[This counsel was given to the students of Highway Secondary School Kiganda by Emmanuel Kwizeera, a former student of Highway Secondary School. Having had his entire secondary school and high school education at the school, Emmanuel excelled in academics and currently works with the Government of Uganda. Emmanuel and other “old students” under their umbrella body, Highway Old Students’ Association (HOSA Kiganda) continue to influence the experience of students and staff of Highway Secondary School Kiganda].
I always wake up to the voices and echoes of dissatisfaction and complaints all over the air space, engaging in talks of how the system is unjust, rotten, with a lot of that anger in hearts of many, how I couldn’t be like this or that if it was not this or that. It leaves sober minds perplexed and wondering, and weaker minds in sympathy; bandwagoning the crew without being inquisitive of how, when and where it all started. Did I do my part? Do I have the moral authority to blame others for my failures or weaknesses, and mistakes I made because I was doing the opposite of what was expected of me? Even in the first world where talent is most respected, you need to do your part first, and identification of your uniqueness is based on the prowess of distinguishing and setting self apart from the many. In the most prestigious intelligence agencies of our time, they screen and only admit the giants. It’s the only giantism that can buy you a ticket to fly in space, its giantism that can make you rub shoulders with “royals” but it won’t happen if you have not done your part.
Doing my part or your part is the prerequisite, and the answer, to passing the vetting process of life, you might not have got that chance to go the first world school you can dream of, but it cannot make you fail to go to the most prestigious university in the country to quench your thirst of showing academic might. Maybe you are from a poor background, raised by a single mother – or worse still, without a parent -, walking journeys to have that education you now despise, sleeping on an empty stomach or finding it hard to get what to eat. We are all born and raised in circumstances we don’t have control over, but you competed and outmaneuvered the odds, came to the world; and it is you to determine your destiny not the circumstances of your past.
There are millions of prominent figures who have turned their experiences, which you call nightmares of your future, to become monuments of success. The story of Ben Carson in Gifted Hands: raised by a single mother doing odd jobs, but still not deterred from becoming a prominent neurosurgeon and a political figure. It is now a battle to free your mind from the captivity of your past, like the Highway Secondary School Kiganda motto: For a Bright Future. Start working on your part, read hard and smart, earn the best grades, be the most disciplined everyone talks about, focus and set off without looking back. Every journey starts with a single step. I can assure I will be a witness and others will testify.
No doubt, the law of natural selection will always apply, and it is a constant in life maneuvers. It is upon you not to let your dreams of being a lawyer, a doctor or a teacher you sang as a kid to extinct. It’s the time when, as a student, must work on the fundamental questions which are to affect life forever. It is time you should answer whether you will bandwagon, be a spectator or follow others to influence the direction society takes. It is time for a student that you to sober up and not to take the comfort zone to risk your future; to invest time to make you the best you can ever be. Time as a scarce resource must be utilized wisely. Learn from those who have made it, take counsel, sharing their experiences and have solace in those you share experiences with, and most importantly – IN GOD! When things go wrong or tough, as they sometimes will, so that that the road you are trudging seems all uphill, never dare quit. As Martin Luther King says, “if you can’t fly, then run; if you can’t run, then walk; if you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” That is the magic behind successful men and women of this world.
Thank you. God bless you! God bless Highway SS Kiganda!
For a Bright Future!