On the morning of March 14, rain poured down in heavy sheets until the dirt roads were muddy and slippery. But the weather couldn’t deter the families who walked or drove to get to the community of Ngosuani, where the School Pride Program ceremony was taking place. From community elders to young children, people of all ages gathered to celebrate the hard work of the students.
The School Pride Program is part of Free The Children’s educational programming. It aims to motivate students to maintain a high level of responsibility for their education and encourage teachers to remain dedicated to their students throughout the year. The annual ceremony helps our schools provide quality education by recognizing and rewarding individuals for their commitment, while enabling community members, teachers and students from all Free The Children schools to applaud each other’s efforts.
The result is that communities see themselves as having a higher stake in the management of their own projects, which creates a greater sense of pride and support for their schools and other Adopt a Village projects. The School Pride Program ceremony took place this year in March, celebrating Free The Children schools’ performances in the Grade 8 national examinations, held in December 2013.
Despite the rain, hundreds of community members from Ngosuani attended, while communities from farther away sent student, teacher and community representatives. As the officials announced the winners of trophies, certificates and gifts, some students couldn’t contain their joy and proceeded to lift their teachers onto their shoulders in celebration. In the community of Oloirien, students and teachers had a lot to be proud of, as they took home some top prizes:
Two students tied for 2nd best students in science (dictionary and solar light)
3rd best student in science (book and solar light)
3rd best teacher in science (thermos, mugs and solar light)
After celebrating their accomplishments, Oloirien students and teachers to begin talking about how they could do even better. And this coming year, they have a great incentive. Though the School Pride Program ceremony has always been held at Ngosuani, the head teachers of the Free The Children schools have decided that moving forward, the winning school will get to host the celebration the following year. Because Ngosuani won first place overall, the ceremony will once again be held there, but let’s see if Oloirien will challenge them for their title next year!