Education

Back to School!

Students gather every morning during devotion for prayer and announcements.

Students gather every morning during devotion for prayer and announcements.

It has only been a little over three weeks since classes resumed at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School, but everyone is working hard to make sure that the academic year 2019-2020 is the best yet! Our students are feeling rejuvenated after their summer break, and our teachers are renewing their efforts to give quality education to all, from the youngest boy to the oldest girl.

I love coming to St. Anthony’s everyday because it is a healthy working environment. All of us employees show each other respect as we strive to provide a quality education for the students.
— Joseph S. Kulah, Principal of St. Anthony of Padua
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However, it is a difficult time in Liberia. The economic situation is complicated, and many families are finding it hard to provide the basic necessities, including education, for their children. The registration count for St. Anthony’s was low heading into September, so we decided to extend the deadline for those families that couldn’t make the payments. The extension proved to be successful, and many families were able to register their children because they had the opportunity to save a little bit of extra money. Praise God!

Students at St. Anthony’s receive a quality education in a nurturing environment.

Students at St. Anthony’s receive a quality education in a nurturing environment.

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I feel joyful when I’m teaching because the students respond positively to me, and I can feel the impact that education is having on their lives. I have a passion for teaching, and it makes me feel so good.”
— Yassah B. Korboi, 1st grade teacher

There are several more reasons to celebrate in this new school year: new school desks, freshly painted walls, and brand-new P.E. uniforms! Our B.W.I. and St. Kizito students worked hard to build new desks for their brothers and sisters during the Summer Work Program; they also painted the school and mission facilities. Also, all of the students at St. Anthony’s received brand-new, polyester P.E. uniforms. They will last much longer than the cotton ones of years past. Everyone is so happy for all of these developments, and we thank all who donated towards this possibility!

New school desks provide better surfaces to write on.

New school desks provide better surfaces to write on.

St. Anthony of Padua gives me a quality education. The teachers do everything in their effort to help students understand the lessons.
— Aaron, 9th grade
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Our students appreciate St. Anthony’s freshly painted walls.

Our students appreciate St. Anthony’s freshly painted walls.

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I love the emphasis on religious activities. I also appreciate the importance put on discipline because I see its benefit in my life outside of school.
— Veronica, 8th grade
One young student is happy to receive her brand-new P.E. uniform.

One young student is happy to receive her brand-new P.E. uniform.

Even though the year has just begun, so much has happened in the life of St. Anthony’s and Liberia Mission. There is also much to look forward to, such as quizzing competitions, our annual soccer league, and special “color days” with games and food.  Our ninth-graders will learn the value of serving others through their service project requirement while our youngest students begin the important journey of learning to read and write.  There is such a broad spectrum of achievement at St. Anthony’s and Liberia Mission; and with God’s help, we hope to continue to raise the bar for ourselves and our neighbor so that Liberia will have educated, faithful future leaders. Thank you for all of your support!

Our students are grateful for all of the support!

Our students are grateful for all of the support!

Meet Our Graduates

We are so proud to announce 21 high school students will be graduating from our program in August and October. Their hard work and your support has made this milestone possible and we are grateful for both.

We want to highlight the stories of a few of our graduates so you could see first hand the amazing impact you are having in Liberia. Please enjoy the story of Willamena, Joseph and Emmanuel.

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Willamena’s Story

“Before entering the program at Liberia Mission, I was living with my mother, three brothers, and three sisters in a small village named Whiteplain.  My mother never completed her education, so we grew up very poor as she struggled to provide for us financially by doing various jobs in the bush, such as working on a farm or cutting down small trees for coal.  I can remember there were many holes in our roof during the rainy season.  

Most of the girls in my village already have children; and although I look forward to having a big family one day, I am grateful for the opportunity to focus on the future I am striving to create for myself.
— Willamena

I have been at Liberia Mission since 2008.  I began in 3rd grade. St. Anthony’s really built a good foundation for me and helped me focus on my lessons.  I was going to a small public school back in my village, but I wasn’t able to learn much there. The mission also built up my faith, and now I’m more dedicated than ever to worshiping God.  Most of the girls in my village already have children; and although I look forward to having a big family one day, I am grateful for the opportunity to focus on the future I am striving to create for myself.

I look forward to continuing my studies in the field of agriculture at the University of Liberia.  One day I would love to have my own farm with many employees. I want to help increase development in the agricultural sector in order to reduce poverty in Liberia.”

