Eleven Moja Tu students took the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams in March 2021. Just a couple of months later, their scores were released. Among the students waiting for these results was Johnstone, a Moja Tu student since 2017. From the first day we met him, Johnstone’s goal was always to become an engineer. To pursue this course at a Kenyan university, you have to earn an A average on the KCSE. Johnstone, a tenacious and brilliant student, kept this requirement in the back of his mind when he joined high school with Moja Tu’s support four years ago, and it has been his driving force since then. When the KCSE scores for the class of 2020 were released, everyone was thrilled to see that Johnstone had easily met his goal. Johnstone not only earned an A average on his KCSE – he was also the top-scoring student in the Moja Tu program for this year. An outstanding performance indeed!
We recently caught up with a delighted Johnstone to talk over his results and what lies ahead for him. Here’s what he had to say:
“Back in 2016, I managed to get an A grade in my primary exit examinations, earning me a spot at one of the leading and highly competitive high schools in Kenya. This was a dream come true, but my parents struggled to pay for my school fees in my first year.
In my second year, things became more burdensome for my parents back at home. It became impossible for them to cover my school fees. I was on the verge of dropping out when Moja Tu came to my aid thanks to the deputy principal at my school. The organization saw to it that my school fees were paid on time. I was also provided with school uniforms, shoes, pocket money, transport to and from school, and supplies to last me a whole term. I stopped worrying about these things, and this gave me ample time and energy to focus on my studies. My parents were also at ease as the financial burden was no longer weighing them down.
During the nine months we were at home due to COVID-19, the school facilitated online classes. I was able to attend these classes regularly, and I gained a lot from them. Moja Tu had also given us extra revision materials, and I utilized these as well. It wasn’t easy studying at home as there are many distractions, but I tried my best to focus.
Thankfully, the school finally reopened, and preparations for the national exams began in earnest. My alma mater is always ahead with the syllabus, and so we had plenty of time to prepare for the final exams. I knew my weak subjects and the concepts that I struggled with most, so I gave more attention to these. Once it was time to take the KCSEs, I felt confident that I could tackle it. Were the exams as I had anticipated them? Of course not. The questions were not straightforward, and I had to think deeply to come to the right answer. However, I stayed calm and did my best. I am glad it worked.
Now, I look forward to pursuing a career in mining engineering. I come from a region in Kenya that is rich in minerals, and geology has always been an interest of mine. I want to use the knowledge I will earn in university to empower my community in mining, especially how to get the most out of these resources. My community is literally sitting on a gold mine!
I am indebted to my parents, Moja Tu, my sponsors, my teachers, and everyone who encouraged me to work hard in school. I have already come this far, and there’s nowhere else to go but up. Thank you for supporting and believing in me!”