As Nyeri High School marks 100 years, its old boys start something new

Nyeri High School

Former Safaricom chairman Nicholas Ng'ang'a (centre), shares a cake with Nyeri Catholic Archbishop Anthony Muheria and Nyeri High School Board Chairman Samuel Kiruthu during the centenary anniversary of Nyeri High School in Nyeri County on June 15, 2024.

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The alumni founded a kitty they hope will give their school a face-lift.
  • The once colonial school currently boasts of a population of 1,700 students.

They once studied in the same school and having excelled in their various fields, the old boys of Nyeri High reunited to celebrate 100 years of their alma mater.

The atmosphere was filled with floods of memories, and their agenda was about more than just reminiscence— it was about giving back.

Inspired by their shared experiences and the profound impact the institution had on their lives, the alumni founded a kitty they hope in due course will give their school a face-lift.

Addressing attendees during the centenary celebration on Saturday, Engineer Bernard Wahome, the Chairperson of the Endowment Fund Committee and a member of the class of 1982, said that the kitty, which was started early this year, had accumulated Sh2 million.

“Our goal is to raise Sh1 million for each year of our school's existence, totaling to over Sh100 million for its 100-year history,” he said, adding that the alumni association had 300 members.

The fund, he said, would not only enhance the school's facilities but will also provide scholarships to students from needy backgrounds.

Quality education

“Nearly 20 per cent of our student population are unable to pay school fees and this is why our initiative will also include giving our students a chance just as we were also given,” he said.

The once colonial school currently boasts of a population of 1,700 students.

Established as a Primary Boys’ Boarding School by the Consolata Missionaries in 1924, Nyeri High School was one of the few centers in the country that offered education to African students during the British colonial rule. 

In 1947, it transitioned to a Junior Secondary School and began admitting African students, driven by the increasing demand for better primary and secondary education among Africans.

The early 1950s reflected changing educational policies and a growing demand for quality education among Africans.

“I was admitted on January 15, 1951, when I was only 12 years old. I reported to school barefoot, without undergarments or sheets in my box. It was very daunting, especially during the cold season of July,” recalled former Safaricom Chairman Nicholas Ng’ang’a, an alumnus and the chief guest during Saturday’s celebrations.

Well-rounded graduates

He remembered with nostalgia the seven years he spent at the institution.

During the 1950s and 1960s, the introduction of new subjects and the enhancement of facilities such as science laboratories, libraries, and sports fields contributed to its growing status, according to the school management.

After the country gained independence in 1963, the institution’s population grew significantly as it opened its doors to students from various part of Kenya.

This era saw an increased focus on national integration and the production of well-rounded graduates who could contribute to the newly independent nation.

Over the years, the school has maintained high academic standards, and its students have consistently performed well in national examinations.

Last year, the institution, an extra county school, recorded a mean score of 7.9 from the 246 candidates who sat for their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams.

According to Chief Principal Samuel Kahura, the score was an improvement from the 2022 KCSE mean score of 7.6.

New technologies

Mr Kahura said the institution had continued to evolve, adapting to the changing landscape in the country by embracing new technologies, teaching methods and ensuring that students are well-prepared for the challenges of the 21st century.

“And even as we transition to the second century, we remain committed to our founding principles of providing quality education and fostering the development of well-rounded individuals,” he said.

The institution is also famed for its performance in sports, music, debates and the President’s Award Kenya (PA-K) Club, which have contributed to the holistic development of students.

Its notable alumni include former Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura, former head of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) General (Retired) Julius Waweru Karangi, Former Minister for Roads and Transport Engineer Michael Kamau and Former CDF General Robert Kibochi.

Others are the late Joseph Kamotho, former governor of Nyeri Nderitu Gachagua, former President Mwai Kibaki and the former Minister for Internal Security Chris Murungaru.

The institution is sponsored by the Catholic Church, under the Archdiocese of Nyeri.