The desire to break a family “curse” that saw relatives drop out of school motivated the top female KCPE candidate in the Coast region to work hard.
Lisa Adhiambo, a candidate at Amani Primary School in Mombasa, scored 420 marks to emerge the best student in KCPE in public schools in the county.
Her mother Diana Akinyi said she was shocked by her performance.
“I dropped out of school due to lack of fees and I don’t want my daughter to suffer the same fate. My husband works in Nairobi as a loader and I am a housewife but we are happy that Lisa has made us shine,” she said.
The 38-year-old mother exuded confidence that her daughter would get a well-wisher to pay her school fees at Kenya High School, which she hopes to join, and later study aeronautical engineering at the University of Nairobi.
She said Adhiambo, 15, loves reading and is a God-fearing and obedient girl.
“She spends most of her time studying and she is one determined girl. We just pray and hope that she will not experience what we did regarding our education.”
Adhiambo, one of five children in the family that resides in Mikindani, said that although she is sure her parents will not afford the fees, she’s optimistic she will get a sponsorship.
“I was promised by the Kenya Electricity Generating Company that if I passed they would offer me a scholarship. I am proud of my family despite the poverty. I am happy that my parents have sacrificed to ensure I go to school,” she told the Nation.
Adhiambo said she had hoped to be among the country’s top 10 candidates but she was happy with the 420 she scored.
Her class teacher Faith Kathure said that the girl excelled despite her challenges.
She noted her potential and encouraged her, buying her revision materials and offering remedial classes in her free time. During school academic trips, Amani Primary teachers paid for her to join her colleagues.
“She made us proud, so whatever she required we ensured she never lacked. We had high expectations. We expected Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha to read Adhiambo’s name among the best in Kenya, but she’s still the best in the region. She has made Mikindani, Jomvu, Mombasa and the Coast region proud,” Ms Kathure said.
Adhiambo’s classmate, Janice Kubo, scored 407. Kubo, 15, aspires to join Moi Girls High School in Eldoret and later the University of Nairobi to study law.
Janice’s teacher, Magdalen Wanganya, has been her guardian since her mother fell ill and her father lost his job during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I became her guardian in 2020 when I realised her parents were undergoing challenges. I took her in as my child and provided everything for her. She has made me proud," she said.
Ms Wanganya, a class seven Mathematics and Kiswahili teacher, urged well-wishers to help Janice through her secondary education.
In Tana River, Jacob Maro Galogalo with 419 marks was the top candidate in the county.
The Holy Angels Academy pupil attributed his success to hard work and prayers. The 14 year old hopes to join Alliance Boys High School.
"The future is bright. I hope to be an aircraft engineer because I love planes and I’ am curious to know they fly," he said.
Additional reporting by Stephen Odour.