The Ndoto Journal



Exams Aced

8th Graders take their exams. Photo: Luis Tato, AFP

Each year in Kenya, 8th graders and 12th graders take high-stakes exams that heavily influence their educational paths. We had an outstanding class this year in both grades. In 8th grade, less than 25% of students nationwide score 300 or above. At Ndoto, 75% of our test-takers earned that mark this year. In 12th grade, less than 12% of students nationwide score a B- or above. At Ndoto, 58% of our test-takers did that.

12th Graders take their exams. Photo: Robin Njogu, Twitter

We’re especially in awe of four of our students. Two young ladies finishing 8th grade, Wendy and Shamica, earned over 400 points, something only done by 8,000 students nationwide (0.69%). Two young men finishing high school, Picardo and Maxwel, earned As, something only done by 7,300 students nationwide (0.98%). How did they do it?

Perseverance, it turns out.

This academic year began 18 months ago in January 2020, but was disrupted for months by the pandemic. Picardo and Shamica talked about the motivation that came from the high expectations that family, friends, and Ndoto sponsors had for them. Shamica shared that when schools were closed, teachers sent online assignments, but she didn’t have even a smartphone to access the internet. Picardo spent the pandemic at home helping his mom with housework and feared that the break in school would make it hard for him to recover. Maxwel formed a small group of fellow students to meet daily and review notes and books. Wendy, who wants to be a doctor, studied her books by herself every single day. Shamica got her uncle, a teacher, to tutor her from time to time.

L-R: Wendy (scored 409/500), Shamica (scored 406/500), Picardo (scored A, the top grade), Maxwel (scored A-).

These four students are definitely going far. Maxwel wants to be a surgeon, and Picardo wants to be an aeronautical engineer. Shamica wants to be a writer, and she wrote a reflection on the day that results were announced. We’re sharing it with you unedited so you can enjoy her writing style! Click here to read on.