Herewith a nice report from Mrs Allen about the Graduation Ceremony held for our adult students on September 7th, which occasion was also used to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Centre.
The 30th Graduation Ceremony held on 7th September 2001 was a very happy and colourful occasion. There were 70 graduates: 15 from the Home Economics Department, 12 from the Agriculture General Department, 26 from the Agriculture Settlement Department and 17 from the Electronics Department.
Towards the middle of the year the students decided to organise graduation gowns. The Executive Committee members suggested that the graduation gowns be introduced next year since there was very little time to organise the sewing of the gowns. They were adamant. A committee of three lecturers and two representatives from the Home Economics, Agriculture General and Settlement was formed. The result was that all graduating students had gowns — different, of course, according to the groups. The Home Economics students had black skirts, green blouses and black shawls. The settlement students wore chitenge costumes and the agriculture and electronics students had the gown, hood and cap.
The organising committee requested that the ceremony be held outside in the quadrangle. I pointed out that it is usually hot by 11.00 hrs. ” No problem,” came the reply. “One female student is married to an army officer and he will provide three large tents.” Free of charge, transport and workers provided! If MEC management had tried to organise the tents I am certain that we would not have managed. I asked whether maintenance workers should assist in carrying the chairs from the Commonwealth Hall. That was not necessary either. I thought to myself tomorrow will be a disaster. The tents were erected the day before; that is 6th September. On the 7th September, the male students arranged the chairs and tables, the female students arranged the flowers (roses bought by the organising committee!) In no time the place was transformed.
The guest of honour, Dr Nkanza, Director General of the Technical Education Vocational Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA) arrived shortly before 10.00hrs accompanied by the Director Finance and Administration, Mr Nataraaj. At 10.15 hrs the ceremony started. All the graduating students were crowded in the Grade 3 and 4 classroom opposite the open space. When the music started, they came out dancing led by one lecturer. It was a beautiful sight. Since this was a surprise we did not organise a video. Friends and relatives were invited to the ceremony. Marketeers opposite the centre and passers-by came to see what the loud music was all about. There was a large crowd. Speeches were made and certificates and diplomas were presented.
It turned out that the reason why the graduation ceremony was held outside was that the Commonwealth Hall had been prepared for an end of the year party. After the graduation ceremony, parents, friends, relatives, invited guests and members of MEC staff were invited to the party. I was not told how much each student contributed, but there was plenty of food and soft drinks. The leftovers were taken to the orphanage.
It turned out to be a very pleasant 30th Anniversary celebration, all organised by the students and members of staff from the Adult Education department.. MEC did not spend a single ngwee towards it. I think this was a wonderful gift from the students and staff, thanking MEC for the thirty years of its existence. Unfortunately Fr Dil and Mrs Dil arrived the day after. The tents had been removed and all the excitement had died down. We had nothing to show for it except a few photographs of the event!