The First Ever Virtual Convention
Due to the uncertainty of the raging Covid-19 pandemic, The BHSAUSA held its first ever virtual convention in the history of the association. This was a two-day event (instead of the usual three-day event) which brought together members from all over the United States. It can be recalled that the 2020 convention was cancelled for this very reason. But with proper planning and determination, the organization vowed to hold a convention this year (be it in-person or virtual). The overwhelming choice was for a virtual convention and the planning process got into motion, headed by the industrious Osseh Gordon as Chairlady, and assisted by a team of dedicated members, under the overall supervision of our National Convention Committee Chairlady, Berma M. Findley.
Prior to the start of the virtual convention activities, members had the opportunity to watch live events from the Bassa High School in Buchanan, Liberia. These included career day activities on Thursday, August 12, 2021 where graduating seniors were given the opportunity to hear from a cross section of career professionals (Medical Doctor, Teacher, Engineer, etc) with the hope of motivating students to make the right choice. The event was broadcasted on facebook live with the help of the local TV station, Ablee Jay TV. Also from the school was the dedication of the newly constructed lavatory facility financed by the BHSAUSA. This ceremony was performed by Prof. Ansu Sonii, the Minister of Education of Liberia.
Convention events began on the evening of Friday, August 13, 2021 with the meet and greet social. It was different this time. Being a virtual one, participants were able to introduce themselves and their guests. Former students shared memories of special moments during their time at the school. Everyone had their drink of choice and music was played by President turned DJ,, Dr. Joel King
Saturday's event kicked off with the usual business meeting at 9:00am with almost everyone dressed in the shirts purchased for the occasion. Participants had the opportunity to hear from President King on his State of the Association and the direction for the years ahead regardless who was leading the organization. Most of the standing committees gave their reports. Dr. King made some slight changes to the Ways and Means Committee, where Mr. Immanuel W. Karpeh was replaced by Mr. Richmond Matthews as Chairman.. He also established an Election s Committee headed by former President D. Patrick Williams. The meeting was climaxed by an election of officers to run the association for the next two years. Those elected to serve are: Dr. Joel King (ran unopposed), Mrs. Frances Potter-Baigebo (retained her position as VP), Mrs. Georgia B. Hansen was elected as Secretary replacing Mrs. Anna Konah-Jackson who opted not to seek re-election, Mrs. Alfreda M. Davis (retained her position as Financial Secretary), Ms. Pearl Knowlden (retained her position as Treasurer) and Ms. Berma Findley elected as Chaplain (replacing Mr. Daniel Davis). The departure of Ms. Findley from the Board created a vacancy on the Board. Ms. Esther Caulcrick was unanimously elected to serve on the Board. At the end of the meeting, the venue of the next convention was Maryland, selected by majority rule.
The final event of the convention was the Saturday night Fundraiser Banquet and Ball. It started shortly after 6:00pm Eastern time and brought together a number of well dressed individuals from all over the country. Being virtual did not prevent participants from their usual formal dressing with attractive outfits, hairdos' and make-up. We can only guess what kind of shoes they wore since that part was not shown. The occasion was graced by Liberia's Minister of Mines and Energy, Mr. Gesler Murray as the keynote speaker. The Minister joined in from Liberia and spoke eloquently on our theme for the convention, "Ploughing Ahead". He challenged the association to do just that for the common good of the school and the country at large. Later on, Minister Murray had the honor of installing the elected officers and board member. Prior to leaving the event, the Minister made a generous donation to the association. Several persons were honored for their invaluable services to the association, including: Mrs. Osseh B. Gordon, Mr. Calvin R. Johnson, Mr. Victor D. King, and Dr. Samuel O. Butscher, commonly referred to as (SOB). The school clinic, our project of highlight for the fundraising generated more than $12,000 in pledges (some have since been paid in full). The usual raffle generated another over $2,000. A collection of old and new tunes were played by the President, Dr. A. Joel King. He added a section where songs requested were played on demand, some bringing memories of the good ole days. Overall, the virtual convention could be considered an absolute success.