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PRESIDENT’S ANNUAL REPORT 2011

PRESIDENT’S REPORT PRESENTED AT THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE SIERRA LEONE GRAMMAR SCHOOL ALUMNI ASSOCIATION OF NORTH AMERICA

(WEST COAST BRANCH)

HELD IN THE HOMES OF MR. & MRS. TUNJIE SUMNER, PALMDALE, CALIFORNIA AND MR. & MRS. FASINEH SAMURA, GILBERT, ARIZONA, ON SATURDAY, AUGUST 20, 2011 AT 6:00 PM

BY

RODNEY B. HUME-DAWSON, PRESIDENT

Introduction

Esteemed Regentonians,

Welcome to our 3rd Annual General Meeting. Many thanks to all of you for taking time off

your hectic and busy schedules to attend today’s Annual meeting. Special thanks to

Mr. & Mrs. Tunjie Sumner and Mr. & Mrs. Fasineh Samura for their kindness and willingness to

host this AGM.

I am always struck at how time flies. Once again, we are meeting to reflect on our yearly journey. What successes have we made? Are we meeting our goals? Did we even have goals for this year? What sort of realistic goals can we come up with? Do we have a yearly plan on paper? How about a five year plan? Are we making any substantial progress? Where do we need to go now? These are all important questions I want us to ponder as we meet today for our Annual General Meeting and for other subsequent meetings during this New Year. No organization will thrive without having a vision or a written plan. Having a sketchy idea of where we want to take this organization is a good one, but we cannot and will not settle for less. We have an enormous responsibility to take this organization to another level and to leave our footprints in the sand of time. I realize that we already have a lot of work ahead of us. Nevertheless, we must now begin the challenging process of creating a solid yearly and five yearly plans. A special committee can be created to perform such a task or we can set aside 20 minutes during our general meetings to work on our strategic plan. That way, we can be sure that we are inclusive of everyone’s thoughts and opinions.

As always, I am deeply grateful to all of you for your profound commitment to our school and to this association. Thanks to all of you for your kind words and encouragement during the course of this year. I will always remain grateful and humble during this process as president of this august association. I ask that you all continue to offer your advice, sagely wisdom, and support to me so that we will continue to move this organization forward. Remember, we are all in this together for a common good.

As we embark on another year, I want each and every one of you to make a commitment to help the school or the organization with one specific project. Ask yourself some profound questions that I am hoping will create some lasting impressions as well as some greater impact for this organization. What is my purpose with regards to this association? What project or cause can I take on either at the school or within the organization? Is the school in need of my God-given talents? What will be my legacy in this organization? Our school is forging ahead. How can we as an association help financially, morally, and spiritually? Where will our association stand in two, five, ten or twenty years from now?

THE 2010/2011 YEAR IN REVIEW

I am elated to report that we are making some progress in some areas, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us. First, I am very excited to see some individual commitments and more involvement. I know we are a much younger and vibrant organization in terms of age and dynamics. Essentially, most of our members have very young families including myself, however, we need everyone’s participation and involvement at all times, not just for specific events. If some of us are making things happen in spite of our own hectic lives, I don’t see why others cannot do the same. This year, we incorporated the telephone conference device that has helped us meet more often. With this device, no one can really complain about traveling, gas and transportation issues. Technology has helped us considerably with scheduling our meetings more often. However, we still need to do better in terms of our attendance to general meetings.

Again, I am very grateful to Mr. Patrick Hume-Dawson for his leadership role and immense assistance with skype and with the set up of our telephone conferences.

We met eight times during the year; specifically, in September, November, December, January, February, March, June and July.

I am pleased to report that after much deliberation at our last general meeting, the august body approved a thousand dollars, a contribution towards the construction of the new classroom buildings at the school site in Freetown. Please note that this is a substantial improvement from 300 dollars from the previous year.

MEMBERSHIP AND THE EXECUTIVE

We currently have about 15 active members and about 30 members on our mailing list. As many of you know, last year, I contacted a few Regentonians in the Los Angeles area. A number of them showed up at our Thanksgiving service in Inglewood, and some of them have continued to attend meetings once in a while. These young Regentonians include Mr. Alhaji Kamara, Mr. Elvino George, Mr. Yor-El Francis and Mr. Kedrick George. Mr. Alpha Kamara who lives in Bakersfield has made an effort to attend a couple of our meetings as well. He also made a financial contribution at the last meeting. I contacted Mr. Jeff Brewah a few weeks ago and he has promised that he will start participating in meetings. I will try to call Mr. Kawaley sometime soon to find out what is happening in his own territory.

