Anyone familiar with the sophisticated game of cricket, can easily elaborate on the concept of ‘finishing in style’ that is expected of the last batsman playing.
The intention of leaving a lasting mark on the game will make the batsman probably finish with a big hit of four or six runs off one ball.
It was in this same spirit of signing off on a high note that, Alliance High School, Nyacyonga in Gasabo District chose to use the last day of the term as the school’s Open Day.
On the morning of October 30, as most students around the country were packing their bags to head home for their vacation, those at Alliance High School were busy decorating the school in anticipation of visitors and parents.
The much awaited day that carried the theme, “Development through Culture” was kicked off with a friendly football match between members of the teaching staff and senior six students.
The football match provided all the necessary entertainment as some teachers displayed acrobatic skills on the pitch to the amusement of all onlookers, particularly their students.
On arrival, parents were courteously ushered into the school’s main hall where they witnessed an exhibition by the different academic departments of the school that included the Geography department, History department, Entrepreneurship department, and the English department.
At the entrepreneurship stand one student, Doreen Mutoni took time to explain to attentive parents, the merit of good customer care.
Close by, Abdul Karim Bamporineza was busy explaining the process that leads to rainfall formation and the consequences of air and water pollution on the environment.
However, there was much more excitement on the Science section of the hall; thanks to the big number of parents who were visibly happy to see their children carrying out various scientific experiments. Others demonstrated computer skills in line with the government’s focus on ICT development.
Speeches and entertainment
After touring the different departmental stands, the parents and students took to their seats in the huge main hall where the school’s headmaster Mr. Edward Lubega formally welcomed them.
The day’s guest of honour was the executive secretary of Jabana Sector, Mr. Bernard Muramira who commended the proprietors of the school for staying focused towards education investment as one of the major pillars of the country’s Vision 2020.
He further stressed that, “Rwanda cannot develop if schools are neglecting culture and teachers have a big role to play as they help students to keep in touch with their culture.”
He further said that investment in educational infrastructure is what will make Alliance High school a model school in Gasabo district.
Barnabas Byamungu, a chemistry teacher in the school addressed the gathering and used the opportunity to show off the brand new HP laptop and science books that he received as a prize for being the best science teacher in Gasabo District.
He called upon the students to work hard as well and emerge as the best since they are already blessed to have some of the best teachers in the country.
“With hard work and God’s blessings everything is possible,” Byamungu said.
Other speakers who were all full of praises for the school and its administration included the chairperson of the Parents’ Association and the representative of the old students now at the various universities in Rwanda.
On his part, the head boy of the school, Yves Kamanzi called on the school administration to help students who were formally francophone to adapt to the English system.
During speech intervals, students energetically entertained the guests with various traditional dances like Amaraba, Ikinimba, and Igishakamba.
Students also surprised the visitors by perfectly presenting a dance from the Buganda culture that had everyone popping their necks to catch a glimpse of the action.
One senior two student named Ineza Delphine recited a beautiful poem about Rwanda.
Her impeccable mastery of the Kinyarwanda language had everyone in the room giving a round of applause after each verse. Other students presented short plays on themes like health and extra-marital affairs among others.
Edward Lubega, the Headmaster of the school emphasized the importance of the Open Day in helping students to achieve a holistic education.
He also talked of the school’s growth from 300 students in 1996 when the school started, to the current population of over 800 students. He added that the school had indeed made tremendous improvements in the field of academics and student discipline which he argued was in tandem with the school’s motto, “Aspire for Excellence.”
He encouraged the parents and guardians to maintain the cooperation and support they have offered the school over the years as witnesses of their children’s talents.
The school’s achievement has contributed greatly to the high academic standards all attributed to the presence of infrastructure like science laboratories, computer laboratory and the library that have recently been put in place.
Certificates of merit were awarded to former prefects while other students were urged to emulate them through leading exemplary lives.
Every last day of the school term, class teachers hand over report cards to parents and to students whose parents are absent.
Later in the evening, former students of the school were hosted for dinner by the school. They interacted with their former teachers and exchanged ideas on various topics.
All the merry making was restricted by the heavy rains that graced the day and made it difficult for many parents to make it to the school.
This was further compounded by the fact that all secondary schools were breaking off on the same day leading to a scarcity of transport for those coming from upcountry.
The Rwandan culture is a very rich one and deserves to be preserved and promoted at any given opportunity. Other schools ought to have such days on their calendars to celebrate the children’s talents.
If the Ministry of Sports and Culture in conjunction with the Education Ministry organised competitions in cultural music dance and drama annually at national level, student’s excitement to attend school would be heightened.
It is no secret that school children spend a lot of time at school and this should provide schools with a chance to promote holistic education that covers academics, co-curricular, and extra-curricular activities.
Alliance High School’s example of an Open Day serves as a small success story in all perspectives towards development within the Rwandan education system that still has more to exploit.