These are an assortment of minutes covering various conventions, teleconferences, and meetings held on the dates mentioned.
BHSA August 16, 2014 Minutes
BASSA HIGH SCHOOL ASSOCIATION, USA
MINUTES OF THE BUSINESS SESSION OF
The 2014 Convention
Attendees in Alphabetical order:
Baigebo, Frances F. Potter
Butscher, S. Obediah
Jackson, Anna Konah
Johnson, Calvin R.
King, A. Joel
King, Victor D.
Lloyd, Ida E.
Logan, Tommy G.
Morris, J. Alexander
Nagbe, Charles G.
Nyekan, D. Augustus
Reeves, Emmanuel Nuku
Reeves, Serena B.
Reeves, S. Roy
Weegar, Theodore Ron
Williams, Patrick D.
The meeting commenced at approximately 11:20 AM with opening remarks by Board & Convention 2014 Chairman, Nuku Reeves. This was followed by opening prayer offered by Pearl Knowlden, Chaplain. President Patrick Williams presided. He began by expressing thanks and appreciation for the cooperation he has received since taking over the leadership of the association. He asked everyone to stand for a moment of silence in remembrance of the late President, Hawa Kpakah. He then called on the secretary to present the minutes of convention 2013. Secretary Roy Reeves distributed copies of the minutes and asked everyone to go over them for five minutes instead of publicly reading them. He pointed out that he did not attend the previous convention and people needed to be mindful that the minutes were prepared by then Secretary, Frances Baigebo. At the expiration of the five minutes, a motion was advanced by Dr. Butscher for the minutes to be opened for discussion. It was seconded by Oscar Barnard. Minor typographical errors were pointed out by Rev. T. Ron Weegar and Ms. Berma Findley. Mr. Charles Nagbe raised the issue in the minutes about establishing regional chapters as advanced by Board member Victor King during the Delaware Convention. This was to be further discussed later on during the meeting. With the corrections made, the minutes were adapted and formed a part of our archives, based on a motion advanced by Interim VP Calvin Johnson and seconded by Charles G. Nagbe.
President Williams proceeded to give his state of the association address. He spoke of his vision and direction for BHSA,USA. These include finance enhancement, membership drive, and transparency. Mr. Williams mentioned the steps already taken so far to address these concerns: The appointment of two committees to devise means of improving both the finance and membership. He praised the work of the finance enhancement committee headed by Financial Secretary J. Alexander Morris (report was circulated earlier in the year). The committee on membership headed by interim VP Calvin Johnson did not complete the task, but means were identified to improve the membership situation.
This committee did not have a formal report. However, a considerable amount of time was spent on dissecting the criteria for administering the program. Mrs. Lucinda Nagbe, the previous liaison of the program spoke of the original amount of the award ($100) per recipient. This has since been increased to $125 to reflect the cost of living adjustment. She mentioned that at its inception, the program was designed to award scholarships to the top academic student of each class (grades7 thru 12), bearing in mind that some classes had several sections. The initial amount of ($1000) was given by Board Chairman, Nuku Reeves. She noted that the program has since been modified to include the first and second places of each class. However, in recent years, two classes were dropped from the school (7th & 8th grades) as a part of the campus was occupied by the Grand Bassa Community College.
President Williams proposed changes to the program to possibly challenge students to do better. He distributed copies of the scholarship report submitted by BHS principal, Mr. Vee Mollai Sheriff, and criticized its unprofessional appearance. Patrick mentioned that he complained to the principal in a recent phone conversation. The changes proposed were to increase the amounts based on students’ grades reports. He expressed dissatisfaction with the grades of the current recipients, and noted that increasing the amounts based on grades will encourage students to strive for higher scores.
Dr. Butscher questioned the criteria for receiving scholarship (academic based) and proposed that the program be changed to need based instead. His rationale for this is that it is difficult for students to do well in unconducive living condition. Following a brief exchange of ideas, the president’s proposal was rejected. Secretary Reeves asked that the need based criteria be incorporated in the program while maintaining the academic criteria.
It was shocking to learn from Tommy Logan that at his recent visit to the school, he spoke with principal Sheriff and was told that the program was being administered as a need based one. President Williams vowed to look into this claim and rectify the situation. For now, the program is to remain as strictly academic based but increased to $150 per student recipient.
Treasurer Ida Lloyd presented the report on behalf of the committee. She said the committee is in full compliance with the mandate of preparing quarterly financial reports. She mentioned that copies of all such reports were submitted via email to every member in good financial standing prior to the convention and they were to be studied. She was prepared to respond to any inquires members might have. Board member Berma Findley questioned the constitutionality of sending copies of the reports only to member in good financial standing. She called for an immediate end to this practice which grossly violates the constitution. Financial Secretary Morris tried to justify the practice as a way to get people to pay their dues (even if they did not attend the convention). After realizing the practice was a constitutional violation, the committee promised to send future copies to all members going forward.
