Loud cheers, claps and laughs can be heard in the hall as the Form 6 graduating Class of 2021 perform on stage one last time. This year, The School of St Jude is celebrating 139 graduates; 75 girls and 64 boys.

In Tanzania, the final two years of secondary school are called Advanced Level (A Level); Form 5 and 6. These Form 6 graduates have now completed their A Level studies and are ready to embrace the next stage of their academic journey… higher education!

Taking Pride in Graduating Students
Taking Pride in Graduating Students: Mr Sabas, Headmaster at Smith Campus, addressing Form 6 students during the graduation ceremony.

Mr Sabas, Headmaster at Smith Campus, begins his speech “This is our seventh class to graduate from Form 6 since 2015, and I am happy to see them reach this milestone.”

“Today we are congratulating the students for the time spent in school, giving them hope and encouraging them on their journey that they are about to take soon after they graduate secondary school.”

He adds, “We've raised good boys and girls. Before they did their final exams, we prepared them well and I am confident in their abilities. My hope is for each one of them to get excellent results.”

Proud Father
Proud Father: William (L) and his father (R) smiling with joy during the Form 6 graduation.

William is one of 64 boys completing his A Level studies. William joined St Jude’s in 2018 when he was in Form 5; studying physics, chemistry and biology.

“Before St Jude’s, I was in a government school. The environment and academics there were completely different. If it wasn’t for St Jude’s I don’t think I would’ve reached my goal,” William explains.

"I can’t explain my happiness today.  I believe I’ve made my father and my whole family very happy,” he says with a smile.

A Look Toward the Future
A Look Toward the Future: Janet (L) and her Father (R) are looking towards the future with hope.

Tanzania has 4942 O Level secondary schools compared to a mere 762 A Level secondary schools. Only 30% of children in the country are enrolled in secondary education, and about 60,000 students drop out of O Level secondary schools each year, 50% of them girls.

“Female students struggle a lot to complete school,” says Janet, Form 6 graduate.

Janet joined St Jude’s in Standard 1 in 2009. Starting her early education in a government school, she explains the difficulties female students face in achieving their goals, “Girls like myself don’t get to reach this level in a government school because of lack of resources and also because of the societies we come from.”

“Some of my friends dropped out of school at the end of primary and O Level. They are just at home either married, divorced or some with children. I honestly feel like I’m the lucky one to be able to get this opportunity to continue with my studies.”

“I’m looking forward to pursuing a marketing degree in university but for now, I’m excited to start my Community Service Year in the Beyond St Jude’s Program, where I’ll be teaching primary students in a government school,” Janet adds.

The Community Service Year (CSY) is part of the Beyond St Jude’s Program for Form 6 graduates. Graduates volunteer in their first year out of school by teaching in local government schools or in non-teaching placements throughout St Jude’s campuses to give back in appreciation for the free education they received at St Jude’s.

Determined to be the Best
Determined to be the Best: Shamsia (L) and her mother (R) ready to learn real world skills after graduating Form 6.

Ready to start her CSY program is Shamsia, who’ll be joining St Jude’s Marketing team.

“I feel so happy today and I’m proud to have completed Form 6,” Shamsia says with excitement.

“Joining the Marketing team at St Jude’s feels great because this field has always been my passion. I’m truly looking forward to learning skills that come with this field before I go off to pursue my degree in marketing,” she adds.

Upon successful completion of their CSY, volunteers are eligible to apply for BSJ tertiary scholarship, enabling them pursue their first higher education qualification specific to their field of interest.

A big congratulations to all the Form 6 graduates for completing this stage of their academic journey. These graduates are changing the status quo, writing their own stories and paving the way to a brighter future for themselves and their families.

By sponsoring a St Jude’s academic scholarship or donating to the school, you are changing the story for a Tanzanian student. You allow St Jude’s to provide free, quality education for students who, due to financial pressures, would likely have joined the three quarters of Tanzanian students who do not finish secondary school.

To show the true impact of your support, this year’s Annual Appeal will feature three St Jude’s stories. Over the coming month, you’ll see these stories in video form, but today, you can get to know alum Judica and students Seuri and Joylina a little better.

Judica’s Story of Transformation

I’ve achieved my dream to be a business woman.” - Judica, Class of 2015.

Judica is a St Jude’s alum with an amazing story of transformation. As one of the earliest St Jude’s students, Judica’s story is inextricably linked with the school.

A Story Transformed
A Story Transformed: Judica started at St Jude’s in 2003 and is now pursuing a career in finance.

Judica started in Standard 1 at St Jude’s in 2003 when the school had just 120 students. As farmers, Judica’s parents struggled to afford school fees for her and their eight older children. After 13 years of free, quality education and serving as the school’s head girl, she graduated with the Class of 2015, our inaugural graduates.