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Joseph’s Story

“Before coming to Liberia Mission, I was not in school.  I was helping my parents work on our small farm in a village near Gbarnga.  I would also fish and set traps in the bush for animals so that we could have some meat to eat.  One day representatives from Liberia Mission came to our village looking for potential candidates for the program.  My father was friends with our town chief, who recommended that I go to Liberia Mission.

Liberia Mission took me from a place where I had no hope for education and gave me the opportunity to develop my passion for agriculture. 
— Joseph

Liberia Mission took me from a place where I had no hope for education and gave me the opportunity to develop my passion for agriculture.  I have had many opportunities to gain experience by working on the mission’s large farm. We also have cows, sheep, goats, pigs, and donkeys.  I have discovered that I have a real passion for animals. Liberia Mission has also greatly increased the quality of my faith in God. Back at home I didn’t go to church, but now I look forward to it every week.  I even serve Mass as an altar server.

I want to study agriculture at the University of Liberia; because I have discovered a true passion for animals, I would like to focus on animal science and eventually become a veterinarian.  I hope to one day have a family and be able to give back to Liberia Mission.”

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Emmanuel’s Story

“When I was young, I used to go to a public school in Weala, a small village.  I had six brothers and one sister. My father used to work for SRC (Salala Rubber Company), and things were OK.  However, he became ill and was taken to a country doctor in the bush. He couldn’t go to work anymore, and I dropped out of school to work on my family’s small farm.  One day a group came from Liberia Mission, and our town chief, who I used to do small jobs for, told my father that I should enter the program.

I am fortunate to have had this opportunity for a good education and real-life work experience because none of my brothers or sisters have ever received this kind of possibility. 
— Emmanuel

I am fortunate to have had this opportunity for a good education and real-life work experience because none of my brothers or sisters have ever received this kind of possibility.  I didn’t go to church back at home, but Liberia Mission helped me to understand and appreciate my faith more.

I want to study agriculture at the University of Liberia.  One day I would like to have my own farm with crops and animals, like the mission.  Then I could come back to the mission and give back in various ways, either by giving donations or teaching work.”


It is your support that has made our students like Willamena, Joseph and Emmanuel have the financial support they needed to stay in school. Thank you for helping empower them with a high school diploma!

Why We Teach Girls

We believe all children should be in school, regardless of their gender. Unfortunately, many girls in Liberia and around the world still lack access to eduction.

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We work hard in Liberia to ensure girls not only enroll, but stay in school. In fact, fifty-three percent of the students at our St. Anthony of Padua School are girls! We support them by providing tuition subsidies and scholarships to make sure poverty does not prevent them from learning.

Check out the video below to learn why it is so important to teach girls:

To help us ensure the girls in our community have access to education, please give to our female student scholarship fundraiser!

"I've always believed that when you educate a girl, you empower a nation."

-Queen Rania of Jordan

St. Anthony's First Honors Program Ceremony

First Ever Honors Program Ceremony

Earlier this month, St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School hosted its first ever Honors Program Ceremony in St. Michael the Archangel Chapel. The ceremony celebrated students whose grade average was 85 or above for the first semester. Additionally, high honors and special recognitions were given to those students with a grade average of 91 or above. The atmosphere in the chapel was electric, and we were also excited to see such a big turnout of parents, who occupied over half of the chapel!

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Recognizing Hard Work

At the beginning of the program, the school administration informed all in attendance that good grades would not go unnoticed at St. Anthony’s. At the end of the school year, anyone having a 91 or above cumulative average for the year 2018/2019 would receive a full tuition scholarship for the following academic year! Anyone having between 85-91 would receive a half-tuition scholarship. Also, any 9th grader having a 91 or above for the year would receive a full tuition scholarship to the Booker Washington Institute (Liberia’s premiere vocational high school, where most of our sponsored high school students go).

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Talent Presentations

Before certificates were handed out, a number of honorees showcased their knowledge and skills with poem recitations, song solos, and various speeches that highlighted different aspects of the education they have received at St. Anthony’s. All in attendance—especially the parents—were visibly impressed as the students displayed their gift for learning.  

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Certificate Ceremony

Finally, it was time to recognize the honors students. Proud parents rushed to embrace their children as they received their certificates. Many pictures were taken and many tears of joy were shed. We are grateful to God for the spirit of joy shared during the ceremony and all the hard work our students put in to get good grades!  

