Sylvia and Josiane
Sylvia and Josiane are finishing their S5 (junior) year this spring and recently were elected Head Girl and Deputy Head Girl at Gashora Girls Academy for the 2021-2022 school year. We are thrilled to share their thoughts about their new role, what quality education means to them, and how they have changed since their first days at Gashora Girls Academy.
Please introduce yourself.
Sylvia: My name is Sylvia Agatako, I take Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science.
Josiane: My name is Josiane Uwumukiza. I am currently finishing my junior year, studying Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics.
You both are celebrating campaign wins for student government. Tell us what roles you won and what your responsibilities will be?
Sylvia: I am privileged and delighted to have won the role of Head Girl at Gashora Girls Academy. My responsibilities are overseeing the activities in the school, and collaborating with my colleagues in charge of other departments to develop our community. I also advocate for students' requests. All in all, I bridge the administration and the student body.
Josiane: I won the position of Deputy Head Girl, serving as part of the student’s government. Some of the roles I will play are enhancing a cooperation between students and the administration for better decision making, as well as bringing creative ideas forward in order to make Gashora better, thus influencing young leaders filled with confidence and a love for learning.
What made you want to run for student government?
Sylvia: I ran for student government as I had a desire to give back to the community. I wanted to serve the school, running for the Head Girl role was the ultimate opportunity. I also had great support from my friends and family every step of the way, and they helped me believe in myself.
Josiane: One of the major reasons was the influence I got from a philosophy lecturer I met during Yale Young Global Scholars who taught me that not all choices in life are easy to make, sometimes we must make sacrifices.
What do you believe quality education is and why is it important?
Sylvia: I believe quality education is gaining knowledge and understanding. However, it is more than merely being an audience of the teacher, it is analyzing the content provided and sifting what is right and important, then moving on to look for more content to feed your mind. For the most part, it is putting to use what you have learned, to create solutions in the outside world.
Josiane: Quality education is one that educates the whole person for a transformed future and the betterment of the society. I believe we have different tastes and abilities and there are some essential skills one must have to succeed in this world and impact the community, for example, well-developed cognitive skills. We would be doing nothing if we only teach a child relativity in physics without telling her that it is why people have different viewpoints in life and this does not mean that they are wrong. One might be very bright, but quality education is responsible for her success.
How have you changed since coming to Gashora?
Sylvia: Honestly, a lot about me has changed over the past three years! Most importantly, I have learned to learn. To learn from every person in our Gashora community. I have learned that sometimes, even the smallest gestures are significant to other people depending on what they consider of importance. I have also learned that sometimes we speak and influence, but the loudest speech is walking the talk and taking initiative, knowing that no one else must do it but me. Lastly, but certainly not the least, I have learned to divide my attention to all the school activities, my academics, and still come back to my social life.
Josiane: “In Gashora, whether you want to or not you grow.” This statement was said by the former Head Girl when we were new students and I have witnessed it come true. Gashora is a place that made me realize that there was more to myself that I never knew about. It helped me view myself beyond my expectations, with shifting my thinking topics from I must get good grades, to what else can I do to plan for my future ahead? I have learned how to get out of my comfort zone.
Tell us about the clubs or sports you are involved in at Gashora? How have they helped form who you are?
Sylvia: I am involved in Poetry Lab; The first time I joined the club, I was unaware of my ability to compose or recite a poem! I was surprised that my colleagues trusted in my friend’s and I to represent the school in a poetry competition where we emerged third. Poetry lab helped instill in me confidence and helped me find my voice.
I am also a member of the basketball team. Basketball has taught me to value teamwork because without it, there is no way your team will play the game. Besides, even when you lose or win, you do it as a team. I have also learnt to persevere through the many practices and running rounds.
Third, I am involved in the Media Club, which is in charge of telling the Gashora stories, through blogs, pictures and videos. The club has taught me to be responsible and to be the voice of the Gashora girls. I have learnt to be creative and create aesthetic work.
Josiane: I am the head designer in Arts Revolutionary, head of the designing department in Kaza Fashion Agency, a member of Poetry Club, and president of the Music Club. All of these have taught me critical thinking and how to be innovative. They have helped me to improve my writing and speaking skills which aided me through the contesting process of being a Deputy Head Girl.
What will you miss most about Gashora after graduation?
Sylvia: What I will miss most about Gashora after graduation is how whenever there is an event, students dress up and show up for their sisters cheering them on. I will miss the sisterhood and supportive community of friends.
Josiane: I will miss the student-teachers bond: the football matches, basketball, and singing for birthday girls, among others.
What do you hope for the future?
Sylvia: I hope for success, happiness, health and prosperity for my family, friends, school and myself. I hope the future will be better than now.
What or who inspires/motivates you?
Josiane: I am inspired by my sister who was born in 1995 directly after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. She always tells me that no matter where you come from you can achieve something great. There is a quote that says, “how much knowledge you can get depends on your willingness to learn.” Whenever I feel pessimistic, I tell myself that there is no other way I will be open to the world of challenges except through accepting to learn new things.
What is one word that describes you?
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