Following graduation, Judica was quick to apply for the Beyond St Jude’s (BSJ) Program and spent a year volunteering as a book-keeping teacher in a government school as part of the Community Service Year. Then, Judica left home to study a Bachelor of Commerce, Banking and Financial Services at the University of Dar Es Saalam supported by BSJ. In 2019, Judica was one of the very first St Jude’s university graduates and today she is employed full-time at a national bank in Arusha.

Seuri’s Story of Determination

I want to become a doctor to help my community, as there are not many doctors here.” - Seuri, Form 4.

Seuri’s story is a tribute to his determination. Seuri attended a government primary school in his village, which lacked electricity, water and learning resources. Despite this, Seuri was determined to get an education.

Determined to Make a Difference
Determined to Make a Difference: Seuri joined St Jude’s in Form 1, the first year of secondary school.

Seuri’s determination lead him to achieve great results in his Standard 7 National Examinations and earned him an academic scholarship for secondary school at St Jude’s. Seuri boards at St Jude’s during term time, but he returns home to his family boma (a traditional Maasai home) during holidays. Seuri’s father has two wives; he lives with his mother and four siblings as well as his father’s first wife and her six children.

After almost four years at St Jude’s, Seuri is more determined than ever. With quality resources, highly-trained teachers and a stable boarding environment at St Jude’s, Seuri has learnt volumes and is determined to achieve the results he needs to study medicine and become a doctor.

Joylina’s Story of Hope

I want to be a nurse so I can help my family, friends and all the people who are sick.” - Joylina, Standard 2.

Joylina only started at St Jude’s in 2020, but her St Jude’s academic scholarship has already given Joylina and her mother hope for the future.

Hopeful and Healthy
Hopeful and Healthy: Joylina is learning and growing with a St Jude’s scholarship.

Joylina, her mother and her sisters live in a single room where they moved following the death of Joylina’s father in 2018. When she heard about St Jude’s, Joylina’s mother decided to bring Joylina to a Student Selection Day. She was overjoyed when Joylina was offered a scholarship.

During the last 18 months at St Jude’s, Joylina has been an enthusiastic learner and become one of the top students in her class. Like her classmates, Joylina receives uniforms, resources, bus transport and highly-trained teachers. In addition, she receives special diet provisions as she was found to be undernourished. With a carefully planned diet, she has been able to gain weight and her mother is pleased that Joylina now falls sick less often and has more energy.

Joylina especially likes healthcare class as she hopes to be a nurse when she finishes school.

Joylina, Seuri and Judica are proof that when you support a story, you can change the world. Generous sponsors and donors have changed the story for them and for thousands of others of St Jude’s students.

Be sure to follow us on social media and hear more from these featured students over the next month as they share their stories.

Up-skilling and empowering the academic leaders of The School of St Jude is one of the school’s strategic goals.

The School of St Jude developed a five-year strategic plan (2019-2023), with seven focus areas, to help implement its vision and mission as well as ensure its long-term sustainability as a charitable organisation.

As part of St Jude’s current strategic plan, the school aims to have both academic and non-academic staff be highly skilled, proactive and demonstrating the school values with the majority of leadership positions held by Tanzanians.

In demonstrating this, 32 members of the academic leadership team attended a Leadership and Management Training day in Arusha to sharpen their skills on productivity and effectiveness.

Leading through Language
Leading through Language: Mr Elineema oversees the language department at St Jude’s Primary School.

Sharing his experience, Mr Elineema says, “For me, the training was an eye-opener.”

Mr Elineema teaches Kiswahili and English at St Jude's Primary School and leads a language department that has a team of nine members.

“The training covered topics such as monitoring and evaluation, planning and executing projects, qualities of leaders, as well as emotional intelligence… this topic inspired me the most” he explains.

"St Jude’s is an educational institution, and we deal with people at different levels. I believe it is important for all staff to have a basic understanding of the topic.”

“We are here to prepare future leaders. In the training, we examined how employment will evolve in the next 20 years. That alone is going to help us shape students that will demonstrate moral and intellectual leadership in the community,” Mr Elineema states.

Leadership Skills
Leadership Skills: Ms Yukunda, Child Protection Officer, believes that a happy workplace leads to increased productivity.

Among other modules taught to equip academic leaders with modern leadership and management skills were project management, teamwork, team management and conflict resolution.

“The training was interactive and a topic of particular interest to me was conflict resolution,” says Ms Yukunda, who assists with the school’s core values, welfare and discipline at St Jude’s Girls’ Secondary School and is also a Child Protection Officer.

Ms Yukunda monitors compliance with the school’s Child Protection Policy and provides regular training on the policy to staff and students.

