Sunday Nation 11th October, 2015 Continuation
All smiles for top essay writers
With her success, Zamzam was promised a laptop and fees worth Sh 40,000 from the sponsors. She said she was passionate about being an author so she can write books and inspire others living in the arid areas.
The number two position was taken by Linda Nyawira Ndegwa who schools at Thika Road Christian School. She credits her success to her teachers.
“My teachers prompt and encourage me to always work harder, now I see what it means when they said this could take me places. Our headmistresses said it would open doors for me like it did for Vanessa Ndirangu who won last year,” she says.
The online competition that began in April and ended in August drew pupils from around the country where learners from upper primary school were required to write an essay titled Dear Mr. President…my life as a digital learner.
The third position went to Sarah Mochama from Mbagathi Road Primary School in Nairobi.
Nyawira never left anything to chance as she thoroughly prepared for the competition. “I rewrote it five times, I took the first copy to my English teacher who went through it then told me where I was going wrong. In the second copy there were a few errors, which
I corrected and in the third one I added more information. I read the fourth which I wasn’t satisfied with and submitted the fifth copy at the last minute,” she recalls.
For her, rewriting her essay five times was not nearly enough compared to last year’s winner who altered hers eight times. Nyawira thinks her essay became the second best because she chose not to be predictable or write about laptops like everyone else. Instead, she wrote about the plight of children in rural areas who cannot access what most in the city have.
For her commendable efforts she was awarded Sh 30,000, which will pay for part of her school fees, uniform and books. She also got a laptop, notebooks, a novel, pens and at-shirt.
Her English teacher Jane Kibusu commends Nyawira’s hard work and remarks that her job was only to guide her.
“She’s good at what she does, we allow our students to be themselves in and out of class. She had the input and mine was just to coach her on things to consider,” says Kibusu.
As a class seven pupil about to sit for exams that will determine her index number, she feels privileged to learn in the digital era where she has access to a lot of information once a week, they have computer lessons.
But she has learnt not be completely dependent on them. “What if they weren’t available? You can’t always depend on the computers because you have to put in a lot of effort as well. You might be studying using a computer but you’re not getting anything,” she says.
English and science are her favourite subjects and in future, she would like to pursue engineering as a career because she has developed a keen interest in machines and cars. Her father who also has similar interests only serves to fuel that passion further.
Early on in the year, Nyawira had the opportunity to meet Engineer Michael Kamau who invited her to the opening of Terminal 2 at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
And little did she know of the bigger surprise that awaited her. Mr. Kamau introduced her to t he president and she got to have a little chat with him.
“He asked me which school I go to and what I would like to be. When I told him I want to be an engineer he told me that he wants to see me be an engineer one day at JKIA. And I want to impress him,” she says.
Nyawira’s wish is to be considered for the 2016/17 all rounder Peponi School scholarship or join Kenya High.
“Usually my mum says if she goes there she will walk in with t he form and say ‘you want another winner? You have one,”‘ she says in jest.