The composition of this committee was unknown, neither was a report prepared. However, Mr. Williams proposed that the committee be changed to Planning and Projects Implementation Committee. Dr. King counter proposed that the committee be called the Projects Committee, since all projects already include planning phases. This was overwhelmingly agreed upon and then the name was changed with this becoming a standing committee.
A part of this section was focused on our ongoing projects at the Bassa High School. President Williams informed the body of the decision to award the science lab renovation contract to Steve Wrehyu Construction for $5,200. This was based on the recommendation of our people on the ground (Nathaniel Brumskine, Stanford M. Torbor, Principal Sheriff, and others.)Treasurer Ida was supposed disburse the first installment of payment in the amount of $2,600 prior to the convention, but this not happen due to some problems encountered. Mr. Charles Nagbe questioned the reliability of Mr. Wrehyu and opposed sending him the payment. He referred to past instances where the organization lost money by paying out to people who did not deliver. Secretary Reeves questioned the initial amount being sent, since the decision called for the payment to be made in three equal installment (1/3 at the start, 1/3 midway through, and the final third at the satisfactory completion of the renovation). This was clarified by the justification that he needed more at the onset to purchase materials and take care of other logistics. Regarding the concerns raised by Mr. Charles Nagbe, Mr. Oscar Barnard defended Mr. Wrehyu’s credibility to the point of being held responsible to repay the money if Mr. Wrehyu claimed not to receive the money when the bank can verify that it was transferred into the account presented. Mr. Barnard made it clear that once it is verified that Mr. Wrehyu acknowledged receipt of the funds, he is no longer liable for repayment. Treasurer Lloyd is to connect with Mr. Barnard to verify receipt by Mr. Wrehyu and thereby cancelling the liability. The remaining of the payment is to proceed along the transparency guidelines established. This means that ¼ will be paid at midway through the project and the remainder ¼ at the satisfactory completion.
Under this section, the issue of regional chapters resurfaced. It was agreed that this should be a great help to boost membership drive and our fundraising efforts.
The possibility of holding a convention in Buchanan as early as 2017 was revisited. But considering the far-fetched, unrealistic expectation of this proposal, it was tabled for future consideration
SPECIAL ELECTION OF PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT
This portion of the business section was presided over by the Board Chairman, Nuku Reeves. He pointed out that the constitution calls for such election to finish the remaining term of the late Hawa Kpakah and that of then VP Esther Caulcrick when she abruptly resigned as acting president and then as vice president. Johnny Barnard called for the election to start a fresh two year term instead of serving for a year and be faced with election again next year. But the Board Chairman made it clear that the constitution provides for the Board to serve for three years while the officers serve for two. It will be conflicting if both the entire Board and Officers are being elected at the same time if Johnny’s proposal was accepted. With that clarification, the election proceeded. Interim President ran unopposed and was elected by acclamation. Interim VP Calvin Johnson did not run for the position, instead, Pearl Knowlden ran unopposed. She too was elected by acclamation. With the election of Pearl to the vice presidency, a vacancy occurred for the position of Chaplain. The Rev. Theodore Ron Weegar accepted the nomination for Chaplain and was elected by acclamation as well. After this Board Chairman Reeves read an email from Mother Joanna Caulcrick resigning her position as Board Co-chair. In it she thanked the association for receiving her with opened arms, allowing her to serve as Queen and on the Board up to the position of Co-Chair. She pointed out that her intention was simply to represent the Extension Division of BHS.
The Board then expeditiously and informally convened to select a replacement for Mother Caulcrick as co-chair. After a very short deliberation, it was announced that Victor King had emerged as the new Co-Chair of the Board.
Counselor Johnny Barnard called for a constitutional amendment to increase the Board Members to eight. It was pointed out that the constitution already calls for eight members. There are currently six members of the Board. The Chairman pointed out that five members are to be elected from within the ranks of the association and three are set aside for resourceful outsiders who can contribute significantly to the organization. He noted that Ms. Berma Findley was the first person to fill one of those slots and she is already exhibiting a great deal of influence (thanks to the tireless effort of Oscar Barnard to help secured her position on the Board.)
There was a call for a member to be elected to replace Arthur James on the Board. But the Chairman was quick to point out that Arthur James has not expressed his desire to resign his position. The understanding is that he is on sabbatical in Liberia. Chances are he could return to the US at any time. In the case of Nathaniel Brumskine, he relocated to Liberia and thus relinquished his position on the Board. Arthur James will continue to be a part of the Board until he decides otherwise. He said the remaining two outsider position will target people who can make significant financial contributions to the organization or can use their influential connections to direct resources to the association.
