Rev. Wilson Okonjo Adongo MA, CPM
Senior Teacher- Maranda High School
Standards define the course.
Merriam Webstar defines the term Standard as something established by authority, custom, or general consent as a model or example. As a noun, Standard is something considered by an authority or by general consent as a basis of comparison; an approved model, an accepted or approved example of something against which others are judged or measured. An object that is regarded as the usual or most common size or form of its kind. A rule or principle that is used as a basis for judgment. It may also mean an average or normal requirement, quality, quantity, level, grade, etc. As an adjective, the term standard refers to serving as a basis of weight, measure, value, comparison, or judgment.
For our purpose in this article, the term is recognized as excellence or established authority, of the usual, regularized, medium, or accepted kind. Meaning, a standard is what something or someone is known for. It is like a brand which distinguishes something or someone from the rest. Like any other organization and institution, Maranda have Standards that has been historically carried forward. As such must be guarded jealously. This article focuses on two main standards: Academic and Moral standards.
Academically, being a learning Institution, Maranda has been known for producing the best brains in all the professional fields in Kenya, and the world at large. Students in Maranda have an advantage over many other students in other regions. Sadly, to the current crop of Maranda students, such reality may not be a big deal, but the opportunity to be in Maranda as a school is something which should not taken for granted. One of the greatest teachers in history, Jesus Christ of Nazareth once said,
Everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required, and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask for more (Luke 12:48).
The exposure that students in Maranda get is so much, in terms of academic preparation. Consequently, whenever the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) results is released, all eyes are always on Maranda along with Kapsabet, Maseno, Alliance among such schools in that league. Schools in “other” categories such as Tok Dala Mixed Day and Boarding Secondary School will be congratulated if their best student will have a C+ but Maranda will be judged harshly if they do not realize 100% transition. That is the Maranda Standard!To demonstrate this, let us shift out attention to 1Chronicles 12:32, “Men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do…” Contextually, in this and the previous chapter, the life of King David is in danger. He recruits men to join his team as he prepares to fight the enemy.
There is a long list of names of those who joined the battle to defend David. Glaringly, one group of men is singled out and, which I invite us to focus on briefly. Military battle like the one David was involved in requires more than military might. It requires understanding of the signs of the times. The bandits killing Kenyans in Kapedo areas do not have even 1% of the kind of military might Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) have. The only reason they are able to inflict the kind of damage they have inflicted is because they know the signs of the times. We hear that such bandits are so vast with the terrain and they have mastered the movements of the security officers on the ground.
Such antennae of being aware of the time and season is what a Maranda student needs to have at all cost. Indeed, it is a public secret that for one to be in Maranda, one must be an academic giant. Students in Maranda are often advised on how to maintain their academic supremacy. Notably, along with the academic supremacy, I dare say, one must understand the signs of the times. This should be an eye opener to any learner who is in Maranda or wishes to join the institution. Such a mind-set will create a Standard for a Maranda student.
On morality, sadly, in Kenya, part of our problem as a nation is that we have very clever people, though some not so clever, in positions of responsibility without any knowledge of the signs of the times. They have no moral values, Maranda as a community is not left out. It pains that in nearly every assembly gathering theft cases are talked about. In reality, the “thieves” do not emanate from outside the compound but are within. In fact, they are known! In fact, nowadays, students even serve buns from the gate to the boarding area simply because students are not discipline enough to pick only a piece for themselves. Interestingly, all such happened in a “Christian” school. Contrastingly, the level of religiosity is the same school is so high enough that some students prefer to attend Vespers at the expense of studies, which is the core business that brought them in Maranda. Worse still, they spend the whole day on Saturdays in church service. As if that is not enough, it is in Maranda that a section of students will prefer to be late for a lesson after lunch because they are still held up in “prayers.” Furthermore, Maranda is a community where on every Sundays, very early before the other community members wake up, students stream in the arboretum for a Sunday service to “pray.” Despite all the above enlisted religious efforts, the morality Standard is still wanting. Maranda has had a discipline Standard, which has been envied by many. My prayer for is that may the learners leave Maranda not only with good grades but also good moral values.
