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Mugoiri Girls comes of age

By Francis Ngige | Published Fri, September 14th 2018 at 00:00, Updated September 13th 2018 at 23:06 GMT +3
Old students at Mugoiri Girls High school during a tour in the coastal region in 1959. [Photo: Standard]

Deputy President William Ruto is today expected to lead 80th anniversary celebrations at Mugoiri Girls High School in Murang’a County.

The institution, which was started by Catholic nuns and boasts a rich history, is seeking partnerships to expand its infrastructure.

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Yesterday, school principal Muthoni Rutere said they were in need of more dormitories, classrooms, science laboratories and a multi-purpose dining hall to meet the needs of its expanding student population.

“The school relates well with its neighbours and community members. Despite challenges, it has been posting impressive results in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examinations,” said Ms Rutere.

The institution, established by the Consolata Sisters from Mathari Catholic Mission in Nyeri County for the purpose of promoting Christianity through education, was elevated to national status five years ago.

Colonial chief

A few of Mugoiri Girls High School alumnus. Below: Students during the school's earlier years. [Boniface Gikandi, Standard; Courtesy]

The late Ignatius Murai, who was the Mugoiri location colonial chief at the time, had donated 12.25 acres for the purpose of establishing a girls’ education centre. 

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Mr Murai’s daughters - Amb Emmah Murai, the late Josephine Michuki and the late Sister Ignasia Pia - were all educated at the school that was established near their home.

The school first opened its doors in 1938 with four teachers, all nuns, and 25 students under the first head teacher, Sister Zaveria Pasqualina.

Between 1940 and 1944, school operations were disrupted by World War II. The nuns were confined at the Mathari mission under their seniors' orders.

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Between 1948 and 1951, the number of learners rose to 41 as Sister Blandina took over as the second head teacher.

Phasing out

The modern-day institution was established in 1959, after the phasing out of a teachers' training college and intermediate school, with Sister Christiana Sestero as the first headmistress.

In 1964, student enrolment shot up to 150 before it reduced to 76 between 1965 and 1969. In 1965, Teresia Wambui became the first African principal. She was replaced by Christine Nakhanu in 1970.

Ms Nakhanu was replaced by Hellen Mugo, a former student, who served between 1975 and 1990. During her tenure, enrolment shot up to 546 students with 24 teachers.

Other heads who have steered the institution include Alice Njehia and Veronica Waweru.

The school currently has 1,526 students and 48 teachers.

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Today’s event is co-ordinated by the board of management, which is chaired by Jeremiah Mbuthia with assistance from former students.

The occasion is expected to help the school community reflect on their journey thus far as they seek to improve facilities.

The old students, the principal said, related well with current students and regularly visited the school to encourage them.

She revealed that early this year, Kenyan-born Australian senator Lucy Gachuhi, an old girl, visited and spoke to the girls at length to encourage them.

Hard life

Murang’a MP Sabina Wanjiru, who was a student at the school between 1993 and 1996, recounted how hard life was, but added that the students remained focused on completing their education.

“Meals time were chaotic as space in the dining hall was limited, forcing many girls to remain outside,” she said, adding that there was need to create an enabling environment for the students. 

Alumni association chairperson Mary Gakunga, who attended the school between 1954 and 1961, said she was proud to be associated with the school.

“This school instilled in us practical life skills, plus human and societal values such as diligence, independence, resilience, self-esteem, integrity, social responsibility and service to the country,” she said.

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As part of the celebrations, Ms Gakunga said the alumni would equip the home science laboratory with eight cookers.

 

 

 

 


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