KCSE champions lay bare their school’s success secrets

Discipline, dedicated teachers and a conducive learning environment are the elements that have enabled Moi High School Kabarak to produce top achievers in national examinations. Mukaindo Mwaniki is among celebrated doctors in the country today.

He scored A plain in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam in 1997 from Kabarak and was the top student in the country. After writing his KCSE exam, Dr Mwaniki studied Bachelor of Medicine at University of Nairobi and Masters of Medicine in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Aga Khan University.

Apart from clinical work, he is a senior lecturer and a researcher. Mwaniki says Moi High School Kabarak was a melting pot of socio-cultural, religious and economic activities where he fit in without bullying that was rampant in boarding schools then. "It would take me half a day's journey to get there from my rural home in the now Mbeere North sub-county of Embu but I found it a home away from home that melted learners into one community," he says. As a mixed school, the exposure attained ultimately makes one to value individual integrity and merit beyond tribe, gender, wealth or other prejudiced considerations.

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Having some of the most experienced, enthusiastic and friendly teachers made even the feared chemistry, physics and biology into a symphony easily understood by the doctor. "Teachers at the school were student-friendly. Whenever I did not understand any given topic, they were there to help me get a solution and with time, I liked all subjects," says Dr Mwaniki. "Today I strive to make even the most complex constructs into simple plain-language dialogues, whether I am instructing a Master of Medicine student or explaining a medical diagnosis to a worried patient.” At the school, teachers would go an extra mile to conduct revision with individual learners to enable them improve.

They also completed syllabus on time, providing ample revision time. "Teamwork is a virtue at Moi High School-Kabarak.Teachers and students work together towards success. This is why I managed to excel in all subjects," he says. Mwaniki did not only concentrate on academics, he explored his talent in sports after finding an expansive ground with athletes, sports and art facilities. He joined hockey, the choir, dabbled in table tennis and tried swimming and rugby. So what is it that he remembers most about the giant school? "I had lots of fun studying here. Yet amidst all the fun I assimilated the character and direction of who I am today. It did not hurt to see the admiration on peers' faces when I introduced where I was studying.

They would remember that I associated with the then President and would see him almost weekly during Sunday services. And yes he always had a loaf of bread for each of us. Please remember a loaf of bread was almost worth its weight in gold in high school!" Another KCSE top performer, Albert Kimani, is a proud alumni of the school that made him excel in academics. He was the best KCSE candidate in the country in 2010. Kimani enrolled for an undergraduate degree at Stanford and majored in Physics.

Currently, he is pursuing a PhD in Physics at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. The PhD student says he received “rich education and grew his curiosity about the world” during his time at Kabarak. "Dedication and a friendly learning environment at Moi High School-Kabarak greatly infl uenced my performance. For example we used to do revision during weekends and tight competition challenged me to work harder and harder. This enabled me to score the best grade," says Kimani. Over the weekends, he spent most of his free time socialising and playing football. "I do actually miss the posho ugali that we had at the school," he said.

Moi Kabarak also produced a top performer in 2005 – James Rotich, a software engineer at Nutanix in San Jose, California. "Life at Kabarak was very good and it made me who I am today. We had a group of friends eager to help each other to learn. I really appreciated the fact that the teachers were always available to answer any questions students had outside of class time and even give extra assignments” he said In 2013, Angela Kivuva Nzisa, made the school proud after she was ranked position three in the countrywide.

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Nzisa scored 86.983 points and attributed the grade to hard work, determination, discipline and dedicated teachers. The top girl is a benefi ciary of the Strathmore Scholarship Fund where she undertook Bachelor of Business Science-Financial Economics.

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KCSEMoi High School KabarakEducationPresident Daniel Moi