Salone News

Franciscans in US Celebrate

26 August 2006 at 03:03 | 447 views

By Alie Formeh Kamara, USA.

Saint Francis Old Boys had a fun filled day at the second annual Family Day Picnic held in Maryland on Saturday August 12, 2006 . The event was well attended by Old Franciscans, their families and Friends. This year’s most notable friend of Saint Francis Secondary School in attendance was the Former Vice President of Sierra Leone, Dr. Abdulai Conteh, who is currently Chief Justice in Belize.

Dr. Conteh described the occasion as a commendable example of community spirit. He urged the alumni to continue along its path steadfastly. Also at the event were the President of the Fula Progressive Union and a prominent business man, Abu B. Barrie, and Fred Kamara, the first blind graduate of The University of Sierra Leone, Fourah Bay College, and a current teacher at the District of Columbia Public School System.

Franciscans proudly wore yellow tee shirts with green and yellow striped hats and khaki looking pants. Some had on school badges to complement their shirt. This year, Franciscans came from Texas, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Michigan, Maryland and from the District of Columbia, to name a few places, as a show of support. School pictures were taken of the whole group and separate group pictures were taken of graduates of each class year since the school’s founding in 1959.

The key note speaker, Dr. Sheik Umarr, an Associate Professor of English at Virginia State University, was applauded for his brilliant speech. He spoke of the need to help create an environment for learning to progress in Sierra Leone and to create an environment for teachers to be proud of their professions.

Dr. Sheik Umarr noted that there was a time when teachers were agents of change but expressed hope that Saint Francis alumni can make that a reality again. He concluded by saying that alumni activities like this are "the only way our country can be hauled from its deep morass.’

The second Anniversary Family Day Picnic was also attended by former teachers of Saint Francis Secondary School including Ms. Zainab Gbassay Okorogie who described herself as the ‘Rosa Park’ of Saint Francis Secondary School being the first female black teacher at the school.

She taught Agricultural Science and Biology from 1981 to 1985. Also a former teacher at the school but now a Nuclear Pharmacist in New Jersey, Dr. Abdul Rahman Kamara, participated in the Family Day Picnic as a show of support. Another former teacher, Jonas Koroma, who went on to study Agricultural Science at Njala was supportive of the alumni and he talked about how good it is to meet old friends and how that brings back old memories.

The Makeni Franciscans Family Day Picnic is also a fund raising event.
Proceeds from the event go towards assisting in the development of the school. Closing remarks were made by M. Gbla, the first registered student of Saint Francis Secondary School in 1959. Mr. Gbla praised the President of OMFA, Mr. Samuel Kamara and members of the Executive for a job well done.

Photo: Saint Francis Secondary School in Makeni, Northern Sierra Leone.

Photo credit: Sierra Leone web.