Construction of Kabare Girls High School (and Mutige Boys School) began after area coffee farmers agreed to each contribute two cents per half kilogramme of cherry, and shortly, they had raised over Sh80,000. The construction started in Kerugoya, Kirinyaga County, in Central Kenya.

On April 6, 1964, Kabare Girls enrolled the first batch of 35 students on harambee basis through sponsorship of the Anglican Church of Kenya.

The school shared dormitories, dining hall and kitchen with Kabare Soarding Primary School. ‘Kabz,’ as it was nicknamed, was expanded using pre-fabricated materials that were acquired on credit from Nyeri-based saw miller, Yacoob Deen.

In late 1964, the government gave the school two volunteer teachers; Miss Jeldine Markee and Miss Jane Bell. Miss Markee served as the principal until 1968, when a local teacher took over.

In 1967, the first lot of students failed to sit for the national examination as there were no trained teachers to prepare them. They sat for the exam the following year with celebrated author Prof Micere Mugo serving as headmistress for a year to 1969, when Kianyaga Boys were naughtily hitting on ‘Kabz.’

The now national school celebrated 50 years on June 20, 2014.

Notable alumni include 2013 presidential contender, ‘Iron Lady’ Martha Karua. Dr Wambui Macharia, a Moi University don, was taught physics here by a teacher nicknamed ‘Black Messiah.’

It’s also here that Ebola fighter, Dr Wanjiru Waithera, and Polly Mwangi, the Regional Associate Director of Ernst & Young, dressed in checked maroon and white skirts, white blouses and gray sweaters. Nairobi City County Assistant Director for Social Services, Jane Wamuguru, was also here and rode in the school’s Bedford truck that is now broken down.

Others who were guided by the school motto, ‘In pursuit of Excellence,’ besides having stewed rice thrice in a week, include Christine Maina, a Senior Associate at Deloitte and Sarah Wang’ombe, an Audit Associate at KPMG.

These alumni enjoyed photo breaks on Sundays, but not when cutting tough grass with blunt pangas.