Business nearly came to a standstill in Siaya Town on Thursday as residents and relatives of Kut Donata Odero celebrated his sterling performance.
The student from Lenana School emerged fourth nationally with an A of 86.56 points in the 2017 KCSE exam.
Odero, 17, attributes his success to discipline, prayer and hard work. He would like to be a surgeon.
His father Kut Ochogo, a member of the Siaya County Public Service Board, could not hide his joy and pride as he paraded Odero for the cameras in his Siaya hometown.
A beaming and excited Odero told journalists he expected to get good grades but not as high as he had achieved.
When Education CS Fred Matiang’i read out his name among the top 10 students, he was shocked, he said. Odero could not believe he had gotten such high grades.
“I am thankful to the almighty God for the good result. I was expecting good results, but not [expecting] to be among the best in the country. I am so happy,” said the young man.
His father said he is happy and proud of the good results.
“I never knew he would become top five in the whole country. I had had problems with him regarding how he studies, and I am happy that he made it despite my constant problems with him,” said Mr Ochogo.
AGAINST THE ODDS
Meanwhile, 18 girls at Kisumu Girls High School scored A-minus grades against the odds.
With the school being at the heart of Kisumu Town and with its proximity to the epicentre of the post-violence that rocked the town in the prolonged electioneering period, the students had difficulty concentrating on their studies as they prepared for the KCSE exams.
Tear gas, flying stones, noise and protests were the order of the day.
However, the school managed to get 18 A-minus grades compared to the previous year when they recorded five.
Kisumu Girls Deputy Principal Sarah Omollo told the Nation that the political chaos disrupted exam preparations.
“During the electioneering period coupled with the campaigns there is so much noise. After that we had post-election chaos that affected us in so many ways,” explains Mrs Omollo.
“There was a lot of tear gas around, gunshots and noise. This was a challenging time for us as a school. We thank God we been able to get better results this year.
“Many times, because of the location of our school, classes could not continue.”
Mrs Omollo said that often lessons were interrupted with tear gas being hurled into school and the presence of a water cannon in town.
“It was so hard to have the students around, they could not concentrate. Often we would stop classes and sit in a safer place,” she said.
“We had to counsel them from the beginning, having known it was an election period. We told them to concentrate on their work such that whatever is happening outside should not worry them.
“Our students this year were very cooperative, we worked as team. They really supported the teachers in everything that they did.”