By Fanta L. Keita
MONROVIA, Aug. 5 (LINA) – Rebecca Heilman, a 60-year-old mother of seven and grandmother, received her high school diploma on August 2 from the Kerkulah Giddings Senior High School in Sanoyea District, Bong County.
She was the only female among 13 graduating students in the first graduating class of the senior high school in Sanoyea.
Rebecca obtained an aggregate average of 85 percent that qualified her as third dux among the graduates.
According to Rebecca, there is no limit when it comes to education, pointing out that her ambition for going to school was to give back to society and inspire her children and elderly people who have lost hope in education.
Her biggest challenge was when she was bullied by peers and other students, but that did not dissuade her from forging ahead with her educational pursuit.
As an advocate of women and girls empowerment, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor presented a financial token to the only female of the graduating batch as “a sign of motivation for other elderly people in society,” stating that Rebecca has shown that “she is a persevering woman and I am she very proud of her.”
Serving as the keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony over the weekend, Madam Taylor stated that « today is a very special day because the high school is a promise fulfilled, not just for the people of Sanoyea but also for my great grandfather who always wanted this level of school here. »
The Vice President added that she worked along with others tirelessly to get the school to where it is now and because of perseverance it has put out the first senior high school students in the short life of the institution.
Dr. Taylor used the occasion to honor President George Manneh Weah for including the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) fees in the budget which has lifted a burden off parents.
« Because our President has put the WASSCE fees in the budget as part of the government’s commitment, our children were more focused in school, » VP Taylor said.
She thanked the leadership of the school and students for their commitment and also appreciated parents for their sacrifices in supporting the children.
She stressed to the graduating class that without education nothing can be achieved, emphasizing that it is the light and key which are very important to achieving life’s goal, warning that « it (graduation) should not make you proud because it is a privilege that makes you more humble and accessible. »
The President of the Liberian Senate indicated that as the students have completed secondary school, and it is now time that they search their inner thoughts to discover who they want to become as « the next generation, » and encouraged others behind them to move faster because “the country’s destiny lies on the shoulders of each of them.”