St. Al's grad & new lawyer Maxwell Muga
My journey with St. Aloysius began in 2010. Prior to that, I was in a public high school with the understanding that Secondary Education ought to have been completely free. Well, it wasn’t exactly free. Parents/Guardians were expected to chip in a portion of the tuition fee.
At the time, I lived with my elder sister and brother. Mom and dad had passed on so my sister had since been fending for us. With little money and burgeoning responsibilities, it became harder and harder for her to pay my tuition fee. I would get sent home for school fees often and, to add insult to injury, my grades were deteriorating by the day, so she devised a plan. The plan was to take me to a nearby school she had heard of that assisted needy kids in Kibera to pursue their high school education. Being an unruly teenager at the time, I immediately refused to go to the school which I knew was at the heart of Kianda - Kibera, a modest place I preferred not to go to.
Having the wits of our late dad, my sister cooked up a juicy story for me. She told me that since the school was frequented by Americans, I could be lucky and befriend one my age and go abroad. My imaginative brain began working on me properly and I could picture myself doing all manner of things, least of which was living in the US and travelling the world. I fell for it, hook, line and sinker and went to make an application for admission.
I was shocked to find so many students applying to get in. Some I knew, most I didn’t. Things got complicated when we were informed that there were only two slots available, one slot for a boy and the other for a girl. Seeing the number of students applying to be enrolled, my heart sank. I was not sure of myself. Was I going to beat all these guys in the entry exam? In all honesty, I did not know. I prepared for the exam, I went ahead and did it, and God came through for me. I had gotten into the famous St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School.
This is where my academic story really begins because it is in this great school that I met school mates and teachers who shaped my life entirely. Now, the class that did its National Exams in 2012 was a special lot. These pupils studied like I had never seen before. It was as though we were in a boarding school. Guys were in class as early as 4 am and left as late as 8pm regardless of the numerous insecurity issues. They took their studies extremely seriously for the obvious reason that life had dealt them a bad hand. These kids knew education was the only way out of their situation. Prior to coming to St. Aloysius, I had never seen such laser focus among students and soon I got bit by the bug and started taking my studies with the same attitude.
The teachers were very supportive and assisted us in every manner possible. We worked hard and did our National exams in 2012. We passed very well bringing the school’s mean grade to an unprecedented height. On my part I had not passed as well as I had hoped for. I got a B plain. That meant I could do Law but not through the Government sponsored program which required a straight A. I had to foot the tuition fee which was quite expensive. Needless to say, I was really devastated as I did not know what else I could do. I had never pictured myself doing something else. Perhaps I would try my hand in teaching by becoming a History teacher and teach as well as my mentor, Mr. Japheth Okech did. Or perhaps I could teach English and Literature. Or I could go all out and try become a disc jockey. I truly did not know.
At around that same time, the graduates’ program had been in contact with a Professor of Law in the US willing to sponsor a St. Aloysius graduate to pursue the study of law. God had been faithful as this meant I could possibly be selected to undertake the study of Law. However, this was the “admission-exam-into-St. Aloysius” situation all over again, many deserving candidates but limited opportunities. The school had to choose a deserving candidate from a huge pool of equally deserving lot and after intense deliberations, a decision was made. I was the right fit. I was elated when I received the news that I had been selected.
I went off to college after doing my community service. College was fun and interesting. It shaped me in ways I cannot fully explain. I finished my Bachelor of Laws and got a Second-Class Honors; a few steps shy of a Distinction.
Thereafter, I went to the dreaded Kenya School of Law which all lawyers in Kenya pass through to become Advocates of the High Court of Kenya. This is the scariest academic institution I know of with gut-wrenching failure rates that will scare even the Pope himself. The reading there is so intense, the content taught so much that one cannot have any life outside school. It gets worse if you also work as I did at a local law firm. I worked hard and continuously prayed. The Bar Exams came, and I gave it my best shot. Three months later the results came out; and, for the umpteenth time, God came through for me as I had passed my Bar exams on the first sitting. I am very thankful to Him.
Currently I am doing my pupillage (six-month internship required to be done after the Bar exam) at a Law firm after which I will petition the Chief Justice of Kenya to be admitted unto the Roll of Advocates and subsequently practice Law. I have a keen interest in Technology Law, Intellectual Property Law, Dispute Resolution, Personal Injury Law, Conveyancing, and the Law of Succession. I hope to keep moving forward and be a credit to St. Aloysius.