24th National Convention Honorees - 2018

Brother Tom Dillman, CSC, Retired - Lifetime Achievement Award

Teacher/Administrator/Author - St. Patrick's & St. Teresa's Convent High Schools

At age 22, I had completed three years of university studies in Engineering, and had a reasonable social life. I happened to read Thomas Merton's Seven Story Mountain. Suffice to say, this served as a significant turning point in my life, and in January, 1950 I entered the postulate at Watertown, Wisconsin.

 

I entered the novitiate in August, 1950, at Rolling Prairie, Indiana. It is only in retrospect I realize how austere our novitiate program was as compared to today's standards.

 

I studied at St. Edward's University and continued there in General Engineering studies toward that degree.

After one and a half years, with degree in hand, I was assigned to teach at Cathedral High School, Indianapolis, Indiana, in January, 1952.

Following Final Vows in August, 1954, I went to Archbishop Hoban High School in Akron, Ohio. During the next 13 years I would teach the Industrial Science classes: Woodworking and Metalworking and Mechanical Drawing, along with Math. I was also Director of Maintenance and bus driver for athletic events.

From September - December 1968 I was the Novice Master and Director of Aspirants at the Holy Cross Brothers' Center at Notre Dame. In less than three months, we had a new provincial and procedural changes. The novices were moved to the Novitiate in Valatie, New York, and I was really happy to be released from an extremely challenging role involving experimaentation and new modus operandi in the formation program.

After enrichment studies in Theology at Notre Dame, I accepted Brother Charles Krupp's request to got to Monrovia, Liberia, to teach math/science at St. Patrick's High School. For the next 42 years I would be a Holy Cross missionary. There is no way to describe the myriad of unfolding events and experiences in my 28 years of ministry in Liberia.

In April, 1996, an open conflict resulted among four different rebel factions erupted in an inner-city civil war in Monrovia, thus closing down all schools, from which the archbishop decided not to reopen St. Patrick's, deciding to opt for a new polytechnic school.

With the closing of St. Patrick's, I was assigned to live with the Holy Cross community in Ghana. There I opted to write math textbooks for the senior high school program in Catholic schools in Liberia.

I am currently editor of our District quarterly newsletter: HOLY CROSS TODAY - GHANA. I also am House Directory of our Holy Cross Community at St. Augustine's College, Cape Coast. All things considered, it has been a wonderful 66 years living out my vocation as a Brother of Holy Cross, more than half of which has been here in West Africa. (Credit: Brothers of Holy Cross)

For more information about Brother Tom, click here.

Sister Evelina De Guglielmo, FMM - Lifetime Achievement Award

Principal - St. Teresa's Convent

Born in a small village in the Province of Avellino (near Naples) ,Italy in 1943,  I immigrated with my mother, two brothers and my three sisters to the United States in 1952  to join my father and elder brother.    I continued my elementary education in St. Francis of Assisi Grammar school in East Cambridge, Massachusetts.  After graduation from Sacred Heart High School in East Cambridge , I worked for one year at the John Hancock and attended night classes at Boston College for one semester. I graduated from Emmanuel College in 1969 with a BA and from Boston University with an MA in 1991.

In September 1962 I entered the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary Institute, a congregation of Missionary Sisters, where in 1971 I pronounced perpetual vows and was sent to the foreign missions – one of my deep desires long before entry.

After final vows I was asked by my superior, ’Where would you like to go on mission?’  I answered, ‘Anywhere but Africa.’ I have always wondered what prompted me to say that!?  A week later, my superior called me to tell me, ’I know where you are being missioned – You are going to Monrovia!’  I answered, ‘Isn’t that in Africa?’  She told me, ’Yes, but you will love it!’  My heart was at peace and I was happy to know I was going to Liberia!

I arrived in Monrovia in August 1971 and traveled to my new community – Yekepa, Nimba County.  I was there five years.  From St. Joseph School, Yekepa I came to St. Martin’s in Gbarnga, Bong County, then on to St. Mary’s in Sanniquellie.  From there I was sent to St. Teresa Convent, Monrovia.   In 1987 I was transferred to Ghana where I taught in St. Francis Girls Secondary school in Jirapa, UWR.  I returned to Liberia in 1995 as Principal of St. Teresa Convent.

