- The school started as a Coaching Program for a handful of students by CMM Brothers.
- Resilience and hard work define the entire journey.
- The Silver Jubilee celebrations mark the milestones made over time and define the school’s future.
Famously known as CP, St. Patrick’s Secondary School Mosocho began in 1995 as a Coaching Program (CP) by the CMM Brothers, led by Brother Andrea Sifuna. It was part of their community service.
CP aimed at helping bright but poor students from around the area.
The lessons were led by Bro Sifuna for a few irregular hours every workday, and the students, only four at first, and later twelve, would come without any uniform.
Though three of them had already dropped out by the end of first term, the one who remained was enough encouragement to Bro. Sifuna and he continued to teach him.
With time, more enrolled, and CP caught speed and purpose.
On April 19, 2023, St. Patrick’s Day Secondary School, which has now grown over the years to a full-fledged institution with numerous teachers and students, celebrated its Silver Jubilee to mark the tremendous progress it has achieved so far and also chart the way forward for the next 25 years.
The celebrations served as the first-ever St. Patricks AGM & prize-giving day, unveiling a structure that will continue to be part of the school culture every year.
In attendance were the Catholic Church leadership (school sponsor) led by a representative of Bishop Joseph Mairura, Bishop of the Catholic
Diocese of Kisii; many distinguished Gusii leaders, the School governance body led by Bro. Agustine Monari, the Board Chair;
Edinah Kangwana, Parents Association Chair and Alumna; the school teaching staff led by Mr. Jacob Kajwang, the principal; the Alumni team led by its leadership; the school founding member Bro. Sifuna;
Alumni cohort one led by Edward Obwocha; the over 50 students of the 2022 KCSE class who are soon joining university; Ministry of Education officials; TSC officials and a number of other invited guests.
The celebrations had been delayed due to the pandemic effects and the following crash programs by schools in a bid to cover for the lost time.
Words from the founder
In an interview ahead of the event, Bro. Sifuna explained that when he was a teacher at Cardinal Otunga Mosocho, a provincial school, he realized that most students from around the community were not attending school due to lack of school fees.
“We live here in Mosocho, is there anything we can do?” he started thinking after meeting more village boys and girls who had not joined high school after finishing class eight.
“Inside me there was a light pushing me to do something about it,” he says.
With consultations with other members and his seniors, they equipped Mosocho Library with secondary school textbooks and then called the youngsters to come for classes.
He says he’s overjoyed to see the progress of the alumni over time and what they have achieved in life.
In his speech, Mr. Kajwang revealed that these first students “were being taught by school leavers, university students on vacation and those awaiting to join university. Their only desire was to get education.”
The school was run privately by the CMM Brothers until 2005.
In 2006, it was handed over to the government, which has since managed it.
Though downplayed by the schools around, it used to and has continued to produce bright students, rising beyond expectations and sending students to university.
Remaining affordable to the many students from around Mosocho and neighboring areas, “We try to live to the mission of the school’s founders, serving the needy students and showing them mercy,” says Mr. Kajwang.
The school used the auspicious day to celebrate the milestones achieved so far. A number saluted Bro. Sifuna and his colleagues from CMM Brothers for the CP initiative.
St. Patrick’s has gradually made long strides into academia, infrastructure and staffing, challenges notwithstanding.
From only a single student by the end of the first term in 1995, the school currently has a whopping 1,017 students.
The better part of them are from low-income families, but they have chosen education and hard work and reaped excellence all along.
When Mr. Kajwang joined the school as the principal in 2020, the students were not having breakfast.
“We introduced breakfast for the students, considering that several of them come from far and from needy families,” he told Scholar Media in an interview.
Discipline, which is key for good performance, has tremendously improved, especially within the last three years.
While there was no laboratory, Mr. Kajwang and his team sought resources and put up one for the students.
He also adds that in the last three years, seven classrooms, a state-of-the-art twin science laboratory, a multipurpose hall, an administration block, and modern pit latrines have been put up, now in use.
“When I joined, the school had only 16 Teachers’ Service Commission (TSC) teachers. We now have 43 teachers, with 29 TSC teachers and 14 Board of Management (BOM) teachers to boost the academic performance of the school,” he explained.
While the school did not have piped water for use, Mr. Kajwang appreciates that they now enjoy piped water by Kisii County Government through some old students’ influence and strategic moves.
“I also thank the alumni who have been very committed and supportive of the school programs. Through their influence, the school received the support of 20 student chairs and lockers from the Safaricom Foundation,” he appreciated.
He also thanked the BoM, parents, the church and all other stakeholders for believing in the school’s vision and rallying behind the leadership for better results and the seamless running of the institution.
St. Patrick’s is the Alma Mater of hundreds of successful and accomplished professionals nationwide and beyond.
These celebrations brought them together to reminisce their wonderful experiences while schooling, reminding themselves of the grueling challenges they faced and encouraging those behind them to keep pressing on.
In 2020, when Mr. Kajwang joined the school, they had 140 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination candidates, scoring a mean score of 5.18.
In 2021, the 200 KCSE candidates got 4.78, with 38 scoring C+ (Plus) and above.
In 2022, 189 students were grilled, getting a mean score of 5.79, and 57 students scored C+ (Plus) and above, with 2 A- (Minus).
