By Silas Nyamweya
Our Lady of Mercy Girls popularly known as OLOM was established in 1962 by the Sisters of Mercy in conjunction with the Kenyan government. It is found in Chuka town, Magundu location, Karimba Sub-location within the larger Tharaka Nithi County. Initially it shared a compound with Our Lady of Mercy Primary School, with both sections being managed by one head teacher. However, the school was later in 1966 transformed into a girl’s only boarding school and was separated from the primary school section. Despite it being sponsored by the Catholic Church, the school is being maintained by the government who are responsible for paying teachers’ salaries, giving out grants to meet recurrent expenses as well as building key infrastructure. Presently, the school has an enrollment of 400 boarding girls. The enrollment is frequently done on the basis of specific merits. The school is currently being headed by Mrs. Kiruja Jayne who has been in this capacity since 2015. There are 11 teachers employed by the Teachers Service Commission in this school.
The school basically works on a two-tier model. The focus on tier one is to offer holistic education to current students; with an aim of building them intellectually, physically and emotionally. This is made possible through four main programs that are run and managed by a dedicated school administration. Tier two mainly concentrates on building a strong alumni and business network to enable them give back to the society while also influencing the socio-economic growth in the alumni community.
The school has in place a regular inspirational, motivational, career and life skills talks as well as discussions with the girls which keeps them enthusiastic and energized concerning their future.
Our Lady of Mercy Girls is notable for various sports activities including athletics, Netball, basketball, soccer, badminton and many others. Notably, the school has consistently shown remarkable performance in basketball and volleyball games, always appearing on national sports levels. Alongside these are numerous sports tours and travelling around Kenya for participation on tournaments or academic tours.
Notable teachers who are still celebrated and remembered for their achievements in various categories including academic, sports, discipline etc include Mrs. Silveria Nkonge(former principal), Mrs Vernice Mutembei(Maths teacher), Mr. John Gitonga(Geography Teacher), Mr. Dismus Ntarara(Kiswahili Teacher), Mr. Francis Mathiu(physics teacher), Mr. David Ndobi(Biology teacher), Mr. Mbiu John(computer teacher), and Miss Janet Kinyua(Biology teacher form 1).
Former students still remember kusukumana kwa laini to buy ngumu at the school kiosk during school break. There were also the popular beauty shows done every third term and which most girls looked up for. Alongside these were the Sunday prayers that were usually done at the school dining hall. Mrs. Silveria Nkonge a former principal is still remembered for leading these prayers and she used to lead hyms such as Fire fire fire..fire follow me…. May the spirit of the Lord come down… I surrender.. among others.
Notable alumni who were guided by the motto “In search of Excellence” include the newly nominated deputy governor for Nairobi County, Ms Ann Kananu Mwenda, Dr. (Mrs.) Jenniffer Ndunge, Lecturer-Department of Extra Mural Studies, University of Nairobi, Sue Maina, an employee of Nairobi Water and Sewarage Company, Annastacia Rita a fashion designer based in Nairobi, Becca Edwards, a communication officer at Kenya Ports Authority, and Susan Morara, an office administrator at Prince of Peace Junior Academy Nairobi. Others who white blouses with grey skirts and dark blue white stripped pullovers include Enid Njagi, a teacher at the same school (OLOM), Leah Akoko, a county clerk at Butere town, Philiphine Santos, a business lady based in Nairobi, and Maurine Kinyua, an accountant at Sameer Kenya, Nairobi.