Keriko school celebrates teacher's Sh100m award

Two students to present project in US in May

WINNER: Students at Keriko Mixed Secondary School celebrate after their teacher, Mokaya Tabichi, wins global award
In Summary

•Tabichi invented measuring equipment called Essameter

•Students say he promised them a bus upon return from Dubai 

Students of Keriko Mixed Secondary School in Pwani village, Njoro subcounty, are in a celebratory mood after their teacher, Peter Mokaya Tabichi,  bagged a Sh100 million global prize. 

The prize, elated students said yesterday, will remain a great inspiration to them. 

And they have more reason to smile, as their teacher, who is yet to return from Dubai, has promised them a bus. 

The students who could not hide their joy said they received the news during Monday morning assembly.

“We heard rumours from Sunday evening but we could not confirm them. But when our deputy principal John Njoroge announced to us that [Mr] Tabichi was the overall winner, for sure we could not believe it. It has been months of relentless effort for him. We broke into song and dance for an hour. No one wanted to go back to class,” Form 4 student Dennis Ngige said.

Mary Mureithi said: “It is not in vain the teacher has been working. We will not let him down or the school. He has motivated us and we know that, though a small school, we can have great minds."

They expect the teacher, whom they described as humble, dedicated and God-fearing, to set aside some of the prize money to buy a school bus as many students walk between five and eight kilometres to school.

Teachers and support staff could not hide their joy as they gathered, danced and sang, thanking God for uplifting the little-known school.

When principal Daniel Mwariri, who had accompanied Tabichi for the awards ceremony, arrived from Dubai, the students ran to welcome him.

“It has not been easy but through hard work, commitment and believing in himself, he has been awarded the best not in Keriko nor Kenya but globally," he said.

He added, "He has put our school on the global map and I believe, there are many more blessings to come. In fact, when I joined him in Dubai, we crossed our fingers and prayed to God. When we heard his name announced, we could not believe it. Personally I thought I was in the middle of the dream."

Students of Keriko Mixed Secondary School in Pwani village, Njoro subcounty, are in a celebratory mood after their teacher, Peter Mokaya Tabichi, bagged a Sh100 million global prize. See story

Tabichi, who invented measuring equipment named Essameter, was declared the winner on Sunday in Dubai. He said he did not expect that scientific innovation could earn him such recognition in the world.

School board members led by Chairman Dan Muchiri, parents and residents, celebrated the win saying Keriko, which is 14 kilometers off Njoro-Mau Narok road, has been lifted to shine across the globe.

Those interviewed expressed their joy.

Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui congratulated Tabichi, saying he worked hard despite serving in a rural school full of challenges.

His victory has been lauded by President Uhuru Kenyatta, who said the win will earn the school, the county and the country great respect.

Tabichi, who is Catholic, has been using 80 per cent of his salary to cater for the needy students in the school for fees. He had promised the students and the parents that if he wins, he would support the community.

He resigned from a private school to join Keriko three years ago.

Sharon Mokua, one of the beneficiaries, said Tabichi has been paying her school fees for the third year now.

“I could count the times I attended school. I come from a humble background and my parents could not afford my school fees but God brought the teacher who offered to pay. I’m now in Form 4 looking forward to sit for my KCSE,” Mokua said.

The school has 475 students, with a stream having between 46 and 73 students, higher than the number recommended by the Ministry of Education.

“We started the school in 2007 because most of the students could not go to secondary school due to long distances. Initially, we were housed by Keriko Primary School,” the deputy principal said.

Later they managed to build classes of their own through CDF.

Last year, nine students were admitted into public universities, seven in 2017, and eight in 2016.

The students who have been presenting the project at science congress are set to showcase it in May in the United States .

Esther Amimo and Salome Njeri, both in Form 4, are asking for financial support.

“The students and two teachers who will accompany them need Sh2 million to process travelling documents and present their project in USA for Intel International Science Fair Competition set for May. We appeal for government and well-wishers to support the young talents,” Mwariri said.