"The best way to resolve a conflict is to prevent it, that’s what the facilitator said. I learned a lot about how to interact with people and how to resolve situations,” she states.

“If we, as leaders, can manage and resolve conflicts effectively, our teams will work in a peaceful environment and as a result, we will be able to achieve our goals."

Leading the way to Success
Leading the way to Success: Mr Oisso, Academic Deputy at St Jude’s Girls’ Secondary School, plays a key role in leading teachers and students to fulfil the school's mission.

Inspired by the training is Mr Oisso, who works as an academic deputy at St Jude’s Girls’ Secondary school, helping the headmaster monitor and evaluate teachers and students' progress.

“Monitoring and evaluation was a highlight for me. During the session, we discussed how to monitor and evaluate staff, as well as how to appraise them. Additionally, we covered the importance of teamwork; how to initiate teams, evaluate teams' performance and how to have effective teams,” Mr Oisso explains.

“As a leader, I have learned how to identify and make clear goals to monitor the performance of both teachers and students. I believe clear and defined goals will help us reach a common goal and drive us to fulfil the mission and vision of the school."

St Jude’s has over 300 local and international staff. Together, the teams are working hard to ensure that the school achieves its status of becoming a Centre of Excellence for teaching and learning in East Africa and a model for fighting poverty through education. If you would like to know more about our strategic plan (2019-2023) you can view it on our website here.

Team Building Exercise
Team Building Exercise: St Jude’s academic leaders emerged stronger and more unified after the training day.

“If a person can speak publicly, without any fear, then she can change the situation that we face as a country.”

So says Noreen, a confident Form 4 student from St Jude’s Girls’ Secondary School. Recently, Noreen made a moving speech at the East Africa Youth and Peace Conference, with an important message about bullying and showed hundreds of audience members what St Jude’s students are capable of.

Students and staff at St Jude’s share Noreen’s thoughts on the importance of public speaking. From the earliest days of Standard 1, students are encouraged to practise their English by speaking in front of the class. As students grow older, opportunities for public speaking arise more and more frequently. This year, St Jude’s held the first whole school public speaking competition, which revealed a wealth of talent.

Speaking From The Heart: The winners of St Jude’s recent public speaking competition.

So, when Madame Elizabeth, Head of Languages Department at St Jude’s Girls’ Secondary School, received an email inviting our students to speak at the East Africa Youth and Peace Conference, her only difficulty was choosing just one student.

In the end, she chose five; Noreen, Mariam, Miriam, Irene and Irene. While only Noreen could speak at the conference, the other four students collaborated, in true St Jude’s spirit, to prepare the perfect speech.

We worked as a group. We shared ideas. We shared the research. We joined up and worked together,” explains Mariam.

The students also had the advantage of Madame Elizabeth’s guiding hand.

“She would say, ‘How about you add this?’ Or, ‘Think about this.’ Or, ‘How can you make it better?’ ” Irene explains.

A Proud Mentor
A Proud Mentor: Madam Elizabeth helped the students prepare for their speech.

In the end, the students created a speech which examined the impacts of bullying and made suggestions about how to reduce it in schools. The issue is particularly close to the students’ hearts.

Bullying leads to students dropping out of school because they don’t get the peace they require at school,” Irene states.

On the day of the conference, the students were in good company with hundreds of guests from across East Africa, including Tanzania, Kenya and Mozambique.

“There were so many people in that hall. There were other students, college students and industry leaders,” Mariam recalls.

Finally, it was Noreen’s turn to speak, and she did her school and her classmates proud. She chose to speak without notes, and delivered her well-prepared speech from the heart.

I was observing while Noreen was giving her speech. I was trying to look at the expression on everyone’s faces,” laughs Irene.

The reaction was really amazing. Nobody expected that a young girl could stand in front of thousands of people and speak like that,” says Mariam with pride.

A True Team
A True Team: The students worked together to create a speech to be proud of.

For Noreen, the successful speech was the culmination of years of practice at St Jude’s.

It’s because I have real experience of it. Because we have public speaking at school it’s easy to speak publicly, even to thousands of people,” she states.

Madame Elizabeth was happy to see her students address such a large audience.

I was so proud of all the students. It was a wonderful day,” she says with a smile.

All the students plan to continue with public speaking, both at school and afterwards, and agree that it’s a great life skill to take into their chosen careers.

 “To be president, you have to be able to speak in front of many people and be confident,” beams Mariam.

Public speaking has a crucial role at St Jude’s. Our vision of an educated community of moral and intellectual leaders fighting poverty in Tanzania, can only become a reality if our students have the confidence to share their ideas. Students like Noreen, Irene, Miriam, Mariam and Irene show that St Jude’s is well on the way to realising that vision.