All through their 4-year upper primary school journey at Bahati North Academy, Maryanne Wanjiku and Irene Jelagat always shared a classroom and sang in the school chapel’s choir.
On realizing the tough bond between the two is inseparable, friends who were top scorers at the institution in 2021 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) teachers encouraged the duo to share a desk right from standard 4.
Wanjiku who attained 401 marks and Jelagat who managed 406 marks, and were living together in the same cube in the school, said constant consultation with their teachers and parents, prayers and focus on their weak points made them perform well.
While Wanjiku wants to be a lawyer, Jelagat aspires to study paediatric neurology at John Hopkins University at Baltimore, Maryland, in the United States of America.
When the news crew caught up with the duo at their school it was evident parents, teachers and pupils were in a celebratory mood.
“It never occurred to me we would hit the 400 mark, but we had a feeling we would score almost the same marks. Besides, we used to study together,” Jelagat said.
Wanjiku said she was happy despite now being ‘separated’ from her friend, who, she noted, assisted her lot with revisions.
“I’m happy because our efforts, hard work and collaboration paid off,” she said.
Both Jelagat and Wanjiku hope to join Kenya High.
According to Wanjiku’s father Alfred Ndoro, hard work and trust in God made the girls excel in the examinations.
He added: “So far, I am happy with the results and I thank the school management. I will let my daughter decide what she wants to do in life. I am not the kind of parent to force a child to do what I want,” adding he was overjoyed on learning that the two girls surpassed the 400 mark.
“We wish them well and hope their wishes will be fulfilled. One of the girls wants to become a neurosurgeon while the other has shown interest in law. Many pupils here have done us proud and it is through hard work and discipline that they excelled in the examinations. The two friends are happy to have set a good base for their dream careers,” he added.
“I dedicate my performance to my teachers and mother. They supported me when the country was devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic and learning was interrupted,” says Jelagat.
She continued: “I am inspired to pursue a career in medicine to uplift the health standards of children for they are the foundation of any nation.”
Jelagat is elated that girls performed better than boys in the exams done under difficult circumstances following prolonged closure of schools and restrictions occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In her own words, an excited Wanjiku described herself as an average pupil who God’s miracle ensured she performed beyond expectations.
She said a decision by the Head Teacher of Bahati North Academy Martin Wesonga to set up a career and counselling department was the biggest contributor to KCPE’s impressive performance at the institution.
The department, she observed, played a crucial role in motivating learners to work hard and remain focused towards their career preferences.
“We were counseled to focus and know that everything is possible if we believe and work towards it. The candidates’ hopes were rejuvenated as we were encouraged that Covid-19 will not throw our education sector deep into turmoil,” states Wanjiku.
Mr. Wesonga attributed the good results to hard work by teachers and the students.
“We had a programme that targeted the weak and focused our energies on working as a group. I also attribute our success to God, parents, teachers and friends who helped us. Hard work pays,” he said.
By Jane Ngugi and Dennis Rasto