Venues: The Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, Laurel, MD & The Reeves' residence, Columbia, MD
The 20th Anniversary Convention held in Columbia and Laurel, MD August 12th thru 14th 2022
Maryland, the birthplace of conventions is always known for good conventions. This year was no exception. Public opinion poll has it that this might have been among the top three of conventions, in terms of organization style and attendance. To top it all, this year’s convention was at no cost of the association. President Emeritus Nuku Reeves, along with his network of donors covered the cost of the entire convention. It was all inclusive of accommodation, catering services, DJ, drinks, as well as prizes for both the field activities and raffle.
The convention started as usual, with members and guests arriving throughout Friday to participate in the festivities. Three noticeable absences were: Vice Board Chairman, D. Augustus Nyekan, Auditing Committee Chairman, J. Alexander Morris, and 2021 convention Chairlady, Osseh B. Gordon. Queen Dekontee A. Carter and Beatrix Flah were also noticeably absent.
When the evening rolled around, everyone assembled at the Columbia home of Nuku and Serena Reeves, where they were entertained to delicious food, an assortment of drinks, and a variety of music spun by a famous DJ of the DMV, Mr. Alvin Hoff. He kept the dance floor swinging until well past midnight when things had to shut down in preparation of Saturday’s activities.
Saturday morning started with the regular business meeting where breakfast and a light lunch was served. During the business meeting (details will be contained in the minutes of the Secretary) a presentation on the new dual citizenship law passed by the Liberian Legislature and signed by the President, was made by Cllr. Edward Dillon, a renowned Liberian lawyer. During the lunch break, everyone in attendance was privileged to receive an autographed copy of Dr. Dunn’s memoir, A Liberian Life.
After lunch and towards the conclusion of the business meeting, a new corps of Board of Directors was elected. They include Dr. S. Obediah Butscher, Mother Joanna Caulcrick, Mr. Charles G. Nagbe, Mr. Joseph D. Sinyan, Ms. Esther Caulcrick, Mr. Calvin R. Johnson, Mr. Richmond Matthews, and Mr. Tommy G. Logan. The Board later went into closed section where they elected leaders: Mr. Calvin R. Johnson, Chairman, Mr. Joseph D. Sinyan, Vice Chairman, Ms. Esther Caulcrick, Secretary and Mother Joanna Caulcrick, Chaplain. The business meeting concluded with the selection of the Bay area of California for the 2023 convention under the Chairmanship of Dr. Butscher.
There was a group photo section in front of the hotel after which everyone headed to the home of Nuku and Serena Reeves in Columbia for an afternoon of more food, drinks and activities. Highlight among the activities was the famous platting of the BHS maypole, under the direction of Mrs. Lucinda Nagbe. The musical chairs started with eleven participants vying for three cash prizes: $500, $250, and $150. As the game proceeded, the slow pork’s began being eliminated one at a time until it came down to the last three: Georgia Hansen, Kemah Knuckles, and Margaret King. The game concluded with Mrs. Knuckles receiving the third prize of $150 which she generously donated to the association, Mrs. King walked away with the 2nd prize of $250 and Mrs. Hansen received the top prize of $500.
While all of that was going on, several persons were playing a famous board game, LUDU, for cash. Several games of Ludu were played and the top cash winners were Diana Harmon & Doris Flahn, followed by Oscar Barnard & Lucinda Nagbe. The rest of the people were involved in working their mouths via food or adult beverages or holding meaningful conversations. When 5pm rolled around, it was time to head back to the hotel in preparation of the fundraising dinner and ball.
Members, patrons and guest starting finding their way to the hall for the event shortly after 7:15pm. They were accorded red carpet photo shoot by professional photographer, Mr. Tony Raymond. A stroll through the pictures will show some of the elegantly dress attendees on the red carpet and in the hall. We were fortunate to have in our midst a few former Peace Corps Volunteers to Liberia from the 1970s, Mr. & Mrs. William Hares as well as Mrs. Pat Reilly. Mr. Hares and Ms. Reilly both taught at the Bassa High School.
During the evening program, a short but to the point address was delivered by our keynote speaker, Dr. D. Elwood Dunn, a long-time graduate of the institution, who has achieved so much in the academic and professional world. He later installed the members of the newly elected Board of Directors. There was also an honoring ceremony wherein several persons received plagues for their outstanding participation in the association. Among them were, President Emeritus, Mr. E. Nuku Reeves, former Board Chairman, Victor D. King, former President Tommy G. Logan, and current President, Dr. A. Joel King. Mr. Reeves received two honors; one from the BHSS in Liberia naming the science building in his honor and the other from the association.
The evening also featured a queen contest with two beautiful ladies vying for the Miss BHSAUSA crown: Edsiah Nelson and Anna Konah-Jackson. After two rounds of rigorous financial voting, Mrs. Anna Konah-Jackson captured the crown, becoming the new Miss BHSAUSA 2022. She was crowned by our former Peace Corps Volunteer instructor, Ms. Pat Reilly. A cash prize raffle followed. Available prizes were: $500 for the top winner, $250 for the second and $150 for the third. The draw was in reverse order with Mr. Hares asked to pull the winning numbers each time. The third prize was claimed by Board Chairman Johnson on behalf of his daughter and the second by Mrs. Hares. The top prize was the judicial equivalent of a hung jury where no one was rightly able to claim it. The first two picks were missed claims (first by Mr. Patrick Williams and then by Mr. Joseph Sinyan). But in the interest of time, the prize was donated back to the association.
After the singing of the Bassa High School Ode and the Liberian National Anthem came the fun part beginning with the Grand March led by outgoing Board Chairman, Victor King. The dance floor was constantly flooded with energetic dancers when DJ Hoff spun a variety of upbeat music mostly of the African genre. The evening’s activities came to an end shortly after 1am when most people retired to their rooms on the second floor of the hotel, except those that drove from within the DMV.
The final activity of the weekend started at the home of President Emeritus and Mrs. Reeves. Some early travelers had to catch their flights while the rest hung around until well into the afternoon. We were entertained with a variety of very delicious food and an assortment of drinks. It is always so hard to say goodbye when there is so much fun. People assembled in segment all over the property. Some enjoyed the cool of the sunroom, some enjoyed the fresh air under the tent, still others conversed under the natural breeze of the gazebo. The final group were those in the kitchen area and that can be divided into two sub groups: the working crew (cleaning and washing dishes) and the collecting crew (packing food to carry). All in all, the 20th anniversary convention was very successful. I have yet to encounter anyone with a negative view of the weekend.