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KCSE stars who went against the grain to post top grades

By Standard Team | May 12th 2021
Students Cheer on as they lift Joel Simiyu on their shoulder at Nakuru Boys High School on May 11, 2021. Simiyu Scored an A of 81 points. [Daniel Chege, Standard]

When Joel Simiyu arrived at Nakuru Boys High School in 2017, he was in his old primary school uniform. Simiyu was to continue donning the uniform for two weeks before the school donated a pair to him. 

His mother, Florence Nasimiyu, a vegetable vendor in Kimilili, Bungoma County, could not afford to pay school fees for the entire four years of his schooling.

However, he was lucky that the County Government of Bungoma offered a bursary that sustained him throughout his schooling.

After the tough start, the 18-year-old defied challenges scoring an A (81 points). He scored six straight As in maths, chemistry, physics, biology, Kiswahili and geography.

He is one of the students who improved on his performance in secondary education after he posted 368 marks in KCPE.

“My dream is to become a doctor. I promised to put a smile on my mother’s face and here is the beginning of that smile,” he said, looking into his mother’s eyes.

He attributed his success to the school principal, Mr Mike Yator, saying he understood his predicaments on admission and offered consistent support for the four years of his secondary education.

Simiyu’s mother appealed to well-wishers to support her son through his university education.

Peter Ken Njuguna of Kiaguthu Boys High School, Murang’a, scored B- of 54 points.

Njuguna, a physically challenged student, was born with short hands and had challenges performing some tasks.

He, however, said classmates and friends helped him during his four-year stay in the school.

He said even his school uniforms were always washed by a school worker he identified as Mama Peter.

At Meru School, Caleb Karani who comes from a humble background, relied on the county for a scholarship from Form One and got an A plain of 83 points. He had attained 413 marks in KCPE.

He had been admitted to Murang’a High School but his family appealed to Meru School to swap the admission, citing high travelling costs.

Annette Okatch from Kanga, Migori County defied all odds to become the top student in Ogande Girls High School. She had been in and out of hospital for the better part of her schooling. She scored 81 points, getting an A plain.

Being in and out of hospital, Annete Okatch and her family did not imagine she would emerge the best at Ogande Girls High School in Homa Bay.

Annete, who recently turned 19, scored an A plain, emerging top in her school.

She was first admitted to St Brigit’s Girls in Kericho but an asthma attack would see her sent home most of the time because of the condition.

“I would be called to the school most of the time as her condition sometimes would worsen,” Beryl Okatch, her mother, said.

In 2018, Annete was heading home from school when a boda boda she had boarded was hit by a vehicle, leaving her with a spinal and right leg injury.

She was rushed to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital and later to Bliss Hospital and Aga Khan where she was admitted for close to three months, which saw her miss her first term in Form Three.  

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