School that lost 14 pupils in Solai dam tragedy triumphs in KCPE, breaks record

Teachers and parents of Solai Nyakinyua primary celebrate the KCPE results after breaking a three-year record. [Carolyne Chebet, Standard]

The primary school who lost 14 pupils during the Solai Dam tragedy in Nakuru has broken their record in the last three years despite the challenges.

Solai Nyakinyua primary school produced seven pupils that scored over 300 marks, an improvement from the last three years where less than five pupils scored above 300 marks.

The top student, Chris Nganga, scored 339, closely followed by Martha Njeri with 327 and Jane Wanjiru with 322, marks which the teachers and parents said were a surprise following the trauma after the tragedy that killed 48 people.

“It has been a struggle after the tragedy, piecing up things together was not easy among the candidates although none died. Some lost parents, others lost friends and properties but still, they pulled a surprise on us,” Stanley Njoroge, the school head teacher, said.

The school posted a mean score of 234, an improvement from 201 in the 2017 KCPE result.

He said over the past three years, the school had been producing less than five students with above 300 marks, and others scoring less than 100, but this year, all managed to score above 100 marks.

“The grief has turned into joy. At least things are finally lighting up after the dark period. This year none of pupil scored less than 100. We also had a pupil who is mentally challenged but has also tried to score above 100 marks, a record in years,” Njoroge said.

He said five of the candidates were deeply affected by the tragedy and fainted most of the time in school. They were however stable, following rigorous counselling processes.

The teachers and parents attributed the success to constant counselling, motivational talks and hard work after the tragedy.

“After the tragedy, some cried often. Several sponsors and well-wishers joined in for counseling sessions and even though we lost about three weeks out of class and trying to come to terms with what happened, we finally made it. By September almost all the pupils were stable,” he said.

Chris Waweru, the top student, lost his best friend. His parents said it took him a long time to forget the tragedy.

“It was traumatic. He talked of his best friend often but counselling helped a lot. He is currently undergoing the initiation period and wants to be an engineer when he grows up,” John Kagai said.

Hadija Njema, one of the parents said the results despite the challenges signified hope and urged the government to chip in counselling sessions for traumatic pupils in future.

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