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Good Start, Great News

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Hello again! I made it to Ndola! (I can’t say the same for one of my suitcases though…here’s hoping it shows up soon!) I have been in Ndola for almost a full day now, and it has already been a busy and productive time. After getting settled in last night at the home of the Mulandos, my host family, we had a wonderful dinner, and I got to catch up with the family on how they’ve been since my last trip in July.
After a good night of mosquito net protected sleep, I got up early this morning to prepare for the day, which started with a meeting with the headteacher of Hope Community School, Teacher Ng’oma, as well as a couple of the new teachers, Teachers Janet and Silvia. We discussed the enrollment and attendance record-keeping processes, and I was excited to see how ready they are for the new year. I’ll be spending some time over the next week or so helping to ensure that the first couple weeks of school (when enrollment/registration occurs) go smoothly, but the staff here seem to have a great handle on it already. That should free up some time for my next exciting task: accounting processes!
I visited the school briefly to review some of the enrollment and attendance records from this past school year and got to say hello to most of the teachers, who were waiting to meet about the new school year and the North Park students’ trip. It’s always so great to see the staff here again after a few months apart. Just their warmth and happiness at seeing you again make the four flights worthwhile!
When I arrived at the school, there was a group of children waiting outside the headteacher’s office for their Grade 7 exam results. In Zambia, to qualify for Grade 8, which is the beginning of secondary school (like high school), you have to pass a government exam. An official happened to show up while we were at the school to deliver the results, and I am thrilled to announce here that 20 of the 21 Grade 7 students at Hope Community School who took the exam passed!* That’s a 95% pass rate, and a rate almost unheard of at community schools! A big congratulations to the Hope students and staff…their ability to overcome the odds is truly incredible. I hope the following pictures show you a little bit of the sheer, complete joy these students seemed to have at hearing that they would get to graduate to Grade 8.

 The staff have been very busy today (and I’m sure for the last few weeks) preparing for the North Park students, who arrived about an hour ago. I’m looking forward to meeting them myself and sharing great memories with them over the next couple weeks!

* There was a correction to this blog post. It originally indicated that 25 of the 26 students who took the Grade 7 exam passed. In fact 21 students took the exam and 20 passed, giving a 95% pass rate. Yay!

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