“Guest of honor, distinguished guests, parents, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. I am happy to see that all of you were able to attend this ceremony. I hope you have enjoyed the presentations by the pupils,” said Mrs. Oluoch our head teacher her face glistering with sweat as it was a hot Saturday afternoon.
This was both a speech and a Prize giving day at our Top Achievers Academy. Those invited had, arrived early and the tents which had been pitched on the football field were all full to capacity. Various classes had entertained the guests in song, dance, poems and plays. It was at the end of these that the head teacher Mrs. Oluoch stood to address the gathering. She looked around and when she realized everyone was all ears she cleared her voice and continued.
“As I was saying, I will allow the guest of honor to give us his speech, but first I would like to thank all those who took part in various entertainment activities. They were very good and interesting especially the Std. two poems about the lazy boy ‘Thank you pupils. In the same note I would like to thank all the teachers profusely for the good work done with the pupils in preparing them for those presentations. Thank you very much” said Mrs. Oluoch. There were thunderous clapping which rent the air for quite some time. The std two class teacher stood up and ululated to show her appreciation at the mention of her class.
When calmness set in Mrs. Oluoch continued, “This is a great day for us at Top Achievers Academy because it’s the first prize giving day that has been attended by our Director of Education none other than Mr. Warutere, who is also our guest of honor this afternoon. Mr. Warutere we feel proud that you did accept to be with us today. On behalf of, all the parents and invited guests thank you very much,” said Mrs. Oluoch. Mr. Warutere the Director of Education waved at all the other guests as Mrs. Oluoch mentioned his name. Parents and all invited guests waved back at him, as the pupils gave three hearty claps to welcome him. Mr. Warutere was clad in a green three piece suit with matching black shoes. He was a short man with a big stomach, which hung in between his legs. His round deep eyes made his face glitter with excitement. He was a pleasant man larger than life. He then stood up as the headmistress went on to invite him to greet the parents and the other invited guests before awarding the presents to the best pupils in the main examination K.C.P.E. which had been done the previous year. The Director cleared his voice, waited for us to keep quiet then he began.
“Thank you everybody who is here. I know we are all waiting for the most important part of this ceremony and that’s prize giving part of it. Because of that, I will not take a lot of your time lest I bore you stiff,” He said, his Adam’s apple bobbling up and down. “ I will begin by praising all the parents present here: Parents you have done a lot of work by creating a peaceful atmosphere for these young ones to learn. You have also given the school tremendous support by attending all the meetings seeing teachers any time you are called upon and most important of all paying school fees in time. Now this confirms the love you have for your children.” the director said.
There was applause as we cheered our parents. As for me I was not sure how my father felt, for he was a perpetual school fees defaulter. I stole a quick glance at the high table where all the important invited guests had sat with our head teacher, My eyes locked with our head teacher’s and almost lost balance on the chair I sat on. There was a brief confusion as trophies were placed on the high table. When this was done the director continued. “To the pupils, I must say you have worked very hard and mine is to congratulate all the prize winners of today as I urge the losers to continue working hard. Remember not all can be numbers one, two or three, So long as you are doing your best even if you are the last position that’s good enough,” said the Director. At that time, on that day, Mr. Warutere the Director of Education was the man I would have loved to have as a father. I had never been any other position but last. My father could not understand that though I was last my marks were improving. I looked at the crowd again to see the impression on my father’s eyes but I never spotted him. Before the Director gave out the presents we clapped loudly for him. Most of the big boys were whistling. It had to take the strong hand of our senior teacher to quiet us.
He awarded the prizes to the former std. 8’s who were by then in various form one schools. The most outstanding of all was when my cousin Tobias got a cheque for twenty thousand shillings for his text books. “Take this and use it well,” said the director as Tobias shook his hands. We were all happy for him after all he had done his best. When all the prizes were given out the celebrations ended.
Our head teacher thanked everybody and invited all the guests for refreshments. All said and done it was a memorable day. It will linger in my mind for a long time to come. I only learnt to do my best since where there is a will there must be a way.