Dr. Joel King inquired as to the status of our 501-C (3) situation. He observed that when the organization is actively enjoying that status; it becomes easier to solicit financial and material assistance from businesses. Board Chairman Nuku Reeves responded to this. He informed the body that a while back, the IRS sent a letter to the organization requesting certain information within a given period. Unfortunately, nobody checked the mailbox for a long period and the time expired without a response. This he said was gross negligence on our part and it caused us to lose the status. Without a designated person to regularly check the mail, we could have this and similar problem in the future. Mr. Reeves said that in spite all of these setbacks; the application was resubmitted and accepted. But the status cannot be granted until a fee of $1,000 is paid.
Mrs. Diana Harmon Expressed her concerned that no formal introduction is made at the conventions. She said we need to know the first time attendees or the first time in a long time attendees as people went through the walls of BHS at different periods of time. This received a considerable amount of support to the point that it was executed just prior to the adjournment of the meeting. Those who do not attend frequently included Beatrice York Flah, class of 1986 and from Palm Beach area, FL; Anna Konah Jackson, class of 1976, now of Atlanta, GA; Rev. Theodore Ron Weegar, class of 1982 and from New Orleans, LA; Dr. Samuel Obediah Butscher, class of 1961, retired and from the northern California area.
The business meeting was adjourned shortly after 3:00pm to enable the hotel staff to setup for the night’s big event. The Rev. T. Ron Weegar go off to a good start in his new position when he prayed at the end of the business meeting.
Respectfully submitted by:
S. Roy Reeves, SECRETARY
Bassa High School Association USA, Inc.
2016 National Convention Held in Southern New Jersey, August 12-14 2016
Minutes of Business Meeting
ATTENDANCE (in random order): Frances Potter-Baigebo, Osseh Brownell-Gordon, A.Joel King, Johnny T. Barnard, Georgia Hansen, Serena Reeves, Victor D. King, J. Alexander Morris, Calvin Nathaniel Pope, E. Nuku Reeves, Oscar Barnard, D. Augustus Nyekan, Edward L. Hall, Joseph D. Sinyan, Kristen Zozulin, Charles G. Nagbe, Esther Caulcrick, Kay Ann Thomas, Pearl Knowlden, Tommy G. Logan, Richmond Matthews, Lucinda Y. Nagbe, Calvin R. Johnson, Diana Harmon, Joanna Caulcrick, Clarence S. Kamara, Ida E. Lloyd, Berma Findley, James R. King, Trokon Gbadyu, Immanuel W. Karpeh, Wayne Doe, and S. Roy Reeves.
The meeting was held at the Hampton Inn. It was called to order with President E. Nuku Reeves presiding. Chaplain Diana Harmon gave the opening prayer. After a brief welcome, the Secretary was asked to read the minutes of the 2015 convention business meeting. Copies of the minutes were circulated earlier and Secretary Reeves asked everyone to follow along as he read the minutes. Mr. Reeves noted that when the draft minutes were sent out last year, he asked for feedback via email only. Feedback provided were incorporated into the final document. The document was adopted and formed a part of our archives after brief discussions.
Next on the agenda was the financial report. This was presented by Financial Secretary, Richmond Matthews. The report covered the period from September 1, 2015 through July 31, 2016. To summarize, the report showed an opening balance of $34,000, revenue receipts totaling $12,000, and expenses of $19,000 for the same period. It did not totally incorporate all of the payments made online as the figures had not been completely tallied by convention time. There was nothing much discussed concerning the report. However, Internal Auditor J. Alexander Morris was quick to point out that the report could not be accepted as it had not undergone the auditing process. President Reeves explained that auditing could not hold the report hostage from being accepted.It is a process only for reconciliation and scrutiny purposes. He further explained that the organization legally operates annually from January 1 through December 31, but operationally our fiscal year runs from September 1 through July 31. He mentioned that the report can be accepted without an audit. When examined by the internal auditor, if any issues are found, auditor Morris will contact the financial team to resolve findings. On a motion and second, the report was accepted
Committee Chairman Johnny Barnard reported that everything was going smoothly as far as the science lab equipment and apparatus was concerned. All financial transactions have been concluded between BHSAUSA and the company. A total of 119 items (including chemicals) will be shipped. Upon the completion of sorting the materials out and going through the requisite security clearance, shipment should arrive at the Roberts International Airport prior to the opening of school. Mr. Barnard reported that he spoke with Gbezongar Findley to use his authority to help clear the shipment through customs at the airport. He also noted that the lab coordinator, Mr. Moses Gbaa, the voluntary lab coordinator, has consented to be at the airport to receive the materials upon arrival and take them directly to the school. He further asked the association to make provision for transportation cost from RIA to Buchanan.
