As Saints Alumni is launched in US
By Lamin Cham
Father Joseph Gough, the Irish priest who is credited with the most succesful education and sports development initiatives in The Gambia, has recently been visiting the USA where he presided over several importantceremonies and meetings touching on projects established as part of his great legacy.
The main highlight of the trip was the formal inauguration of the Saint Augustine’s High School Alumni and the Gough Foundation, which took place on August 14 in Geogia Atlanta State.
The launching provided a unique and touching reunion of the teacher and his disciples who are some of the Gambia's best known sports men and scholars running his Foundation. They included Sunni A. Joiner, Mr. Bye Malleh Wadda, Mr. Lamin Faati, Mr. Yankuba Mamburay, Tijan Massaneh Ceesay and Mr. Albert Valentine among others.
The event was opened with prayers by Imam Bye Ibrahim Secka and Father Joseph A. Gough followed by remarks by the Master of Ceremonies of the program, Sunni Joiner. In his remarks, Joiner, one of the best Gambian basketball players, ever, and the first Gambian to play college basketball in the US, praised the initiative to bring together ex-students, current students, teachers and the Gough Foundation.Yankuba Mamburay, also a former student and teacher at Saint Augustine’s High School, praised Father Gough for the foundation he laid at SAHS.
He presented his book, “The Search for a Lost Brother,” to Father Gough as a token of appreciation for the service he rendered to SAHS and the entire Gambian nation. On his part Mr. Albert Valentine posited that he was a badge of 1977, one reason why he was flabbergasted by the school song that we sang at the occasion – he did not know about the song because when he was there Saints had no school song. He said he went to SAHS in 1972 and graduated in 1977. “I express my sincere gratitude to Father Gough and SAHS for helping us become men.
The next speaker at the occasion was Mr. Bye Malleh Wadda, a renowned Gambian Sportsman. He came from The Gambia to attend the occasion in his capacity as the coordinator of the Gough Foundation. Mr. Wadda discussed the various development projects the Gough Foundation has embarked on since when it was established some three years ago.The votes of thanks was given by Tijan Massaneh Ceesay. He said the following: "Fr Joseph Gough has been my mentor, my friend and my adopted Father if you will. Like me , He has been instrumental to many a lives and indeed The Gambia and its people are grateful. It is against the backdrop of the many great things He has done for our country and its people that we the Alumni have come together to compliment his efforts." The Father was presented with a prestigious award called the Momodou Baboucarr Njie award, in honour of his excellent service to the nation.