Welcome Back School...
Elspeth Dugdale | January 31, 2016
Every time a team arrives at WTA, one of the key moments is a welcome by Charles, in which he talks about the history of the school and how they came to work with ServeDirect. And every single time, someone on the team says, 'I wish I had recorded it' or 'I wish I had written it down'.
And every term, Charles welcomes the new students and talks a little about the school, so that the new pupils understand what a unique place it is. The new school year will start later in February this year - there is a delay due to the Ugandan national elections on February 18th. Here is the (nearly) verbatim script of a recent talk from Charles to the school community.... wise words from the wise Director.
Welcome officially to all our new and old students - we have 200 new students. Congratulations on achieving another level of your education!
Remember that you are the reasons why all of us are here, therefore we have every reason to focus on your and matters pertaining to our welfare. We are inviting you to work together with these teachers to achieve the levels that you want. Everyone you see around here is part of this.
Why was it all started?
WTA was started in 2005 because there were groups of children who could not afford secondary school. Something had to be done due to insecurity which affected everyone in the camp. School was not there in the camp and we had to help a few. At the same time, children located in central Uganda were also in a needy situation, due to insecurity.
In 2006, we met Jerry, Phil, Dick, Simon and their team mates, they listened to our story and developed an interest to help us do a better job. The school was first located at Katikamu, but then the school was built here so that the students could have a better learning environment and to empower children to learn well.
In 2011 the school moved and the facilities improved with a laboratory, chemicals, equipment, libraries, a computer lab, classrooms, an exam hall for UNEB and dormitories. The numbers of students went up so high. The original plan to help the needy and then become sustainable. Now, not all of you are needy. Some of you are wealthy. Yet you have joined to help this school. If you help us to sustain WTA that is also OK - you are here because of the good facilities. I am very proud of you all. If you pay full fees you are part of us in the struggle. We will use your money to serve you and to help the needy to remain at this school. You are already working hard to sustain the school and helping someone somewhere. This is how the system works - we expect you to be happy and proud. We do not discriminate - we use one yardstick which is that everyone, every student should be treated the same and entitled to the same treatment.
How do we do this? We promote the same language, everyone wears the same uniform, eats the same food, sleeps in the same style bed, all students in dormitories - there is no difference. Who knows? You might find a needy student, blessed by an education in this school who as an OB or OG (Old Boy/Old Girl) who may well offer you a job!
This is how and why the school was started. You have chosen to come here because of the facilities, services and expertise.
For 9 months of the year you are here and you are only 'home' for 3 months a year. But this is what I saw recently: An S2 boy harassing a small girl. I reminded him that all must be comfortable in school. Do not cause trouble as we will not tolerate any student causing difficulty to others. Have you seen these tiny new boys and girls in S1 - they may well have performed better than you at PLE (Primary Leaving Exam) . Remember how you came here? Nobody harassed you - there must be no harassment or bullying.
And our school mission is 'to produce God fearing, resourceful and well balanced citizens. WTA is Christian based school - we do not discriminate and we welcome anyone - we expect you to follow, but no one has to convert - and it is important we observe an identity as a Christian community.
Certain programmes are mandatory and not optional - Sunday meetings - Sunday is our identity. If you are 'within' than we expect everyone to be here. No one should play with that - it is not optional, so be serious. That is our norm and our identity - we do not expect any resistance.
Here are our five main objectives -which are not just designs on the wall. This is what we want to do:
be a modern school in our uniqueness
be an outstanding academic institution
maintain an attractive professional and committed workforce
strengthen our co-curricular activities
produce citizens that support and tolerate each other
We are bringing you together here to show you that human beings, all Ugandans are all the same - all working together to achieve, using one official language which must be English.
Practise makes perfect- Why do we need to speak English?
1. All exams are in English - even the rubric of the Luganda exam so you can't misunderstand the instructions
2. Tomorrow you will apply for a job interview in English - don't be unfair to someone who has to force you to speak English. Be serious - and speak English.Can we speak one language together to unify us? Our tribal language together is English.
3. If outside the country, when you are lost you can speak English.
So, this is your home - is this how your house looks? Look at the dustbins - are you using them well? Is this your home? Look at this Main Hall? Do you think I can come here and sleep here? No! It is for you. So let there be no gambling, no bad language, no stealing. We must behave socially - and think - 'have I helped someone today?'
WTA opened on the new site exactly 5 years ago in 2011. This academic year is a new phase for the school.