STUDENTS who brave the academic storm to excel deserve special recognition and mention on this column. This week I am proud to feature a boy and girl whom I have met and known.
They certainly are not the best there are in Zimbabwe or in the world but are good enough to illustrate my point that very learner has potential to unlock the best in him or her.
They are Vincent Marabowa of St Faith’s High (Form 2) and Precious Bondokoto of Kriste Mambo (Form 5). Standing tall and slim, Marabowa rises above many. Academically nothing shows that he looks forward to anything below the best. He is only in Form 2 but his place is already booked in the Guinness Books of our minds considering the six awards he scooped alone at the recent Anglican Schools Association merit awards ceremony at St Anne’s Goto, Wedza. Here is a young man in Form 2, and already building academic territory for himself. He already walks tall, confidently, honourably and speaks straight into your face about anything you ask him. Talking to this The Manica Post columnist at St Anne’s Goto about his prospects of a future career, Marabowa did not hesitate or scratch his head. “I want to become an aircraft engineer. That is my life dream.”
Right there on the top of dreams! That is how brave and forward-looking the young man is.
Vincent walked up the stage to receive six awards each in History, Shona, Geography, Mathematics, General Science and Accounts. These are certainly not learning areas that prepare aircraft engineers but there is no doubt in this serious young man that when the right courses come his way, he is ready to take them on with the right hunger to excel.
The Anglican Schools ‘ZJC’ sort of examination is an idea more schools can and may be must learn from. It puts students in the right gear for later stages of academic pursuit. It is easy to organise and in all of it with the right spirit to be honest, professional and incorruptible, it is easy to avoid examination leakages. There are special learning area-chiefs in various schools passionate enough and competent enough to set these examinations and administer them. The head-in-charge of these ‘ZJC’ examinations is Reverend Sydney Chirombe, of St Augustine’s (Tsambe).
Kriste Mambo’s Precious Bondokoto is one of the three best performers in the 2017 O-Level examinations. She is a bundle of both physical and mental energy. She represented Kriste Mambo in international public speaking tournaments, winning trophies, and travelled to Kenya and Botswana. Both her parents and friends were understandably disappointed when in December last year, for lack of funding or sponsorship, she could not go to South Africa to participate in a top-shelf public speaking tournament. The school that had groomed and supported the flaming public speaker suddenly turned around and said because Precious had sat her O level exams and gone home, she thus ceased to be a Kriste Mambo item and therefore could not be funded by the school. The school’s is understandable but something better could have been done by the school whose flag she had raised so high and proudly in the past.
What about Precious Bondokoto as a young person?
She is not just intelligent; she looks indeed intelligent. When you look into those eyes you see brains that have not been fully discovered and utilised. You see her future vividly written on her brows and an abundance of success hidden behind that bubbly confidence. She is quite simple but, be careful. You need penetrating ability to read faces and see beyond what the eyes are able to see. There is a pretty complex Self beyond that simplicity and you can see the abundance of opportunity and success in that humility. Here is a girl who is far from discovering all she can do in life and one who is not ready to be limited even by the sky. While I am admittedly shocked by candidates who attained more As, for Precious only has 13As. What impresses me about Precious is the visible, almost tangible elasticity of her ability. She is visibly capable of stretching and the point of snapping is not yet in sight. Many have done wonders after maximum overstretching. But what will they do when the race continues to be still evidently long and far from over? It is pupils like Marabowa and Precious who being at the top, are still willing and able to climb the higher academic mountains ahead. Well done Marabowa Vincent and Precious Bondokoto!
Finally, let me say something that may not be a STEM philosophy, for STEM is hugely a human-science domain. Here is a truth in divine science. We hear of hard work, diligence and sheer intellectual or mental exertion and hysterically write about these as if they are the only or ultimate recipes for best performance. It is painfully amazing how the world is slowly becoming more and more Godless. Where teachers and students excel, we often forget who gave us the gifts of performance and ability. We forget how many put more effort than ours but still settle for mediocrity or remain underperformers. It is this reporter’s wish to help all best performers and achievers to understand and acknowledge that nothing in all their achievement is more about them than it is about God.
I am personally excited and satisfied that many students are now doing everything they can in the name of their Maker. They now appreciate they can only do so much, but leave the rest to God. This is one element that is seriously lacking in our education and many students who perform wonders wrongly believe it is only their smartness and hard work that make them excel.
Here is what Precious a week ago before she was whisked back to Kriste Mambo by her mom to begin her A-Level studies.
“They say it takes a village to raise a child and I say it takes a child’s gratitude to raise a village’s spirit. This is a thank-you message to all those who helped me make it in my 2017 examinations. My gratitude goes to all my teachers who never gave up on me. They were my special Jericho-walls, especially Mrs Mukogo; not forgetting my stream-mates who tolerated all my weaknesses and shortcomings. To my beloved parents, I thank you for everything. Your baby will not disappoint. I keep my promise. I appreciate everyone who fought the good fight together with me.
“Above everything and above all, I give thanks to God without whom all of us would have failed. Thank you Lord for choosing me to be one of the few you allowed reflecting the kind of greatness only you can claim!”
Students who triumph permanently now know God is there present in everything they do, keeping them strong and enduring, keeping them pushing against all odds, keeping them mentally fit and carrying a brain that stores everything worth remembering in an examination. It is such students who enjoy everlasting, durable success.
The ones who excel alone live and enjoy their brief successes like a candle in the wind. A little more wind, and the candle goes out! God be with our children in schools!