Also known as Saints, St Mary’s School is a prestigious private primary and secondary academy in Nairobi. The school, which is sponsored by the Roman Catholic Church was founded in 1939. Other than the Kenyan primary and secondary educational curriculum, this school also offers International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) certification and International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme. Despite being a boys learning institution, female students are only allowed to enrol for the IB Diploma Programme.
The school, which initially started with temporary structures, sits on 85 acres that belongs to St Austin’s Mission in Muthangari. The current school structures, including the twin towers which stand at the school’s quadrangle, were completed in 1954. The current staffroom, which is located between the twin towers, used to be the school’s library.
In its early days, St Mary’s School was the preferred learning institution for children of influential Kenyans, among them the first President Jomo Kenyatta, and his two successors, Daniel Moi and Mwai Kibaki.
St Mary’s School has endeavoured to develop individuals who are all-rounded and confident by focusing on academic, spiritual and physical aspects. The school has also strived to promote high level discipline, self-expression and God centred living.
Students who pass through this institution are trained to be principled, effective communicators, caring and innovative. This explains why the school administers have nurtured strong clubs and associations including math club, rugby, Christian Union, charity club, drama and violin, among others, to nurture student’s talents.
This school’s administration makes sure that parents day is a memorable event for students and parents. For instance, matches between parents and students during parents’ day are a common phenomenon. Some students recall an occasion when a parent got seriously injured and was rushed to the school’s health facility after playing with an under 13 team. Instead of showing empathy, this became a laughing matter for many students who were unable to figure out how a youngster can injure an adult.
The school whose motto is “Bonitas, Disciplina, Scientia”, a Latin phrase which stands for “Goodness, Discipline, Knowledge,”
Its notable alumni include some of the country’s foremost political, business and healthcare leaders.
They include President Uhuru Kenyatta, his brother Muhoho Kenyatta, Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo, the late Fidel Odinga, Veteran journalist Jeff Koinange, who was Uhuru’s classmate, Hollywood actress Lupita Nyong’o, rally driver Ian Duncan, Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, popular musician Eric Wainaina, Businessman and politician Jimi Wanjigi, former anti-graft czar John Githongo and Owiso Odera, a former TV actor.
At one time during an alumni function, President Kenyatta, donning a blazer complete with the school logo and tie, joked of how the school dean who doubled up as the discipline master would always give him three strokes of the cane whenever he breached school rules.
“But it was not as bad as those taken by some of us. The likes of Tony Munene, who is smiling here, would get six of the best,” he said amidst laughter from other alumni.
Others who wore white shirts, black trousers, grey pullovers and stripped ties include Tony Munene, a Thika businessman, Jimmy Kibaki, Mohammed Sheikh, a former Kenyan international cricketer and Dele Young, a Kenyan international tennis player.