Getting up a 4:45am is not high on my list of things I love to do, however, when it involves seeing “my children” graduate from preschool, I was up before the alarm even went off.
Saturday, July 24, 2010, was a momentous occasion in the life of St. Paul’s Preschool and Akramaman village. Just 3 ½ years ago this school was brought to life. Today over 100 children are attending the preschool and 21 graduated. Ghana has begun to recognize the importance of early childhood education and is making Pre-K a requirement to enter Kindergarten.
With the help of teachers from Mercia Laryea’s preschool, Children of St. Mary, and St. Paul’s teachers, the grounds were made festive with balloons and banners. All of the children were in attendance, even the babies. They were each given a new Anglican Church uniform, some new socks and new shoes. Many of the little girls came with cute hair dos and ribbons. They are just so cute.
Children began arriving at the school by 7 and the program didn’t begin until 10 am. They just love school. Everyone, even the children, was hustling and bustling about to get ready. Chairs and canopies were brought in. A sound system, which was absolutely terrible, was brought from Accra. Moms came early to get a good seat. The atmosphere was electric.
Chief Nii Akrama and his elders were in attendance. Mr. Thomas Okine, Assemblyman for the area brought the Priest, The Rev. Obeng Larbi, Clergy for the Anglican Schools. There was also an address given by a representative from the Pubic School system. I apologize for neglecting to write down her name. Several members of the Mother’s Union were in attendance. Our team member, Nicole Schmidt, addressed the parents about the importance of being involved with your child’s education. It was a major event.
Most importantly, the children presented an outstanding program of singing, reciting poems and dancing. A short vided on YouTube entitled “Akramaman Preschool Graduation” will show you the great job of dancing.
As the children danced, the parents came forward with money for the school. They were challenged to give something in appreciation for what their child can now do. For many parents, they did not know their child could speak English. They are very grateful.
We borrowed caps and gowns from Children of Mary Preschool. They are purple with Kente stoles down the front. They even have cute little purple caps with tastles. Can you even imagine? This village is mostly illiterate. The graduates were given new school bags and items for school. Tana was so sweet to do photos on Thursday so each child had a photo in their cap and gown with a group photo in their new uniforms. I brought frames from the US, with enough to do several years. We printed Preschool graduation certificates and I laminated them all last night.
Sad to say, that as I watched the 21 children receive their diplomas I realized that few would ever receive a high school diploma. We have come a long way in educating parents about the need for education but we still have a long way to go.
I have to say, being Executive Director of GMH involves a lot of physical labor as well as administration and fundraising. After 8 hours at the school and another 2-hour ride in the pick-up, I fell sound asleep by 5pm. Unfortunately, it is now midnight and I am wide-awake. Tomorrow is another day, so I must grab a few hours of sleep.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to each of you who donate to GMH. I wish you could be here.