In a national essay competition held by the Tanzania Bureau of Standards in October, all secondary students throughout Tanzania were invited to submit an original essay between 1,000 - 1,500 words to "explore their own unique perspective on the role of standards in increasing efficiency, better results and in reducing waste." It wasn't exactly the easiest topic, but staying committed to the task, our students put pen to paper and drafted articulate, thoughtful responses.
After all the submissions were reviewed, ten finalists were invited to Dar es Salaam to attend the awards ceremony. Of those ten finalists, six were from The School of St Jude, all in either Form 2 or Form 3! Our fantastic volunteer teacher librarian mentor at Smith Secondary, Helen, took our students all the way to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's commercial capitol, for the students to receive their certificates. Of our six finalists, Denis in Form 2, came in 2nd!
On the heels of his tremendous achievement, we invited Denis to share with us a moment in his life that really meant something to him. Below is what he had to say (without any editing from us):
The Moment that Meant Something in my Life
My name is Denis aged 17 years old. I come from a family of five members. In my family I have my father, two brothers and one sister. My family is a single parent family because in March 2007 my mother passed away from a heart disease. My hobbies are playing soccer and reading updated news, also I have a future plan of one day being a doctor.
In 2005 I had a moment which really meant something in my life and this was the moment I joined the School of St Jude. Joining the School of St Jude meant a lot in my life because before I joined St Jude I did not have any future plan instead I thought that I can never make it in life. These thoughts came as a result of failing in my exam, getting tough punishments and having an unpleasant environment for studying. All this made me not to attend school in most of the days instead I could hide in the street until school hours are over and I could return back home with my friend who went to school. But after joining St Jude my life changed and I saw school as a better place to live. This is because in St Jude I met good teachers, transport, condusive environment and fantastic learning resources. Also after joining St Jude I started having future plans and I saw that one day I will make it, that’s why I can say that joining the School of St Jude meant a lot in my life.
Generally the School of St Jude put me in a place where I can never give up, instead I will work hard so that I can fulfil my dream of becoming a doctor. I know that I can make it. This is because if anybody else can do it, I can do it better. This means that if people like Ben Carson were able to make it I can make it too. On the other hand I would like to thank my school and my sponsor for the support which I have been receiving and I promise to work extra hard so that I can make it and bring success and changes in my community.
Denis exemplifies the characteristics of St Jude's students - strong willed, ambitious and thoughtful. If Denis says he's going to be a doctor, we believe him because he believes in himself. His inspiration is what St Jude's is about, providing an otherwise unavailable educational opportunity for those students with the determination and potential to not only dream of a better life, but to dream bigger, beyond their wildest imaginations.
St Jude's currently has more than 1,500 students who are daring to dream. Next year we'll have 150 more students join our family, and one day they too will DARE TO DREAM, just like Denis has.