Top pupils in primary school shine in high school exams four years on

The gold chain wearing teenager with relaxed hair that we met at the TRM shopping mall on Thika Road on Friday afternoon having fun with his friends looked different from the Linus Ngatia who was first thrust into the limelight in 2010.

The shy 14-year-old boy with a bashful smile from the little-known Trinity Primary School in Murang’a who made it to the front pages of the newspapers in December that year when the Kenya Certificate of Primary Examination results were released, has transformed into a young man.

About 200 kilometres away in Nakuru was Collins Meto, the son of a farmer.

The Sunday Nation caught up with the two four years after they were ranked joint first overall with 434 marks out of 500 to see how they faired in the KCSE exams.

And it turned out that just like in 2010 when they were the stars of the moment, they did not disappoint in their Form Four exams.

Both students who say they had been nicknamed ‘Kenya 1’ in high school, scored an impressive 84 points in the results that were released last week. To get 84 points, a student is supposed to score straight As in all the 8 subjects.


After primary school, Meto joined Alliance High School while Ngatia joined Mangu High school.

The two shared numerous similarities. The two want to be engineers, they served as prefects in their respective schools, were not good in sports and were in class before everyone during preps. Their grades also took a nose dive in Form Three before they worked their way up again.

“I can recall the very first day I went to Alliance, everyone on the clearance queue would call me by my full names at every station as I was presenting my documents,” says Meto.

“From day one, the pressure was high because of the attention. Instead of my name, everyone referred to me as “Kenya 1” and asked me if I would repeat it again in Form Four,” says Ngatia.

But even with all the attention, the top students say they managed to emerge tops by surrounding themselves with bright students.

And true to his claim, the three friends that Ngatia was spending time with at the mall last Friday had scored As. Additionally, they were also top performers in KCPE.

One of them Daniel Kioko who scored 84 points in KCSE. In KCPE he was ranked ninth in Eastern Province with 422 marks.

The former president of the chess club at Mangu High school wants to pursue and engineering degree at the university adding his friends were his greatest motivation.


“We were friends but there was some internal competition among the four of us which challenged everyone to work harder,” he says.

However the second best girl nationally in KCPE 2010, says all it takes is self-belief that one is going to perform well in order to pass exams. Oprah Omeka, an aspiring architect from Alliance Girls had an A with 82 points. In KCPE, she scored 432 marks from Green Hill Academy in Kisii.

“People are smart because they think they are smart,” she says.

“Of course there are hiccups along the way but when you get beaten and you stay down you will fail but when you get up you rise,” she says.

Ochieng Rabin who beat Omeka to the best performer’s position in 2010 in Nyanza province had to struggle to prove himself up to the last minute after joining Nairobi School despite his stellar performance in KCPE.

The third best male student in KCPE found the going tough after meeting other smart brains in high school.

“If I had passed KCPE and then fail KCSE, it would have been useless and although I was an average student throughout high school because the competition
was abit tight, my focus was always on the final exam,” he says.

Even though he scored an A with 82 points, he had to contend he was index number 85 because of the tough competition.

Teachers at Nairobi School say teaching a pool of clever students can be tough.

“Sharp people have a short concentration span and easily loose confidence in you so you have to constantly research in order to make the class interesting,” says Njoki Gitumbi, an English teacher at the school.

Although her son Mureithi John who scored an A (84 points) was in the same school, the teacher says she has never taught her even at home.

“Being a teacher is like being a doctor, you have to protect your relationship with your child so you cannot teach him or her,” she says.

For other top performers though, strong influence from their parents ensured their good grades from primary school transitioned to high school.

Peter Korir, though not a teacher says he personally taught her daughter Zipporah Korir mathematics and would drop her at the National Library every day when she was on holidays.

The Kenya High School student scored 84 points.

“Parents go wrong when they abdicate the entire responsibility to the teachers. It should be a shared responsibility so during the holidays I became both a parent and the teacher,” says the Managing Director of Nyayo Tea Zone.


And a girl’s dream to become possibly the first gynaecologist from Moyale County could be closer to becoming a reality.

Mumina Warsitu Guyola, 19, was among the best KCSE students from Maryhill High School after getting a straight A of 84 points.

“I also want to help change a negative perception in my community that educating girls is unnecessary,” she told the Sunday Nation on phone from her Moyale home where she has taken a temporary teaching job in a local primary school.

The sixth-born in a family of seven children said she has always wanted to study medicine and specialise in gynaecology at the University of Nairobi.

Meanwhile, most of the 28 girls sponsored through Equity Bank’s “Wings to Fly” scholarship programme were among the best in the 2014 KCSE exams with two clinching the top four positions after getting straight A’s.

Mary Hill School principal Imelda Barasa said 14 of the 104 candidates who scored A- and above were beneficiaries of the ‘Wings to Fly’ scholarship programme.

The other top performers who were beneficiaries of the programme include Mary Wanjiku Ng’ang’a from Kajiado who got an A of 84 points, Madina Kuracha Mohamud, from Bura in Tana River County who scored an A- of 80 points and Lorna Wambui Munyiri from Kajiado County who score an A- of 79 points.

“These are young Kenyans whose lives have been transformed by the scholarship scheme and the sponsorship program was a noble idea,” Mrs Barasa said.
Nation, March 7, 2015

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