Ways and Means Committee
Chairman Joel King reported that the gofundme campaign is still ongoing and encouraged members to not only contribute to the effort, but to also encourage friends, co-workers and family members to do so as well. He thanked those that have contributed at one time or another. So far, Dr. King reported that the fundraising efforts have resulted in adding $2000 + to the treasury, but added that we still have a long way to go. A number of additional alternatives are being considered to boost the efforts.
Chairman Charles Nagbe thanked the effort of members of his committee for reaching out to graduates and former students which has resulted in a marginal increase in enrollment. He urged everyone to actively canvass for new active members as it will yield a broader base and increase in revenue.
Scholarship Committee Report
Chairlady Lucinda Nagbe reported that she has received the academic report from the school, illustrating the grades of students in all classes to determine the recipient of scholarships for the upcoming academic year. There were several calls for the scholarship program to be expanded to accommodate more needed students. To this, Chairlady Nagbe encouraged members to sponsor students in honor of their loved ones or favorite teacher, as an exampe. Mr. Joseph Sinyan recommended that we also focus on the instructional staff in this program. Internal Auditor J. Alexander Morris suggested that we follow the paper trail, i.e., we track the cost effectiveness of the scholarship program.
State of the Association
President Nuku Reeves pointed out that the state of the association is well and healthy. Cooperation has increased among the membership, all committees are playing their parts and conference calls are held at manageable levels. Mr. Reeves touched on some of the accomplishments and efforts of the midpoint of his term. He spoke of the completion of the auditorium renovation and the replacements of the windows, including the windows of the Principal and Registrar offices which were not included in the initial estimates. Those were paid for personally by Mr. Reeves. He also reported that the bathrooms' renovation have been completed, affording the school modern lavatory facilities. the President mentioned that he was able to get to free the chairs and have them delivered to the auditorium at his expense during his brief visit to Liberia in June. In order to deter thief of the chairs, it was agreed that they be welded together in groups of six which will incur additional expenses. One disappointing observation was that the auditorium is leaking as the roof has not been replaced in a long time. This is an urgent expensive need in the wake of the abnormal heavy down pour of rain in Liberia. While in Liberia, Mr. Reeves also reported that he purchased the sporting uniforms for the soccer, basketball and kickball teams of the school. He also used his personal funds for this since he was on the ground and the provision had been previously approved. This received the loudest applause during a program he attended at the school. The program was also attended by officials from the Ministry of Education, County officials, and the press (it was well covered by several leading national and international news organizations; FrontPage Africa, New Democrat, and Global Witness).
Mr. Reeves then recognized the presence of Ms. Kristen Zozulin, a former Peace Corps Volunteer who recently ended her tour of duty to Liberia and the Bassa High School. He thanked her for the sacrificial services rendered the school in the midst of all of the challenges. He also thanked her for accepting our invitation to attend this year's convention.
For her part, Ms. Zozulin expressed her appreciation for the opportunity to be a part of this year's gathering. She gave us a brief description of her experience in Liberia and particularly at the Bassa High School (where she served for only one academic year after the ebola epidemic). She praised the association for the assistance given the school which has a huge positive impact. Kristen noted that working at the school was very encouraging for her. Compared to her previous assignment at Foya High School in Lofa County, she pointed out the vast differences in everything from class size, to attitude, to performance, among other things. Ms. Zozulin informed the body that Bassa High School was one of the better public schools outside of Monrovia. She praised the staff for their commitment to imparting knowledge by staying on campus for the entire school day everyday as opposed to Foya where teachers worked only half of the time and left to do other personal things. She said students were eager to learn at Bassa High School, class sizes were much smaller, and the school administration encouraged commitment to education. She noted one important challenge especially for female students. They did not have the financial support and the determined ones were therefore engaged in all sorts of activities just for survival. She also observed that the science program faced the serious challenge of not having any paid full-time lab instructors. All of the ones available are part-time (including the coordinator. Moses Gbaa). It is difficult to find them around when needed. She urged the association to use its influences to obtain a few full-time staff for the lab, especially with the arrival of the equipment, specimen and apparatus. Kristen promised to throw more light on her experience at the school via a slideshow during Saturday night's dinner and dance.
Mr. J. Alexander Morris, supported by Mr. Tommy G. Logan, called for a campaign to remove Principal Vee M. Sherriff, as they claimed that he did not have the interest of the school at heart. Following a brief exchange with other members of the body, it was agreed not to get involved in the administrative functions of the school, rather, we continue to focus on assisting with the academic and physical development of the institution.