2018 Graduation

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Graduation ceremonies in Liberia are joyous, celebratory occasions.  Those at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School are no exception. Whether it be the graduation of kindergarteners or ninth-graders, the day is highlighted by inspirational speeches, special awards, and well-rehearsed songs that give thanks to God. The day is bright from the attendees colorful African lapas, the traditional clothes worn for celebrations.

Families and staff came together wearing colorful lapas, tradition African celebration wear, to honor the work os St. Anthony's students.

Families and staff came together wearing colorful lapas, tradition African celebration wear, to honor the work os St. Anthony's students.

Use the tools and knowledge you have acquired for a better future for Liberia.
— Father Charles Boyce

It was standing-room-only in a packed St. Michael the Archangel Chapel as many happy parents and family members came out in support of their children.  Staying true to our motto—“GOD-EDUCATION-WORK”—we began the day with Holy Mass, celebrated by our friend and spiritual benefactor, Father Charles Boyce, from Immaculate Conception Parish (the parish that we belong to).  Father inspired us during his homily as he urged the graduates to use the tools and knowledge they have acquired for a better future for Liberia.

Father Charles Boyce giving an inspiring homily to the graduates.

Father Charles Boyce giving an inspiring homily to the graduates.

After Mass we began the graduation program.  The principal, Mr. Joseph Kulah, welcomed all to the occasion before introducing Mr. Kweh Menyen, Vice Principal for Instruction.  Mr. Menyen gave a detailed report of the students’ academic performance at St. Anthony showing that our school performs at the highest level.  

Following Mr. Menyen was a solo vocal performance by one of the female students. All present were touched by her effort and the song’s lyrics, sung to God: “You are too good to us.” After the song came Mr. Mark Karley, Vice Principal for Student Affairs, who gave a behavioral assessment of the student body.  Various awards were given out for good behavior, and the top achiever was even given a one-year, full scholarship to St. Anthony’s! Following the awards was a skit performed by students from the eight-grade class. The overall message of the skit preached the values of honesty and transparency when interacting with friends and colleagues—an important message for Liberia!  

Discern exactly what kind of Liberia you want and work for it.
— Josephine Francise, Liberian Senatorial Candidate

Former Representative and current Senatorial Candidate, Mrs. Josephine Francise, was this year’s guest speaker.  During her time in the Liberian House of Representatives, she worked alongside President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and was an advocate for, among other things, education, agricultural development, and women’s rights.  Her speech focused on urging the students to discern exactly what kind of Liberia they wanted and were willing to work for. She was a very charismatic speaker and surely left a lasting impression on the student body.  

After the guest speaker, it was finally time to hand out the graduation certificates!  Mr. Kulah, Fr. Charles, and our beloved director, Mr. John Raymond Alpha, all took turns in shaking the hands of both the kindergarteners and ninth-graders alike.  Many happy parents looked on as their children received acknowledgment for an academic job well done!

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St. Anthony students pose with their certificate and flower bouquets in our chapel.

St. Anthony students pose with their certificate and flower bouquets in our chapel.

The teachers themselves then proceeded out from the back of the chapel while singing jubilantly.  Although they received a hearty round of applause from all in attendance, they did this more as a show of their own thanks to the school and of their passion for teaching- we have awesome teachers!

Nothing that just took place would have been possible without the generosity and hard work of Franciscan Works and its donors and sponsors.
— Alpha Raymond, Director of Liberia Mission

Finally, in closing, Mr. Alpha addressed all those in attendance. He began by sincerely thanking Franciscan Works, noting that nothing that just took place would have been possible without the generosity and hard work of the organization and its donors and sponsors. He then went on to encourage the students, saying it would be extremely regrettable if the students did not share with their countrymen (and humanity in general) the knowledge and values they had acquired while attending St. Anthony’s.  He noted that we give the greatest glory to God when serving our fellow brothers and sisters.

Students pose with family outside the chapel following the service.

Students pose with family outside the chapel following the service.

All in all, it was a day that marked success: success for the students, for Liberia Mission, and, most especially, for the Gospel message.  As the students and their families departed for various graduation parties, the teachers and school administration convened one more time to shake each other’s hands and congratulate each other on a job well done.  They would then leave for their one month vacation, a well-deserved break that would re-energize and prepare them for the upcoming school year, when the hard work would begin again!