As I think back to my elementary school days, I remember one of the highlights was getting to be a safety in sixth grade. Considered the highest of honors among my peers, serving as a safety meant getting out of class a few minutes early at the end of the day so I could lead my fellow bus-mates to bus #42. I made sure everyone got on and off safely, and that everybody stayed in line and sat in the right row on the playground. I proudly wore my fluorescent yellow safety badge and took great pride in my near flawless track record.
Because of my fond memories of “safety days,” I was delighted to hear that the Kibera School for Girls recently introduced a program very similar to the one I experienced. Though the mark of distinction is different (they opted for the more subtle pin instead of overly-flashy yellow badges), Kibera’s new program is similar in that it fosters leadership and listening among its students. Each month, a third grade student is selected to serve as head girl and a second grade student serves as deputy head girl. Each month, a different girl from each class is picked to serve as class prefect. Together, these girls make sure their classmates follow school rules and encourage their peers to show kindness and respect to one another. At the end of the month, each head girl and deputy head girl delivers a speech to their classmates.
This post, and the next two posts I share, will feature a head girl, deputy head girl, and class prefect. For this feature’s debut, I’m happy to introduce Natasha, a third grader at Kibera whose favorite parts of the school day include “playing together, sharing ideas, and playing games.” She used her position to inspire respect, hard work, and love among teachers, classmates, and friends. After reading about Natasha’s experience as a head girl, share your support with her in the comments below!
Natasha shares, in her own words, her experience being head girl:
Can you tell us a little bit about your ‘typical day’ as head girl? What kind of responsibilities do you have?
When the girls have gone to play, I make sure that they have not gone to the shops or removed their shoes, that they hear the bell when it rings, and that all the toys are in the box.
How do you work together with the deputy head girl and prefects?
We work together when I tell some of the prefects to group the classes and make sure that nobody makes noise, everyone listens, and all of the things that she has should be neat. Her room should be clean and she should have a handkerchief.
What’s your favorite part of the head girl job?
My favorite part is when I tell the girls to be neat because I’m sure that I’m neat and to come early and to do the right thing at the right place and at the right time.
What is the hardest part about being head girl job?
When you tell the small girls something and they can’t hear. The girls don’t know who I am when I tell them not to remove their shoes. Sometimes I tell them to go and lay down and they don’t so they go to their teacher and they tell them. Now they know I’m the head girl and that they should do the right thing at the right time.
If you had to give a piece of advice to next month’s head girl, what would you tell them?
Work hard and you should work as a team together with the deputy and you should respect them and show them the right place at the right time and you should make them come to school early and be obedient.
How did it make you feel to be selected head girl?
I didn’t know I was so surprised! I was worried and I didn’t know and when I remembered I went to look after the girls.
What did/will you tell your classmates during your speech?
I tell them you should respect teachers, your classmates, and you should show to your friend love. You should make sure you come to school early and clean.
What did you learn about the school when you were prefect that you didn’t know before?
I’ve learned that when you come to school, there are some people who are neat and respect their teachers, follow instructions, and respect their classmates. I learned on my first day how I was proud, I looked at the girls and was proud to be the head girl.
What makes you most proud of your school?
They are girls, they show respect, and they play together as a school. They show teachers respect and obedience. If I give them the ball they know how to return it where I found it. I like how we have a playground and a clinic – how if we are sick we go there. I like how the visitors come and how our teachers handle our problems if we have them and how they teach us.
On top of being head girl, you have lots of classes to take too! What’s your favorite part of the school day?
Playing together, sharing ideas, playing games.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Stay tuned for our next interview with second grade deputy head girl, Christian!