Allow me to give you an experience we had in my former high school. By the grace of God, I learned in St. Joseph’s School, Rapogi in Migori County. During our time (1998-2001) to be precise, we had a programme monthly. Every last Saturday of every month we had Boma Leave. This is where after lunch of such a Saturday, all students were allowed to go out and walk, shop and just have a break from the normal school routine. Impressively, by 5.00 pm, all students were back and you would not hear of any indiscipline issue. That was our Standard! Can you imagine having such a program in a “Christian” school lined up with religious programs today! Only God knows what would be the outcome.Probably, what we see in many learning institutions including Maranda is a reflection of our society. For instance, today, there are many people who take their hard earned cash, go to the clothing shops and buy torn and rugged long trousers in the name of fashion! The shocking thing is not that a large number of such people are University students and other professionals. These were very clever people and it is possible some of them went to some famous national schools such as Maranda. Of course, it is in the normal domain that tattered clothes are worn by specific calibre of people in the society. On this your guess is as good as mine. Can you see how
not knowing the signs of the times can reduce you to zero in spite of your academic achievements? Lack of Standards!
Maranda students, some of you are waiting to leave Maranda and then put on Integrity as the School motto puts it. Yet there are people who are already Practising Integrity. The world is waiting necessarily for the old wise men as much as for young men and women who know the signs of the times.
Physicists will tell you about Archimedes who gave us the Archimedes Principle. Archimedes once said “If you give me a place to stand, a lever long enough and a fulcrum to place it, I can move the earth” (Ong’ombe O.I 14/7/2014). Meaning, without a place to stand you cannot lift anything. Stand on your morals and there will be no limit to what you can lift and move. We live in a generation where the interest is predominantly on money. People fight for certain things, which sometimes may not be worth fighting for, not because they love to serve humanity but because they want good money.
A book titled “The Reality of Life” by Professor Watson Omulokoli, the Chancellor of African International University (AIU), records that in 1923 a very important meeting was held in Chicago USA. In attendance were nine of the world’s most successful men who had found the secret of making money. Twenty-five years later one of them called Charles Schwab, the President of the largest steel company died bankrupt. Samuel Insull the President of the greatest utility company died a fugitive and penniless in a foreign land. The President of the largest gas company Howard Hopson went abroad insolvent (totally without money). The President of the New York Stock Exchange was released from prison. A member of the Cabinet Albert Fall was pardoned so that he could die at home. Jesse Livermore of the Wallstreet committed suicide. The President of the Bank of International settlement, Leon Fraser died of suicide.
You can see that all these were learned men, made lots of money but they definitely were not like the sons of Issachar. They did not know the signs of the times. May you find the place to stand, Jesus the Christ, the Rock of Ages. In Maranda, it is wonderful to make good grades and good money but know also how to live with good grades and good money.
One last thing to remember throughout your life in Maranda is individual responsibility. Each student in Maranda came as an individual with an individual calling letter. Equally, when will be leaving afte four years, it will be with an individual result slip. Do not do things because your friends are doing them. Remember Daniel lived in an environment where drinking alcohol was legal and encouraged but at home where he came from drinking was not allowed.
It is observed that many high school students acquire bad habits in High School. Habits they did not have before going to High School. Remember God speaks to individuals not to crowds. What God is telling you is not necessarily what He is telling your desk mate. God spoke to Paul on the way to Damascus and yet those walking next to him did not hear what Paul heard. In his own testimony in Acts 22: 6–9, Paul narrates,About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me....My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.
Make your own personal decisions not based on what the whole class has decided. Like the men of Issachar know the signs of the times.
In conclusion, maximising every opportunity and potential is key in life. God gives everyone an opportunity in life time to make a difference. It is worth remembering to leave a place better than you found it. History has a tendency of judging. What will history say about you in Maranda? Will it be said that during your cohort, you watered the Standard down to the trenches and dogs or maintained the Standards that had been set by your predecessors or will it be that you improved on the Standards you found and raised the bar? Time will tell