Added by Cameroon Daily Journal on August 17, 2016.
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Tags: Saker Baptist College, Sakerettes, Sakerettes Celebrate 15th Annual Convention in Pentagon City, Virginia
A group of Sakerettes after the White House Tour
By Charles Ekema, August 17, 2016
Dr. Yvonne Maddox, Convention Launch speaker.
Cameroon Journal, Washington D.C – Members of Ex Saker Students Association better known as Sakerettes gathered at the Sheraton in Pentagon City, Virginia, recently for their 15th annual convention under the theme, “Empowering Girls, Inspiring Change.” The convention attracted Sakerettes from all over the world including Canada, France, England, Switzerland, Nigeria and Cameroon. A hospitality suite powered by the hosts, the DC metro chapter displayed badges and gift bags to signal a warm welcome.
Friday morning was the official opening ceremony with the award winning Speaker Yvonne T. Maddox, Vice President for Research at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS), a part of the Department of Defense.
Maddox, according to attendees was a great fit having spearheaded many influential projects affecting women during her academic and government career. In her address, she didn’t only inspire, but equally challenged Sakerettes to realize they arebeacons of light who should do marvelous things for the girl child and should not take their unique sisterhood for granted.
She encouraged the women by echoing the words of the first Principal of Saker Ms. Bernice Westermann, “When God leads you into a new adventure, think not only of the challenges or obstacles, but of what could be. Dream, and in faith, expect those dreams to come true. Remember, He can work beyond what we ask or imagine.” She said.
After the robust opening the ladies set out for a historic tour of the White House. Thanks to the indefatigable President of the DC Metro President, Agnes Strassberger who pulled all the necessary strings to make it happen. For most members, entering the White House was undoubtedly the high point of the convention. Interestingly, the last time the Sakerettes hosted the convention was in 2009 when Barack Obama just got into the
Sally Bame-Kum Keynote Speaker
White House. It was therefore such a pleasant coincidence that they were in town again in 2016 during Obama’s last year in office. Dressed in their official “blue coconut uniform” symbolic of the beachside town of Limbe, where their alma mater is located, the Sakerettes became an instant sensation as tourists stopped them in their tracks to find out who they were while begging to pose for photographs with them.
By 6pm the ladies were ready for their common meal accompanied by a workshop where members brainstormed on possible solutions to problems that have cropped up in the organization. Under the leadership of Etona Ekole, a Field worker with UNICEF and chapter president for ExSSA New York/NJ, the women showed their prowess as professional women straddling different prominent careers.
It was a highly productive session. After the workshop the women went into praise and worship mode with captivating rhythms from the talented Houston based, DJ Skipper. The speaker for the night, Clara Ebai Selaboy from Kano, Nigeria admonished the ladies to work towards peace and unity. After the spiritual emphasis it was time for another highlight of the convention, roll call. The roll call began with the most recent graduates. As each class was called the girls gained the floor gyrating to the music of their choice. Each batch present tried to outdo the other as their graduating year was announced. As the roll call moved to the 70’s and 60’s it was amazing to note that the energy of the women doubled. The lone pioneer present, class of 1966 Elizabeth Tambe received a rousing welcome befitting one of the pioneering “36 young girls” referenced in the Saker anthem. This year the class of 1986 celebrated the 30th anniversary of their graduation from Saker Baptist College. They came from all over the world to fete the bond of sisterhood created and nurtured in Saker. In gratitude they donated $2000 to ExSSA USA to support its mission of empowering the girl child in Saker.
On Saturday, the Business of the organization took place at the AGM where Susan Jiofack Tar from the class of 1994 was elected new President of ExSSA USA. By 7pm the distinguished guests for the dinner gala were already arriving. The sold out event attracted la crème de la crème of the Cameroonian community in the USA.
As the guests ate, they were entertained by the angelic voice of Ulanda Oben, the dexterity of an Argentinian tango duo, and the soulful voices of the DC metro chapter. The MCs for the night Kate Atabong Ndi and Bob Takusi held the guests captive as they glided through the program with seasoned ambiance.
Acting national president, Joyce Ashuntantang presented a snapshot of what ExSSA USA has accomplished in their 15 year history followed by a presentation of the National Executive Council members. The eloquent keynote speaker, Sara Bame-Kum, past President of EXSSA USA and Development Professional working with USAID, highlighted what it takes to inspire change. As she put it, “Change that inspires comes from the heart; it has lived the problem, knows what approach to adopt to solve the problem. And when it empowers others, it inspires them and develops a human chain of responsibility, reaping benefits that far exceed financial gain and one generation.”
Her full speech can be seen on Exssa-usa.org. With all what the Sakerettes had put on display, it was easy for Ernest Njaba, President/Principal at BOTA Consulting Engineers Inc. and proud husband of a Sakerette, to launch the fundraiser with a hefty sum. Many guests followed his cue and gave generously. There was good cheer all around as the magical tunes delivered by DJ Anselmo left everyone transfixed on the dance floor!
On Sunday, it was time to give God all the glory in keeping with the Christian foundation of Saker Baptist College. The guest preacher, Rev. Dr. Dorine Takusi among other inspiring ideas, implored Sakerettes to harness the good in their organization by building bridges in their sisterhood not walls that bring division.
By the time the ladies got to the farewell barbecue at Barcroft Park that afternoon, it was evident by all accounts that the convention was a formidable success. They are already looking forward to the 16th annual convention in Boston, Massachusetts from August 3-6th 2017.