Awlaelo Schools Alumni Association celebrated its 4th anniversary on July 18, 2007 in Las Vegas. As always, the event was divided into two parts. One, members meeting during the day time and second was fund-raising during the night time.
Part One – Members Meeting:
During the members meeting, detailed 4 years report of Awlaelo Schools Alumni Association activity was presented to the general assembly by Awlaelo Schools Alumni Association secretary Atsbha Gebru. Among other things, the report included that the construction of Kiros Alemayohu Memorial Library in work is going to cost Awlaelo Schools Alumni Association 1.3 Million Birr and so far the Alumni Association has sent $60,000 U.S.D. ($522,000 Birr) to facilitate the construction of the Library. On the other hand, the Alumni Association has contributed $28,000 U.S.D. (237,000 Birr) for the construction of class rooms in Wukro High School.
The report also included the purchase of computers and a duplicating machine in the expense of $34,800 Birr for Atsbi and Sinkata high Schools. It was also included in the report that Awlaelo Schools Alumni Association has implemented a program that will encourage students to do better in their studies and teachers to try harder in their teaching. This program awards substantial amount of money for best performing students and teachers in Wukro, Atsbi, and Sinkata high schools. So far, 96 students and 15 teachers totally 111 individuals received the award costing the Alumni Association $35,100 Birr. The report showed that in the last 4 years, Awlaelo Schools Alumni Association has sent $96,200 U.S.D. (830,000 Birr) to Kilte-Awlaelo to support the high schools in the region.
Members also discussed about current and future projects and how to strengthen the branches. It was decided in the meeting that after the completion of the current project which is the ongoing construction of Kiros Alemayohu Memorial Library in Wukro, our next project is going to be collecting and sending books to Sinkata High School and purchasing 25 computers to Atsbi high school so that Atsbi high school can be able to open the long waiting preparatory classes (10+1 and 10+2). By the way, Atsbi High school wanted to open the preparatory classes but it was required to have 25 computers in the school in order to open those classes.
The last agenda of the meeting was to elect new board members since the current board members including the president were finished their terms. However, the general assembly called for an amendment of the association’s Bylaw to lift the term restriction of the board members. After the amendment was passed, the general assembly decided not to elect new board members but to keep the current ones and to add more branch representatives to strengthen the Alumni Association branches.
Finally, the meeting was concluded by deciding a place where the 5th annual reunion will take place. It was agreed our reunion next year to be held in Oakland, CA on Saturday July 19, 2008.
Part Two -Fund-raising Night:
The fund-raising night was planed to start at 6:00 P.M. However, people did not start coming until pass 8:00 P.M. I think it was a Las Vegas thing to start the game a little bit late and have it all night long. Our Las Vegas branch representative Tewelde Girmay began the night?s program by welcoming the guests following by an announcement for guests to have a dinner that was prepared by the wohalalus of Vegas sisters. After the famous artists of Muruts Abraha, Tadesse Gebre, and Yayne Abay, played a couple sensational songs, Awlaelo Schools Alumni Association president Abraha Weldegebriel took the stage to convey his message to the audience.
Abraha started his speech by thanking Awlaelo members for standing strong together to help the schools of Kilte-Awlaelo and thanked all Tigrians/Ethiopians for supporting the Alumni Associations and Civic Organizations that are supporting Tigrai and its regions/Awrajas. When he got to the bottom of his speech, Abraha said ?when we created Awlaelo Schools Alumni Association, we did not intend to use it as a fence to separate our-selves from others. Instead, we used this organization to do more and become involved with all Alumni and civic organizations to contribute our share for a better Tigrai.? He then stressed the need for all Alumni Associations and Civic Organizations of Tigrai to come together and to create an umbrella organization that will address the need and interest of all Tigrians. He also revealed his fear by saying ?if the Alumni Associations fail to understand the great danger of division and failed to re-evaluate their strategies in creating an umbrella organization, more of our members from the districts (weredas) of Tigrai are going to establish Associations at a district (wereda) level to support the newly emerging high schools in their area; and that idea scares me a lot.
To add to Abraha’s message, I would like to remind readers that Awlaelo Schools Alumni Association has been calling for the last two years for all Alumni Associations of Tigrai to get together once in three or five years. While I agreed with the message of Awlaelo Schools Alumni Association, I was also personally advocating for the creation of an umbrella organization for the last two years. As they say ?there is a time for everything and now seems to be the right time for me to explain to all Tigrians why I believe the creation of an umbrella organization is important. Therefore, I will have a separate posting regarding this subject some time soon.
Having said the above, our fund-raising night in Las Vegas was very successful. There was a special program for Tihlo and Mias, T-shirts with a picture of Kiros Alemayohu Memorial Library and Vegas land marks were sold, a laptop computer was sold $2,100 in auction of the night, and non-stop dance was continued until 4:30 A.M.
Generally speaking, the event was very successful and the fun was endless.
Finally, Awlaelo Schools Alumni Association would like to thank all Tigrians/Ethiopians who participated in the event in general and Las Vegas branch Awlaelo members in particular for making this event very successful.
Thank You, Atsbha Gebru
Reporting for Awlaelo Schools Alumni Association