With a sense of nostalgia, 246 graduates gathered in celebration and recognition of their St Jude’s connection and all they have achieved since leaving the school gates.
St Jude’s alumni, from the very first graduating class in 2015 to those who completed Form 6 this June, arrived back at St Jude’s in style – on the school buses they used to catch on their way to school! They gathered at Sisia Primary Campus for dinner, speeches and dancing, the dining hall made special with tea-light candles, colorful flowers and bright tablecloths. School Founder, Gemma Sisia, made a stirring speech to the crowd who listened intently.
“It is amazing to see you all here, welcome back! You have already made a significant impact on the community in your own ways, and I know our alumni program can go from strength to strength because of you. It has always been my dream that in the future, I want you serving on the board of our school, or even helping us run the school,” Gemma said passionately.
Gemma also launched Alumni Spirit, an initiative through which alumni can give back to St Jude’s in the spirit with which they received their free education. This can either be contributing financially towards unsponsored scholarships, or by giving their time to come back to St Jude’s to volunteer in various school departments.
“Through this new initiative the cycle of fighting poverty continues. We have crunched the numbers and if 75 alumni give just AU$3 a month that would sponsor the scholarship for one student’s entire education. You can support a young student through a journey that you are now finishing,’ Gemma explained to the gathered alumni.
Around 65 alumni signed up to the Alumni Spirit initiative after Gemma’s stirring speech, excited to start giving back to St Jude’s now that they are undertaking the next stage of their journey, whether that be as an intern, immersed in higher education or with a budding career already underway.
For the first time the reunion was also coupled with St Jude’s Career’s Day, held earlier in the day with secondary students. This meant that alumni could join industry professionals to give advice to current St Jude’s students about their future.
The invited professionals, representing Tanzanian industries, encouraged students to pursue their passions, while alumni and 2016 Head Boy, Sifuni, shared these words to those following in his footsteps.
“Back when I was at St Jude’s, I learnt things that led me to where I am right now. I got love, skills, confidence and all that can make you different from the rest. Take every opportunity that you get here at St Jude’s, there’s a lot in store for you. Explore the resources leaders offer you because it will guide you to good ends. I believe that in the next five years the graduates sitting here today are going to be a community of very highly skilled people, who are confident St Jude’s professionals.”
Arafa, a 22-year-old St Jude’s tertiary scholar who travelled from her University in Dar Es Salaam for the event, motivated students too.
“Your greatest resource is the people here, it’s the people that can help you get to where you want to go. While you are here at St Jude’s try to make the most of your opportunity as there is so much to explore,” Arafa shared.
St Jude’s aspiring engineers, doctors, scientists and entrepreneurs then gathered in smaller workshop groups with the industry professionals to consider and discuss the best pathways to their dream jobs.
The events across the day and into the night truly brought the school values full circle and spotlighted the St Jude’s school spirit, as our alumni make their impact in the wider world.
Will you join our impressive alumni in giving back? Empower young leaders to fight poverty through education and make a donation to St Jude’s.