Cornelius girl is lighting Ghana with learning
Friday, Apr. 04, 2014

Cornelius girl is lighting Ghana with learning

    Students in Pepease, Ghana, attend the Florence Osei Ntim Memorial Junior High School, named for the grandmother of SouthLake Christian Academy student Stephanie Ntim.
    Stephanie Ntim, a student at SouthLake Christian Academy, started a charity to help the students at a school in the West African nation of Ghana. The school is named for Ntim’s grandmother.

Stephanie Ntim may seem like most other 16-year-olds.

The daughter of Dr. William and Sally Ntim, Stephanie lives in Cornelius. She’s a junior at SouthLake Christian Academy, where she is a member of the National Honor Society and Beta Club, plays volleyball and runs track.

She said she wants to attend college in the South and major “in something to do with medicine.” She has her learner’s permit and plans to get her driver’s license soon.

Stephanie, however, wants to do more with her life and to honor both her grandmother and her Ghanaian heritage.

Stephanie’s grandmother, Florence Osei Ntim, lived in Pepease, a small town in the eastern region of Ghana, West Africa. About 1,000 people live in the town, mostly farmers and planters.

In the 1980s, Mrs. Ntim had a dream to open a school. About 20 years later, Frederick Osafo Ntim, Stephanie’s uncle, financed the start of that school, named the Florence Osei Ntim Memorial Junior High School in honor of his mother, Stephanie’s grandmother.

Mrs. Ntim died in March 2007.

“I was so young when she passed away, but I know she would be smiling down at this school,” Stephanie said.

“Her community was very important to her. … I know my grandmother instilled in her children the passion for succeeding in life. I know this from what my father has done with his life and from what my uncle did with the school.”

Continuing her grandmother’s legacy, Stephanie started “Light Ghana with Learning,” a charity to raise money, supplies and yard tools for the school in Ghana. Stephanie said she started the charity also to honor her heritage in that country.

“Since most of my family lives in Ghana, I’ve always wanted to keep that Ghanaian aspect with me,” she said.

Stephanie is a member of the SouthLake Christian’s National Honor Society, which has made the charity its annual service project.

“We’ve collected more than 300 literature books and Bibles and hundreds of dollars to send to Ghana,” she said. The Honor Society also anticipates having four computers to send.

Stephanie said she hopes “to expand the project over this summer and create a new model for mission work in high schools.”

Lisa Daidone is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Lisa? Email her at

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more