St Francis Girls: Dorcas Rigathi's school where boyfriends were banned

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St Francis Girls High School (Mang’u) in Mangu Location, near Thika Town,  Gatundu North Constituency started off as a girls boarding primary school in 1944.

In 1964, the primary school was changed into a Harambee secondary school by the Franciscan Sisters who were the founders. This followed a high demand for a girl’s secondary school in the area. The school currently has a student enrollment of about 500 students and 70 teaching staff.

In 1965, the school received its first support from the Government in aid of that year’s Form One class. From then on, it continued to receive government grants regularly like other public schools until 1987 when it stopped. The financial obligations that used to be taken care of by the Government were now relegated to parents who are required to do so until now.

Over the years, the school has strived to live through its mission – to empower the girl-child into an active, productive participant in the family, state, church, and the whole of human society.

It has continued to record a stellar performance in national examinations and as such, it’s among the best-ranked schools in the county and nationally. It is worth noting that during the last KCSE results, St Francis Mangu girls had more than 80 percent of its KCSE candidates attain a minimum required grade for public University admission with full government sponsorship.

The girl's school has also been leading national mathematics contests sponsored by Strathmore University and Brookside Company. The contests that are regularly themed “Math’s Demystified” are regularly organized with the purpose of improving the education standards in various counties. Other counties that take part in the same include Kilifi, Kwale, and Mombasa.

At St Francis, the management has strived to keep a high level of discipline throughout the years. The girls are strictly guarded and any man coming to visit them whether on Visiting Day or regular days is thoroughly interrogated to ensure they are the right people to visit. The girls were not allowed to have boyfriends and if any visitor happened to be one disguised as a relative, it could lead to a police case and the girl could be suspended as well.

Former students still remember Teacher Claus, a German, since he was the only white teacher in the school. However, he was not only lively but also friendly and social to the girls.

Former alumni, led by the motto “Toil for Sound Character and Knowledge” include Dorcas Rigathi, wife of Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, Nancy Wanjiru, a lab technologist at Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri), Nyokabi Gitau, an accountant based in Nairobi, Beatrice Kingala, a secondary school teacher, and Ray Mumbi, a Nairobi based medical doctor.

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