When the clock ticked and no announcement was forthcoming from the Kenya National Examinations Council headquarters, many students, parents and teachers sat pensively.
The anxiety was culpable; the expectation was high. But for Mr William Kemei, he was unnerved, confident that the announcement was a confirmation of the hardwork they put in.
And true to his prediction, Lenana School results were the best in the last couple of years. So what was the secret for the top performance? "Doing things differently will get you the result," Mr Kemei said when he spoke to the Nation.
"We decided to focus on the individual and understand their strengths. Once we isolated the central areas, we planned on how to make each student excel," he said.
Traditionally students have been looking up to the teacher as the ticket to success but for us the individual is responsible for the results they get," he added. Lenana School posted a mean of 8.32 with more than 260 students scoring a C+ and above. Enabling the student to understand their ability and work towards realising their full potential is a tip Mr Kemei says should be adopted by all educators. "Once the student understands his role in the system it is easy to figure out the rest."
"You cannot know it all. While you think you have it all it is important to compare and borrow best practices," says Mr Kemei. The Chief Principal worked with teachers from other schools and experts to come up with ways of teaching and content that made the students excel. The library is the heart of any institution but many people, Mr Kemei says, do not know how to use it.
"We came up with a strategy that was crafted around individual students with critical targets. We call it 100 per cent revision with intensive evaluation and focus on weak areas and the results were surprising. Students were taught how to make the most of their library time and this contributed to our success."
Working with parents and alumni is another secret ingredient that Lenana School optimised for its good results.
"We brought in parents at a very early stage. We deliberated on several issues and agreed on a way forward regarding student performance. The open forum was a game changer.
Students’ attitudes changed and the engagement was heightened. The parents really did a good job," he says. Echoing the principal's words Laibon Society Chairman Frank Mutua credited the success to diligence, hardwork, and teamwork.