Liberia Literacy & School Project: the “Terry & Michael Academy”

Story of the “Terry and Michael Academy”

Terry Jennings, William Lawrence (brother to Sonnie), and Sonnie Lawrence, Lower Johnsonville, Liberia, June, 2022

The below is our side of the story, in photos, of the “Terry and Michael Academy,” a new K-6 school in in Lower Johnsonville, Liberia.

The more important side of this story remains to be told by Sonnie Lawrence, Founder and Director of Agents of Positive Change and of the Terry and Michael Academy. This story and project are all Sonnie’s inspiration and doing. The organizations and donors who have sponsored and supported Sonnie’s work are simply proud to be part of Sonnie’s amazing journey.

For current status and plans, please see Terry and Michael Academy status, December 31, 2022 update, which includes the goal to complete a new school house with eight classrooms to accommodate more students.

Rule of Law Literacy Program

In late 2021, LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation shipped a 40-foot container with school and library supplies to the Agents of Positive Change in Lower Johnsonville, Liberia. in order to promote literacy, education and civic participation in Liberia.

The idea started when Sonnie Lawrence of Agents of Positive Change met Teresa “Terry” Jennings at a conference in Washington, DC.  Sonnie was in attendance as a Fellow in the Mandela Washington Fellowship For Young African Leaders, a U.S. State Department program. Terry was amazed by Sonnie’s personal story and her dedication to developing literacy and supporting young women in Liberia.

Their first joint project was publication of the “Rule of Law Coloring Book,” created by LexisNexis volunteers and distributed to ten schools in Lower Johnsonville, Liberia.

Rule of Law coloring book created and donated by LexisNexis volunteers and LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation

Terry next proposed shipping a container with books and supplies to open a library to continue the work started with the coloring books. The container, per the below story in photos, was shipped in October 2021 and finally arrived to its destination in Lower Johnsonville, Liberia, in May of 2022. In addition to the books, paper and writing materials, whiteboards, tables and chairs, the shipment also included laptops, solar panels, power converters, water bottles, tote bags, and other common supplies we Americans take for granted but that are a rarity for most of these students and schools in Liberia.

LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation additionally funded construction of a utility and storage building, and School4Schools Foundation has run remote mentoring and training programs with teachers from area schools.

In June, 2022, Terry visited Liberia to see the site and discuss next steps with Sonnie. While there, local residents explained to Terry that their children were unable to attend school, as it took 1-2 hours — each way — for them to walk to the nearest schools. They asked if the container couldn’t be used also as a school for local residents. The school opened with 5 children in September, 2022, and quickly grew to over 50 students.

Meanwhile, School4Schools Foundation raised over $7,500 from generous U.S. donors, which has funded construction of a permanent foundation and roof for the container, a perimeter fence, a 4K projector, classroom supplies, and, the foundation for a new 8-classroom school house. We will raise another $4,000 by early February to fund completion of the building, which will accommodate several hundred students.

Please contact School4Schools Foundation with your ideas and offers for assistance of this special and important program. Or go to our donation page for links to PayPal and GoFundMe donations or send a check to School4Schools Foundation, 116 S. Hudson St., Arlington, VA 22204. All donations are tax-deductible.

Here’s the story in photographs


School’s open, Sept 20, 2022!

Students and teachers in front of the shipping container/ brand new school, Sept 20, 2022

It started back in Sept. 2021:
Collecting supplies to send to Liberia for to promote literacy and education


Arrival of 40-foot shipping container to be filled with school supplies and then used as the library/school facility in Lower Johnsonville, Liberia











Getting ready!


Painting the container white to reduce the heat & adding fun graphics to it!


Loading the container w LexisNexis volunteers


Inventory, lifting, stacking and sorting


Next, literally picking up the container to ship to Liberia


Arrival to Liberia


The container site in Lower Johnsonville, Liberia


Students using the container as a classroom

Students working outside of the container
(which is why we need to construct a permanent school structure)



Placing the container on the raised, permanent platform, Oct 2022

Our generous donors paid for a permanent roof for the container and a perimeter fence around the school yard, Oct/Nov 2022



The school officially opened September 2022

Groundbreaking ceremony, Dec 19, 2022 for new, 8-classroom school house

Construction materials for foundation of new school house:

Jan 1 2023, Good news on the New Year: Foundation complete!

We hope you will choose to help this unique and important project

Please go to our Donate page or let us know your ideas here: