After the sudden death of Kees Hoogendijk, founder of, and driving force within the SmartKids Foundation, a hectic period started. The Board Members only then fully realized how much time and work Kees devoted to his dream.
It is almost a mission impossible to fill the gap he left behind. Now that reality is sinking in, the board has to re-shuffle and fill more or less two vacancies. One a replacement International Coordinator and a Treasurer.
Every year the SmartKids Ghana community is organizing an Annual Meeting in Kumasi. This time the meeting will take place on June 2nd, 2012. Like every year Kees Hoogendijk was the representative of the Board of Management in the Netherlands.
Coming up is the first Annual Meeting without him.
Board member Ruud Nassette will travel to Accra and Kumasi end of May/early June. He will try to fill the absence of the “Father” of the community, also that seems a “Mission Impossible”.
‘As for me, everything is possible. You just have to go for it!’
Kees Hoogendijk 1955- 2012
The 4th annual meeting of the SmartKids Foundation took place in Kumasi on June 4 and 5 2011. Again it was very well organised by the older smartkids, it was very successful and great fun, like a real reunion.
On Saturday June 4th the actual annual meeting took place, filled with speeches, verbal reports and occasional lighter issues, like another play by the SmartKids Happy Genius Literary Club. More on that in a later publication.
Around 75 of a possible 92 smart kids were present, many of them traveling all across the country to take part. Apart from the kids, over 30 other guests made their appearance, like parents, teachers, university lecturers and invited guests. Some of them came for the full length of the program, others for a few hours. Most came from Kumasi, some even from as far as Cape Coast.
Among the many guests present were the the proprietor of the Joy Standard School Mr. Stephen Donkor, Mr. Francis Cornah
(Chief of Kukuavile in the Ajomoro/Apataim Traditional Area, Western Region, also known as Nana Toku Nyamekye III), who acted as the chairman for the event, Mr. Prosper Deku and Dr. Emmanuel Kofi Gyimah, both lecturers at the University of Cape Coast and specialists in the field of Special Education, medical doctor Kathryn Spangenberg-Donkor, director of the play Penelope Onuman and many many more.
Master of ceremony for the second time in a row was the now 14 year old smart girl Miata Kuyichiana, this time together with older smartkid Kwame Nature.
Speech by invited guests
One of the speeches delivered by an invited guests was the one by Dr. Emmanuel Kofi Gyimah; he related of the fact that he already met Kees Hoogendijk in 2002, when the latter was visiting Ghana for the first time while on an exploratory mission.
Speech by E. Gyimah
Speech by international coordinator
In his speech international coordinator Kees Hoogendijk commented on the financial challenges of the foundation, among other issues. As a result of the financial status of the foundation, there will not be any selection of new smart kids this year. Also smart kids in the tertiary level might be asked to reduce their expenditures.
He also announced that granting of scholarships to smart kids who want to move on the next level (JHS, SHS, Tertiary Level) from now on will be on the following basis, in case of lack of funds:
1. Academic Performance
2. Relative Poverty among peers
3. Smartkidsness (the level of personal contribution to the foundation)
He also commented on the relatively poor attendance of older smart kids to the annual meeting and encouraged smart kids who got the chance of visiting their regional directors during the vacations.
Speeches by national coordinators
The outgoing national coordinator Dr. Ross announced her resignation as a national coordinator to the foundation and encouraged smart kids to stay focused on their education and to do their best for the foundation.
The new national coordinator, Dr. Dawn Belton gave a speech in acceptance of the position of national coordinator and in which she stated to do everything possible to promote the goals of the foundation.
Dawn Belton, Mariama Ross and Francis Cornah at the 2011 Annual Meeting
Signing of pledges
The new smart kids who were selected in the summer of 2010, where introduced by Aliu Alhassan. The SmartKids pledge was then read by Aliu to the hearing of all students. This pledge was signed by new selected smart kids and the new national coordinator Dawn Belton. By signing the pledge, smart kids promise in writing to be co-responsible for the foundation from now on and to contribute to its funding as soon as they start making money. In the picture: some of the smartkids with their freshly signed pledges.
Presentation of awards
Different awards were presented to smart kids to motivate them to work harder. An award was also presented to the outgoing national coordinator to congratulate her as one of the best national coordinators ever of the foundation. More on the award ceremony in a later item.
Grouping of smart kids
Smart kids were grouped into regions with each region having older smart kids and younger ones. The main reason for this is the future decentralisation of the selection procedure.
Several workshops were organized. One was on poverty ranking by the international coordinator, one was on blogging by Aliu Alhassan and one by the international coordinator on the addressing of headmasters by smart kids. It was decided that the latter one needs to undergo revision by the junior board before it can be put into use.
The SmartKids community in front of the JOY Standard College.
Amongst many Kids, the International Project Coordinator; Kees Hoogendijk. Furthermore the chairman of the foundation in Ghana, Mrs. Comfort Acheampong, the National project coordinator Dr. Mariama Ross and the entire Junior Board, chaired by Elizabeth Atulley.
(photo by Marc van den Heuvel)
SmartKids 2010 Annual Meeting by Kees Hoogendijk
The SmartKids 3rd annual meeting, organized in Kumasi on June 26 and 27, was very successful and great fun.
On Saturday the actual annual meeting took place, filled with speeches, verbal reports and occasional lighter issues, like a play by the SmartKids Happy Genius Literary Club; authors and directors: 15 year old smart kids Felix Nsoh and Gordon Putota.
The main difference for me personally however was the fact that this time I was a guest and not a co-organizer anymore. So most of the time I could just sit back, relax and enjoy everything that was going on.
More than 70 of our 80 smart kids were present, some of them traveling all across the country to take part. Apart from the kids, around 35 other guests made their appearance, some for the full length of the program, others just for an hour. All 105 T-shirts were in use in the end, disappointing some late comers.
Among the guests present were Ghanaian Chairperson Comfort Acheampong from Accra, national coordinator Professor Mariama Ross, Penelope Onuman of the Happy Genius Literary Club, SK webmaster Marc van den Heuvel from Holland and Deputy Regional Manager of Education Osei Wiafe, who was one of the first members of The Ghanaian SmartKids Board in 2004.
Master of ceremony was 13 year old smart girl Miata Kuyichiana.
Although some were organized on Saturday, most workshops took place on Sunday, alongside two quizzes. Social Media by smartkids student Francis Addai, a role playing workshop for the younger ones on visiting district directors of education (bringing about lots of laughter) and one on how to address head teachers when selecting new smart kids.
Can’t wait for the 2011 annual meeting.