- Denis Weily
Updated: Apr 12, 2021
HOW DID I GET TO ST JUDE??
In all of my childhood time, I never heard of The School of St Jude or any other organization that provided free education to people who couldn’t afford it. One thing that I always thank God for, is the blessing of a family that values education may be more than anything else. I come from a family of three children with our mother who only completed primary school and a father who went no further than secondary school, they couldn’t continue with education for so many different reasons, the only thing that they have in common is the belief in education, that will make their children’s lives better.
I started my primary education at the age of eight, I went to the government school that was closer to home. The government schools provide free education to all citizens, Though the education is free, parents are responsible to pay for some contributions that used to run the schools, In my case, my parents could hardly afford the payments I could see that because they were always paying lately sometimes they couldn’t pay at all in which it resulted for me to be chased out of the class. There are so many challenges that I faced. I remember on many occasions I was denied to sit for some tests and examinations because I missed stationeries, I also remember one time I have chased out the class because of the worn-out school uniforms.
With all those challenges I managed to be one of the top students in my class, I was a straight A-average student. My primary school had so many challenges too that hindered academic progress, lack of books and enough teachers are major problems that not only faced my school but also most of the government schools in the country. Back in class one, I had very poor results I remember being in 177th position out of 202 students on one of the terminal exams. Two people changed my direction of life and helped to bring up my potential, my father and my friend Thomas. One day I sat with my father and he asked me to write down for him a phone number of his friend in a notebook I remember him asking me to write 81 and I failed, that made him so mad and he beat me severely. Afterward, he started a program that required me to complete three exercises every day after school, this effort paid off as I was able to improve to the 4th position in my stream these sudden changes caught the eyes of my class teacher who introduced me to Thomas who was the top student in the class by then. I remember her said to me ”you have potential but you need to change people you hang out with”.Knowing Thomas was a wonderful thing that happened to me as I learned a lot of studying techniques he was the first person to teach me to use a personal timetable for home studies. The help of these two people took me to the 2nd position by end of the class two-terminal exam. Ever since, till I graduated primary I was among the top three contenders.
Right after class seven results were out I was very happy to realize I was one of the top students in the region, one week later I was visited by friends with a letter for invitation to the interview to the school of St Jude that promised to provide free education, I received the letter but I had no intention of attending the interview because of the corruption nature of our African countries, I thought to myself that probably they have already selected their students but they want to complete the formalities of the interview to justify their work. One of my friend who was also chosen he convinced me to go and even see studying environments of private schools because he was told “the school that invited us for an interview is soo good and it will offer good lunch”, so I decided to go and see environments and eating good lunch but I had no hope of making out of the interview.
The morning of the interview, I arrived at the gate of the school of St. Jude found out the maltitude of other students who were also invited for the interview, and I dropped the last hope of having a good lunch!. Five students from my school were also invited for the interview, So I decided to sit for the interview exams so that they won't see that I ditched exams because I was afraid. After the first exam, half of the students were sorted out and it was a bit embarrassing to get out of exams early this made me take serious the rest of the exams. Also, I was astonished to see open and free examination procedures, the setting had no element of corruption or favoring which assured me that if I tried hard I might get the chance. The lunch was good as my friend said, but this time I could hardly concentrate on it as I had the tension of doing good on the coming exams, In the evening the last group of 40 students who passed the interview was announced by the School founder Mama Gemma Sisia, I can't explain the happiness flowed in me after hearing my name among the passed students, It remains to be one of my best days on earth to date. There are so many lessons that I got from that, First of all, is never to despair.
Everything at St Jude was wonderful to me. It was my very first time encountering Computers in class, The school environments were soo good I even ask myself why didn’t they make it a Hotel instead of a School. Life at St Jude was a blessed one the challenges that I encountered there are the ones that motivated me to Challenge myself as the school Motto emphasized, the very first challenge was the language, I partially knew to speak English but through series of after-class sessions with teachers an
d visitors from abroad, I managed to catch up with the other students who joined earlier than us (we referred them as old comers, they also tamed us, newcomers). St Jude stole from me a talent before joining I was among the best football (soccer ) player at my primary school, due to high academic competition I found myself cornered to choose either football or education because at St Jude if you don’t meet the pass mark, you have to repeat the class and it was a shamefull moment, Therefore I had to drop football and concentrate on the subjects. Also, I remember it is at this place where my Surgeon dream was born. In form two I lost my Grandmother to diabetes, I was told she died at the hospital bed because doctors couldn’t attend her on time as they were very few at a time, This motivated me to think of becoming a doctor at least to increase the number of doctors in the country and help many people. Sadly, I didn’t make it.