St Peter’s Nyakemincha Secondary School in Nyamira County has defied the odds to emerge among the top 100 schools in the country.
For a school whose name means tail in the local language, the community would associate it with failure or coming last.
Some years ago, its primary section was well-known but for the wrong reasons — “tailing” in the KCPE exam.
However, the secondary school is doing well.
Despite a myriad of challenges facing it, it secured position 95 out of the 100 top schools in Kenya.
It is located deep in Bonyamatuta, a sleepy village that came to the attention of the nation a few years ago when Nyakemincha Primary School, in 2011, became one of the worst performing schools in the country.
Bonyamatuta also became well-known after Chief Justice David Maraga was appointed to head the Supreme Court. He hails from the area.
Nation Sports Editor Elias Makori is proud to be associated with Bonyamatuta and the schools. He, too, comes from the area.
The Nation team visited it on Thursday, a day after the 2017 KCSE results were released.
There wasn’t much activity at the school, with only a few staff members present.
The dullness of the school compound, with squeezed infrastructure, does not match the glory it has earned over the years.
Both the primary and secondary sections sit on a five-acre piece of land.
The secondary school is becoming an academic giant and deputy principal Albert Mochama, whom the Nation team found at the institution, said parents are now happy to be associated with it.
It was second after Nyambaria High School in Nyamira County with a mean grade of 7.5.
Mr Mochama said 94 of their candidates have qualified for direct admission to various universities in the country.
Out of the total 128 candidates, 12 students got a B plus, 22 B plain, 30 B minus and 30 C plus.
A total of 23 got a C plain and 11 a C minus.
The deputy principal attributed the success to the high level of discipline among the students and the dedication of teachers and other staff.
“Despite the high staffing challenges facing our school, our commitment to success has borne fruit,” he said.
In 2014, the school had a mean grade of 8.6 while in 2015 it rose to 8.7.
In 2016, it, however, dropped to 7.2. This was after the introduction of Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi’s reforms in the sector.
Two weeks ago, the institution was elevated from a sub-county school to an extra county school.
“This means we can select pupils from other counties,” Mr Mochama said.
Besides, a programme by the Nation Media Group to support education in village schools has helped the institution improve.
Mr Mochama thanked NMG for the partnership that runs at both the primary and secondary sections.
Mr Makori said the Newspapers in Education programme had boosted standards at the school, with students now getting access to newspapers.
“Nyakemincha has been receiving newspapers to help the students improve in language.
"Ken Walibora and our marketing team visited the institution a while back and gave talks, especially on Swahili setbooks, just to motivate the students,” he said.