This June will be 40 years since I graduated from the American Cooperative School (ACS), Monrovia. Our graduation gowns were tie-dyed! Graduating seniors paired up: one boy and one girl. Each couple wore a matching tie-dyed cap and gown of their own choosing. It was colorful, beautiful, and unique. Traditionally graduation ceremonies were held in the ACS gymnasium, but that year repairs were being made to the gym’s roof, so the Class of ’77 got permission to hold commencement ceremonies in the Centennial Memorial Pavilion where presidential inaugurations were held!
I was midway through my junior year of high school when we moved to Liberia. Although warmly welcomed to ACS, I was rather shy. I was too shy to ask Emad out to the Sadie Hawkins Dance without Ward first explaining what it was to him. I was too shy to go on our class trip to Nimba. I was too shy to visit the Executive Mansion to arrange to use the Centennial Memorial Pavilion, even though I was helping plan graduation. At least I wasn’t too shy to ask Lee to walk with me for graduation.
On Dignity:Liberia’s 2015 trip to Liberia, we got to visit our old school! It is now The American International School of Monrovia but that didn’t matter. We three ACS alumni were thrilled to tour the facility, now walled, and guarded. Our team just showed up and the administrators kindly allowed us access and gave us a tour. Air conditioning, computers, and on site residence halls for the teachers! But the layout was still the same, familiar place.
Also on that 2015 trip, we attended the first post-Ebola graduation held at the Phebe Rehab Center. There were speeches (Kathi gave the keynote address), skits, and songs. The graduates received cell phones, money, and starter kits to set up their businesses. Following the official ceremony, there was lunch and dancing. It was a joyful event. What an honor to be there!
Graduation marks a special change in a person’s life. We would love to see your graduation picture – any education level, no matter when you graduated. Please tag Dignity:Liberia with your photo. Be sure to tell us the name of your alma mater and your class year. Congratulations to the class of 2017 for reaching this milestone.