Board Chair Victor D. King suggested that the association be responsible for compensating a full-time lab technician to maintain a presence on campus. Additionally, he called for the association to compensate two students to assist with the custodial work at the school.
Mr. James R. King suggested that adequate planning for maintenance for the computer lab prior to supplying new computers.
Mr. Johnny Barnard proposed that we focus on computers suitable for the climatic condition as we consider purchasing new computers.
Mr. Trokon Gbadyu offered to supply air conditioners at his own expense for the computer room.
Mr. Immanuel Wortee Karpeh volunteered his services for an entire month to the Bassa High School to help put a system in place and provide the proper maintenance of the system. This will be at no expense to the association. It is his way of giving back to his alma mater.
All of these issues were tabled for further discussions at later teleconferences during the course of the year.
President Nuku Reeves brought up a procedural matter surrounding a misunderstanding between the financial team and some other members over the issue of handling funds. He called for a meeting between the financial team and the website/palpal committee to resolve the issue of being on the same page when it comes to dues payment and other donations made online.
Mr. Oscar Barnard brought up the issue of reimbursing the President for expenses paid from his personal money on behalf of the association. He rejected the idea of reimbursing the president for the uniforms on the grounds of setting a bad precedent. Several other persons (including Board Member Calvin Johnson) spoke in favor of reimbursing the president based on two things: 1) Funds for the sporting uniforms were approved during a previous teleconference, and 2) the situation surrounding the use of personal funds (on the ground in Liberia [an opportune time to have the chairs delivered to the school]) to avoid the unnecessary payment of wire transfer fees and other expenses. The total amount of reimbursement in question here was $4,775. To this a motion was advanced and seconded to decide whether to reimburse Mr. Reeves. The president was then asked to leave the meeting hall while that section was presided over by Board Chairman, Victor D. King. At the end of voting, only three persons were against the reimbursement. The financial team was then authorized to issue a check in the amount of $4,775 to President Nuku Reeves.
Venue of Convention 2017
Two locations were recommended to host the 2017 Convention: Florida and Charlotte, NC. At the end of voting, Charlotte was overwhelmingly selected as the prefer site for the next convention.
With time well beyond the allotted period for the business meeting, President Nuku Reeves called for a motion for adjournment. The motion was advanced and seconded. Chaplain was called upon to give the closing prayer.
S. Roy Reeves, SECRETARY
BHSA Meeting of 9/22/2013 Minutes
Bassa High School Association, USA
Minutes of the teleconference of 09/22/2013
Members on the call in the order of entrance: 1. Mother Joanna Caulcrick, 2. J. Alexander Morris, 3. Hawa Kpakah, 4. Esther Caulcrick, 5. Patrick D. Williams, 6. Pearl Knowlden, 7. Roy Reeves, 8. Ida Lloyd, 9. Frances Potter, 10. Diana Harmon, 11. Kadia Fahnbulleh Swain, 12. Victor D. King.
The teleconference started at about 8:10pm Eastern time with President Hawa Kpakah presiding. VP Esther Caulcrick read out the agenda items and opening prayer was offered by Pearl Knowlden, Chaplain.
Via introduction, Secretary Reeves read out the list of participants. Roy motioned for the minutes of the 2013 convention to be opened for discussion and it was seconded by Ida. In discussion Financial Secretary asked for modification of the minutes to replace the word rant with a more appropriate one as it was a little too strong. Without any objection the secretary agreed to do so. Roy then advanced a motion to make the correction and have the minutes form a part of our archives. It was seconded by Board member Potter.
Chairman Williams reported that convention 2013 was a success. He went over the financial breakdown which everyone already has copies of. Additionally, he informed the body that the revenue figure has been adjusted positively. The revenue now stands at $11,031.00, reflecting a few outstanding tickets that were paid for. He noted however that there are still a number of tickets outstanding in the amount of over $500.00 and urged members to assist by contacting delinquent ticket holders in their areas to pay. He mentioned that tickets were returned unpaid by Charles & Joko Nagbe, as well as Nathaniel Pope (representing a loss of $200.00).
The report got interrupted by an issue of contention raised by Board Co-Chair Caulcrick. Mrs. Caulcrick’s concern was that Victor King reported giving her or Esther two ball tickets when neither one of them received such. Although they paid at the door and entered, she wanted the record set straight as they were not trying to appear dishonest. It was agreed that the issue was to be taken up with Victor at another time. Unfortunately, the issue dragged on for most of the teleconference when President Kpakah contacted Victor to call in. She asked that he issue an apology for the error, but he refused on the grounds that no wrong was committed. It denigrated into a confrontation. With much of the time taken, Secretary Reeves suggested that since the numbers assigned to the tickets in question are known, returned and unsold tickets be checked for those numbers to hopefully put the issue to rest. He further urged the President to set up a small committee to resolve the misunderstanding.