I must remind you about what I said last year. Specifically, I said that “I know that in most organizations only a committed few make things happen, and ours is no exception.” However, we must not settle for less. I believe that we must continue to pursue and to press on towards the mark. All members do not have to participate at our regular membership meetings throughout the year, but we must ensure that they participate in all or most of our social and other events. It is apparent that we had made some progress in getting new members, but how do we keep them or motivate them to stay. We need to find out some of the reasons why they cannot make it to our meetings, and if possible, help them in whatever way we can.

I am still proposing that we continue with our Membership Drive/Campaign in order to increase our membership which will hopefully boost our financial resources as well. Although having a reward system for members who make it a point of duty to invite other Regentonians is a laudable one, yet having new members or old members we have not seen for a while, attend meetings is a reward in itself. So we must all call or e-mail me at least five members on a monthly basis or by the end of the year, and encourage them to attend our meetings and our functions.

The executive committee did not meet during the course of the year. I suppose that because we are such a small group, it is hard to have executive meetings. Additionally, we met quite a lot this year because of the telephone conference system. I think that we must now begin to meet once or twice a year to address issues like yearly plans and so on.

Again, I want to remind all members of the executive to try and attend all meetings if possible. If there are unforeseen circumstances or unavoidable absences, I encourage you to be in touch with me in a timely manner or contact your assistant, if you have any, to fill in for you. I must also stress that it is really important that if we have reports or minutes to present at a meeting, we try to e-mail them if possible to members before the meeting, make enough copies for everyone, and do feasible reports, not statements.

Some members still owe this organization a lot of money. The treasurer and I have been very understanding. We have showed some love. However, we need to move our organization forward. Mr. Sumner and I will now begin enforcing the stipulations set in the constitution this year. We cannot run this organization without those dues. I ask and plead that you all leave your checks for $60 or more with Mr. Tunjie Sumner today. Thank you very much indeed.

We did not have our Annual Dinner and Dance this year because of several reasons, including financial and time constraints. However, I am pleased to report that we have secured a hall in Pasadena for our New Year’s Eve Fundraising Dance. If this event is successful, I suggest we keep the date as an annual event or we can do it earlier in December. We need to ensure that we pay close attention to my reflections if we are to be successful in this venture. It is very important that we keep to our deadlines and schedules when we are organizing events. A time line will be created for all events that will be e-mailed to you shortly.

ANNUAL REMINISCENCES NIGHT AND THANKSGIVING SERVICE

I am pleased to report that our Thanksgiving service was a resounding success. The service was held on Sunday, March 27, 2011, at St. John The Baptist Episcopal Church in Glendale, Arizona. The Rev. Plummer Bailor gave a mesmerizing sermon. We continue to struggle with having a good turnout at our Thanksgiving services. We must now pay close attention to my reflections that I do after every Thanksgiving service. We must also try to start the planning and implementation process much earlier than the other previous years. The Arizona members did an outstanding job in ensuring that we keep up with our tradition of having a very scrumptious meal after the service. Thanks to all of you and your wives for making our 2nd Annual Thanksgiving service such a great success.

I am also gratified to report that we celebrated our very first Reminiscences Night on Saturday, March 26, 2011 in Arizona. The Guest Speaker, Mr. Nathaniel Atiba-Davies, gave a very thought- provoking and interesting reflection and reminiscences about his time at the school. Other Regentonians contributed as well.

SLGS – FREETOWN AND THE WASHINGTON/MARYLAND CHAPTER

For the past three years, I have been in constant communication with Mr. Lasite and Dr. Radcliffe Thomas. On behalf of our organization, I will like to use this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation to Mr. Akiwande Lasite for his outstanding and immeasurable leadership that he has provided our school with for over three decades. He has led that school through the most trying and turbulent times in the history of the school as well as the country, and he continues to do so with grace, class, and dedication. We cannot thank him enough. The fact that the school is now successfully privatized is a testimony of his remarkable and powerful leadership. We continue to set the standards for other schools to emulate.

I would be remiss if I don’t pay special mention to Dr. Radcliffe Thomas who, like his other predecessors, is a fine leader with a very vibrant energy and relentless love for his school. I thank him especially for his encouragement and for the accurate information that he always provides me with on a daily basis.

