NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 28 – Audrey Kemunto stands ramrod straight with her hands behind her back answering every question thrown at her concisely. The flashing cameras and all the microphones shoved in her face do not seem to faze her.
“I am overwhelmed,” she confesses but she does not cower from the media attention. The reason Audrey is the centre of attention is because she is the seventh best performing student nationally in the 2012 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations.
“I thank God. It is because of him I performed so well,” Audrey says modestly a smile never leaving her face, “I’d also like to thank my family, friends and teachers for supporting me.”
Behind the smile there is a tinge of sadness, “My mom isn’t here. She’s at work.”
Audrey’s dad isn’t here either; her mother is a widower with Audrey and a 16 year old son to bring up and it for this reason that she is in a banking hall and not by her daughter’s side.
The scholar’s smile broadens as she recollects receiving her stellar results: “I heard the Minister (Mutula Kilonzo) read my name but I didn’t believe it so I sent a text message to 5052 to confirm and it was really me.”
“I hope to get into Kenya High because I know that if I go there I will get an A grade and become a doctor who cares for children whose parents cannot afford health care,” Audrey says wistfully.
Audrey was until recently a pupil of New Light Komarock; the school which scored the highest mean grade nationwide in the just released KCPE results.
Audrey’s accomplishment is made all the more impressive as having scored 427 points out of a possible 500 she is at the top of her class – The best of the best.
Dickson Njeru, unlike Audrey, is a withdrawn man but like Audrey he attributes his success as head teacher and the success of New Light to a higher power.
“Every morning when we hold the assembly we pray and we place every lesson in God’s hands at the beginning of class.”
Njeru can now breathe a little easier having become head teacher of New Light only a year ago, “I’ve been teaching here for 10 years and I have only been the head teacher for a year.”
Having led New Light to the top Njeru can now add another notch to his belt. He is a published Social Studies teacher with two books under his belt.
“We expected to do well but not this well. We had hoped to clinch the first place last year and ended up in fourth place so this is a welcome outcome.”