Springs Hope has been accepting students since Monday. So far, the students have been trickling in steadily, and the school continues to grow as they start classes. The deadline for registration is this coming Monday, a full week for parents to register their students.
Some of the teachers have yet to be stationed, so the few teachers that are already here are sharing responsibilities. Duncan, the new principal of Springs High School, is registering students and teaching as well. Today he was teaching physics, and actually, the first physics class of the year.
The mood in the classroom was an odd inversion of the bubbling anarchy that threatens to swallow up some of the primary classes. Students were neat, organized, eerily quiet, and lazer focused. This was the first week in a new school, so I suppose no one is testing any boundaries just yet. Some of these students knew each other from Shalom, but many were from outside this community. It was a class still getting used to each other. Personally, you couldn’t pay me enough to relive the first few weeks of Grade 9.
Despite my solidarity with these shy kids, I was a little too excited about this High School finally being a High School in progress. I might have scared them a little in my persistent questions about how they’re first day of school was.
Dennis was a student I recognized from Shalom. Last year, he was part of a mob of young men that stole my sunglasses and ransomed them back to me for pictures of themselves wearing my sunglasses, supposedly looking cool. No trace of that bravado anymore!
Dennis kept looking back to the others in like him beige sweaters and ties; he seemed embarrassed to even raise his voice. He told me he was glad to be in this school, and coming here had been his plan all along, since he knew this was a high school. He could see it from his window in Class 8.
Tabitha is brand new to this area; she lives in Rongai which is about a 30 minute walk from the school. Her mother heard a rumour about this school. She came to investigate before it opened, and when she went home, she told Tabitha she was going to Springs High School. Tabitha says she’s glad she’s here though. She likes that Springs is a new school, and she likes her new uniform too. “I think it looks very smart.”
Evans says that he likes Springs High School too, even though his walk is a little longer than Tabitha’s. His favourite subject is English, because he feels that “I learn more every time I study it. And I like to learn it.” I tried a few more questions and got single word answers. When I ask about the uniform, he shrugs. Is the sweater too hot? I sweat in tshirt and shorts in Giwa and yet kids rock out sweaters all day long, even during chores and sports. He shakes his head.
At this point, I was grasping for anything in this sea of adolescent awkwardness. What would you change about your sweater? I asked Evans. He sheepishly shrugged (again). I gave up. ‘Would you turn it into a football jersey?’ “Yes.” ‘What color would it be?’ “Red” ‘So you would wear a Manchester United jersey?’ “Yes.” ‘Or would it be Arsenal?’ Evans audibly scoffed. “No! Manchester!”
From there, once we were talking about football, Evans and I bantered for a while, and finally, he relaxed a bit. I made a reminder to check the Premier League standings when I got home.