LIFE BY LOUIS: School closing days meant only one thing… - Daily Nation

LIFE BY LOUIS: School closing days meant only one thing…

Monday August 6 2018

The headmaster would use the whip viciously to persuade those who were still in bed that we should be at home bonding with our parents and siblings.

The headmaster would use the whip viciously to persuade those who were still in bed that we should be at home bonding with our parents and siblings. ILLUSTRATION| IGAH 

By LOUIS MUIRURI
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Some students have been reported on mainstream media as having been caught behaving in a manner likely to suggest that they are soon to be teenage parents. On closing day, some young boys and girls were nabbed engaging in activities that are the preserve of tax payers. The covert activities included consuming adult beverages and engaging in other activities that were likely to make them young biological parents.

These were things that we could never dream about in the correctional facilities we attended that also doubled up as high schools.

The school closing ceremony happened the night before, and the following morning at around 5 am, all of us had vacated the school compound. The headmaster was an old balding man who had a penchant for time keeping and discipline. He was not convinced that all of us would abide by the 5am deadline.

To confirm his fears, he would take a brisk walk in the dormitories at around 6am concealing a thick whip on his back. True to his fears, he would find some of us still tucked up in bed as we would have spent half the previous night chattering excitedly about the impending holiday.

VICIOUS WHIP

He would use the whip viciously to persuade those who were still in bed that we should be at home bonding with our parents and siblings. He was not done with us yet. After ensuring that all of us were out of the school compound, he would drive around the 50 kilometres radius of the school looking for lazy students who were still hanging around the local towns and shopping centres.

He had his plans all laid out. One of the school rules dictated that we should be in our full school uniform on opening and closing day. The school uniform was quite distinctive, and it was an easy task for him to identify those of us who were still frolicking in the nearby towns.

It was within his powers to pluck you from a hotel where you would be taking your breakfast and bless you with six of the best using his whip on your way home. He also knew that our young and raging hormones were likely to lead our paths astray towards the neighbouring girls school. He therefore intensified his patrols around that school and duly plucked off the randy boys who would be caught hanging around the girls’ school.

Although the only crime we would be committing around the school was receiving and delivering love letters, that did not stop him from flushing us out of the vicinity of the school and sending us home with red welts on our backsides courtesy of his cane.

Reporting back to school from holiday was an equally delicate affair. Reporting time was strictly 4pm in full school uniform. Our parent were well aware of this rule and they released us from home at dawn. To enforce this rule from the grassroots, our headmaster started his 50 kilometres radius patrols earlier in the morning.

As we had pocket money to spend, we were likely to be caught hanging around the nearly towns doing nothing in particular other than window shopping and eating delicacies that we were sure we would not encounter for the rest of the school term.
This time his discipline tactics would be more methodical. He would go around noting the names and faces of the boys he found hanging around while they should be in school.

At 4pm on the spot he closed the school gate and positioned himself at the sentry. Anyone who showed up after 4pm would meet the full force of the school disciplinary framework. Apart from receiving the favourite six on the spot, he would have one of his dreaded prefects noting your name somewhere.

Your names would be read out during the school parade and further punishment would be meted out that included toiling in the farm or being allocated some light duties in the cows shed.

Those who were more cunning would be tempted to circumvent the laid down reporting procedures and try to sneak back through the fence. This tactic did not go unnoticed, and the headmaster positioned his foot soldiers along the famous sneaking points.

The punishment for sneaking in and out was severe. Apart from being sent home to come back with your parent, you were supposed to come back with a full roll of barbed wire to seal off the small opening that you had used in your sneaking antics.

As a result, dragging our feet and engaging in suspicious activities during opening and closing day were things that were almost unheard of.

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