Members of the Booker Washington Institute (BWI) Alumni Association have elected an interim team to lead the association for one year during which it will oversee the conduct of a fresh election for a constitutional leadership.
The decision, taken on May 29 during the association’s annual convention in Kakata, was a result of the outgoing leadership’s inability to conduct elections at the end of its second and final term in May last year due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Those overwhelmingly elected on the interim leadership team were Thomas Momo Parker, Chairman; Thompson B. Klafleh, Vice-Chairman; and Sam Sumo Bahbor, Secretary-General. The two other members are Doris Raynes and Nathan N. Teah.
The interim officials, all of whom ran unopposed, are to spearhead an effort to rewrite the association’s constitution.
The interim team is also charged with a responsibility of closely cooperating with the BWI administration and liaising with the association’s outgoing leadership for the purpose of accounting for its four years in office.
The new team has already hit the ground running, releasing a calendar of activities in the months ahead.
They include meetings with the outgoing leadership of the association and the school’s administration, the setting up of a constitutional review committee and discussion on the institute’s 92nd founding anniversary celebration —- a celebration that usually brings members of the alumni community to campus on the last Saturday of June.
The interim team is to also review the status of the association’s chapters and branches with the view to reactivating them where necessary and initiate an effort for the alumni association to secure a new headquarter space in Monrovia, after losing previous ones.
The outgoing president, Alumnus Koffa Tenbroh, is to make a formal report of his four-year stewardship to the body on the School’s Founder’s Day. It’s on this day that constitutionally alumni hold their annual general assembly after the Founder’s Day Parade and programs.
The BWI Alumni Association is the first statutory member of the Board of Governors of the institute and has proven to be one of the strongest social associations in the history of Liberia. BWI graduates in North America have a similar association which is one of the largest and most powerful Liberian associations in the Americas.
In his victory speech, Interim Chairman Thomas Momo Parker called for every member’s involvement so that the work of the interim team is made easier. He assured the body of effort to get the association return to the status it has beenknown for across the country over the years.
One of the projects to focus on once a new formal leadership has been elected and even during the interim administration is the resumption of work on the Alumni House, a project started during the administration of Alumnus Jonathan Paye-Layleh as president. The ten-bedroom house promises to be the first formal guesthouse on campus to be run jointly by the school’s administration and the alumni association to raise funds to help the school.
The May 29 convention was attended by some top alumni, including the institute’s principal, Attorney Harris Fomba Tarnue, who is from the Class of 1980 and attended in that capacity. He urged the alumni community to work to ensure the name the association has made for itself in Liberia gets stronger and gives more meanings for Liberians to appreciate the need for former students to put themselves together and give back to their former institutions.
The convention was concluded with the singing of the famous BWI Schools Ode: “O Dear Booker T, We Sing Praise…” which lighted up the campus in a spirit of unison before the group assembled outdoors on the basketball court for group photos. (Reports Jonathan Paye-Layleh, Member, Class of 1986 and former president, BWI Alumni Association)