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BIO

Kenneth Best is a Creative Writing student at Full Sail University. Professionally, Kenneth writes action and adventure flash fiction stories and screenplays. In his spare time, he enjoys penning poetry and writing personal journals. A feature-length documentary about veterans coping with social and psychological battles is in development.

Kenneth currently holds an Associate of Arts degree in Digital Video and Film Production from the Art Institute of Washington in Arlington, VA, where he produced three screenplays, two documentaries and three PSAs. One of the screenplays became a short film tailored for the 48 Hour Film Festival in Washington DC (fall 2016). Though it did not win any awards, the film received recognition at the American Film Institute theatre in downtown Silver Spring, MD.

Kenneth enjoys national state parks, wildlife refuge areas and natural conservatories as favorite places to explore and practice photography. Kenneth is reachable through his website as well as his Instagram and LinkedIn profiles.



Published News Article

Cachelle School Graduates Six

By Kenneth Best Jr. | August 13, 2011 | Liberian Observer

 

The Cachelle School of Promise (CSOP), on last Sunday graduated six out of 56 kids at a colorful program outside Monrovia.

The event was named and styled ‘Rite Of Passage’. It was held at Mother Wleh’s Orphanage, the same location as the school, just off the Robertsfield Highway past Bonjal in Paynesville.

Everyone rose to face the harmonious procession. They slowly marched in, the six graduates taking the lead, followed by the principal and teachers. Shoana Clark, founder of the school, was last.

The school choir sang a deep, moving song in a local dialect. They were backed by a keyboardist and drummer, who assisted them with great skill throughout the event. As the song ended, everyone took their places. An opening prayer was delivered by one of the students in the choir, and the MC took over.

Opening the event was a dynamic monologue featuring an eight year old boy mimicking an 80 year old man. He feigned a limp-walk onto the stage, clutching his small, bent tree branch for a cane. Throughout the monologue, he would engage the audience, pointing at them with his makeshift cane.

Behind him, he would also engage the school choir and graduates, seated on either side of the stage. They would all respond with the school’s Promise Code.

After the boy left the stage, there was more vibrant singing as the music teacher (also the 5th grade teacher) led the youth choir in several selections, including the late Michael Jackson’s “We Are the World”, sung towards the end of the program.

There was group poetry, recited by 10 students (boys and girls, equally) from the audience. It was a Liberian folk poem, performed Broadway style. The girls recited first and stepped to the back, and the boys stepped forward and recited. At the end, one of the boys stepped forward and saluted the crowd, once again reciting part of the Promise code, and then introducing himself as a future soldier in the army. Then they all bowed together and exited the stage.

The highlight of the event was the awe-inspiring short play the drama team (also the choir) performed. It told a sad but uplifting story of overcoming adversity, with bits of humor. The acting exposed the somewhat diverse audience to the beauty of Liberian culture, not to mention the brazen talent the students displayed. At the end, the moral of the story was told: “If you trust in God, all things are possible.” The story identifies with any child. But instead of the uncertainty faced by so many, here is a chance for them to grow and create a positive outcome. After the play, there was pinning of flowers on the teachers and then the graduates, followed by an interpretive dance led by Ms. Shoana Clark.

What actually started out as an orphanage is now and has been known as Cachelle School of Promise (CSOP) since 2009. Mother Wleh, who started the orphanage, had needed a school for her children for the longest. Some of them are not true orphans – the parents of some children could not afford to raise them.

As a result, the kids ended up at Mother Wleh’s home. Shoana Clark first met her in 2005, on her first visit to Liberia in 15 years. Together, they combined their dreams and opened the school.

On how they are able to run the school and pay the teachers, Ms. Clark says, “…donors – family, friends, strangers, you name it. If we have an event, we try to mix it with a fund raiser.”

The Cachelle School of Promise (CSOP) is an institution focused on giving students academic skills needed in order to be thinkers, doers, creators, and leaders. This is actually a part of their Promise Code, which, Ms. Clark says, is a promise she, the students, and staff made to God to be the very best they could be. The name of the school is taken from Clark’s middle name, Cachelle, and the word ‘promise’, from a promise she made to God to help teach these children.

CSOP focuses on smaller classrooms, for two reasons. Studies show that smaller classroom environments can increases a student’s learning capacity, due to teachers being able to spend more time with each one. This also helps the teachers at CSOP, who are new to the learning styles introduced by Ms. Clark – students are “taught with a lot of visual aid, gearing it towards the student and not to towards the standards we’re used to”.

An American syllabus was brought to CSOP, added Ms. Clark, to give the school “an international sort of feel”. She continued: “It’s definitely not a money making thing for us because we only have 8-12 students in a class. If it was a money making thing, we might have about 50 students in a class or pack this building as much as we could. The difference is that the students are actually truly learning.”

The teachers, who came as volunteers from the community, came in out of love and passion for these children.

Ms. Clark says that she is “just grateful that these teachers teach everyday based on their salary. It is not comfortable because they depend strictly on the donors.”

CSOP Founder Clark is currently seeking sponsorship for her teachers, and gets assistance from The Lotus Academy, CSOP’s sister school. Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, it is a preparatory school (K-4th grades) that offers early broadcasting and photography training to 4th graders, which Shoana taught as a communications specialist back in 2003.