Convention 2014 Update
Diana Harmon reported that preliminary groundwork for the convention has begun but it will actually take off in October. She said the area being considered for the events is New Port Richey, Florida. She lives in the area and knows of several decent hotels to consider. She hopes to have a similar arrangement as that of Delaware wherein the business section and ball can be convened at the hotel with all food catered. The welcome and farewell events can be held at their home which is within the vicinity. The negotiation with the hotel will include having them extend the time of the ball to about 2:00AM. Once the contacts have been made, she will present the cost estimate to the administration for consideration. Treasurer Lloyd offered to assist by surfing the net from her area to look for decent facilities. Diana said that flights to the convention have to be in to the Tampa International Airport.
VP Caulcrick reported that our 2013 Guest Speaker, Dr. Kieh contacted her and expressed interest in assisting us with our project at BHS, namely, the Science lab. He asked that he be kept in the loop as time goes on since he is very interested in improving education in Liberia. This was welcome news.
Hawa expressed her concern about the website following rumors that we might have two sites running simultaneously and neither being constantly updated. She said that it will be looked into soon.
The issue of the convention pictures was brought up. Ida was to contact Emerson Reeves for a price for giving us the pictures he took. Hawa suggested that we produce CDs of the pictures to sell in addition to putting them on the site.
Financial Secretary Morris expressed his concern about the PayPal account. He noted that nobody pays their dues that way and if it has no benefit to the organization and incur financial expense, he would rather us close it down. President Kpakah promised to look into that also.
With the call running well over an hour, the teleconference was adjourned following closing prayer by Chaplain Knowlden.
--Minutes prepared by S. Roy Reeves, Secretary
Convention minutes August 8, 2013
BASSA HIGH SCHOOL ASSOCIATION USA
MINUTES OF THE 2013 CONVENTION
HELD IN WILMINGTON, DE
AUGUST 8, 2013
The Business meeting started at about 11:45 AM with prayer by Pearl Knowlden, Chaplain. Convention Chairperson Patrick Williams gave the welcome remarks. He emphasized that we sacrificially do this to help people; to give back to our community and school. He said that we cannot wait to get a lot of money in order to give back, and urged members to keep coming and supporting a worthy cause.
The meeting was called to order by presiding officer, Hawa Kpakah, president. After a brief greeting and introduction, Ms. Kpakah welcomed everyone to the 11th annual convention. She thanked the Convention Committee Chairman and his members. She also gave special recognition to Mr. Abba Budu of UNIBOA/DC who represented Mr. E. Smith (National President of UNIBOA) as special envoy. Hawa then read the agenda and entertained a motion to discuss it. The motion was advanced by Victor King and seconded by Joel King and Diana Harmon.
Discussion of Minutes
Diana did not hear anything about the Queen Contest, the chronology of the school year of participants incorporated, neither did she see the rearrangement of attendance by year.
Oscar pointed out that guests and Berma Findley were misspelled. He further noted that minutes did not include anything that occurred at the dinner/ball and recommended that such information be reflected in minutes.
After these observations, Patrick Williams moved that minutes be adapted and formed a part of our archives. It was seconded by Nuku Reeves.
Scholarship Committee – No written report was available. However, during the previous year, scholarships were given to students from grades 9 – 11 only. The Community College was still using the BHS building. The Kpakah administration vowed to continue the scholarship program as was done in the previous year. When the situation is revised the administration expects to include scholarships to students in the 7th and 8th grades. Graduation was held in July and we expected to get photos from Estella Pailey.
J. Alexander Morris wanted to know who chairs the scholarship committee? President Kpakah did not know the answer. However, Ida Lloyd informed the body that Lucinda Nagbe was the liaison between the association and Estella in Liberia. Mr. Morris then called for the appointment of a scholarship committee. Hawa replied that we already have one but we need to reinforce it.
Frances stressed the need to reinforce the committee, while Patrick called for the restructuring of the committee through a special meeting with documentation for reinforcement.
Victor King questioned whether the scholarship was given to the dux of each class and if the selection was conducted the same way?
Nuku Reeves announced that he was travelling to Liberia the following month and needed permission to go to the school and assess the progress as well as re-evaluate our program. He noted that the last time $1,500.00 was given to Estella and no report has gone out yet. He promised to check on all and give a report.
