In Summary
  • The first term is a terrible time for Namunyu who even entertains thoughts of moving to another school.
  • Things get worse for the young gent as his soft voice that had landed him an opening in the school choir changes.
  • It starts to croak like that of a frog as he slowly becomes a full-fledged teenager.

The Career Decision-making of High School Studentsin Kenya study by Bathsheba K Osoro, Norman E Amundson and William A Borgen identifies high school as the place where students come into terms with their roles in life, work values and make plans for work and next level in their education.

In Miriam Khamadi Were’s book The High School Gent, the complex and overtly confusing process of transforming a mere teen into a malleable senior high school student ready for the next step in life plays out.

UNWAVERING YOUTH

Washington Namunyu has joined Rasika Government Secondary School on a bursary. He’s a young man whose character moves him to make really hard decisions first for himself with an effect on those around him.

Apparently, the first year students “were put through the school initiation ceremonies. For the whole of the first term, the only sound considered permissible from new boys was an occasional groan, as their muscles ached from the beatings, whippings, and from being chased for miles around the compound without clothes in the chilly night air”.

Namunyu flees to the headmaster’s house clad in nothing but underwear and reports the evil that was happening.

The tradition ostensibly ends but the young man is almost ostracised as those jealous of his courage and new found fame watch him from a distance while others are not impressed by a person who seems to have the signs of a snitch.

The first term is a terrible time for Namunyu who even entertains thoughts of moving to another school.

Things get worse for the young gent as his soft voice that had landed him an opening in the school choir changes.

It starts to croak like that of a frog as he slowly becomes a full-fledged teenager.

RESOLUTE

Be as it may, the young man returns for the second-term.

Namunyu is determined to make his stay in Rasika a memorable one by making friends. He soon finds a tall, timorous, shy first year in another stream and befriends him.

From the beginning the determination of Namunyu and ability to bring out the best in another is clear. His leadership qualities may be unconscious to him but not those around him.

His ingenuity, focus and fortitude even in difficult moments triumphs every time. For instance, he transmutes a slender, scared fellow first year into a courageous person able to fight for himself in hours.

ETERNAL MESSAGE

Miriam Were’s The High School Gent is written in a simple, amusing tone.

First published in 1972, the high school events woven in the come-of-age story brings out the realities and challenges of a typical boarding school and struggles of teenagers as they stride through the complex sea of high school, changing anatomy and growing minds.

The relevance of the book today shows that the more things change in secondary schools the more they remain rigid and eternal even in a digital age.

BULLYING REBUKED

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