In 2019, all eyes were on Nova Pioneer boys secondary school. When I say all eyes, I mean ALL eyes! This was the year that we were fronting our pioneer class for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) national exam and it would be the first point of proof of our model of teaching. The pressure had been building up both from inside quarters and our neighbours on the outside. Despite our certainty on our academic model and the success of our students, we had no record to refer to, no priors to lean on and certainly no other school to check against given that we are the first school in Kenya and I dare say around the continent, that is at the forefront of delivering education differently. Therefore, when we scored a mean of 7.3 with about 70% of our candidates getting a direct entry to universities in Kenya and many others getting opportunities to study abroad, we celebrated to mark this and give thanks to God and all those who worked to support this success.
In addition, in line with our culture, we were also celebrating our most outstanding students from the 2019 school year across Form 1 – Form 3 who had exhibited remarkable growth in living out our 6 culture principles, outstanding sports and club members and exemplary academic achievement. This was a day full of colour and excitement as our alumni and their parents, as well as parents of our continuing students joined us for the celebrations. The atmosphere was full of vibrancy as the school community joined hands to celebrate our young men who proudly carry the Nova Pioneer banner as they scale to new heights.
The prize giving day was set to start at 9:30am with all guests, parents, teachers and students settled at the event venue at the Tatu City Campus. If you were there you would think we were expecting His excellency the President of the Republic of Kenya, please don’t take my word for it, ask Sila, a non-Nova friend of the team who was working with us to prepare the ground… Those were his exact words. (Mr. President, if by any chance you get to read this, we would love to host you in our next Prize giving day as our guest of honor).
We kicked off the event with our National Anthem and thereafter, our East Africa Community Anthem, both being led by our scouts. This was a patriotic moment for me; watching and celebrating as the Nova Pioneer alumni young men begin to shape the Kenyan, African century. At that moment, I paused to consider just how lucky I was to be a part of this family and just how blessed our young men are to be at this time, in this generation, in this school, under this learning model. Our young men from the Christian Union then led us through a time of praising to thank God for all His faithfulness. This was another moment to think back and just lift our hands in utmost thanksgiving.
Thoughts from the Alumni
We were excited to have our unconditionally supportive parents join us for this event. They wore their smiles and came in numbers. The parking lot and the driveway was a beehive of activities. Our top ten candidates of the 2019 class also arrived in style; looking taller and more mature than when we last saw them. What pride this was for their teachers! They each had a story to tell of how they are already taking courses as they wait to join the university in the coming months. They also spoke about how they are fitting in well into the world systems as a result of the preparation they received during their time at Nova Pioneer, how the small things we used to sweat while they were still students are making a big impact in their everyday life!! It is impossible to have missed the air of confidence that they exuded in expressing their experience so far in what they call “the world out there”.
Our team of very capable teachers and of course the student body sharply dressed in honor of the day were extremely excited to be a part of this day. We were also graced by the presence of our former principal, Mr. Charles Tsuma, our Co-founder and Director, Mr. Chris Khaemba and our East Africa Managing Director Ms. K. Danae Pauli. Our Guest speaker was Mr. Nyambego, a father to one of our young men in Form 4. Mr. Nyambego is also a Director at PriceWaterhouseCoopers and currently serves as the PTA treasurer at the boys school in Tatu City.
Words of Wisdom
Mr. Nyambego’s speech was particularly encouraging to the young men as he shared his life story and how he grew to the position of director level at his current work place. The young men were surprised to learn that he has quite the humble background and it was out of sheer determination and hard work that he made it this far. His story depicted moments of struggle, triumph and hard decisions, all of which have made him to be who he is today. This brought home the aspects of our culture principles of always growing and joy of learning, as he had moments of learning from his mistakes. There were also aspects of high expectations portrayed by the way he let go of his first job, because he knew he could push himself to achieve more, aspects of servant leadership, when he started off at PriceWaterhouseCoopers as a trainer, serving others and aspects of solutions first when he had to make decisions and act on them to secure him a better future. He challenged the young men to take advantage of the many opportunities that they have at Nova Pioneer to shape their future. In his time, things were a little bit different, he said, and the enlightenment and support that students are getting at Nova Pioneer was far ahead from what he received during his time in school.
At Nova Pioneer, students get the 21st century classroom experience, engage in collaborative class work and projects, have a department in the school that is focused on helping them choose a career path (Post School Success team), teachers who are dedicated to their success and co-curricula activities that are intentional on bringing out their talents. In short, in this school, they are sure of advancement in character, capabilities and connections. Mr. Nyambego implored the students to make the most of what they have. He dared them to match their performance to the support they are receiving. He left them with the words of Collen Hlazo “When everyone is sitting, stand up! When everyone is standing, stand out! And when everyone is standing out, be the standard”.
Needless to say, the event was one that shall be etched in the minds of many Novaneers, for a long time. Given that this was our first of its kind, the standards, the joy, the pomp, the celebrations will only get bigger and better in years to come.
It is always important to take a moment and celebrate each other and appreciate the efforts that everyone brings on the table to make our Nova Pioneer promise a reality every day, all day. The culture principle of Greater Together is one that carries a lot of weight when we consider all the strings that are pulled to make us the community that we are. The most enjoyable moment for the teachers was seeing their specific students being awarded. The student who made presentations was the greatest takeaway for most parents, especially the confidence with which they carried themselves. In addition to these, there was a resounding appreciation around the timeliness of activities and the evident organization of the entire event.
Written by Brenda Ogutu (Dean of Instruction & Learning at Nova Pioneer Boys’ High School – Tatu city).