Everyone agreed with Nuku’s proposal.
Hawa announced that we received requests from the school to revamp the science lab and reinforce the doors to secure the materials. 4 microscopes were approved at an estimated cost of $1,000.00.
Victor King suggested that we wait for the Chairman to return from Liberia with the assessment prior to proceeding with the purchase.
J. Alexander Morris asked if we have a planning committee? He concurred with Mr. King to wait and noted that we need to include on that committee someone who can frequently travel to Liberia.
Patrick Williams observed that the various committees needed to be discussed and included in the by-laws and constitution.
Joel King agreed that the scope of the various committees needed to be defined in the by-laws and constitution.
J. Alexander Morris reported that Serena Reeves left the financial team because people did not appreciate her work. He also noted that there had been some negative talk about how the then financial secretary wrote a bad check and his name had been dragged into the mud.
Mother Joanna Caulcrick warned the treasurer about making threats on people.
Ida Lloyd noted that we needed to get in touch with Serena to hear from herself and possibly apologize to her.
The session then took a break for lunch.
Continuing the financial report, Treasurer Morris apologized for his earlier outburst. He then gave out the financial report.
Joel King recommended that a budget report be prepared yearly. This recommendation was supported by Nuku Reeves who volunteered to work with the Treasurer to prepare a comparative report and come up with a variance.
Victor King called for a budget report to be approved before the convention.
Nuku Reeves explained the financial process and pledged for continuity for the future. He noted that we had unfortunate situations in the past year and promised to try to improve the situation.
Ida Lloyd questioned the many pending amounts on the spreadsheet. She pointed out that people receiving tickets to sell should be held responsible for the money. They should not be allowed to return unsold tickets after the event.
Nuku Reeves suggested that we focus on people who can sell tickets and give them tickets .He added that every member should at least buy one ticket and tickets for sale should not be imposed on anyone.
Patrick Williams pointed out that all tickets given to his convention committee members were either sold or returned. But Victor King re-iterated that committee chairman Williams took 60 tickets and sold all. Patrick said that moving forward, we need to have a policy in place to let us know how many times the financial report need to be published and the details of how and what need to be included.
Hawa Kpakah thanked Patrick Williams for the suggestion that was discussed and henceforth reports will be sent to the members in good financial standing.
Victor King asked how many si9gnatures are required on the bank account. Treasurer Morris said three signatures are currently on the account (Nuku, the Financial Secretary and the Treasurer).
A motion to accept the financial report was made by Joel King and seconded by Esther Caulcrick
President Hawa Kpakah pointed out that the purpose of the organization was to give back through programs. She gave the goals for 2012:
Complete approved projects
Have yearly convention
Have programs in black and white to raise funds
Hawa noted that the organization has a 501 C 3 status. She thanked the Board Chairman for all he has done for the organization. She further observed that we had challenges but through hard work, we surmounted them in the name of unity to ensure the proper representation of BHS away from home. Hawa encouraged suggestions for the good of the organization and pointed out that the organization is strong. She promised to continue to implement projects to make our dreams come true.
Unfinished Business – Board Membership
Board member Victor King wanted to know the structure of the Board.
Chairman Nuku Reeves said an amendment was done to the structure (6 members from within & 3 members from outside the organization) is the new set-up as is contained within the copy of the constitution. He pointed out that Ms. Berma Findley is now one of the members previously from outside the organization. He also thanked the body for the outpour of love and support during the passing of our mother. Mr. Reeves then proposed two things: (1) A constitutional amendment for the Board to meet four times a year promised to call meetings going forward), and (2) the need for quarterly financial report to be sent out to active members.
Mother Joanna Caulcrick thanked the body for the excellent reception she has received so far (first becoming a board member, and the following year becoming queen and later elected to the position of Co-Chair of the Board).
Berma Findley thanked the body for her preferment as Board Member. She pledged to work with the Board. Ms. Findley informed the body that she did not attend BHS at all, but as a Bassonian, she felt just as much a part. She reminded the group that her mother taught at BHS, her brother is currently a Senator from the County and one day she hopes to follow along that line.
Joel King proposed that the President designate someone to regularly check the mailbox and relay communications received. Secretary Frances Potter mentioned that Lehigh is the official address of the association.
Victor King expressed his concern for the need to enforce and strategize for people who attended BHS to get actively involved. He called for the formation of local chapters to help recruit in this effort. Mr. King noted that several persons who have previously attended seem to have fallen by the way side and a local chapter would help reach out to them.
Esther Caulcrick added that we need a current list of former students and graduates from our liaison so that we can be aware of the ones whom have immigrated to the US and their locations as a first step in encouraging them to get on board.
