They say a picture tells a thousand words, and it was indeed an image to be imprinted on the hearts of all who attended St Jude’s fourth Form 6 Graduation: the sight of 70 Form 6 students, raising their arms in triumph and celebration at Smith Secondary Campus on May 26.
They have reached a milestone which is unattainable for many young people in Tanzania – graduating from secondary school.
The Class of 2018 joins the ranks of 325 bright, young leaders who have successfully graduated from The School of St Jude since 2015, venturing into the world as the moral and intellectual leaders of tomorrow.
In the words of School of St Jude Board Chairwoman, Bibiana Mardai, “our graduates paint the most beautiful picture of Tanzania’s future.”
St Jude’s Founding Director, Gemma Sisia, honoured students and all supporters who have given them a hand up throughout 13 years of education.
“It is thanks to good people from all around the world that this day is made possible for our Form 6 graduates,” Gemma insisted.
“The Class of 2018 hold all the tools they’ll need to reach their ambitions and make a difference in Tanzanian society,” she said.
Thousands of generous supporters who make education possible for all our students, were represented by 38 sponsors, donors and visitors from the international community in attendance at the Graduation Day ceremony.
Guest of Honour, Dr Richard Masika, Board Director for The School of St Jude, stirred the crowd with a powerful message for the graduating class, encouraging them to look towards the road ahead.
“Students are harvesting the fruits of their hard work. Finishing secondary education prepares you for the future. But, it is important to remember that finishing school does not mean the end of the road. It is the end of one stretch and the beginning of another,” he began.
“Be patient in reaching success. To whom support is given, support from them towards others is expected. Remember your responsibility to support your family, your community and Tanzania.”
Another highlight from the day was a passionate address from Christina, 2017 school captain and 2018 graduate, who reflected on her time at St Jude’s with insight and gratitude.
“Academically, we have competed against the best schools in Tanzania. With the help of our teachers, we have worked diligently. We hope we pass our exams with flying colours, proving our efforts and achievements.”
“We have learnt essential leadership skills. We have the knowledge to face the problems in our community as we go out in to the world."
"Our school values of Respect, Responsbility, Honesty and Kindness, have helped us become the leaders we are. Thank you, St Jude’s, for growing our hearts and our minds,” Christina said.
Monica Hart, a long-time School of St Jude sponsor, spoke straight from the heart to our graduates.
“You are a true example of what you can achieve once the opportunity presents itself. You have proved that you are capable of reaching the heights that were once so unattainable. As sponsors, it is with such happiness that we take you into our lives, we take pride in your work ethic, how you face your daily struggles, and your abilities to succeed.”
“The way your parents felt when you were accepted – well that’s how we felt when we were given your name.”
“I met Mama Gemma 20 years ago, at my first Rotary conference and she was one of the guest speakers. There were over 1,000 Rotarians in attendance. There she stood, this one young girl, and she spoke from her heart. She had no money to build a school, faced many hurdles, but did she ever give up? No, she held her head high and look where we are today,” Monica shared.
Where we are today was unprecedented when The School of St Jude opened in 2002.
We are educating 1,800 students, with a cohort of 395 graduates, and hundreds of alumni who have already given back through participation in the Beyond St Jude’s Community Service Year, teaching 30,000 students in Tanzanian government schools.
Our achievements so far are a testament to the combined effort of thousands of people worldwide, who take our students’ hands and lead them through the gateway to a bright future.
What are you waiting for? Give us a hand and in turn, you’ll give young Tanzanians a chance to succeed. Donate or sponsor today.