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98-Year-Old Primary School Student Priscilla Sitienei Becomes Role Model In Kenya

 

Lots of little feet scurry to their lessons at Leader’s Vision Preparatory School in the Kenyan town of Eldoret.

But among all these youthful faces, there’s another with a few more wrinkles than the average pupil.

Ninety-eight-year-old Priscilla Sitienei, also known as “Gogo”, is enrolled here too.

Like her younger classmates, she dresses in full school uniform.

And at assembly, she’s an enthusiastic participant, singing alongside pupils young enough to be her great-grandchildren.

After the Kenyan government agreed to subsidise primary education costs back in 2003, senior citizens like Priscilla – who never had the chance to go before – were able to attend school.

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She’s now in sixth grade and has shown real aptitude for particular subjects, according to her teachers.

Teacher Leonida Tallam says her elderly student’s favourite subjects are science, Christian religious studies and mathematics.

“When she is attending those classes, she is very attentive. She is very, very keenly attentive and she also has good handwriting. Her handwriting is the best in class,” says Tallam.

“‘Gogo’ motivated the pupils because of this being attentive in class, working hard in class and producing good results,” she adds.

The 98-year-old year-old is something of an inspiration, encouraging those who have dropped out of school to go back.

Priscilla has also starred in a film about her educational journey, titled ‘Gogo’. She travelled to Paris to launch it, and will also go to New York to promote the movie.

Her grandson Protus Kemboi says he’s very proud of her.

“My grandmother is a true testimony that education has no limit, in such a way that she has made me further my education and I am so happy for her. She is really an icon, a motivational icon and a role model,” he says.

Priscilla has embraced every aspect of primary school, even physical education classes.

And says she does not intend to stop learning anytime soon.

“I used to work as a traditional midwife where I would help women undergoing birth complications that arose. I am now studying to become a doctor. I don’t think education has an age limit,” she says.

Priscilla says she wants to be an example for others – particularly young girls.

“Please help girls to get an education. All children should get an education without discrimination. I love going to school as it makes me stronger. I encourage the children to study,” she says.

Younger pupils appreciate having someone older – and perhaps a bit wiser – to spur them on.

“For me, I am always top of my class but when we did a zonal exam, she beat me and became at the top of the class. That’s when I knew that I must read hard so that ‘Gogo’ like that can’t pass me anymore,” says 12-year-old Melvin Misos.

One woman who’s proved it’s never too late to get an education.

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Written by PH

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