At St. Chad's we share a close partnership with St. Mary's High School in Nyeri, Kenya. We were recently blessed with a visit from Brother Kombe (head teacher), Mr. Njae (teacher of maths), Mr. Nyoike (teacher of agriculture), Bonface, Brian, Jefferson and Joseph.
The partnership that we enjoy was started by former teachers from St. Chad's ten years ago. The late Brother Dominic Jordan was instrumental in ensuring that strong foundations were laid so that staff and students could be involved in educational exchanges to the UK and to Kenya.
Whilst in the UK, staff spent time observing lessons and meeting with key subject staff to discuss different approaches to teaching and learning. The students enjoyed following a sixth form timetable that complemented their interests and have made friends for life with many of our sixth formers.
In addition to time in class, the visit was cram-packed with enrichment activities enjoyed alongside St. Chad's students. During the visit we were lucky enough to visit Liverpool, London and the Mayor of Halton. We particularly enjoyed our whistle stop tour of the major sites of London with our year 10 and 11 students (pictured). A real highlight for the staff and students of St. Mary's was meeting Corporal Patrick Ngatia. Patrick is an ex student of St. Mary's who applied to serve in the British Army as Kenya is a commonwealth state. Patrick typifies the standard set by St. Mary's and St. Chad's in terms of encouraging students to aim for their dreams. Patrick has been on two tours of Afghanistan and he is currently posted as Royal Guard. Following our brief meeting, we enjoyed a short visit to the Museum of Natural History. All students, both from St. Chad's and St. Mary's, were in awe of the gargantuan brachiosaurus that occupies the main hall of the museum.
Bonface, Brian, Jefferson and Joseph found the museum tour very helpful as they are soon to sit examinations in biology. All form four students at St. Mary's will soon be sitting finals (equivalent of A Levels) in late October. We wish the staff and students good luck with their forthcoming examinations.
St. Mary's is more than a school. St. Mary's is a home for over 700 boys, many of which do not have any living relatives or have been abandoned or abused. The school provides wrap-around care for many students who, without St. Mary's, would not have any hope. The students at St. Mary's know that the only way to improve their situation is to get educated. As you may or may not know, there is no free education after primary level in Kenya; if a family has no funds, the child receives no education. Brian and Bonface found themselves in a position where they had no parental support. I won't go into details because their story is personal to them. It is for them to tell.
If you would like to know more about the work that St. Mary's does, details (including sponsorship programmes) can be found on their website at http://www.stmaryslasalle.org/. Additionally, if you would like to hear what the boys had to say about their visit, this can be heard here http://www.vimeo.com/stchadsschool/kenyavisit2014