“I love this school. And I love this school for one reason: it is producing and empowering women of substance.” – Chair of the Teachers Services Commission for Migori County
WISER recently celebrated the graduation of 29 empowered women as they begin their journeys to university and beyond.
The class of 2018’s accomplishments speak for themselves. In a region where as much as 93% of girls are not able to finish secondary school, this WISER class boasts not only a 100% graduation rate, but also a 100% college acceptance rate. And based on their excellent exam scores, nearly 70% of this class qualified for full university scholarships – a rate that is over four times the national average. The graduates are expressing interest in a whole host of careers, from industrial chemistry to mechanical engineering to primary school education.
But these 29 young women are more than just stupendous students. They are athletes and activists. They are sisters, daughters, and granddaughters. They are neighbors and friends. And at graduation, their communities gathered to celebrate the diverse gifts that these WISER graduates will share with the world.
WISER’s campus bustled with excitement the morning of graduation, with alumni, friends, family, and honored guests arriving as current students prepared the campus for an influx of visitors. WISER girls hugged and chatted with members of the classes of 2013, 2014, and 2015, who had arrived from far and wide to celebrate the newest additions to WISER’s alumni network. WISER’s founder and board chair, Dr. Sherryl Broverman, as well as WISER International’s Executive Director traveled from the US for the celebration. And of course, parents, families, and friends arrived bearing celebratory tinsel and proud smiles.
The chief guest, the Honorable Dr. Pamela Odhiambo, a member of parliament and the Women Representative for Migori County, arrived early for a tour of the campus. She even got a chance to hear about WISER’s innovative science and engineering projects, which earned WISER the distinction of being named the #1 girls’ school in Migori County.
Soon after, hundreds of people gathered around the most important attendees: the soon-to-be WISER graduates.
Over the course of the ceremony, the class of 2018 heard powerful remarks from their teachers, the honored guests, and WISER alumni. Younger WISER students honored the graduates with songs and dances, even giving grads and guests a chance to show off their dance moves, too. And as a sign of the gathering’s love for what WISER does, attendees generously donated textbooks, novels, menstrual pads, and money in support of WISER’s continued mission.
Most importantly, after the ceremony was over, WISER girls got to celebrate with the community of people who have brought them thus far. They thanked their teachers for their devotion to to their students’ success. They gave best wishes to the classes of 2019, 2020, and 2021, offering some last-minute advice and a few notes on the choreography! They hugged their families tight, remembering what it was like to say goodbye to them four years ago as they began their first steps at WISER, knowing they’ll soon hug them goodbye as they begin their time at university. They looked around and saw a community of people who love and support them, from Muhuru Bay and beyond, ready to send them off on their next big adventure.
In a speech to all attendees, Floviance (WISER class of 2013), summed up the feeling of being a WISER graduate best: “Standing here today really humbles me. With WISER, these girls can achieve their dreams. We can make change in Muhuru Bay, and not even Muhuru Bay alone, but in Kenya and the world.”
Congratulations, class of 2018!