Rejuvenation evident as Kereri Girls High School alumni visit alma mater

The two-day program aimed at instilling positivity on the students and infusing a sense of reality through mentorship.

Some of the Kereri Girls High School alumni introducing themselves on June 3, 2023, after they visited the school for a two-day mentorship program with their school. Alumni engagement in schools is a resource worth tapping by all schools for students' benefit. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.
Some of the Kereri Girls High School alumni introducing themselves on June 3, 2023, after they visited their school for a two-day mentorship program. Alumni engagement in schools is a resource worth tapping by all schools for students' benefit. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.
  • A school’s alumni base offers numerous educational opportunities for its current students. 
  • Kereri Girls High School alumni visited their alma mater for a two-day mentorship program with the students.
  • The school is targeting a mean of 8.48 in the 2023 KCSE examinations.

The mentorship program will go a long way to improve their performance, social life and all other aspects pertaining to their being in this school

Tabitha Mogonchi, Principal.

According to a blog post by Sanford School on why alumni involvement is important for schools, “A school’s alumni base offers a wealth of educational opportunities for its current students. 

As students graduate and pursue their various interests, their experiences provide younger students with privileged information that can guide their own journeys.”

Students passionate about studying in a particular school can also connect with alumni and be informed of awaiting experiences.

Additionally, those already in the corporate world and other sectors of employment can always come back and be role models and witnesses to the students that everything is possible and achievable. 

They can also share their work experiences and give insights on how they climbed life’s ladder.

Interestingly, when schools catch up with their alumni, they draw from an extensive pool of experiences, knowledge sets, and other forms of social and financial wealth the alumni have bagged over the years. 

This is exactly what happened on June 2-3, 2023, when Kereri Girls High School alumni visited their alma mater for a mentorship program with the students.

Tabitha Mogonji (left), Principal, Kereri Girls High School, being introduced to the alumni by Gichana Kennedy, Deputy Principal Academics, in an earlier meet-up with the alumni. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.
Tabitha Mogonchi, Principal, Kereri Girls High School, being introduced to the alumni by Kennedy Gichana, Deputy Principal Academics, in an earlier meet-up with the alumni. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.

The occasion was graced by scores of passionate alumni, guest speakers, teachers and students, who drew from one another’s springs, sharpening and refreshing themselves in different aspects.

In the eyes of the young students, who cherished having people to look up to for motivation, instruction and witnessing life’s reality, the two days were full of rejuvenation and embodiment of resilience and hard work.  

It was a time of learning from those who faced the challenges they’re facing now but chose to see past the impediments, sparking the students’ desire to emulate them for success.

The alumni pose for a photo with the guests and school leadership team. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.

The proceedings

During the visit, the alumni took the students through various programs, such as understanding their identity, fighting the fear of missing out, setting healthy boundaries, transitioning, and mental health.

Faith Fukwo, one of the alumni, was among those leading in mentoring the Forms 1 and 2 students on soft skills. The 21st-century job market is sensitive to soft skills, and they have proven vital in many aspects.

Equipping students on leadership, emotional intelligence, communication and several other skills positions them above their peers.

From left: Faith Fuko, an alumna, Ms. Ogonchi and Wycliff Musembi pose for a photo ahead of the event. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.
From left: Faith Fukwo, an alumna, poses for a photo with Mrs. mogonchi and Wycliff Musembi ahead of the event. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.

Talking about Spiritual Well-being for Mental Well-being, Faith Moindi, one of the alumni, cited Biblical people who also struggled, got scared, and sought help.

She implored the students to always have peace, fear nothing, faithfully wait upon God and trust Him in all they do.

“When nobody seems to listen to you, you can always talk to God, who listens and acts. He understands our pain more than anyone else,” she encouraged.

At times, young people fail to spread out their life’s map and figure out their future.

Faith Moindi, one of the alumni, refreshing the congregation with a sermon. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.
Faith Moindi, one of the alumni, refreshing the congregation with a sermon. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.

In her motivational speech, Joan Orina, a guest speaker, set them on a journey to self-discovery.

Ms. Orina underscored the girls’ need to set and write down their goals to help them succeed.

She also urged them to have the grit (passion and determination) to chase their goals.

From left: Joan Orina, a guest speaker, Dr. Mary Bosire and Hulda Mosago (two of the alumni) follow proceedings during the event. Behind them is Mrs. Mogonji, the principal. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.
From left: Joan Orina, a guest speaker, Dr. Mary Bosire and Hulda Mosago (two of the alumni) follow proceedings during the event. Behind them is Mrs. Mogonji, the principal. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.

She further highlighted that they should be sufficiently resilient, exhibit a great deal of intensity and tenacity, and embrace a growth mindset while also building their personal brand.

