It was 13 years in the making, and it lived up to the hype.
Supporters from around the world flew to Arusha on Saturday to celebrate The School of St Jude’s first ever Form 6 graduation.
The milestone event saw the 61 students, proudly draped in gowns of navy blue and canary yellow and wearing matching mortarboard hats, complete their secondary schooling.
More than 500 local family and community members, special guests, fellow students and school staff attended the event at the school’s Smith campus at Usa River.
“I am so proud of these students and what they have accomplished,” school founder Gemma Sisia said.
“This is a very special time for both them and the whole St Jude’s community.”
Special guest Deputy Education Minister Anne Kilango Malecela expressed her high expectations for the students, and wished them well in their future pursuits.
The ceremony featured cultural songs and dances, as well as special “gifts” of chickens and a goat to various honourees.
The School of St Jude’s opened 13 years ago with just three students, and now almost 2000 of Arusha’s most promising and underprivileged pupils receive a free education there.
Each year the school accepts 150 new pupils, who are tested and screened to see if they pass St Jude’s education and poverty tests before receiving a free education.
The school will continue to support the students in the coming year as they embark on community service, with the majority volunteering to teach at government schools around Arusha.