The promise of a laptop and a trip to luxurious Ark Hotel in the Aberdares was part of the motivation that saw Andy Munyiri emerge the country’s top candidate in this year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams.
The 13-year-old pupil at Damacrest Academy in Thogoto, Kiambu, who was by last evening still trying to come to terms with the news, told the Nation he was always keen to succeed. He scored 440 marks out of the possible 500.
“My father promised to buy me a laptop and take me on a trip to The Ark, where I have wanted to visit for years now, if I got more than 420 marks and now I feel so happy,” he said in an interview with the Nation at his grandfather’s home in Maragima village, Nyeri County.
When the Nation arrived at the home, friends and neighbours had already arrived to catch a glimpse of the first-born in a family of four.
“I was visiting my grandparents in Nyeri when we got the news; we were waiting to hear where we should send a message to get the results, but then I heard my name on the TV and I could not believe it,” Munyiri said.
He could barely contain his joy and disbelief even as he was hoisted shoulder-high.
Munyiri attributed his performance to the combined efforts of his parents, teachers, fellow pupils and the school’s administration.
“My dad, who is an insurance marketer, and my mum, a banker, have been there for me; they motivate me and encourage me. And even when I would fail and drop from position one to 10, they would remind me that it does not define who I am,” he said.
Munyiri hopes to join Alliance High School, saying that it is the best and has been his dream school since he was young.
There after he hopes to pursue automotive engineering in the university.
Munyiri’s grandfather Francis Ndirangu said: “I am very excited and I thank God that my grandson is following in my footsteps by wanting to be an automotive engineer like I was. I know that he has worked so hard and I am very proud of him.”
Munyiri’s grandmother Margaret Muthoni described him as a disciplined boy who is self-motivated.
Munyiri’s mother Joy Wanja knew outright that her son had topped in the KCPE exam before Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha could read the last name.
While addressing the Press at Damacrest Academy, Ms Wanja fought back tears of joy as other parents, teachers and pupils carried her shoulder high.
“I was at work when I heard that the results were being released at around 2pm. So I decided to live-stream the announcement from my phone,” she said.
Ms Wanja said that after receiving the results, she immediately called her son to congratulate him.
Damacrest head teacher Judy Mwaura, heaped praises on Munyiri, saying he was a very focused and self-driven pupil who was dedicated to hard work.
There was joy and celebration Monday evening as parents, teachers and pupils gathered at the school to celebrate the good results.
The school, which had 59 KCPE candidates, had 21 candidates with over 400 marks, with the last pupil scoring 296 marks.
Munyiri was followed by Phoebe Wendy Odhiambo who scored 434 marks.
Odhimabo, 13, said she would like to join Kenya High School. “I attribute my success to my teachers and parents who made me feel like I’m not a disappointment,” she said, adding that she would want to become a doctor.
Her mother Milka Kulati said she had been encouraging her daughter since the last paper to accept whatever results came her way.
Ms Florence Wamakima, the school’s director, said that while they were looking forward to good results, this year’s achievement was a big surprise.
Ms Wamakima said they were closely following the release of results from one classroom, praying for a good outcome when it was announced that the top student nationwide emerged from their school.
The academy presented its first KCPE candidates in 2015 and its performance has been improving steadily over the last five years, the teachers said.
“There is an improvement in performance compared to the previous years. The school’s mean grade last year was 374, with 16 pupils scoring over 400 marks,” said Ms Mwaura.
Munyiri paid a courtesy call on Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga who promised to pay his secondary school fees for the four years, saying he was a teacher at Maragima Primary School where Munyiri started his education before moving to Nairobi with his mother.
He added that the success is a fruit of unity and commitment from both pupils and teachers.