St. Mary's School Yala
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The school was founded in 1927 by the Mill Hill missionaries notably Msgr. Brandsma who wanted to start a teachers college for catholic schools. Yala School was opened in 1927 making it one of the oldest schools in Kenya.
The school eventually evolved to become a full primary school and junior secondary school that expanded to become the current St. Mary’s Yala. 700-730 students attend the school each year and it has a teaching staff of 40.
The school offers various sporting disciplines, which include rugby, athletics, soccer, basketball, handball, indoor-games, volleyball, badminton and hockey. The rugby team won the national secondary school rugby championship in 2003.
The school was headed by a Mr.Agoya up to 1989 when Mr.John Were took over up to 1998 when he retired. Marcellous K’ojwang joined as the Principal until 2005 when Mr. John Awiti replaced him in that capacity .Mr Awiti brings on board a wealth of experience from St. Joseph Rapogi in Migori District. Mrs. Rosemary Abuodha Omogo (Deputy Principal) deputized him till 2006 when Mr. Sammy Onyango took over as deputy Prinripal, Mrs Rosemary was promoted to the position of principal head on a different school. Mr Sammy Onyango too has been promoted to Kilgoris Boys High school as the new Principal and his place taken by Mr. Peter Auma with effect from May 2010.
Since the arrival of the new principal Mr. John Awiti, the school has undertaken several projects and the school has been given a complete facelift. The days when boys waded in muddy red soil to and from their dormitories are long gone. Slabs have been laid on all the pavements connecting classes, labs and dormitories. Beautiful landscaping has been done at the assembly area. Other projects accomplished include Purchase of a new school bus, departmental offices, the water project, a sick bay for the students and a laboratory named Yoba House, renovation of all the dormitories and renovation of staff houses . Current on-going projects include Construction of a new dormitory with a capacity of 900 students. The school has been upgraded to a five stream school with 880 students. The school is equipped with a library, which offers a range of reference books, periodicals and university prospectuses. With the growing number of students, the library will be needing expansion to cater for the students as well as offer a wider range of reading material.
The school has 16 classrooms, 13 dormitories, administrative offices and research labs. A private guidance and counseling office is also available as well as computer lab.
Kenyan politician Tom Mboya and Former Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs, Richard Onyonka attended the school. Several Academicians have attended the school as well, most notably Prof. John Odhiambo and Prof V. Onyango, both of Strathmore, and Dr.Charles Olunga of UON. Other notable in cutting edge scientific research include Dr. Dennis Ndolo (ICGED), Dr. Spala Ohaga (Kisumu), Dr. Bonaventure Aman and Dr. Steve Ger (ICIPE). Judges and prominent lawyers also went through this school, most notably the late J.O Masime, Lawyer Kopot,and Justice Emmanuel O'kubasu, Prominent Kenyans and government officials, including former PC Paul Olando,Stanslas Oduor, Former PS Youth Ministry in the government of Kenya, James Waweru, PS ministry of Industrialization, and Prof. John Lonyangapuo.
Others include Jack Onyando, a Health Systems Specialist in Uganda and David Odongo, a senior journalist with The Standard Media Group.