Alumni Profile: Langmia Fonjoe
My Saint Matthias Experience
We asked graduate Langmia Fonjoe to share why Saint Matthias was the right school for him and for his siblings. He shared how the pride he learned to take in himself has not only translated into academic success, but a personal adventure that has him changing the lives of students in Cameroon. Langmia is a graduate of DeMatha Catholic High School and is currently a college junior in New York.
St. Matthias is definitely the right choice! My time at this school was probably the most
formative period in my life. The priceless learning I received was very impactful. There are
countless experiences that demonstrate this institution’s uniqueness. I am grateful, privileged,
and blessed to have had such an education.
The school’s uniform policy was very specific and strictly enforced daily. “Tuck in your shirt!”,
“Tie your shoes!”, “Where’s your belt?!” were common exclamations I heard. Some of my
classmates and I were constantly having trouble conforming to the dress code. So when we
started dressing formally- button down, tie, and sweater vest, it was a major challenge.
However, one day the librarian and a very special woman- Mrs. O’Hare corrected us in a
manner that resonates with me until this day. She basically introduced the concept of
professionalism. She told my friends and me about one’s dress/appearance, and it’s relation
to people’s perception of you. It clicked and from that day forward, I took my school attire
very seriously. I viewed myself differently and held myself to a higher standard. It’s actually
this interaction that has led to other major personal successes today.
At age 17, I co-founded a multinational non profit organization known as ROC Foundation
(www.ourrocfoundation.org). Our mission is to break the trend of impoverishment, illiteracy,
and hopelessness in Bali, Cameroon through service and education. Since establishment,
we’ve supported 122 young people with financial aid to attend school.
None of this would have been possible had I not changed my perception of self in middle
school. I was no longer just a student, I was something more. To anyone who thinks the
uniform is “extra” or “too much,”, that’s exactly the purpose. It’s a teaching point for young
people to realize concepts such as professionalism, presentation, and reputability- which will
always speak for you first even before any showcase of a skill set. This is a valuable lesson I
took away from St. Matthias, and I highly encourage others to do the same.