A Toast to the St Andrew's School, Turi family

There is nothing quite like family get-togethers; re-uniting with loved ones, bonding over good food, meeting new additions to the family and for a household of believers, giving thanks together.

My name is Frankie Gichuru, the school’s Director of Admissions, and this VISO; I was the new addition to the St Andrew’s, Turi clan. As I quickly came to learn, VISO is the mother of all family get- togethers.  A long standing (and celebrated) tradition for many years, VISO is a bi-termly special weekend that brings together students, teachers, and parents through a series of interactive events, meetings and fellowship opportunities.
During each of the three days, we had as many engagements as the days were long. I am loathe to liken myself to a hyena in any way, but this weekend, I understood the plight of the hyena at the crossroads; there were so many activities that I couldn’t be present in all of them without of course physically splitting myself apart.  Unlike the hyena and the unfortunate Mr Kiundu (of the ‘No Feast for Mr Kiundu’ fame) though, I kept myself in one piece by strategically planning my days so that I wouldn’t miss too much. At this point I really must mention the catering team, led by Ms Mutiso for the delectable dishes; the savoury and sweet treats are just the kind to cause humans and hyenas alike, to split themselves into two.
Saturday morning kicked off with the IAPS cross country event-a very challenging run that was open to Prep School students and their peers from other schools that were present including Banda, Pembroke House, Kenton and Greensteads.
As that was ending, the Senior School speech day was kicking off. I was present at this event which started with an award presentation for outstanding achievement, for those who attained the highest scores in the country and in Africa in the GCSE’s examinations. A total of six awardees were called to the stage for excelling in different subjects.  In his hearty speech, Mr. Andrew Boulle, the Senior School Headmaster thanked the graduating class and posed a retrospective question to them, “At the end of your life, who will people say you were?”  I am working on that answer myself Mr. Boulle…
No speech day (or family gathering) is complete without a little bit of drama; the cast of Grease took the audience 40 years back and the school orchestra performed ‘Palladio’ by Karl Jenkins. The guest speaker Ms Teresa Njoroge gave a speech around the theme ‘Our life’s purpose’. Teresa runs an NGO called Clean Start that gives women and young girls an opportunity to rebuild their lives once they are out of prison. She started the program after spending a year at Langata Women’s prison. She was subsequently cleared of all charges but the experience had a profound impact on her life.
Leadership diplomas were then awarded to Senior School students and special awards were given for sportsmanship, all round academic record, contribution to community among other equally prestigious and exemplary achievements. The Head Boy and Head Girl gave their speeches and the new cohort of prefects was ‘sworn’ in. The School’s Chair of Governors, Mr M Moragia, concluded the event with a speech that thanked all and wished the graduating class greatness in the next chapter of their lives. And that was just the morning!
After lunch, there was a confirmation of 20 students that had been attending catechism classes and at 4 o’clock; the much anticipated Graduation Ceremony for the Class of Year 13 began. Parents, friends, grandparents and siblings were present in what was certainly a glamorous event. The Head of the Sixth Form College Mr Jonathan Andwati and his team introduced each individual graduate through an insightful and touching tribute. There were some humorous anecdotes and it was amazing to see their peers correctly guessing each time. It’s safe to say that in this family, we know each other very well.
The Sunday church service was conducted by the Arch Bishop of ACK Jackson Ole Sapit with the School choir and School orchestra leading in the praise and worship. In his sermon, based on the book of Acts, the Arch Bishop relevantly spoke about ascending and moving forward. With the end symbolizing a new beginning, the day was crowned by a baptism in which 15 pupils and students officially began their walk with Christ. Amen! Its business as usual now, the camping site now empty, friends and family are back home and meals are strictly served at the official dining halls.
If you can’t tell from my lengthy account of the weekend, VISO has put a spring in my step, as it does with everyone here.  It’s been three weeks since I joined the School and the warmth and closeness of the Turi family has kept away the Turi chill with VISO serving as my very own ‘welcome to the family’. A family I am truly blessed to be a part of!