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Jeffrey Elkner

Mission Accomplished!


Last Day Picture

Last day of class. Back: Abednego, Jallah, Jeff, Mulbah, Janet. Front: Daniel, Thomas, Taddymar, Yawa.

When my colleagues back at the Arlington Career Center (ACC) heard I was coming to Liberia, they invariably told me to "take lots of pictures". Well, I'm not much of a picture taker, but perhaps I can take a small step toward making up for that with this last post.

The last day of the MCSS Summer 2022 ICT Program has now ended, and I can say with confidence that the goals of the program that Superintendent Isaac Zawolo and I discussed before I came here have been met. 35 students participated in 36 days of class learning keyboarding, computer literacy, the unix command-line, and computer programming with both Scratch and Python.

Thomas and Abednego discussing a python program

Thomas and Abednego discussing their python program.

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Huge shout out to ACC faculty members Dr. Antares Leask and Dr. Michelle Van Lare, who donated most of the computer equipment that made this Summer program possible!

Shallon and Mulbah pair programming

Shallon and Mulbah pair programming.

Spencer and Jeff

When I arrived in class on Friday morning, my dear friend Spencer, who must have tired of seeing me come to class each day in my very unfashionable attire, decided to fix me up with this lovely African shirt.

Posing with students in my new threads

My new shirt motivated a flurry of picture taking, and here I am posing with students in my new threads.

My Travels in Liberia

Ironically, I am someone who doesn't like to travel at all, and yet who has now been to 6 of the world's 7 continents. While I don't like to travel, I do like to be where I am, so this trip I very happily spent 2 months within walking distance of where I landed here in the Sinkor section of Monrovia.

I am now very much at home here. I know where to shop, what to eat, and where to get together with friends I've met for a beer on Friday evening. If our project continues to develop successfully and I have occasion to return, I'll be returning to a place I know.

I like it this way, and had just the kind of experience in Liberia that I hoped to have. After 15 years working together, my dear friend the Supe knew my eccentricities well enough to let me be the odd ball character I am, and it worked out very well indeed.

Keke entering Tubman Blvd.

Keke entering Tubman Blvd.

I've gotten a knowing chuckle several times this Summer by telling friends here that I think I've managed to beat the odds by crossing Tubman Blvd. twice a day for two months and still being alive to tell about it. Without traffic lights or stop signs, it is a harrowing experience that was part of my daily experience.

Parting Thoughts

Last Day Picture 2

Parting shot. To be continued...

This is far from the end of our story. In fact, 6 students have been selected to participate in a paid internship with NOVA Web Development, where they will continue learning Python programming and then move on to web application development. I'll have a lot more to say about that in future posts.

We have also set up a Zulip chat for any MCSS students who want to continue communicating with me and each other about ICT studies. The Superintendent and I talked about the possibility of setting up a sister school project between the Arlington Career Center and Tubman High School, and whether that transpires or not, I'll be looking for ways to directly connect my Python students in both Virginia and Liberia.