And so it was for the top students of the 2011 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examinations who were full of jubilation as Minister Sam Ongeri called out their names on national television, opening doors of opportunity for them.
For Victor Gikonyo who was the top student at Alliance High School and ranked 2nd countrywide, the announcement signified the beginning of his lifelong journey to become a pharmacist.
“My dad brought up the idea of pharmacy which I had never thought of. After a discussion with him I realised that it would be my career because I like chemistry and this might work for me and the pay is also good,” he said.
Satiated with happiness, Gitau could barely contain his excitement as he thanked his teachers, parents and fellow students for catapulting him on his path to success.
“I would like to thank my teachers, friends and parents for their support which made me successful. I had to study and do what was required of me at the right time. When it was prep time and a time to study, I studied and when it was a time to be serious, I did all I could to be successful,” he stated.
He described himself as a dynamic person who engaged in every kind of sporting activity in the school and was all rounded in his passion for all the subjects
His colleague Alex Kariuki who was ranked 8th in the nation could also barely conceal his excitement at the prospects of finally being able to fulfill his dream of being a nuclear scientist.
Speaking to journalists at the school, Kariuki said the results marked the turning point of his life.
“My dream career initially was actually to become an electrical engineer. But now with the introduction of nuclear physics in the country’s vision 2030, I would like to be a nuclear scientist and that now is quite possible following my good results. I thank God for that,” he enthused.
The sister school Alliance Girls was not to be left behind as it emerged third countrywide with a mean score of 11.0822 points.
A former student at the school Sandra Maseno who was ranked fourth countrywide in the just released results bubbled with excitement as she recounted how she worked hard to get the stellar results.
“It feels so good especially when you see that your hard work has really paid off. It feels relay good. It is an indescribable joy. I cannot even speak about it. It is really awesome to see the fruits of your labour,” she stated.
It was a year of upsets as Maranda High School made a shocking splash and emerged the best of the best barely six months after it was given national school status.
The once obscure school had a mean score of 11.2871 ahead of second placed Alliance High School which had a mean score of 11.1455.
Starehe Boys Centre and School which once dominated the top slot came in at fourth followed by Mangu High School and Moi Girls High School Eldoret in fifth and sixth positions.
Kenya High School, Maryhill Girls High School, Pangani Girls High School and the Starehe Girls Centre wrapped up the top 10 spots.
Education Minister Sam Ongeri said that results of 2,927 students were cancelled due to various irregularities including collaborating with invigilators.
Ongeri noted that techniques employed by students and teachers to cheat in the examinations were sophisticated in what he termed as “a chain from the top.”
“For instance candidates are refusing to be frisked and to be confined during practical examinations and even engaging in fights during examinations,” Ongeri elaborated.