Wall Fund-Raiser– Can you Help?
The property directly behind Graceland International School provides enough space to build additional classroom blocks and dormitories in the future. This is a prime piece of land surrounded by a growing neighborhood. As houses continue to spring up, there is an increased probability that the land might be encroached upon.
Even though the property has been purchased and paid for, it is currently unoccupied and can be encroached by property owners adjoining our property. Building the wall is a crucial next-step. The wall can be constructed in phases, with the perimeter established three to four blocks high. As long as the border has been established, all will be well.
The diocese has the ability to make their own blocks.
The total bill for the wall is estimated to be around $60,000. We have already secured about half of the funds needed. In order to speed up the project, would you consider purchasing blocks at $1.00 each or making an additional donation for the wall fund? Every little bit helps, especially at this crucial time.
During our visit in March, we were able to see the partially completed examination hall, built in very close proximity to the other school buildings. While construction was underway, we had concerns as to whether or not the building would be complete for the exams, scheduled during the window of March 15- April 30.
Similar to the SAT exams here, the West Africa Board Exams (WAEC) determine a student’s preparedness to enter university. Students study and prepare just like here with review sessions and practice tests.
Our Nigerian partners made a wise decision in determining the hall as a critical next step, acquiring the needed accreditation for Grace from Zamfara State. The hall was cleverly designed and reinforced to support five classrooms on a soon-to-be-constructed second floor - our next step.
Just over 30 students sat for their exams. The exam results should be available in late July.
Reasons for March 2016 trip
Our last visit to Gusau was in 2011. Since that visit Graceland International School has made great progress. With funds raised in the USA, a very large tract of land behind the original school plot has been acquired for future development. There are now two completed buildings containing classrooms, offices, science, and computer labs. In addition, the important examination hall is completed and has been recently used for students to sit for their West Africa Education Council (WAEC) board exams.
Understanding the unique issues and challenges faced by the Diocese of Gusau and the school. At the end of 2014 we were informed that the operating budget of the school was running at a deficit. AEP’s commitment to date has been to build the necessary buildings with the understanding that we will shift our focus to assisting with operating costs when the buildings are complete. The AEP Board concluded that a trip to Nigeria was prudent in order to confer with the school and Diocesan leadership over the operating costs and to learn what were the most urgent needs going forward. The board of AEP is very grateful to Board member Paul Frank for his generosity in funding this trip.
New Laptops Recently Purchased for School
It has taken some time, but the grant money generously awarded last spring by the Church Mission Publishing Company has finally been used to purchase four new laptops to be used at the school. Bishop John communicated via phone call over receiving the new computers much to the excitement of teachers and students.
Up until recently, the school had not been ready to accept the laptops for use. While electrical wiring was available, service was not. With that problem solved and construction on the second building complete, it was finally time to purchase the laptops.
AEP sent over enough of the grant funds to purchase four laptops to try out. Originally,
solar-powered laptops were investigated but proved to be unavailable. Our Nigerian partners researched models available and assured us that these laptops are durable.
The rest of the money from the grant will be made available to purchase more laptops when there is confirmation that the laptops are performing effectively.
AEP Welcomes new Board Members
AEP is pleased and proud to announce the addition of Shelly Traska and Hank Rau to the Board of Directors.
Shelly joins us from St. Peter’s Church, filling the vacancy created by the retirement of Rev. Tom White. Shelly brings to us a strong financial background and has taken on the responsibility of treasurer– we are indeed fortunate to have her with us!
Hank comes to us from Trinity Church, Tariffville and brings a wealth of experience with a background in data analysis. He has been busy researching information in preparation of grant opportunities. Hank’s appointment gives equal representation to Trinity, who has partnered with AEP from the beginning.
We welcome the dedication, passion, and expertise that both new members bring to the board!
The dinner will be held at Our Savior Lutheran Church, 239 Graham Road, South Windsor CT. The purpose of the dinner is to raise awareness of the needs in northern Nigeria for quality education. In addition, detailed updates from the summer trip regarding teacher training and enrollment will be provided.
The speaker Dr. Lois Tioluwa Olokunde, a Nigerian medical doctor, who will tell her own story of how a quality education equipped her for medical school both in Nigeria and here in the USA.
While there will be no charge for the dinner, freewill offerings will be gladly accepted. Our goal is to secure funds through pledges for the next three years as we plan the largest building, an administrative-media center- science lab structure.
Graceland International School begins third academic year.
Graceland International School started its third academic year this fall. Of the 382 students attending this year, 264 students are at the elementary level and 118 at the secondary level. Graceland International has experienced a 45% growth in its student population in just two academic years!
Just as impressive is the fact that there are more girls than boys attending. In an area of Nigeria where some estimate that fewer than 20% of school-aged girls know how to read and write, just over 50% of the school are girls. This is a testament to the success of Graceland International objective (a school open to all children without discrimination) and the incredible work by the teaching and administrative staff. And of course, all of the successes and wonderful achievements are because of your generosity.
On behalf of the AEP Board, thank you for your continued support, especially around this Christmas season. We wish you and your family a happy and healthy New Year!
Don Ghostlaw, President, AEP