Cathedral School Alumni Association (CSAA) – North America
1996 – Current
It was in 1995, a Sunday morning get-together the “day after” the wedding of Vivian and Christopher Rennie in the basement of Ricky Rennie’s house. The large gathering definitely felt that formulating the Cathedral School Alumni Association (CSAA) would be a worthwhile enterprise. Cecelia Cooper agreed to chair a committee to host the first ever Alumni Association meeting in the summer of 1996 in Maryland area.
What took place in the community room of a Maryland Park was perhaps our most humble assembly, but in many ways the most exciting. Alumni and former students gathered, sharing memories. J. Fonati Koffa, Esq. was elected the first national president, and the Association was launched.
The very existence of the CSAA today owes much to the selection of Fonati as the president. He was always willing to travel from one location to another to make sure chapters were being formed. The Association was duly incorporated, the treasury started growing as dues came in, and plans were made to hold the second annual Convention in New York.
When the Cats met in New York in 1997, there was a great air of excitement. At the plenary session, Fonati made what his most significant contribution by announcing the establishment of the Cathedral School Educational Foundation, and Mr. Robert J. Schwarz was named its first chair. A post he still holds today.
In the years that followed, Conventions were held in Atlanta, (1998), Raleigh, (1999), Minnesota, (2000), Maryland/DC/VA (2001) (where we were blessed to have Archbishop Michael Francis join us), New York/New Jersey (2002), Atlanta (2003), Philadelphia (Tri-State) (2004), and Maryland-DC-VA (2005), a celebration of our 10th Anniversary and 25th anniversary of the first graduating high school class from Cathedral.
Fonati Koffa’s, 3-year tenure was followed by the 2-year presidency of El-Tumu Trueh. Since his term of office, Tumu has remained very active in the organization, and we owe the development of our first website development to his tireless efforts. Tumu was succeeded by Jeremiah Nabwe as President. Jeremiah never hesitated to find his way back East for meetings to advance the Association. Jeremiah was succeeded by Dr. J. Clarence Yaskey. Dr. Yaskey has harnessed technology for his executive meetings, usually held as conference calls, thereby overcoming the geographic constraints of his far-flung board of officers. The current president, Anthony S. Nah, Jr., has appointed several leadership teams: the National Membership Committee, charged with the responsibility of addressing concerns related to recruitment and retention of our members; the revitalization of inactive chapters; the dwindling attendance by younger graduates at our convention and the decline in the timely payment of national dues; the National Membership Outreach Committee, responsible for ensuring that the National Association representation is extended when members are bereaved, and congratulating members when they’ve made accomplishments.
He has restructured the former fundraising committee, as the newly National Fundraising Board, whose additional task is to seek alternative means of raising funds through seeking support from U. S. Corporations and other Catholic Organizations.
As the Cathedral School Alumni Association continues to grow, it is hoped that more and more alumni will form active chapters in their areas and contribute to the betterment of their alma mater. This is a critical time in Liberia’s history, and our investment in the education of today’s youth will help build a better future for the country as a whole. Together, we can enable the next generation to strive forward in the same way.