Hawa Kpakah recognized the concerns expressed by Victor King and Esther Caulcrick, and promised to discuss Esther’s suggestion further.
Nuku Reeves suggested we implement the idea of regional chapters.
Joel King expressed the need for us to re-evaluate the time of the year we hold our convention. He observed that August might be too busy. Contacting former members to get their inputs might help along these lines.
Pearl Knowlden suggested that we make the effort to patronize other organization’s functions and they might reciprocate.
Berma Findley called for advertising our convention on TLC Africa so as to attract a bigger crowd and possibly bring in more revenue.
The vote for the constitutional amendment for the Treasurer to provide quarterly financial report passed without opposition. The vote to hold quarterly Board meeting passed along the same lines.
Victor king was asked to declare those eligible to vote (members in good financial standings). The result was as follows:
President………………….Hawa Kpakah (unopposed)
Vice President……………Esther Caulcrick (elected unopposed)
Lucinda Nagbe (not interested)
Secretary…………………Roy Reeves (elected in abstentia)
Diana Harmon (declined)
Treasurer…………………J. Alexander Morris (4 votes)
Ida Lloyd (9 votes) [elected by majority votes]
Joseph Sinyan (declined)
Financial Secretary………J. Aklexander Morris (elected by acclamation)
Board member to serve the remaining term of Nathaniel Brumskine who now resides in Liberia:
Dr. Joel A. King……………6 votes
Frances Potter………………7 votes (won by majority votes)
The election process started at about 1:40PM and ended at 3:05PM.
Venue of Next Convention
Upon the request of Mrs. Diana Harmon, it was decided that the 2014 convention would be held in Tampa, FL during the weekend of August 15, 2014.
Respectfully prepared and submitted by Frances Potter, outgoing Secretary.
Attachments: Financial reports.
BHSAUSA Teleconference of May 25, 2013 Minutes
BASSA HIGH SCHOOL ASSOCIATION, USA
Minutes of Teleconference of May 25, 2014
Participants in Chronological order: Pearl Knowlden, Patrick Williams, Esther Caulcrick, Alexander Morris, Johnny Barnard, Oscar Barnard, Roy Reeves, Joanna Caulcrick, Victor King, Charles Nagbe, and Lucinda Nagbe.
Interim president Patrick Williams presided. He commenced by asking Chaplain Knowlden to open with prayer.
Two major items dominated the agenda: The Bassa High School projects and the website.
Regarding the projects, Mr. Williams announced that the estimates were received via mail from Joko Nagbe and forwarded to the Treasurer, Ida Lloyd. She was unavailable to present the details. However, Patrick disclosed that the two approved projects (completion of fence and Science lab) are estimated to cost $14,307. Of this amount, $7,964 will be for the fence and $6,343 for the science lab. The lab portion excludes specimen lab apparatus; it is only for infrastructural improvements. Mr. Williams proposed that the projects be funded in phases. One third disbursed to start the work, another third midway through and the final disbursement at the completion. He announced that Tommy Logan is in Liberia attempting to get the support of colleagues to facilitate the establishment of a sister association. Our intention is to avoid sending money through western union. We instead prefer have the funds wired to a bank account of that sister association for transparency and accountability. The account to be opened is to maintain $100. Funds sent from us will be solely for our projects. The account will require three signatures to withdraw funds. Patrick further proposed that an independent inspector be appointed to monitor and evaluate every phase of our projects at the school. Funding is to be authorized based upon his recommendation.
Mr. Johnny Barnard presented an alternative proposal. He noted that a better way to go about funding our projects is to send check directly from our US association via international courier such as UPS, FEDEX, or DHL. He further proposed that contractor selected to implement projects be a registered business with a bank account. The body however preferred Patrick’s proposal over Johnny’s. There were lengthy back and forth remarks on the proposals which consumed almost an entire hour of our precious time.
Regarding the website, Patrick emphasized that an attractive, up to date website is an important marketing tool for the association. Further to the decision of the last meeting, a web professional will be asked to evaluate our current website and recommend improvements. Mr. Williams also expressed his preferment of the site being professionally managed to relieve the burden off the Nagbes. He noted that since VP Calvin Johnson refused to give the domain name to the organization, the Nagbes were asked to donate their dot net name to be owned by BHSUSA. His he said will prevent the site from being hijacked by an individual owner because of so many reasons. Mrs. Nagbe took exception to the notion of hijack and explained how the whole thing works as regarding domain name and hosting company.
With almost two hours on the call, the agenda was exhausted and Board Member Victor King advanced a motion for adjournment. It was seconded by Financial Secretary Morris .Closing prayer was offered by Pearl Knowlden.
Roy Reeves, SECRETARY