High school moulded us into leaders, say legislators

Kabarak are nostalgic as they re­flect on their time in the school. They all agree that it was the institution that moulded them into the leaders they are today, recalling the virtues that were instilled in them which they say still shapes their lives decades after they left the school.

Moses Cheboi, National Assembly Deputy Speaker and Kuresoi North MP

"This is the school that I owe a lot to. I have fond memories of this school that shaped me into the person that I am today. There is always a sense of nostalgia when I recall my days at Kabarak. I remember everything about the school including my admission number, which was 2310. Having first attended a different school, I would say that Kabarak has a system and set up that is different from any other school.

They have a way of balancing and creating uniformity among all students – those from the rich background and the less fortunate in the society. They want all the students to feel equal, something that was introduced by retired President Daniel Moi, who is the patron of the school. I credit him because he is the one those days who came up with the idea of providing school uniform, including shoes, to all the students. That way you could not tell the social background of any student, whether from rich or poor families.

Kabarak instils religious values, and more so humility, in the students. You are also taught to care for one another. But it is in developing the potential of the students that they are very best at. They give you the chance to excel. When I went there I had very low marks. Mine could have been the lowest, but courtesy of the school, I developed my full potential and ended up as the joint best student together with a Mr Cherotich, the current principal of Sacho High School.

This is the place where one's character is well nurtured, and I want all my children to go through this school. Already two have been studied there and I would be very disappointed if the third and last one does not make it to the school. It is my desire that they all go through this great institution. My only regret is that the school did not realise and pick my leadership skills. All the MPs who were at the school were prefects at their own time, except me. Chris Omulele (Luanda, MP) was the dining captain, Peris Tobiko (Kajiado East) was the assistant head girl and even Jeremiah Kioni (Ndaragwa) was a prefect.

But I could argue that while I was not in the executive of the school, I was in the legislative arm of it as I was the secretary of the debating club elected by my follow students. It is a school that anyone who has gone through it would want to send their children there. About 95 per cent of former students always want to send their children to the school because of the virtues they learn at the institution.”

Chris Omulele, Luanda MP

"I would, without doubt, say that my days at Kabarak were the best days of my life. The school defined my life. It taught me humility, teaching me that there was more to life than wealth. Kabarak gave me the chance to interact with the who-is-who – the very best in the world – at a very tender age, but also teaching me that no matter who I engage with, I have to remain humble. I shook hands with such greats as Mandela (former South African President, Nelson) when he visited Kenya after his release from prison. He was brought by Moi to Kabarak. Many heads of state visiting Kenya always found time to visit Kabarak; it was a great experience. Chinua Achebe also visited us. I went to Kabarak in search of education, but I got more.

This is where I learnt how to swim and became very good at it. I even earned a place in the national swimming team and because of these exploits I got a sponsorship from President Moi and schooled without paying fees. I will forever be grateful for that We were also doing very well in academics, always emerging top. Many people even thought that we were being favoured because of our connection with the President. But we proved them wrong as we would do very well wherever we went after Kabarak. I keep saying that someday, God willing, I will also set up an institution with similar tenets as Kabarak.

Peris Tobiko, Kajiado East MP

I had the privilege of being the school's Deputy Head Girl which means I kept interacting with the administration. This somehow prepared me to what I am doing today as a lawmaker as I have to keep interacting with the Executive. What I am today is purely the inspiration of my moments at Kabarak.

It was very valuable time. We used to challenge ourselves by always referring to ourselves as policy makers, decision makers and lawmakers. And it came true to the majority of us. Retired President Moi nurtured us all as his own children. He insisted on Christian orientation for us in his bid to bring up God-fearing people and it really worked. Joining the Christian Union was cultivated in us at tender age.

President Moi, who was a frequent visitor and never in a hurry to leave made us to dream big. He made us believe that we could be whoever and whatever we chose to be. Being a national school, and drawing its population from different parts of the country also made us appreciate our diversity. Other virtues instilled in us are honesty, which comes with having a close relationship with God, being disciplined and accommodating. I made friends at Kabarak.

Many of who I cherish to date. Among my friends that I have remained closely in touch with since is Maryanne Chepchumba who works at Kenya School of Monetary Studies, and who I even named my daughter after, Eunice Kilai, a Kamonjo, Kibichi Cornelius, Felix Mutua, Tabitha Akoth. They are many and we share a lot.

George Gitonga Murugara, Tharaka MP

How I miss that Makatiat (bread) that we would be served whenever President Moi came visiting us. It is sweeter than any bread that I have sampled, and whenever we knew he was coming to visit, we all craved for this one thing. I think he had a bakery somewhere in Kabarnet and that is where the supply would be made from.

He would have a bull slaughtered for us, and we would feast, celebrating a meal with him. But it was that Makatiat that just stood out. It was sweet for us.But it was not just about the feast, the Head of State would spend quality time with us giving us fatherly advice. He never appeared to be in a hurry when he came. He could spend enough time.

These were just some of the moments I hold with lots of nostalgia. There are many attributes that I can share about Kabarak. Besides academics, there were some virtues, including leadership, honesty and discipline that were core values taught at the school. I had been at Alliance (for O-Levels) but when I joined Kabarak, that is where I interacted with these virtues and they were instilled in me. Discipline among students was impeccable.

This was a mixed school, but you would never hear of the indiscipline associated with mixed schools. We also never used to have half-term breaks, which were common in other schools. There would be unrests in some schools if this break was never given, but with us we knew we did not have the break, and it was well with everyone.

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KabarakMoses CheboiMoi High SchoolPresident Daniel Moi