Members of the South-East Branch (SLGSAANA)
Greetings on behalf of the executive and members of the South-East Branch of the Sierra Leone Grammar School Alumni Association of North America (SLGSAANA-SE). Working off the momentum generated during the celebration of the 171th anniversary celebration of the founding of our beloved alma mater, the South-East branch has continued to be successful in soliciting support from our generous well-wishers and sponsors for funds for scholarship and other projects on behalf of the pupils of the Sierra Leone Grammar School.
We held our 9th annual fundraising dinner and dance on Saturday November 5th, 2016 at the Hilton Atlanta Northeast, Hunnicutt Ballroom in Norcross, Georgia. The event was a major highlight of the activities for the year. As usual, the event was very well attended and to date has been our most successful fundraising event. For the first time in our history, the dinner/dance event was advertised through Eventbrite with tickets offered online at the site. Guests were treated to an evening of elegance highlighted by a sumptuous dinner, delightful environment, and plenty of good music and dancing. The president made a compelling case for broadening the conversation about education in Sierra Leone and the need to accelerate efforts to help develop education for the future generation. Dr. Ahovi Kponou, a former Head Boy of the SLGS, was the keynote speaker at the event. His presentation traced four generations of Regentonians within his family. Dr. Kponou was also honored with the “Regentonian of Year” award for his outstanding contributions to the school, the alumni association. Mr. Andy Pratt was presented with the “Sponsorship Award” for outstanding contributions to the south-east branch of our alumni association,and to the community at-large. Drs. Shekou and Fatu Sesay were presented with a“Community Award” for their work with the Sierra Leonean community at home and abroad, as well as to the Atlanta community.
A key highlight of the evening was the Scholarship fundraising raffle. The first prize was a Return Air ticket from the United States to Sierra Leone/$1,000 travel voucher offered by Delta Airlines to any other location of choice. The winner was Mr. Elvis Momoh who opted for the voucher to Las Vegas. The rafflesales, gate takings and patrons’ donations provided 19 scholarships amounting to $8400. The alumni will be conducting the raffle again this year.
The 172nd anniversary of the founding of our Grammar School was celebrated at our annual Thanksgiving service which took place on Sunday, March26th,2017 at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross, 2005 South Columbia Place, Decatur, GA 30032. The preacher was our Rev. William Palmer, (an old boy of the SLGS). The theme for the year was “Renew our strength as we press on”.
The recruitment efforts spearheaded by our President, Mr. Joseph Conteh, have continued to attract new members to our organization. The outreach effort to alumni in North Carolina has been very successful. Local efforts in Georgia and surrounding states in the south east are ongoing with old boys some showing interest in becoming alumni.
For the third year in a row,severalmembers of the alumni association made trips to the school (during their visits to Sierra Leone) and met with the Principal Mr. A. J. Lasite and the incoming Principal Rev. Leonard Ken Davies.They received first-hand information on the needs of the school and the plans and outlook for the coming years. Classroom furniture continues to be a big need for the school. Rev. Davies indicated that following the renovation of the Administrative building, the next priority will be to extend the chapel to accommodate the present population at the school. The Chapel had fallen into disrepair over the years and currently morning devotion takes place in the main courtyard at the front of the school. The market/cafeteria is used on rainy days. Discussions also revolved around utilizing some of the facilities for multi-purpose use. One such example is the Chapel extension and renovation to include a multiuse facility on top of the Chapel that could be rented out to generate revenue for the school. Other ideas discussed including renovating the soccer field to include bleachers with the possibility of leasing the field out to other schools for sporting events. Another discussion centered on creating a separate business entity that will be responsible for running all the school facilities for revenue generating purposes as well as having oversight for the maintenance of all facilities. This will help to alleviate the burden on alumni chapters worldwide and to have a central authority that will coordinate with the various alumni chapters. These ideas are being discussed with all chapters to gather consensus as to ways alumni can continue to help support our Alma Mater.
The south-east branch of the Alumni Association will continue to work with other Regentonians in the Diaspora to provide assistance to the Old Boys Union, and to work on various projects, providing more scholarships and schooling materials and to continue to raise the necessary funds to provide services for the proper running of the school.
We implore all Regentonians to step up to the task and continue to “renew our strength as we press on” towards higher heights.
God Bless our Grammar School.
Dr. Austin B. Asgill