Intertwining this with mental health, Ms. Orina clarified that when you have bigger goals and dreams, it is easier to keep mental challenges away.

Goals give you something to look forward to and a reason to avoid behaviors and approaches which may trigger mental health disorders.

Wycliff Musembi, an epidemiologist and motivational speaker, also added to the nuggets of wisdom, leaning toward the power of a positive mindset.

“To succeed,” he challenged them, “you have to snatch victory from the jaws of poor performance.”

Wycliff Musembi, an epidemiologist and motivational speaker, speaking to the students. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.
Wycliff Musembi, an epidemiologist and motivational speaker, speaking to the students. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.

Musembi noted that excellence is an attitude that demands taking responsibility, focusing on one’s goals, nurturing the right relationships with the help of mentors and role models, dealing with peer pressure, avoiding risky behaviors, and engaging in extra-curricular activities.

“Compete against yourself, not against your friends. Avoid drugs and instead, connect with positivity. Make the best of your environment by staying organized,” he advised.

Esther Mokaya, an alumna, moderated the guest speakers’ sessions.

A section of the students following proceedings. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.
A section of the students following proceedings. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.

The occasion was also graced by Edinah Kangwana MBS, MHC., a mental wellness advocate, youth empowerment champion and immediate former minister in the Kisii County Government.

She challenged them not to ensconce themselves in the face of adversity and discouragement.

“Whenever you feel down and as if the world is not fair with you, remember we always learn from our mistakes and there is always a chance for you to improve. If you didn’t start working on your goal yesterday, you can start today,” she encouraged.

Spurring them to work smart, she noted that the small steps of today and tomorrow would compound and bring them success.

Edinah Kangwana MBS, MHC., addressing the students on mental wellness. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.
Edinah Kangwana MBS, MHC., addressing the students on mental wellness. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.

Ms. Kangwana urged them to maximize their time and also have small support groups where they can voice out their issues and get help.

Seeking professional help, exercising regularly and keeping hydrated are some of the strategies she suggested for them to divert the stressors and stay mentally fit.

Assessing the impact 

It is worth noting that for schools to tap their alumni and glean from their expertise gained over the years, school heads and the entire staff play a great role.

Expressing her joy and gratitude, Tabitha Mogonchi, Principal, Kereri Girls High School, noted, “This is a great team which has come here to give back to society—their school.”

She observed that they are emulatable role models, passionate and proud of their school, appreciating them for sharing and mentoring the students and supporting the school.

Mrs. Mogonji, Principal, Kereri Girls High School, delivering her message. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.
Mrs. Mogonchi, Principal, Kereri Girls High School, delivering her message. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.

“They are mentoring you to become better girls,” she told her students, urging them to work hard even to surpass the alumni.

In an earlier interview by Scholar Media Africa with the principal and her deputies, she noted that the alumni-led mentorship program will shape the girls’ perspectives.

“The mentorship program will go a long way to improve their performance, social life and all other aspects pertaining to their being in this school,” Principal Mogonchi expected.

Last year, Kereri Girls High School registered a whopping 822 candidates for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education, of whom 557 qualified for direct entry to university, translating to a percentage pass of 67.84. They attained a mean score of 7.31.

Aiming higher, the Trailblazers (current form 4 students) are targeting a mean of 8.48 in the 2023 KCSE examinations, with a candidature of 615 students.

A section of the students follow proceedings during the alumni mentorship program. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.
A section of the students follow proceedings during the alumni mentorship program. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.

“We have decided to meet the students at their point of need, addressing their individual challenges,” said Kennedy Gichana, Deputy Principal, Academics.

“We want these girls to see their own, who went through the challenges they may be thinking are unique to them. We want them to see success out of the same school,” he expected of the alumni program.

Joyce Kemunto, Deputy Principal Administration (welfare and discipline), who is also one of the alumni, appreciated her colleagues for their support to the students, especially the needy students.

Some of the alumni were at Kereri Girls over 40 years ago and are into different careers and professions, with many having significantly climbed the ladder of life.

Joyce Kemunto, Deputy Principal Administration, giving her remarks during the event. She’s also one of the alumni. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.

Their regular sharing with the students would immensely shape the young learners’ attitudes, inform their decisions and inspire them to do more in life, igniting them to chase success and greatness.

Bathsheba Oyugi, one of the alumni, urged the young minds to work extra hard and position themselves for the beautiful life available to hardworking people.

In her remarks, Esther Nyaboke stressed the need for unity among the students, not only while in school but also when they’ll exit the institution and become alumni.

“Women don’t fight women,” she challenged, noting that everyone should appreciate her colleague’s efforts and achievements in life.

Instead of pulling them down, they should put their resources behind their colleagues to propel them toward victory.

Students catching up with the proceedings. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.
Students catching up with the proceedings. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.

