WOW, it seems impossible to believe, but Clay’s 14th year has just come to an end. Who knew back in 2004 we would someday say congratulations to our 300th graduate and our 10th graduating class? In November of this year, however, both things came true. We have now supported 450+ young people on their educational journey. In this work, each of you has personally impacted all of Clay’s students. If we were all together our students, Alumni and their families would give you a cheer, a clap, or a heartfelt ASANTE SANA – THANK YOU!
The Classroom and beyond: Our teachers enjoyed the benefits of training workshops in March which enhanced the classroom experience for both students and faculty. Once again, select students represented Clay in the Kenyan Math Olympiad with our 10 students finishing in the top 20 and two of our girls finishing as the two top Girls. For the third year in a row, Clay students made it to the national finals in the Kenya music competitions where they finished 3rd in every category! These achievements and high rankings reaffirm our reputation for excellence. Meanwhile, Bryant Engebretson, and his son, Brandon, from Bellingham, WA generously donated iPads to all the teachers to help them integrate more technology into the general curriculum. In addition, they brought robotic lego kits to Clay for our students to assemble as an add-on to their IT studies and to launch our new Makerspace initiatives. Last, and hardly least were the 3 students, Naomi, Mercy and Dominic, and their teacher, Mephine, who attended a summer program at Harvard University here in Cambridge, MA last July for 2 weeks. With this transformational experience, they brought back new newly acquired knowledge to share with their peers, paying it forward. Thanks to Harvard for their generous scholarships and all to the donors who helped fund the trip. Watch for Harvard 2019 news too!
On the Athletic Fields: Clay students play as hard as they work and this year for the first time our girls’ basketball team made it to the all-State Semi-Finals finishing 3rd in the state out of 360 Secondary Schools! Girls’ soccer made it up the ranks to the divisional level, and boys’ basketball and soccer teams made it to the regional levels.
Agricultural Progress: The Clay campus includes a “shamba” or farm which serves as a laboratory for the agricultural and business curricula and it provides food for the school – when the climate allows. This year for the first time the Form 3’s, with help from a new irrigation drip system, ran a vegetable garden which produced watermelon, tomatoes, kale and spinach. This bounty was consumed and enjoyed by the whole school for most of the year as a supplement to their usual diet of beans, rice and corn. The chicken farm or “kuku” enterprise, (in Swahili) was managed this year for the first time by the Form 1’s or incoming freshman class. These students manage the farm and run the business – either selling eggs or selling the chickens, and profits are held for them until they graduate. Both initiatives fall outside the ordinary Kenyan curriculum, but are part of Clay’s agenda to reinforce self-confidence, teamwork, financial literacy and problem-solving. These are skills our students, who come from impoverished backgrounds, will likely need as young adults yet are not taught in their textbooks. As for the campus grounds, when you visit, and we hope you do, you will find an oasis amid a desert biome with thousands of trees providing shade and greenery. Thanks to the Clay parents for their labor, we have 80+ new mango trees and 50 pawpaw trees added to the orchards, plus hundreds more new shade trees from the Kenyan Forestry Service.
Please visit our new peikenya.org website!
We are also excited to let you in on a very special secret. When the students return for the start of the school year in January, there is going to be a big, brand new, yellow, 39 passenger mystery object on wheels that will roll through the school gate to surprise the daylights out of the students. They will jump for joy when they see the big letters emblazoned on the sides reading, “CLAY INTERNATIONAL SECONDARY SCHOOL”. More on this later but DON’T SAY A WORD.
Holiday Best Wishes and Giving: Your support underlies the success of each of Clay’s 130 students. Every year Clay’s operating expense increase because we add new programs, raise salaries for teachers and staff and repair a more and more complex campus. Still our students pay no fees and 100% of all donations go to the school. In this season of giving we are grateful to those of you who have chosen to give to Clay among all the other meaningful causes that ask. With your generous support, the lives of our students will continue to be enriched for yet another school year. Thank you! Please consider supporting Clay so that we may embark on our 15th school year, together. Our students often tell us how thankful they are for the help and encouragement you give them, and we wish to convey to you their deepest gratitude, along with ours. And from all of us in the Clay family, we hope you have a joyful, warm, and bountiful holiday season.
The Board of Trustees, Project Education Kenya
Bob Wax, Chair, Andrea Clay, Jim Clay, Daryl Campbell, Nicole Dembinski, Peter Donovan, Sarah Lee, Anna-Marie Nicolae, Magdalene Wambua, Bonnie Wax