By Victor Ochieng’
On Friday, April 13, 2022, I was privileged to address three important groups at Chewoyet National School in Kapenguria Town, West Pokot County. Foremost, I talked to Form Twos on matters Career Choices and Selection of Subjects. Secondly, I sensitised Form Four parents to play their part. Thirdly, I rolled out Form One Plug-in Programme, where I implored Form Ones to begin, learn and win. This fountain of aperitif of knowledge sits in a pacific place that hums with history and heritage. When my pen cites Kapenguria, I know those who are at home with history remember Kapenguria Six, our founding fathers who were detained in this historical town. It was intriguing to discover that the staffroom at Chewoyet National School now labeled ‘Kenyatta Court’ was the place where the six heroes were judged before they were detained in the same town, the picturesque place now known as Kapenguria Museum.
In addition, Chewoyet National School happens to be the alma mater of some notable figures in our country. It is the centre of excellence that molded men of means like Kijana Wamalwa, Eugene Wamalwa, Belio Kipsang’, and many more. The sedate Chief Principal of this great school, Mr. Samuel Barasa, is keen to use the great history of the school to inspire students become great. As he polishes the pale parts of the school to give them the shine and sheen of a national school, he is does not hesitate to quote William Shakespeare, “Be not afraid of greatness. For some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” In my speeches, when I mentioned some notable figures that learnt in that school, I saw a glow of glee on the faces of students, parents and teachers. As psychologists would argue in what they call identity, most of us would always want to be associated with great people. It must be what prompted John Fitzgerald Kennedy to posit, “Success has many father, but failure is an orphan.”
Therefore, it is clear like crystal, schools can use their history to change attitudes students have about their schools. There is no way a school can manage to churn out men of great weight in the recent past, and fail to do so in the present and future. No wonder, as students are admitted in Form One, they should be properly plugged into the great culture, tradition and history of the school. Schools should find ample ways to achieve this ambit. This can be done through carefully-crafted pep talks. The school library should stock information about those great personalities. Also, just the way we have statues of our hero(ines) in our major towns like Nairobi, we should erect some of these monuments in our schools, which act as the core centres of formation, character-development and value-addition. For instance, when we see the monument of Tom Mboya in the heart of Nairobi Town, we remember the values and principles that were treasured by that fallen spell-binding orator. Likewise, the statue of Dedan Kimathi inspires in us virtues of courage and heroism.
Schools like Alliance High Schools have buildings that immortalise great educationists like Carrey Francis. That, of course can compel students to find out who Carrey Francis was, and follow the philosophy and principles he upheld in his heydays. Albeit, the school arrowheads can find more wonderful ways to make the striplings to tap floods of inspirations by immortalising the old boys like Professors Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Anyang’ Nyong’o, Ole Kiyapi, Makau Mutua, and many more. A great girls’ school like Ng’iya Girls’ National School in Siaya, can use their alumna like Grace Emily Akinyi Ogot to make the lasses love their school. By and large, they should find wonderful ways on which they can make the gutsy girls that join that school to ape Nyar Asembo, who achieved great feats in life before she went to meet her impeccable maker. Being the first Anglo-phone female writer and a prolific author whose books are still being published posthumously, the school should build a library in her honour. It is wise to make all her books available for the determined damsels to read avidly. There is no way the good girls can read about the wise works of this winsome woman and settle for less in life.
Schools must settle on stupendous strategies that can arouse sense of ownership and belonging in students. When students accept their schools, they will perform better. Moreover, they will hardly fan flames of fire, and raze down buildings. It is why in my peregrinations across the country, I always apprise students that for them to access success, it behooves them to wear what Napoleon Hill calls Positive Mental Attitude. Learning is not only acquisition of requisite knowledge and skills, but also change of behaviour and attitude. Some years back, Zig Ziglar observed, “It is your attitude, not aptitude, that determines your altitude.” Attitude is equal to mindset plus beliefs. Aptitude is talent or the natural ability to do things. In the lingo and language of Geography, altitude is the height above the sea level, but in the context of this text, it is the height one is able to attain.
The writer rolls out talks and training services in schools.