Low-key celebrations characterised the reception of the 2022 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination results in former academic giants.
A subdued mood reigned in the majority of the schools with security officers directed not to allow parents and the media into the schools.
At Kenya High School, which emerged runners-up in the 2021 KCSE examination after posting a mean score of 10.42, this year's candidates quietly received their results after the school administration denied access to the school.
This was a departure from previous years when the school fraternity would join candidates in song and dance to celebrate grades. Parents who had accompanied their children to the school had to address the media metres away from the school gate.
At Pangani Girls, which has in the past years produced top candidates in the country, the school was deserted with most 2022 KCSE candidates staying away. Attempts to reach the school principal on phone bore no fruit as the school gate remained closed.
In scattered incidents where celebrations rented the air, no one was quite sure of the school's performance.
Typically, at schools like St. Georges Girls School that usually perform well and rank top, twigs and jigs would have taken centre stage amid ululation in celebration of success.
At Starehe Boys Centre, a school that has in recent years reportedly faced a decline in fortunes, it was not publicly clear by Friday who was the centre's best candidate or its mean score.
As other schools celebrate and competition intensifies, it, however, remains to be seen whether the new crop of smaller and little-known schools will sustain the impressive momentum and take over as the giants falter.