Hajah Gray
3. O. Haliry Dassen
4. Seiku A Fahnbulleh
5. Samuel Poe
6. Varney G.Fahnbulleh
7. Hilary B.Seitua
For the 7 students who passed the May exam, we are setting up a FUEL Youth Scholarship program so that no financial barrier prevents them from continuing their education. A requirement of the scholarship will be that, upon settling into their University curriculum, they will volunteer a set number of hours/weekends per semester tutoring high school students in Grand Cape Mount County. It is this type of cycle of positive energy and encouragement that we hope will counteract the vicious cycle of poverty that bears down on many rural communities in Liberia. Too many children drop out of school, because their family cannot afford the tuition. It is a primary goal of FUEL Youth to provide these children with the scholarships and opportunities needed to propel them through University and into careers that will allow them to later give back to their communities. We hope you can help us achieve that goal.
Please check back often as we prepare for our trip to Liberia in December to celebrate the New Year holiday with students and families at our school in in Gardenersville, Monrovia (and so much more!!)