Great schools focus on holistic formation of students   – Education News| The Leading Newspaper on Education News

By Victor Ochieng’

As I was putting my act together to pen this piece about Nyakach Girls, a school close to the sultry shores of Lake Victoria, I thought about some wise words I read in a heroic book titled Good to Great by Jim Collins. That putative author posits, “Good is the enemy of great. Somehow, it is why we have so little that become great. We do not have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We do not have great governments, principally because we have good governments. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life. The vast majority of companies never become great, precisely because the vast majority become quite good – and that is the main problem.”

To steer clear, Nyakach Girls is a public institution perched on Nyabondo Plateau in Kisumu County. No wonder, ‘Plateau Queens’ is the moniker used to pile praise on the good girls that look elegant in maroon skirts, white blouses and black shoes. Indeed, Mrs. Violate Opala, who is a confident and charismatic Principal of the school, is steering it towards the stunning shores of success. Over and above, the school focuses on holistic formation of learners.

In actual sense, when we talk of greatness attained by students acquiring knowledge in schools, we cannot fail to acknowledge winsome wisdom of William Shakespeare. In act II Scene 5 of the Twelfth Night, he postulated, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” Moreover, as a scribe in these times and climes, I can contend that the second and third part of those wise words, describe what Nyakach Girls focuses on in its business of churning out bright belles who can walk on the global stage with their heads held high. The school is helping its gutsy girls to see and seize greatness. It is also thorough in thrusting greatness in its precious and perspicacious learners.

Somehow, greatness and excellence are close cognates. Excellence is a product of right habits. No wonder, in the years of yore, Aristotle observed, “We become what we repeatedly do; excellence is not an act but a habit.”

In the whole scheme of things, excellence focuses on becoming the better version of oneself. In other words, excellence is the opposite of mediocrity, which is simply an average life. A certain sage said that mediocrity is being on top of the bottom or at the bottom of the top. In a heroic book titled An Enemy Called Average, John Mason posits, “Mediocrity is the region of our lives bounded on the north by compromise, on the south by indecision, on the east by past thinking, and on the west by lack of vision.”

Apart from the rigorous academic activities rolled out, Nyakach Girls is great because of the three-sixty-degree programmes it has put in place. This institution sponsored by the African Inland Church (AIC) has the best spiritual programmes. There are two devoted chaplains who are keen to offer psycho-social and spiritual support to students. In turn, they are helping the girls to grow in grace as it features in 2 Peter 3:18, “But grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ …”

Arguably, religion plays an integral role in inculcating moral values, acceptable code of conduct and character in learners. Somehow, the conscience of learners who revere God remains clear like crystal. Students who know God are able to separate the good from bad. Such learners grow up as people who are upright, with a high affinity for decency and courtesy.

Finally, Nyakach Girls shows its shine and sheen in ball games up to the East African region. Plateau Queens are famous all over due to their prowess in football, netball and basketball. They also evince excellence in music, theatre and drama. Thomas Armstrong, the awesome author of the 7 Kinds of Smart, would posit that Nyakach Girls is good at building body-kinesthetic intelligence of its learners. For this is the kind of intelligence that focuses on the might of psycho-motor skills, manual dexterity and litheness in learners. No wonder, girls travel from far and wide to seek admission therein. Lending credence to the wise words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. There is a phenomenal speech titled What is Life’s Blueprint delivered at Barrat Junior High School on October 26, 1967 in Philadelphia, United States. In it, King quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson, who sagely said, “If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon, or build a better mousetrap than his neighbour, even if he builds his house in the woods, the world would make a beaten path to his door.”


The writer rolls out talks and training services in schools. [email protected] 0704420232


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