JAMS Class of 2015
By School Founder and Director Teresa Wasonga, Ed.D.
The Jane Adeny Memorial School for Girls (JAMS) Class of 2015 has made us proud and confident in what we do. Their performance in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) National Exams was outstanding.
While only 31% of students qualified nationally, 80% of JAMS students qualified to join public universities. JAMS ranked 3rd in the local school district of 28 schools with a mean grade of “B,” beating some very established schools. We are most proud of the fact that our girls had high mean scores (C+ and above) in science subjects in which boys traditionally perform better than girls (Physics B; Biology B-; Geography A-; Agriculture B+; Business B; and Chemistry C+).
The class of 2015 walked into the gates of JAMS at the beginning of February, 2012, to a warm welcome. At that time there were only 15 students at the school and we were happy to receive the second cohort of students. Like all children joining high school, these students were happy to join a high school. Many were especially happy because they had received scholarships when they had lost hope of attending high school despite passing 8th grade national exams (KCPE). They were also going to attend a school “good enough for the richest.” Many, although brilliant, had attended very poorly resourced primary schools. A number of them were not only poor, they were orphans.
Despite their circumstances, these students were armed with grit, dedication, and passion for education. They were happy to receive anything the school offered, from clothing to food to text books. Most had neither read a story book nor seen a puzzle. Watching a movie was a wonder.
But in the four years at JAMS, they were transformed into self-directing, efficacious, empowered young women. They called themselves “winners” and did not spare any opportunity to work together or ask for their rights. Even the two who had serious health problems were not left behind. They pushed boundaries, challenging themselves and their teachers, and when they did not have a teacher, they taught themselves from the text books. No obstacle was insurmountable.
Four years after these girls joined Jane Adeny Memorial School, their national examinations results proved they are winners. More amazingly, all of the students on scholarships, those coming from extreme poverty, had the best results. Veronica scored a mean grade of A- despite losing her grandmother, who cared for her after her parents died, just a week before the exams started. Angeline scored a B despite being hospitalized several times as she did exams, and Sharon scored a C+ despite suffering excruciating pain from osteomyelitis.
These girls who were not supposed to go to high school at all are now going to university because JAMS provides an environment that empowers girls to determine their own futures.