Sometimes what students have said to or about me makes me very happy:  to know that I helped to change someone’s life or added to her future, fills me with gratitude for the chance given me to be a part of her life.  One student said once at the PTA’…I want to say Thank you to Sr. Evelina who taught me to love reading!’  That’s life!   People come and go in and out of our lives and, each one leaves a mark – some very soft, others very strong! But each one does!  And it stays forever.

 How many students have passed through my hands, I have not counted but I always pray that wherever they may be, may they be open to God’s grace working in them, and that they may always have enough!

Here I am 47 years later, 75 years old, still working among the Liberian people whom I have grown to love and respect so much!  God chose this mission for me and I am ever so grateful because my years here have been truly enriching and He has been with me through every thick and thin!  I have seen the good and the bad during all this time in Liberia.  I have enjoyed their good times and felt their pains during the bad times.  May God continue to heal the wounds of the past in every Liberian and bless this land and her people with clear vision and renewed hope, always!

Thank You, my people.  You shall always be in my heart and prayers!

Wokie C. Kpanyor - Distinguished Service Award

Vice Principal of St. Teresa's Convent/St. Teresa's Convent - Class of '86

Wokie Christine Kpanyor was born on May 24, 1968 to the union of Carr S. Kpanyor and Gbei Nimley-Kpanyor (deceased) in Montserrado Count, Monrovia Liberia. Raised in the Catholic Church, Wokie is a Catholic and an avid believer in God and the teachings of the bible.

Ms. Kpanyor received her primary and secondary education from St. Teresa’s Convent (STC), and graduated from STC in 1986. Upon graduation from STC, Ms. Kpanyor attended the Institute of Professional Studies (IPS) in Monrovia, Liberia where she earned an Associate Degree in Accounting in 1990. In 1993, she enrolled at Bishop John Collins Teacher’s College Stella Maris Polytechnic in Monrovia, Liberia and was conferred a “B” Certificate. Ms. Kpanyor then matriculated at the University of Liberia, where she earned a BSc in Primary Education from the William V. S. Tubman Teachers College in 2011. In 2015, she was conferred a MSc in Education Administration and Supervision from Cuttington University College School of Professional Studies in Congo Town, Monrovia Liberia.

From 1987 to 1988, shortly after graduating from St. Teresa’s Convent High School (STC), Ms. Kpanyor began her professional career as a teacher at STC. From 1993 to 2005, she served as a Self-Contained Teacher. She was then promoted to Registrar, where she served in this capacity from 2005 to 2010. In 2010, she was transferred to St. Michael’s Catholic High School in New Georgia, Monrovia, Liberia, where she served as registrar until 2012. Because of her stellar performance in various capacities as teacher and administrator, Ms. Kpanyor was reassigned to STC in 2012, where she was promoted to Vice Principal of St. Teresa’s Convent High School. Ms. Kpanyor currently serves in this capacity.

Ms. Kpanyor is the mother of two boys. Besides raising her children, she also enjoys reading, singing and making new friends.

Charles E. Cooper IV - Distinguished Service Award

St. Patrick's High School Class of '84/Treasurer - Saints Friskies Alumni Association

Charles Cooper’s life and career has been a balance of intellect, passion for technical expertise in environmental infrastructure and commitment to his local and global community. He is president of Cooper Enterprise II an engineering and construction company, specializing in environmental and landscape engineering, which he founded in 2003. He also serves as a management consultant to Metro Technologies Inc. where he began his career.

 

Mr. Cooper, a member of the class of 1984, is also very passionate about his faith, family, friends, alma mater, and his country of birth, all in that order. He is an active member of his church serving on both the Board of Trustees and Finance Committee. He is a devoted supporter of his family, including his wife with whom he has shared his journey for over 27 years. His friends count him as their champion and a convivial jester. He has volunteered as a mentor with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the National Capital Area and serves on the board of Sister Girl Presents Inc., aiding the care and protection of vulnerable and displaced children in Liberia. Mr. Cooper also participates in the Pathways to Work program helping unemployed people in D.C. He has worked tirelessly in support of St. Patrick’s High School and St. Teresa Convent Association, both in sweat equity and financial support, for more years than one can count. He volunteers his knowledge and consulting expertise to champion initiatives in Liberia, with both public and private stakeholders, on a pro bono basis.