All this is despite the fact that this is a local school that accommodates all students, including low achievers, in compliance with the government’s 100 percent transition.
St. Patrick’s was position 5 out of over 25 schools in Kitutu Chache South Sub-County and for the last three years, it has been ranked the best public day school in the Sub-County.
During the celebrations, the 2022 top students were awarded for their excellence and hard work.
“This is clear evidence that the school is on the right trajectory. This year we are working towards a greater improvement. We are on the right pathway to achieving better results and sending more students to university. Our target mean score in 2023 is 6.00 and above,” the Senior Principal explained.
“The school has also done exemplarily well in co-curricular activities, with music reaching the national level with four items in 2022,” he said during the celebrations.
“What was once planted as a sapling coaching program is now all grown into a large evergreen tree that not only gives forth bountiful
and valuable fruits but also provides a seasoned shade for thousands of needy students that are thirsty for an opportunity to reconstruct their futures,” said Mr. Macheneri Paul, Deputy Principal.
Echoing the principal’s vision for a great future, the deputy principal added, “We endeavour to keep on soaring and scaling not only to maintain but improve the levels of our discipline and academic excellence, and to touch more families with our robust school motto, Knowledge is Light.”
Parents also praised the principal, Mr. Kajwang, for his visionary leadership that has continually embraced stellar stakeholder management and excellent school activities coordination.
They also marveled at his team management skills, by which he brought together the students, teachers, parents, community and the alumni group.
As the institution continues to get grounded, expanded and fully established, many challenges have shown up.
He says that at times, students, as many as over 90, sit in one class for their studies.
“There is an infrastructural deficit in the school. There are no enough classes, which has made it hard to take new students desiring to be part of our school population,” Mr. Kajwang explained.
The TSC teachers are also few compared to the students and the required teacher-student ratio of 1:40.
He urges the government to consider deploying more teachers to the school.
To accommodate the increasing population, Mr. Kajwang says they want to sort out the issue of classrooms first, by building a 16-class storey building in the next five to six years through regular funding.
If the funds were to be gotten earlier, he says that the construction would start immediately and serve students soon.
“We want to keep up the vision of Bro. Sifuna of changing lives, and to continue instilling in them a sense of responsibility and accountability,” he said.
The BoM, led by Bro. Augustine Monari, the Board Chair, has also assisted significantly in running the school. Bro. Augustine is known for his progressive leadership, with which he has steered the BoM.
“This occasion marks a great day since the inception of the school as we reward our learners for their hard work and usher in our first Annual General Meeting and celebrate our Silver Jubilee,” said Bro. Monari in his speech.
Thanking all stakeholders, he noted that the BOM “is committed to preserving the vision and mission of our founders by keeping students of this school as our prime concern in each decision we make and effort we put forward.”
Some of the alumni also expressed their joy in being associated with the institution.
“It changed my life in body, mind and character. In it, I found not only a school but also a home, a rehab, a family and a second dad,” said Edward Obwocha, one of the oldest alumnus and CP students.
He studied from 1995 to 1998, scoring a B- (Minus). He topped the 1998 class and secured direct university entry.
Recounting his challenges in those days, when they had no uniform, shoes, lunch, nor anything apart from coming for coaching, he deleted all the reasons anyone can have to fail.
“Make that one step in your life no matter the circumstances; don’t sit there complaining and feeling sorry for yourself,” he urged.
The Parents Association Chairperson, Edinah Kangwana, MBS, MHC, is also a proud alumna of the school.
Exiting in 2001 to join the University of Nairobi, she has become the multi-award-winning woman leader she dreamt of and has kept achieving more.
“You can be anything that you dream and envision to be, no matter your current circumstances. Just believe in it and work very hard. With discipline and God, you will surely make it,” she assured the students.
She also appreciated the parents for accepting to support the school lunch program and other programs whenever called upon, noting it has largely contributed to the school’s excellent academic performance.
Ms. Kangwana, a firm subscriber of role modeling and its transformative power, also reminded parents to be wary of youth’s upcoming trends and issues like mental health, technology, pre-marital sexual relationships, substance and drug abuse, increasing numbers of STDs and HIV and AIDS infections, among others.
The alumnae appreciated the CP founders, the BoM, and teaching and non-teaching staff for their efforts, calling them to give more and pledging her continued support to the institution.
Desderius Makori, the Alumni Association Chairperson from 2014 to date, explains that his encounter with Bro. Sifuna and colleagues and his education from 2001 to 2004 changed him entirely.
“I had to work hard, regardless of the challenges. The aim was to go to university, and I managed,” Makori told Scholar Media in an interview, recounting how the brothers were of particular support to him in many ways.
Makori said his returning to CP for the celebrations is a moment of wonderful recollections and an opportunity to serve.
“What you hold at your hands is your future, not the challenges you are facing. Do not allow the challenges blur your vision to the future,” he encouraged the students, hoping they are taking advantage of the school’s current infrastructure and trained staff.
The alumni chair also encouraged the youngsters to join the CP Alumni Association and keep giving back to the institution as they grow.
The Alumni Association treasurer, Benard Otiso, also an old boy of St. Patrick’s Secondary, thanks the founders and all other CMM brothers for their support.
He urged all the students to work hard, rise beyond any challenges, and excel.
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The celebrations remind the students of the far their predecessors have come and spur them to chide discouragements and soldier on until they succeed.