First woman head aims for the stars

Her inarguably charming smile somewhat masks her bold and sassy demeanour that has propelled her to the apex of Moi High School-Kabarak.

For the past four years, Elisheba Cheruiyot has been dancing to the sweet tunes of success composed under her leadership, tossing to sterling results and tirelessly working to improve them to make the institution’s academic performance even better.

Mrs Cheruiyot, is the current principal of Moi High School-Kabarak, a position she has held since 2015. Significantly, she is the first woman ever to head the popular school. Her office is always a beehive of activities, with parents, students and teachers streaming in and alumni frequently knocking the door. “Sometimes I lose count of the number of alumni who visit, some whose faces I have forgotten. Nothing beats the feeling of a former student walking into your office completely transformed,” said Cheruiyot.

When The Standard visited the principal recently, another visitor also called in. He looked familiar to the head teacher but she could not place him immediately. Mark Terues, an alumni from Baringo County, was once her Commerce student and Cheruiyot was delighted to see him. Mr Terues, now a teacher, had brought his students from St Patrick’s Iten to take part in a Chemistry contest at Kabarak.

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After pleasantries were exchanged, the visitor got somewhat emotional as he recounted the day he almost dropped out of school but was helped out by Cheruiyot. “It is moving when you go back to your former school and meet your former teacher and chair of bursary committee who bailed you out being the school principal. It feels so good,” said Mr Terues.

Terues, is currently a Chemistry teacher and was among the benefi ciaries of Moi Foundation and Bursary. For Cheruiyot, her 23-year journey at Moi High School-Kabarak has been fulfilling. She came to the school in 1996 from Kapropita Girls. The same year, she was promoted to Head of Commerce in the school and in 1997, became the chair of bursary and also a member of the Chaplaincy Committee. She also played a role in guidance and counselling.

“I instantly found a home here and things started working out fast. I took up the roles with relish. I enjoyed identifying students from humble backgrounds who could not raise school fees so that they could benefi t from bursaries offered,” she said. In 2010, Cheruiyot was appointed Deputy Principal in charge of girls’ affairs. Her responsibility was to help the students to improve their grades and to ensure that they were disciplined.

“Most of the girls then were average and there was need to improve their grades. In a span of two years, we produced the best girl in the country Angela Nzisa,” the head teacher said, a big smile pasted on her face.

In May 2015, Cheruiyot was promoted to the rank of principal after then then principal, Henry Kiplagat, moved to Kabarak University. She is full of gratitude to Prof Kiplagat for giving her good mentorship. The same year, Cheruiyot said, the girls performed better than the boys for the first time in the history of the school.

“It has been fulfilling seeing grades of students improve over time. The school too has managed to become an unrivalled giant in mathematics and sciences. We had an upward trend between 2010 and 2016, and in 2017 the grades dropped slightly to 9.16,” she said.

Last year, the school re-emerged to claim its glory, posting a mean grade of 10.20. She hopes the grade will improve to 10.8 in this year’s KCSE exams. “What has always propelled us and maintained us at the top is discipline, hard work and prayers. The teachers ensure we cover the syllabus early to give ample time for revision.

The spiritual aspect too has helped in eliminating indiscipline,” she explained. Cheruiyot further said former President Daniel are Moi’s constant monitoring of the school has kept the institution on its feet, making it to perennially post good results. The former President’s support has also come in handy for the school. The board of trustees also makes constant checks to ensure the school follows set standards.

 “Over the years we have had a national representation which has also brought in unity and harmony among the students. Academically, morally and even in the co-curriculum activities, I can say we are generally doing great.”

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Moi High SchoolKabarakElisheba Cheruiyot