Most students think that graduation day is their day; the fruitful culmination of several months or years of study. In reality graduation is for the parents and guardians whose hopes and dreams are carried by their children. Graduation is the proof that their emotional and financial investment in their children's education has not been in vain. It's no surprise that "parents" always outnumber the graduands by 5 to 1 at any graduation ceremony.
Yesterday was a special day for me as I attended such a graduation. But I was not the one graduating, and nope, there is no Harry Jnr yet. Yesterday I was privileged to be the chief guest at Mwangaza College in Nakuru on the occasion of their 13th graduation ceremony.
I was invited to the graduation by Br. Brendan Foley, the current administrator of the college and my former high school headmaster. As chief guest I had to give an inspiring speech to the graduands.
I was invited six weeks in advance so I had enough time to prepare the speech; but the truth is an entreprenuer's mind is a fickle one, and mine more than most. Plus you add my self-confessed LMS nature and you should be able to vividly picture me mentally fine tuning my speech half an hour before I was set to speak.
Prepared speeches have never been my thing anyway and I love to speak without reference notes as it gives me the flexibility to change the speech to fit the mood. The other speakers were Bishop Peter Kairu of the Nakuru Diocese and Br. Brendan who both gave stirring motivational speeches so I decided to tell my story hoping that it would inspire the graduands.
The interesting thing was that as I told my story I also learnt something. In high school I was always up to no good fuelled by my highly profitable contraband foodstuffs business (I told you I'm an entreprenuer!) Eventually things got so bad that I quit the school and was faced with my first true 'adult' decision; to be or not to be? Up to that time in my life I never really had to face the long-term consequences of any decision I made. This time it was different - the choice I made would live with me forever and I would bear the failure or enjoy the success that followed. Eventually I did make that choice and I realise now that that is also the point I can say grew up.
The graduation was finished off by a fashion show from the fashion and design department. Nothing like young girls strutting their stuff to get the crowds swelling. Br. Brendan had told me the fashion show was the most popular part of the ceremony. I believed him; men, women and children were engrossed and entertained for close to two hours as design after design was catwalked on stage. As soon as the show ended the crowd practically vanished into thin air giving testimony to the fashion show's popularity.
As I drove back to the Nairobi I felt quite pleased with the day. Here's congratulating all Mwangaza graduands and hope I made entreprenuers out of some of you.