It is a dream come true for two North Clayton High School students who participated in an essay contest conducted among eleventh graders on the subject matter titled Why I Want To Visit Motherland Africa. The students are Jasmine Aisha Sykes and O'Shae Alonzo Ross. Both were selected after giving serious consideration to their respective grade point average, character report and of course, the quality of their essay on the above subject matter. This trip to Africa is being sponsored by African Treasures under its African Cultural Students Exchange Program organized by Dr. Mike Okeke.

Jasmine and O'Shae were recognized and honored for their achievement during the First Annual Banquet of the African Treasure which took place on April 3, 2004, at the Westin Airport Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. Both were introduced by the Principal of North Clayton High School Mr. Clarence Burnough . Also representing the school at the banquet was the Assistant Principal, Ms. Lorraine Lambert. Parents of Jasmine and O'Shae were also present at the memorable event.

Jasmine and O'Shae are scheduled to leave the U.S. for Ghana on August 3, 2004 and return August 17, 2004. They will be traveling in a tour group led by Dr. Wilma Kirchhofer of the Youth Leadership for Global Health, Inc. While in Ghana, the students will attend the International Black Youth Summit in Accra. The summit will include youths from around the world and will focus on personal empowerment and leadership. Following the summit, they will tour health facilities and points of interest in Accra. Next, they will travel to Kumasi for traditional health site visits and cultural exposure to weaving and carving communities. They will also visit the SLAVE CASTLE and the beaches.

The African Cultural Students Exchange Program is a division of the African Treasures designed by its Founder and President, Dr. Mike Okeke, to increase the awareness of the African continent and expose her treasures to the rest of the world. This goal is also accomplished via the African Treasures Weekly Television Show that airs every Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. on the AIB Network and carried on Comcast Cable channel 5. It is also viewed from any where in the world, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, on the website: . Dr. Okeke stresses that the African Cultural Students Exchange Program is a life changing experience for our black youths who may become instrumental in changing the course of history for people of the African descent in our global community.

At the conclusion of their trip, Jasmine and O'Shae will have the opportunity to appear on the African Treasures Television Show and share their African experience.

Why I want to Visit the Motherland

By: O'Shae Alonzo, Ross
I have always believed that a strong heritage is essential to youth development and intellectual growth. I guess that is why I am on a mission to reach the motherland. Over two hundred years ago, my ancestors were ambushed from their homes and torn from their families to enter a lifetime of hardships as slaves in the Americas. Africans lived their lives in absolute fear. All they could ever pray for was freedom. I hope that this journey into the past will satisfy my thirst for knowledge. The mere finding that my ancestors root lie oversees and is within my reach is a true blessing within itself. I believe that when my feet touch the soil of the motherland, I will be home. To touch bases with long line descendants would really encourage me to spread the word of my mission to others. It would almost be like my very own life-like version of Roots. On my trip to the motherlands, I would also bring new traditions and customs from the United States with me to show my new friends in the motherland. Africa being a land of rich tradition, I plan on bringing memorabilia back with me after my stay. I think that I deserve to go to the motherland because I have purpose, I would truly benefit from this trip because I would get a sense of belonging, and meet new people. Opening this door of opportunity would enable me to get a hands-on experience on what most people just read about.

The 2004 trip to Ghana for the African Cultural Students Exchange Program has been sponsored by the following:

  • Ebony Pages (Kanopy Corporation)
  • Dr. Mike Okeke
  • Trinity Dialysis Clinic - Dr. Michael Akintade
  • Prime Care Learning Center - Mr. & Mrs. Alex Okoma
  • Trustee Drugs - Drs. Jude & Vernitius Ohaya
  • Bond Street Mortgage - Mr. Pine Ude
  • Dr. Craig B. Williams
  • Mr. Joe Beasley
  • Attorney Don Edwards
  • Dr. Beverly McCray
  • AABACUS, Inc. - Joyce Anderson
  • The Lions Group, Inc.- Mr. Mulugeta Zeleke
  • Dr. James Gleason, Jr.
  • Dr. &. Dr. (Mrs.) Emeka Okpala
  • Dr. & Mrs. Godwin Udibe
  • Mr. Bernard C. Kaba
  • UPREACH INC. - Dr. Richard Mouzon
  • Ms. Sharon M. Lee
  • Bukom Textile Stores - Mr. Winston