Published Tue, Nov 28, 2023
Written by Dana Kaltenberger
Giving Thanks for Opportunity - SSS1 Students Arrive in Rokassa
Senior Secondary School (SSS) in Sierra Leone is what we in the US call high school. This year a total of 154 students, 60 young women and 94 young men, were admitted into the EduNations Senior Secondary School at Rokassa.
Before a student can be admitted to SSS, they must pass the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) conducted by the West African Examination Council (WAEC). First-year SSS students enter their 10th grade also known as “SSS1” which is a critical transition between Junior to Senior School Education.
And while going from junior high to high school in the US is a significant transition, going to SSS is an even bigger transition for most of EduNations’ students since it is not just an academic step up, but also since they are living away from home for the first time and living in dormitories with other students!
To help make the transition easier for new SSS student, EduNations makes an orientation program compulsory for all new students. This year’s orientation was vastly different as the new school prospectus was presented by EduNations’ President, Dr. Samuel Sesay, and discussed in detail with the new students and included SSS2 (11th grade) and SSS3 (12th grade) students. Following an extended Q&A session with the President, the students signed a commitment form acknowledging their understanding of and commitment to the school’s code of conduct. The Education secretary made a presentation about the new curriculum to help the SSS1 students understand options. Students were allowed to select from the three “streams” or areas of academic focus which are: 1) Science and Technology, 2) Economics, Business & Entrepreneurial Studies, and 3) Social & Cultural Studies.
This is an important choice since it can determine potential career options for the students.
Since they are living away from home, assignment into dormitory “families” is very important.
This year, there are thirteen dormitory families for the young men and eight dormitory families of young women. Families assignments are made simply by counting off. For example, the young men were asked to queue in one straight line and count off in groups of thirteen, the number of families. Then the young men lined up according to number in their new family group after which they voted to select a group leader and a family name. In their various lines there are to select a group leader, the leader would ballot for the family name. Then the new family groups go to their assigned dormitory to meet with their house parents and learn more about how they will live well together, sharing chores and treating each other with respect and encouragement.
These students are extremely grateful for the opportunity they have to learn and finish their high school education. This is not the "norm" for students in rural communities who have little access to secondary education.
First day in School:
There is a saying in Sierra Leone which says “School days are the best, but not the happiest”. On their first day, students were so excited they started arriving at school as early as 7:00am. Students were so moved as to see their school and new classes, and were very eager to attend and learn from their new teacher. Seeing their new classroom, one very impressed student exclaimed, “is this a college or a school?”
Another student said, “All my books, my pens and pencils, my math set, uniform and other supplies are all set! Education here I come!!!”.
Another student whose eyes were filling with tears of gratitude said, “If not for EduNations all my dreams would have failed!”
Thank you for making these students’ dreams a reality.