Not all high school graduation ceremonies are created the same.
This was revealed recently when a delegation of representatives and donors from the Pinball Clemons Foundation and WE.org travelled from Canada and the U.S. to The Masai Mara , Kenya to witness the graduation of ‘The Class of 2017’ at Kisaurni High School.
The delegates were first welcomed to their seats by a singing sea of elders and residents from a local community who recently became part of WE.org‘s Adopt a Village project.
The outdoor event took place on the school’s playing field, skirted with tented seating areas bursting with proud parents and siblings of the graduates clothed in brightly coloured traditional kangas like an artist’s palette. Elsewhere, smiling Masai Warriors, dressed in their plaid tunics and shukas, guarded the perimeter like centurions.
The ceremony opened with a parade of teachers followed by the graduating girls in their black caps and gold-trimmed gowns, necks festooned with garlands of brightly coloured tinsel swaying to the rhythmic music.
Younger learners, dressed in the Kisaruni grey sweaters and navy blue skirts and white ankle socks danced for the audience under the blue and white speckled sky.
If this was not enough entertainment, a tribe of young Masai warriors roared into the arena let by a horn-blowing figure donned with a lion’s mane.
The warriors proceeded with their traditional dance and then drew the honoured guests to join them in their celebratory ritual.
Finally, a troupe of energetic acrobats performed mind-boggling feats, tumbling across the grass stage and building human towers to rapturous applause from the crowd.
Finally, the serious business of the ceremony began with speeches from the principal, teachers and community elders who hoped the graduating class would illuminate the world in 2018 before presenting each girl with their certificate.
Kisaruni all-girls secondary school opened in 2011 and has become one of the most prestigious schools not only in Narok County but in all of Kenya. The high school is an integral part of WE.org‘s Adopt a Village initiative, in part because it unites the Maasai and Kipsigis peoples.
The WE.org says school gives young women from different communities the chance to come together and continue their education beyond middle school, bridging both ethnic gaps between them and socioeconomic gaps around them. In continuing their education, young women are encouraged to be role models and visionary leaders in their communities, empowering them to create positive change within their society.