 

If you ask his closest loved ones what he dreamed of becoming. Everyone would agree that all he wanted to do was operate a machine and cut grass! On his way to doing that he has done and continues to do much more.

 

Mr. Cooper holds a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Northeastern University, graduating with distinction and as a member of Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities. He is a social being choosing to share most of his time with his wife, adopted son, dog, family and countless friends.

Dr. Odell W. Kumeh - Alma Mater Spirit Award

St. Teresa's Convent - Class of '84

Odell W. Kumeh, a Christian and member of the Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish in Liberia, was born unto the union of Ms. Cecelia T. Weah and Mr. Thomas T. Kumeh on April 21, 1966.

She started her education at the St. Teresa`s Convent High School in 1972 and graduated from said school in 1984. She enrolled at the University of Liberia in 1985 in the College of Science and Technology, where she graduated with a Bachelors degree in Zoology and Chemistry minor in 1994 due to the prolong civil unrest in Liberia. As a way of giving back, she taught at the St. Teresa`s Convent for four academic years from 1993 to 1997, and sponsored various classes.

She taught Science in Elementary from Grades 5-6 and later was elevated to the Junior and Senior High divisions where she taught General Science, Biology to grades 7, 10, 11 and 12, and Christian Living in Grade 10. She also served as Dean of Students from 1995 to 1997.

 

Having the desire to serve humanity in another path, Odell decided to enroll at the A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine in 1998, completing a supposedly five-year Doctor of Medicine program in 2007 due to the civil conflict again in Liberia. Thank God for the perseverance!!!

 

In 2007 she worked at the John F. Kennedy Hospital in Liberia at which institution she also completed her internship. She enrolled in a six months Post internship surgical training at the Phebe Hospital in Suakoko and Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town, Bushrod Island.

 

Upon completion of the basic requirements, she served in the Southeastern region, the most difficult region of Liberia, where no one wants to work. She was appointed County Health Officer of Maryland County, from 2009 to 2015. In November 2015, having served the Maryland County Health Team with distinction, she was appointed to head the Bomi County Health Team in the North-Western region as County Health Officer.

 

While serving the Government of Liberia in the public health sector, she was privileged to attend series of trainings:  she was a member of the 2015 cohort of the Global Health Delivery Intensive Program at Harvard University; in 2011 she was a participant of a three months USAID sponsored intensive training at Stella Maris polytechnic University on Human resources for Health, financial management, organizational strategy and leadership. She also attended advance training in USAID’s flagship Maternal Child Health Integrated Program. In a bid to further advance herself, Odell was invited to attend an intensive training in Health System Administration, focused on health sector planning, infectious disease management and surveillance and policy at the Asahikawa University in Sapporo, Japan, sponsored by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). In 2010, she received a certificate of achievement from Faiyoum University in Egypt for six weeks intensive training in quality control, quality assurance, control of infectious diseases and health care management.

 

In 2010 she attended the World Health Assembly as one of Liberia`s delegates together with the Minister of Health of the Republic of Liberia.

 

Odell will be conferred a Masters of Medical Science in Global Health Delivery (MMSc-GHD) degree from the Harvard Medical School’s Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, on May 22, 2018.

Sando Karneh - Humanitarian Service Award

St. Patrick's High School - Class of '88

Sando Karneh, is the co-founder and Executive Director of Help Educate & Assist Lives (HEAL Inc.); a 501c3 non-profit organization based in Atlanta, Georgia. Sando believes education is the key to improving lives, removing socioeconomic barriers, and harnessing opportunities, thus the focus of his organization in providing educational resources, and basic needs to underprivileged children.

Sando sees himself in many of the children H.E.A.L Inc. now supports. He was one of these kids, and vividly remembers growing up in Liberia, where he lived in a home without running water or in-doors plumbing. He grew up facing similar and identical odds as these kids: no shoes to wear and; sometimes just one meal a day.  His parents, however, instilled in him, perseverance and hard work. They sacrificed to keep him in school, and his experience as an underprivileged child contributes mainly to his level of compassion and desire to help.