I recommend that all of you decide on a pet project for our school. Ask yourself some salient questions: Where can I assist my alma mater? What passion did I have when I was a student there? I ask that we all take a particular area in the school that you would like to see improve. For instance, Dr. Thomas is a scientist and a medical doctor. He has decided that he will support and help improve the Lab.

VISIONS FOR THE FUTURE

· Dr. Radcliffe Thomas and I had talked about a taskforce that will involve all three presidents bouncing off ideas each other. I am proud to report that a taskforce has been formed that does include all three presidents and other past presidents as well. So far, we have been deliberating on the Sponsored Walk.

· I still recommend that we embark on 150,000 dollar drive by the year 2015 to enable our association to be financially capable to invest and support the school in various ways. If we are successful by that time, we can always increase our goal. I will be drafting a letter towards this project. I also intend on using this letter to help with the Sponsored Walk.

· I have already mentioned that we embark on a membership drive. Please feel free to discuss any ideas that you have to enable us improve on our membership. I am confident that with the participation of several young Regentonians this past year, we will begin to see more young people show up at or meetings.

· The school is in dire need of scholarships. Contact Mr. Lasite and assist a child with his school fees. By so doing, you are actually helping with the school budget.

· Regentonian Conference: It is still my wish and my hope to bring Regentonians together so that we can discuss the future of our school at a professional Regentonian conference.

· Strengthen and use our financial resources to make more money. As soon as we have a substantial amount of money, I suggest that we open other money market accounts or diversify our accounts.

· Invest in Real Estate. This is a good time to do so, but we do not currently have the funds for this vision. However, we can do it at a later time when we have the capacity to do so.

· Regentonian Expertise – Use all our different expertise to teach others and possibly teach teachers and staff at our school. A number of Regentonians are doing this already. We just need to have a more coordinated project.

· Connect the school with other schools in California or Arizona. I am happy to report that I have contacted one of my former colleagues, a principal of a school in Los Angeles. He is willing to help us with some books to ship to the Grammar school. However, he has asked some pertinent questions that we need to think seriously about: Are you ready to ship now? Do you have money for shipping? What sort of books do we want? Are they applicable to our situation? Are science and math books better than language arts books? What about AME vs. BME? He is also helping me identify some schools in Los Angeles that will be willing to do partnerships or even start a pen pal relationship.

· Create Team Effort. We need to think of ways that we can motivate each other so that we can create an organization of brotherhood. This is already happening. We raised over 200 dollars amongst ourselves that we divided evenly and distributed to members who either lost a family member or got married.

· Mr. Patrick Hume-Dawson has worked extremely hard to improve on our webpage. The site is up and running. He and I are working on various informational updates and ideas that we can put on the website. I have also contacted Dr. R. Thomas, and I have asked him to include our address on the national page. I am hoping that we will use the website to raise funds, pay our dues, and even sell memorabilia and accessories in the future.

· I have started contacting other African/Caribbean organizations for partnerships. The Principal I mentioned earlier is also trying to help with this as well.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

No organization will succeed if we fail to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of certain members who have made a tremendous amount of contribution of their time and energy.

I will particularly like to thank Mr. Patrick Hume-Dawson for his constant help with technological issues including skype and the telephone conferences.

Thanks to all those who were kind and generous enough to host our meetings.

I must specially mention Dr. Spencer-Walters for creating a wonderful Newsletter template and for contributing 100 dollars towards the Thanksgiving program for our annual service. Thank you so much, sir.

Thanks to all active members: Mr. Frank Hume-Dawson, Mr. Elvino George, Mr. Kedrick George, Mr. Yor-El Francis, Mr. Alhaji Kamara, Mr. Alpha Kamara, Mr. Lyndon Tunjie Sumner, Mr. Franklin Elliot, Mr. Fasineh Samura, Mr. Emile Davies-Venn, Mr. Charles Renner, Mr. David Macauley, and Mr. Kawaley You have all contributed in one way or the other, and I thank you for your support. May God continue to bless you all and your families.

MEETINGS

It is obvious that our meetings through Skype and telephone conferences as well as meeting in the homes of members are working out extremely well. Thanks to all of you who have hosted this year. I recommend that you all sign up for a time and date that will be convenient for you and your family to host. We will continue to meet at locations other than our homes for a large meeting or during Reminiscences.

Thank you for your attention.

Floreat Regentonia! God bless our Grammar School.

Faithfully Submitted,

Rodney B. Hume-Dawson

President

 

2012 Thanksgiving Photos

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