Holy Name of Mary Academy was established in 2010 by Father Ralph to provide educational opportunities to children in the poverty-stricken rural villages of Ghana. The mission of Holy Name of Mary Academy is to provide an opportunity for quality education in Ghana’s rural villages incorporating Catholic values and principles along with integrity, hard work, and perseverance giving them a start to productive and fruitful lives.
Holy Name of Mary Academy
The Academy was established in 2010 with initial financial support from a very good friend of mine and several companions who came to visit me in Ghana. The Academy became a reality with the help of parishioners from St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, St. Kateri Catholic Church, and Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church in Central Pennsylvania.
Construction began in early 2010, with many local villagers providing their labor to assist in this endeavor. Generous donors from the United States helped provide the supplies necessary for the Academy, and the first students were welcomed in September, 2010.
In 2010, the Academy enrolled 80 students in grades Kindergarten through 4th. Today, the Academy offers grades K-9 and enrolls 200 students. We have 16 faculty staff, 2 cooks, and 1 security personnel.
Six students from the inaugural class are currently in their second year of college. In 2016, we had 13 students graduate and by 2020 that number had increased to 28. In 2021, 20 of our students took the high school entrance exams, scoring the highest grades among all students.
Father Ralph’s biography
Hello everyone, my name is Fr. Ralph Mensah from Ghana, in the western part of Africa. I come from a poor rural village called Beyin in the Jomoro District, also in the western region. My parents are Mr & Mrs. Joseph Mensah. My dad is deceased and my mom is still alive. I am a Catholic priest and founder of Holy Name of Mary Academy, Beyin, Ghana. I would like to share with you the reason why I established the school.
Having been ordained into the Catholic priesthood and been awarded a scholarship to specialize in Cannon Law in Roman, I had a deep reflection on the difference education has made in my life as an individual. My dad was an educator and so he invested in that by making sure that all my siblings went to school. Education has made me what and who I am today.
Given the poverty in the remote villages in Ghana, villagers did not place a value on education preferring to have their children learn skills such as farming and fishing. Because of this, I made it my mission to bring awareness to the parents of the importance of education in providing opportunities for their children’s futures. The educational system in the remote villages is very inadequate and does not provide the basic tools needed to successfully pass the entrance exams for high school. Without these basics it is very hard to break the cycle of poverty. In establishing the Academy, it is my desire to allow students to learn in a safe, clean environment which will enhance their future opportunities and create a desire to look beyond the poverty that surrounds them.