Kyeni Girls: Where Kanze Dena, Cecil Mbarire wore red skirts and white blouses

Old school

Kyeni Girls High School is a boarding public county school in Runyenjes Constituency, Embu County. The girls-only school was established in 1965 by the Ursuline Sisters after being commissioned by the Meru Catholic Diocese. It was the second public girls secondary school to be introduced in Embu County after Kangaru Girls.

The school’s inception in Meru elicited excitement from the neighbouring boys schools, including Kevote and Kangaru, which were now assured of “company” and “potential wives”.

Former students have fond memories of Mr Gichonge who diligently coached them for solos during music festivals and propelled the school to national limelight as far as music was concerned. Other than academics where the school has been known for impressive performance, Kyeni has also been performing well in music and drama.

The school’s management has over the years striven to build holistic women and for this, many former students still remember a quote by Mrs Mwea: “There’s no need to be an academic giant, but remain a social cabbage.” This is an emphasis on the school’s efforts to nurture soft skills. It was out of the belief that there is only so much that education and being book-smart can do.

There are also students who still remember Mrs Mwai, a former headmistress, who used to plan bashes whenever then President Daniel Moi passed by the school. During such a time, students had a rare chance of eating pilau, samosa, and soda. She was also generally loved by students because she was a very polite mama, and very understanding to students’ concerns despite her being the principal.

Notable alumni who were guided by the school motto “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve”, include, Kanze Dena, former State House Spokesperson; Cicily Mbarire, Governor of Embu County; Dr Josephine Kibaru, National Council for Population and Development Director General; Dorothy Nditi, former deputy governor of Embu County; Engineer Mary Njue, the CEO of Epicentre Ltd; Mary Kamonye, CEO, Brand Kenya; and Eng Lilian Mbogo, Senior Manager at Networks Operations Centre.

The Standard
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