Vol. 4, Iss. 4 | December 21, 2010
Letter from the President
Given Firestone Liberia's commitment to education in postwar Liberia, we wanted to provide an update on our continuing work in the classroom through this special all-education edition of the Firestone Voice.
All of us at Firestone Natural Rubber Company, LLC and our subsidiary Firestone Liberia, Inc. believe that education plays an invaluable role in rebuilding Liberia's social and economic fabric following its 14-year civil conflict. We view our ongoing investments in education as investments in Liberia's future.
The K-12 Firestone School System enrolls more than 15,000 students annually, and employs more than 400 full-time instructors, making it one of the largest single school systems in the country. Children of Firestone Liberia employees attend free of charge, one of many benefits the company provides its employees.
After a banner year in 2009, the Firestone School System, Firestone Scholarship Program and Adult Education Programs continued to achieve remarkable successes in 2010. I invite you to read some highlights of our progress below. I thank you for your continued interest in our company and its employees, and I wish you all the best this holiday season and in the new year.
Dan Adomitis, President
Firestone Senior High School Holds Second Annual Commencement Ceremonies; Seniors Achieve Perfect Passing Rate on WAEC Exams
Speaking over a driving rainstorm in a school gymnasium in Harbel, Liberia, earlier this fall, Dan Adomitis, President of Firestone Natural Rubber Company, LLC (FSNR), enthusiastically commended the graduating seniors assembled before him in green and yellow gowns.
"You have taken advantage of the opportunities afforded you as children of Firestone employees and you have done well. For that, I applaud you," Adomitis told the students.
As keynote speaker for the second annual commencement ceremonies of Firestone Senior High School, Adomitis was sincerely congratulatory in his remarks. And he certainly had good reason. After all, every one of the 218 Firestone students who took the West African Examinations Council examinations in May 2010 successfully qualified for graduation by passing, a remarkable achievement for a school system that was destroyed during Liberia's long civil conflict.
"As we looked to rebuild our operations in Liberia, we knew schools and education were going to be a key part of our efforts," said Adomitis. "I knew we would eventually build some of the finest schools in Liberia, but I didn't think we would have so much success so soon."
Beyond the perfect passing rate on the WAEC exams, Firestone Senior High School also accounted for four of the top five individual student test scores in the country.
Mulbah Gayflor, Principal of the 950-student Firestone Senior High School, attributes these successes to the company's strong support of the system and unparalleled commitment to education in Liberia.
"We have facilities and instructors that are second to none in this country," Gayflor said. "Our high school has computer and science laboratories, and our teacher-to-student ratio is quite low. With this support, there is no reason Firestone should not have the best schools and the top students in all of Liberia."
Firestone Scholarship Program Provides Tuition for Students Across Liberia
While Firestone Liberia provides K-12 schooling free of charge to children of its employees, public education elsewhere in Liberia is not free. Since 2008, the Firestone Scholarship Program has provided tuition for deserving students throughout the country to attend the primary, secondary or undergraduate institution of their choice.
More than 100 scholarships were awarded this fall for the 2010-2011 school year, including 56 full-tuition scholarships for undergraduates to continue their studies at the university level. These scholarships are a significant part of the company's educational initiatives, considering the cost of education is often beyond the financial means of Liberian families surviving in a country with an estimated 80 percent unemployment rate.
"The Firestone Liberia Scholarship Program contributes immensely to the growth of some of the best students in this country, many of whom could not otherwise afford to pursue education," said William F. Gizi, Margibi County Education Officer. "This program and the company's commitment to the Firestone School System truly demonstrate how this company values and believes in the powerful role education can play in Liberia's future."
Literacy, Accelerated Learning Programs Provide Educational Opportunities for Adults
Firestone Liberia's commitment to education in post-war Liberia extends beyond the walls of its K-12 school system. The company offers both an Adult Literacy Program and an Accelerated Learning Program to aid those members of the Firestone community whose educational progress was derailed by the country's 14-year civil war. This summer, the company and the staffs of both adult learning programs recognized the latest graduates of the Accelerated Learning Program, an initiative designed in coordination with the Liberian Ministry of Education to provide six years of elementary education in three years' time.