Katoke Wrap-Up 2016

This year has flown by. It’s December and Christmas is just around the corner.  Let me begin by thanking our supporters and friends of Katoke-Lweru Secondary School (KLSS) for your generous and amazing contributions to the life of our school. Our students, staff and site workers send greetings and thanks to our Australian friends.

2015 has been another milestone in our school’s history. For the first time we have students in all 6 years of secondary school. The senior students have added a depth of maturity and excellent student leadership for younger students to see and learn from.

Our four school captains, Emmanuel, Eric, Tumwesige and Beathi, are impressive, talented young adults. All are sponsored and come from families who struggle with poverty and have faced too much loss. Each has the strong desire, hope and belief that their education will give them the opportunity to serve their family, community and nation. They are only four of 90 wonderful ‘A Level’ students studying in good classrooms with dedicated, qualified teachers and excellent access to required textbooks. Our students flourish in an environment that encourages self-discipline, thinking through issues, dialogue and service to others. All of this is only possible with the partnership of so many in Australia who care for the futures of these young people.                           .

Our staff has grown to over 30 this year and we are literally bursting at the seams in the staffroom. Lunch in staffroom is a vibrant time often with dynamic discussions covering politics or education or faith. We are blessed by our staff and so thankful for their care and expertise.                                                                                                           .
A big change this year has been the establishment of a formal Staff Leadership Team. It has been delightful to work alongside these caring and talented professionals developing programs to help the students and support the staff. In particular, a special mention to Mr Lameck Kassano, our wise and considered Deputy Principal.

No school, especially a boarding school, can run without a large team of non-teaching staff and as the school has expanded our non-teaching staff has also grown. It is wonderful to have some of our graduates who have completed various vocational courses working with such confidence and effectiveness in the school library, school shops, laboratories and in the office.

Our results. Results continue to be very pleasing and testament to the hard work that defines the daily activities of the school. We remain in the top 10% of the nation in national results for Forms 2 and 4. We are in the top five schools of the district where competition is growing every year. While results are vitally important, KLSS wants to develop young people who seek to serve, who understand that learning is for life and our skills and talents are best used when used for the good of others.

Recent visitors. We have welcomed many visitors this year, a highlight being the week-long visit by seven students from Danebank School in Sydney. KLSS students and the Danebank girls were equally enriched by this visit and we are looking forward to another group in 2016. We had a visit by sponsors who were able to meet their sponsored student – such a wonderful and meaningful experience and so treasured by the students. We warmly welcome visitors!
Of course challenges remain, especially those of a school in a remote rural and very poor part of Tanzania. We desperately need more buildings, more water storage onsite and the list goes on. Many problems attached to poverty we can’t fix but as well as a quality education we can offer support and care to those in our immediate community. It was encouraging to see so many current students accompanying their younger siblings, cousins or friends to the registration test for Form 1 in 2016.

Some of them are far from ‘model’ students (yes we do have some discipline issues). I asked one student who has been testing our discipline policies why he wanted his sibling at the school. He answered, “Even though I might not be the perfect student, this is the perfect school – good teachers, good environment and everyone really cares.”  A pretty awesome recommendation!

Back here in Australia. We are delighted to announce that $45,000 was raised at this year’s Katoke Annual Dinner held on 30th October 2015 at the Tradies. We are so grateful for the generosity of those attending the Dinner as well as the Tradies for donating $10,000. The funds raised will be used for the next building priorities which include further classrooms and teachers accommodation. We were also very encouraged by the 33 riders who cycled 930 kms over 9 days in September 2015 to raise funds for the Katoke Trust. More than $50,000 was raised by the riders and support crew – an incredible result!

Dates for the diary in 2016. After the resounding success of the 2015 cycle series, with the help of ride organiser Jim Blaxland, Katoke will be holding 2 cycling events in 2016 as below. Please express your interest to Jim Blaxland (email: j.bx@bigpond.com).

  1. Weekend ride: 18-20th March 2016 –  Bathurst to Lithgow return
  2. The big ride: 24th September to Sunday 2nd October 2016 – Bathurst to Temora return

Sponsorship in 2016.  In 2016, we are very pleased to have 75 students joining us in form 1, of which 25 students require sponsorship. One of these students requiring sponsorship is Judith Mwjahuzi.

Judith is being brought up by her 86 year old grandfather who is a highly respected Anglican pastor. Her grandfather has struggled to give Judith and her brother Jonathan (a Form 1 2015 sponsored student) a good education as he realises that they will need to be able to make their own way in the world without other support. Sadly their grandfather has had a recent diagnosis of cancer. Judith’s future would be much more secure if she were able to be educated at KLSS. We have several other students urgently requiring sponsorship. The stories of some of these students is on our website. If you’d like to find out more about how you could sponsor a student we’d love to hear from you. Please contact Lee King (email: sponsorship@katoke.com.au).

Volunteer Opportunities.  A building supervisor, an administration/finance officer and other support staff are urgently needed in Katoke to allow us to continue our building program in 2016. Make a difference in a successful school serving a developing nation. Please express your interest to Alan Watson (email: alan@katoke.com.au)

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