It is one of the country’s oldest intuitions and was listed amongst its (country) most prestigious missions.
Many of the nation’s prominent citizens including President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Liberia’s Anti-Corruption Commission Chair, Cllr. Frances Johnson-Morris, Providence Baptist’s Senior Pastor Joseph Roberts and a host of others began their education here.
Today, Suehn Industrial Academy, located in Suehn, Bomi County, just a stone throw off the Suehn-Mecca main road, is gradually disappearing into the woods. It will now be remembered only in history- at least for its high profiled alumni but not as an educational institution that exists and runs.
The mission’s infrastructures are covered in thick bushes despite an attempt few years ago to renovate some of the structures. The girl and boys’ dormitories as well as other units have already disappeared into the woods. Mr. Molley J. Beyan is the Town Chief of Suehn; he says it is a shame that the institution which was the pride of the county has lost its glory.
“Nobody knows what is actually happening,” he said in an interview with this paper over the weekend.
Chief Beyan sat under the hut, with other elders, his both hands resting on his knees in a relax posture and said for the past years or so there were some attempts by the alumni of Suehn to renovate some of the class room blocks and offices including the Hall, but the entire project has come to a standstill.
“That whole something (talking about the attempted renovation) you see there, that project we all were happy. We embraced the idea.” He said.
“People came, and did the ground breaking. After that we saw things coming on well. But we don’t know really the main problem. They just left the project that way” Chief Beyan said.
On physical inspection of the renovated class room blocks are newly installed panel doors and locks. The structures are painted in cream. The zincs are a bit new.
But further inspections revealed that the structures may have been abandoned for more than a year now, since renovation work began on them. Bulks have eaten almost all the planks holding the roof top. Some doors have fallen off as a result.
The entire campus now sits in the bush. The dormitories are lost in the grass. One can only imagine their locations. Access to most of these structures is no longer in existence.
“I am embarrassed because most of the times we have to keep watch of the area to make sure that the doors are still intact,” he said.
Criminals, he said had attempted stealing some of the panel doors erected on the structures on several occasions. The renovation work on the campus, he said was awarded to one Deacon Reeves of the Effort Baptist Church in Paynesville, Monrovia.
“Nobody knows what is happening,” he said.
“The alumni have not shown any sign of encouragement,” Chief Beyan said.
He added: “First of all the facility that we have on this campus which is the rubber farm, anytime they gave the rubber farm to people or they lease the farm, we don’t know what they can do with the money.”
Chief Beyan said it is their expectation that the alumni would give the village some of the proceeds from the farm to do some work on the campus but that has not been the case.
“For the past three to four years they have been leasing the farm. And we can’t hear nothing, no one knows what they are doing,” he said.
The rubber farm is an attachment to the Suehn Industrial Mission School.
“By right when this Mission was built, we had our percentage there. And we used that to send our children, our brothers and sisters there. The amounts that we suppose to pay were used to help us. Even this rubber farm, the town suppose to be getting certain amount from this, but they have not given us anything,” he said.
“They can just come and tell us this other group is using the farm. Sometimes they just bring letter,” he said.
It is unlikely that the Suehn Industrial Mission Academy will ever be restored. Unlike the past where it was the only institution of higher learning in the district, several schools have emerged.
The Suehn Elementary School, constructed by the World Bank and Chinese aide to Liberia, was a modern High School facility as well as another institution called the DDI. These schools are well built compared to some of the Monrovia-based and are ideally located.
The problem is whether they’ve the qualified teaching staff to manage them. Here Chief Beyan made an appeal to the Ministry of Education to help the area with qualified teaching staff.
But after all said and done, the Suehn Industrial Mission School has become a white elephant and its glory now reflects its alumni, because there may likely not be another output if things stay the way they are.