2009 KCPE champions still living the dream - Beaking Kenya News

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Saturday, 23 November 2019

2009 KCPE champions still living the dream

Determined to prove to the world that they did not excel by chance, a majority of the candidates who topped the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations 10 years ago went on to shine in high school and university, a follow-up by the Saturday Nation reveals.
The boy who led the pack, Peter Kamenju Njoroge, had said he wanted to be a neurosurgeon to help many in society.
“I’d like to join Alliance High School. From there, I will further my studies and become a surgeon, which is my dream career,” Kamenju told a local TV station on the day he was announced the best KCPE candidate with 438 marks out of the possible 500.
He is on track to achieving this dream as he is currently a fifth-year student at the University of Nairobi’s (UoN) School of Medicine.
The top student in Coast province in the 2009 KCPE exams was Abbas Naeem Essajjee of Aga Khan Primary School, who scored 431 marks.
Abbas also emerged top in Mombasa County in the 2013 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations.
Like Kamenju, he is now a fifth-year student of medicine at UoN. “When I got into Form One, I was told it would be difficult to top again. The fact that I had topped in KCPE inspired me to work hard and maintain the same in KCSE,” Abbas said in a phone interview.
Also in the top 10 list of the 2009 KCPE best achievers from Coast province was John Adams Nalo, who garnered 423 marks.
Adams would later join Starehe Boys High School, score an A (minus) in KCSE and get admitted to the UoN School of Law. He completed his undergraduate studies this year.
“I am currently doing an internship at Hamilton, Harrison and Matthews law firm on my way to the Kenya School of Law,” he said.
The student who topped in Nyanza province in the 2009 test was Orori Conrad Ongoi, who hails from Homa Bay County.
Orori later joined Nakuru High School and scored an A in the 2013 KCSE, before joining the Technical University of Kenya, where he is studying geospatial engineering.
“When I was in primary school, my dream was to be an engineer and I thank God for He has been with me and enabled me to pursue my dream course. I will be graduating next year,” he told the Saturday Nation.
Now on the homestretch of their degree studies, the cream of the 2009 class shared a lot of perspectives on education.
Kamenju said he has come to learn that failure in examinations should not deter anyone. “Exams are not a test of intelligence but of discipline and organisation. They do not necessarily favour intelligence,” he said.
“I would also advise learners to think beyond exams and to invest their youthful energy in innovation and competence,” Kamenju added.
“An example is Einstein, who the education system thought to be a failure but who, in his most depressed times, came up with the theory of relativity. So at the end of the day, those not satisfied with their marks should forget the past and press on toward their dreams.”
Kamenju’s success has been used to inspire learners at his former school, Lily Academy in Githurai. The top student from the school in this year’s KCPE, Nick Mathenge, scored 433 marks.
He said Kamenju’s advice was instrumental. “He came to school to motivate us. He has been motivating me personally, sometimes even sending me books and even telling me how KCPE was; that I should not fear it,” Mathenge said Friday.
Orori, the best candidate in Nyanza in 2009, had a similar perspective. He said while natural intelligence plays a part in academic success, effort goes a long way.
“Those of us who went to high school, despite being naturally intelligent, worked extra hard. We finally made it to university to pursue the courses of our dreams. As such, natural intelligence is an advantage in defining academic success, but hard work is paramount,” said the 23-year-old.
For Abbas, the best Coast student a decade ago, the fruits of his labour were all over their house in Mombasa. Pictures, trophies and certificates of his achievements are on display.
His mother, Rashida Naeem Essajee, described him as disciplined, obedient and extremely prayerful, values which contributed to his good performance.
She also revealed that Abbas passed up the chance to study at Alliance High School, where he had been invited to and instead joined Aga Khan High School.
“Alliance would not allow him to leave school to attend religious functions, so we opted for Aga Khan High School, which is a day secondary school. Many people advised us against that but I knew he was still going to pass. From school he used to come home, pray, then sleep up to 11pm when he would wake up to study till morning.”
Abbas was ranked number 20 out of the best 100 candidates in the 2013 KCSE, with a mean score of 86.831 points.

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