Six United States International University (USIU) students have been awarded the prestigious Presidential Gold Award. The students were awarded by the Head of State, President Mwai Kibaki at a ceremony at State House last weekend. The award ceremony was presided over by the head of state President Kibaki. High schools, colleges and Universities from all over the country were in attendance and there was an exuberant mood as students eagerly awaited to receive their hard earned awards.
The gold award is given to young Kenyans who satisfactorily complete a program that includes 18 months of community service and two adventurous journeys. The winners also need to display leadership qualities and be physically fit through regular exercises.
The President’s Award-Kenya (PA-K) is an exciting self-development programme equips young people with positive life skills which will make a difference for themselves, their communities, country and the world.
The Award, which started in Kenya in 1966, is a member of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Association, which oversees the Award Programme in over one hundred and twenty countries.
As the awardees were receiving the certificates, there was a light moment when a priest received his certificate 40 years after he won the award. Father James Bimbi was tracked using social media after efforts to contact him for four decades bore little fruit.
President Kibaki commended the recipients and hailed their sacrifice and diligence. The President also took the opportunity to take a swipe at people who intended to disrupt the National exams and said that the government would deal firmly with them.
The USIU students looked back on their long journey towards attaining the gold award and remarked that it had indeed not been easy.
“The journey has been awesome but challenging. I have learnt to be patient, tolerant, humble and appreciate life through this programme,” said a bubbly Betty Mbaya.
“My confidence has been boosted and I now know there is no challenge I can’t surmount,” said an excited Carol Mutinda.
The other students from USIU include Sheke Muiruri, Rebecca Njoroge, Claire Lukorito and Rashid Ahmed.
Report by Grace Mbele