Sunday, February 26: Yesterday I had a meeting I have known about, scheduled, and re-scheduled in my mind for almost eight years. I had imagined this day a hundred different ways but when it was finally here, I wasn’t ready… and didn’t quite know how to handle myself!
Back in 2004, soon after we started Heritage Academy in a little pink church in Breman Essiam, we all knew our first hurdle was to get our 32 seventh graders through the national exams in 9th grade. My favorite game in those days was to imagine graduation from Heritage for all 32 students (with outstanding national exam results of course!), and then graduation from various high schools (again with outstanding results), and then I would meet with the kids and their parents at various points to discuss the next steps–college, teacher training, nursing training, the police academy, the polytechnic, starting a small business etc.
Graduation in 2007 was a happy occasion. However, faced with the limitations of our resources, the Schoere Foundation was only able to provide five full scholarships for high school. The headmaster, DeGraft, worked with families to pull their resources together in order to gain admission to various schools for their wards… and help them get through school. In the end, 28 of our founding students went on to high school; and sadly the four left behind were all girls who now have children but no husbands.
Four years later in 2011, this first batch of Heritage students graduated from high school with excellent results. Emmanuel A. and Sarah N. went on directly to college in the United States last fall; but their classmates in Ghana had to wait a year for their national exam results before applying to college. Yesterday, I met with Emmanuel N. (Sarah’s cousin) and Padmore to talk about and help them start their college applications. I expect more meetings of its kind in the next two weeks. The reality is shaping up to be slightly different than imagined, but I had waited so long for yesterday… this morning I am not so sure if I imagined the whole thing just one more time.
As always, I am thankful to the Schoerke Foundation board, our friends, supporters and donors, and all the volunteers who have pushed us forward to this point. I hope you share my joy about the awesome possibilities ahead of our students…