The alumni, in unison and speaking from their hearts, challenged the students to aim high, stay focused and embrace unwavering discipline, prerequisites of success.

About the alumni association 

Typically, after exiting, every year group has, over the years, had its forum for social interactions.

According to Dr. Mary Bosire, one of the alumni and a don at Egerton University, Kereri Girls Alumni Association is a legally registered association.

It formally started last year and incorporated all alumni cohorts aiming to give back to their school.

“We are trying to help the girls to be focused and see life from a positive perspective so that they don’t break down from negativity and fear,” she elaborated on the alumni agenda.

Happy moments as a section of the alumni caught up with Pauline Nyangena (in black), the school matron. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.
Happy moments as a section of the alumni touches base with Pauline Nyangena (third right), the school matron. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.

It now has members from the early 1970s up until 2021, and they are seeking more so that they may, in unison, have a greater impact on the students and the school at large.

The alumni pursue an agenda of mentoring the students, sponsoring needy students from their alma mater, networking among themselves and the students and staff, and lobbying for financial support and other resources for the school.

Challenges, future plans

Being typically a new organization that is now open to all Kereri Girls alumni, the journey has not been without challenges.

Huldah Mosago, one of the alumni, told Scholar Media Africa that the association is still having low numbers of alumni.

Despite the school having baked thousands of them, most of whom are thriving out there, identifying most of them, getting in touch with them and even tagging them along in this profound assignment is challenging.

“We are however trying to convince more to join us in giving back to Kereri Girls,” adds Dr. Bosire.

A moment of song and dance. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.
A moment of song and dance. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.

They are currently mobilizing more people for this noble task of shaping young students.

Also, the alumni association is seeking more alumni professionals.

This would offer variety, giving the students an advantage of learning from different professionals and help them make informed decisions inspired by reality.

Interestingly, as more willing and supportive alumni continue to join the association, increasing the numbers and also giving them ample time to catch up and know one another, the association is on the pathway to a mega launch, which will also act as a space for the Alumni Reunion.

It will also open the gates to transition the association’s leadership from the current Caretaker Team to a full-fledged leadership.

Models line up for a group photo after showcasing their beauty in a modelling session. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.
Models line up for a group photo after showcasing their beauty in a modelling session. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.

Appreciations

In 2017, some of the alumni visited the school and donated textbooks to further equip the institution’s library to the student’s advantage. 

The visits had been regular from 2017 until Covid-19 struck.

In this recent visit, beyond refreshing the students with impactful and interactive sessions and buying goodies for them, the alumni also awarded several categories of students.

Awardees pose for a group photo with Wycliff Musembi, the chief guest. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.
Awardees pose for a group photo with Wycliff Musembi, the chief guest. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.

The top student from every form, the most improved students (Forms 3 and 4), the best-behaved and soft-skilled, six best students in different co-curricular activities, the best groomed and the best leader were awarded for their efforts.

Such awards from alumni leave an indelible print on the hearts of the young learners, remaining etched in their minds forever. 

They act as springboards toward greater success.

Jennifer Lopez, the school president, receiving a leadership award from Mr. Musembi, courtesy of the alumni. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.
Jennifer Lopez, the school president, receiving a leadership award from Mr. Musembi, courtesy of the alumni. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.

In the same vein, the alumni thank their great colleagues who have been mobilizing for financial and other resources: Dr. Truphena Choti (USA), Emily Omari, Linet Aera, and Catherine Masaki, among others, some from the diaspora and elsewhere. Due to some

More visits

While the formal plan is to host the alumni event annually, the principal says the window remains open to any alumni or alumni group willing to come along and impact the students.

“We will always create time for them,” Principal Mogonchi assures.

One of the student actors being awarded by Redemptor Masese (right), the proprietor of Rehema Academy. She left the school over 40 years ago and is one of the oldest alumni from the school. PHOTO/Kereri Girls.

The ripple effect is that the students will get the real image of how life looks like for lawyers, accountants, engineers, doctors, lecturers, and all other professions represented, getting the experiences from the horse’s mouth with overwhelming goodwill.

Maybe you’re out there and we have been talking about your school and you’re already feeling proud!

Now, think of the immense impact you would have on the school and the young students, simply by joining the association and supporting the noble cause.

YOU CAN ALSO READ: State House Girls’ Confucius Classroom to fix Mandarin demand

For more information about Kereri Girls High School Alumni Association and how to join, you can freely reach out to Dr. Mary Bosire at +254722981665 or Huldah Mosago at +254724797603.

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Mr. Makau holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics, Media & Communication from Moi University, Kenya. He is a Columnist and Editor with Scholar Media Africa, with a keen interest in Education, Health, Climate Change, and Literature. His contact: b.makau@scholarmedia.africa.

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