Why schools should build their brands with brilliance

Mr. Victor Ochieng', Writer and Author. Photo/Courtesy
Mr. Victor Ochieng', Writer and Author. Photo/Courtesy

Recently, Nyamninia Primary School at Yala, in the Gem of Siaya, trended on a wrong note.

A video of a distraught boy showing wounds resulting from a thorough beating was making rounds online.

Word had it that two teachers caned the boy because he could not attain 400 marks.

The story arrested my attention because of two reasons: One, Nyamninia Primary School is close to my alma mater – Nyamninia Secondary School.

Two, in 2019, a 13-year-old – Samantha Milan – from Nyamninia Primary School- won the Spelling Bee National and Africa Championship Competition.

This victory was not a mean feat. It put the school on a pedestal – and to some extent – built its brand with brilliance.

The competition brought together the best junior and senior spellers from twelve African countries: Kenya, Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda, and Zambia.

Milan was feted because she was able to evince brilliance and excellence.

She got a cash prize of Sh 500,000, a laptop, a trophy, and a tablet.

Consequently, the school got a 26-seater bus from DT Dobie.

The teacher of English also got Sh 50,000.

Dear reader, after such a peerless performance, you realize the eyes of the people have been on this school.

For the sage said, “Nothing succeeds like success.”

When people succeed, people expect them to succeed more.

Again, both oriental and occidental knowledge acknowledge: People who access success in what they do, are admired and envied in equal measure.

They are loved and loathed at the same time.

So, those who succeed should know that they have soft underbellies that can be easily pricked.

I wish the arrowheads at Nyamninia Primary School knew that after their gutsy girl trounced plenty of peers in the Spelling Bee Competition, they told the world they were a big brand to behold.

In business lingo and language, branding is a way of clarifying and communicating what makes people, products or organizations, in particular, look spectacular or peculiar.

It is the art of re-inventing oneself.

It is akin to what a snake or an eagle does when it is advanced in age.

It sloughs off its dead old skin.

YOU CAN ALSO READ: AMIU graduates to alleviate health challenges in Africa

Some things happen in schools that make them rise from the ashes, like the proverbial Phoenix.

Like now, most Kenyans know schools that have shined like stars in KCPE and KCSE.

When schools shine as stars, they become big brands that capture and captivate the public’s attention.

Naturally, people take note of success.

It might be what prompted John Fitzgerald Kennedy to say, “Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.”

Sometimes, when an institution shows its shine and sheen, even resistance forces from within can attempt to pale it.

I hope you have heard of the African proverb that says: “If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm.”

Moreover, “A hyena can only enter the compound using the hole created by the family dog.”

Like in this scenario, one wonders: Who took the video of the boy that felt crest-fallen after being beaten like a snake?

Of course, seat-of-the-pants-sense will tell you that this was done by a person in close range who decided to wash the dirty linen of the school in public.

My conscience and conviction convinced me to argue that way because pupils do not carry phones to school.

“Why the spectre of incompetence and unprofessionalism?” one may ask.

The teachers’ expectations were too much for him.

Teachers tried to press pus out of a chagrined child.

They were hell-bent that the boy had to score 400 marks – come rain, come shine; come pain, come gain.

This was uncalled for.

When I was training as an English Language and Literature teacher in the chilly land of Kikuyu, I remember fondly, in common units like Introduction to Psychology and Education Psychology, the varsity dons made us understand what they christened as ‘Individual differences in learners’.

I hope the two fellow teachers who flogged the tween also learned Psychology in teacher-training colleges.

Finally, schools are brands.

These brands must be built with brilliance.

The things Principals, teachers, children and parents do – make or break schools.

On this, I recommend the book titled Midas Touch by Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki.

While putting together the oeuvre of that true treasure trove, the two putative authors abutted their thesis on the metaphor of the human hand.

To them, the five fingers that grace the human hand are symbolic.

The thumb stands for emotional maturity and strength of character.

The index finger symbolizes FOCUS – Follow One Course Until Successful.

The middle finger (the most dominant one) is an emblem of the brand – what one stands for.

The ring finger depicts the essence of relationships and human engineering.

The small finger means small things that matter.

“We do not have to do great things,” said Mother Mary Teresa, “but do small things in a great way.”

The writer rolls out talks and training services in schools. vochieng.90@gmail.com

Previous articleHow Nova Pioneer Schools are thriving through value innovation
Next articleThe last puff: Why you should quit smoking and tobacco use
Mr. Ochieng' is an editor, orator and author. His contact: vochieng.90@gmail.com


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.