As a refugee, he escaped civil-war-torn Liberia and migrated to the United States in 1998. With little resources to his name, he relied on and immediately took advantage of the Job Corps program in North Texas to start learning about and assimilating into the United States – his adopted country. The support of the Job Corps program provided him the leverage to pursue the next level of education.

He later earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington and a Master of Science degree in Management with a concentration in leadership from Strayer University.

Sando has worked in financial services industry for the last 15 years; earlier as a Registered Stock Broker, Stock Plan Administrator, and now a Consulting Manager with E*TRADE Financial. He is married, has three children and lives with his family in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

Click here to learn more about Sando's charity work in Liberia.

The Late Alexander Kojo Anderson (Psycho) - Lifetime Achievement Award - Posthumous Honor

St. Patrick's High School Class of '70/Teacher/Coach/Vice Principal - SPHS & STC

Alexander Kojo Anderson, affectionately known as Psycho, was born in Monrovia, Liberia, on August 29, 1949. His father was Frederick Anderson, and his mother Miatta Jagborma. As a child, Psycho was more curious than many kids his age. He explored everything around him and always shared new things of interest. The minute he discovered books, he was never far from them. He would rummage through them, stack them, play with them. He treated them like toys. Being a child, especially a little boy, his real toys were always there. Kicking his soccer ball around the house or out on the playground became his favorite pastime. His parents soon realize that their child had both energy and curiosity that needed nurturing. Books and balls would eventually define the life of this child, and his parents knew just the right school for him to get his start.

For young Kojo, education began at St. Patrick's Elementary School in Monrovia, Liberia. After spending six years in elementary, he was enrolled at St. Patrick's High School, and studied there until his graduation in 1970. As a student, Psycho excelled in academics, sports and the arts. He frequently made the honor roll, was a star soccer player for the Saints, and a budding actor in the drama club. Particularly noteworthy is the role he played in the drama "Natives vs Settlers." The play dramatized the early years of the Republic, and explored the relationship between native Liberians and former slaves from the United States who settled in Liberia. Playing the role of Native Chief, Psycho showed that he had the talent to be the leading man in any drama. Except, leadership for Psycho was not simply reserved for dramatic plays. The stage in real life awaited him. And St. Patrick's High School would be his proving ground. There, his devotion to personal enlightenment and service to humanity became consciously resolute. This enterprise would play out during his entire life.

As a student, Psycho's participation in sports and the arts was not the limit of his range, but an extension of it. He read books outside of academic requirement, and wrote essays on issues of the day.  He was constantly in thought. Never one to avoid intellectual challenges, he engaged in creative and critical thinking. Poetry soon followed. Whether written in free or formal verse, the rhythm and images in his poetry showed the brilliance of his young mind. He was deeply conflicted, as young people often are. And this was not a bad thing. It provided him both the impetus and source for much of what was written in his poems. He wanted his readers to know what he was thinking, so he didn't engage much in the abstract. 

 

With so much going on in his mind, Psycho constantly sought activities to release this energy. He found one such outlet in Amicus Unus Fellowship (AUF).

AUF was an organization founded in 1966 by a group of 1965 graduates of St. Patrick's High School. They founded this organization to serve as a subsidiary of St. Patrick's High School Alumni Association. Psycho was in the 8th grade at the time AUF was founded, yet he found the organization to be inspiring. He participated in many of AUF's activities, which included an intellectual discourse. Since this was an activity that challenged one's mind, Psycho found it a natural hub for both intellectual stimulation and release. He continued to engage with AUF until its dissolution prior to his graduation from SPHS. ​

In 1970, Psycho graduated with honors from St. Patrick’s High School.

He continued his education at the University of Liberia where he studied Political Science and Public Administration. At UL and to no one's surprise, he was an outstanding student and athlete. He graduated from the University of Liberia in 1974 with a Bachelor's of Arts Degree in Political Science, and a minor in Public Administration.

Click Here To Read More About Alexander Kojo Anderson.

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