Meet Some Students & Staff

Meet a few of our students and teachers as well as community and economic development programs that impact the school community.

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Emmanuel K. Velemee, teacher

Emmanuel K. Velemee, Vice-Principal for Instruction at GLTC, teaches the 1st grade class in the morning and the 4th grade class in the afternoon.  For Emmanuel, teaching is a passion. His passion is evident when he is with students in the classroom and when he talks about teaching at GLTC.

 

“The best thing you can give to a child is education,” Emmanuel told me with passion in his voice. 

 

Early Years

Emmanuel’s primary school education began at St. Mark’s Lutheran High School.  When

school fees became scarce, he attended a government school.  Eventually, he left school and went to live with his grandmother.  He was out of school for 6 years, unable to afford school fees.  Fortunately, his uncle helped him get back into school.  Emmanuel worked at the market in the morning and attended class in the afternoon. When his uncle’s job ended, he moved back to Gbarnga where his stepfather helped him complete his high school education at St. Martin Catholic HS. This pattern is not uncommon among students at GLTC.

 

Emmanuel attended University of Liberia for 2 semesters but was financially unable to complete his studies. He earned his C-Certificate (certification for elementary education) and a B-Certificate (certification for teaching at the junior high school level) at the ZorZor Rural Teacher Training Institute (2017) and the LICOSESS Teacher Training Institute in Gbarnga (2019).

 

Teaching Career

Emmanuel began teaching immediately after graduating from high school.  He was a teacher’s assistant in his mother’s classroom at the Dorothy Cooper Elementary School in Gbarnga and often took her place when she was ill.  He also taught social studies and English with 4th to 6th grade students at a public school in Gbonota.

 

After obtaining his C-Certificate, Emmanuel joined the faculty of the Keenan Institute, a private school not far from Gbarnga.  He was promoted to Vice-Principal for Instruction there. 

 

Liberia Reads!

During his time at Keenan, Emmanuel was certified to teach in the Liberia Reads! program.  He was selected to be a Trainer of Trainers in that program.  He was enthusiastically recommended to GLTC by the organizers of the Liberia Reads! program.  They had high praise for his skills both as a classroom teacher and teacher educator.

 

Reading on the Radio (Yes, the Radio!)

Emmanuel’s passion for education led him to run the Liberia Reads! Radio Program at a radio station in Gbarnga.  The program is devoted to teaching foundational phonics, pronunciation and reading to children and adults.  The interactive program begins with a lesson and is followed by a call-in discussion.  The program is currently on hiatus.  Emmanuel paid for some of the airtime himself.

 

GLTC

Emmanuel came to GLTC in 2020 teaching the oldest students at the school - the 3rd grade class.  He is staying with the class this year for 4th grade.  Each class begins with a short devotion and prayer.  He often asks, “How have you experienced God’s love?”  Students are encouraged to share their own stories of ways in which God is at work in their lives.

 

When he talks about his students, Emmanuel is animated. “I love the way kids interact with each other – asking new questions – exploring new things.  That’s what I really love best, being with kids.”  He works to build friendships among the students so they become brothers and sisters in class, helping each other to achieve their goals.

 

“The kids we are bringing up – some may become ministers, teachers, senators, even president.  We will be proud to see them in their offices.”

 

GLTC is a special place.  The working relationships among the teachers, staff, and administration are better than Emmanuel has experienced anywhere else.  The resources available to both students and faculty help him to add to the curriculum and encourage the students.  The noon meal is a plus supporting everyone on campus.

 

Personal Reflections

“I never thought I would be a teacher – maybe a journalist.” Teaching has become Emmanuel’s first love and his passion.  “Teaching is not something we do for riches.  It is something we do as a stewardship to transform the world and not to chase money.”

 

“If you have a passion and a dream but you don’t have the support, the dream cannot come to a reality.  The support from Gbarnga Mission makes the passion and dream a reality.”

 

Emmanuel recently moved to Deanville to be closer to the school.  He lives there with his fiancé, Mamme Kermee and their wonderful daughter Favor – almost 2.  They named their daughter to celebrate God’s favor with them.  Tragically, Emmanuel lost his first wife and child several years ago and is grateful for what God has given him since then.

 

Emmanuel brings skill, passion, and faith to the GLTC community.  We are thankful to have him serving God with us.

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Moses, student

Moses is 16 years old-- by his best estimates-- and enrolled in the 2nd grade. When Moses first came to Gbarnga Lutheran Training school, he was enrolled but not attending school. At public schools in Liberia, the yearly fee is 1,500LD (about $17US) and he owed 1,000LD plus money for a uniform and books.  To help pay the fees owed for his schooling, Moses completes chores in his neighborhood such as digging stumps.

At one time, both of Moses’ biological parents separated and found new significant others. Neither wanted to care for Moses so he was raised by his grandparents who struggled to support a multi-generational household. Over the past year, his Old Ma and Old Pa Sibley died. There is now a loosely knit cluster of relatives inhabiting Moses’ family home, including Moses’ biological father and his “new woman.”  All would seem positive for Moses as he now has a dad back to care for him. Unfortunately, this is not the case. His father has no work and can’t support him with food, clothing or school fees. Moses says the new wife dislikes him and has made life difficult, and he now lives with a friend.

At school, Math is one of Moses’ favorite subjects. He enjoys learning about life in other countries and is trying hard to learn to write well. In his free time, he also enjoys playing football (soccer) with friends.