Over two decades ago, Dominic Muasya aka Dom, would walk almost 9 km from his home in Huruma Estate to Aquinas High School in Nairobi, where he graduated in 1994, to save money to buy doughnuts he would savour at break time in school.
“ ‘Mercury’, a nearby eatery served the best madondo (beans stew) with the biggest mandazi in town,” Dom recalls.
Dom has nothing but good things to say about his alma mater he fondly refers to by the moniker AQ. He credits his teachers, Chuiji, Boiro, Mrs Murunga and Mrs Mang’atu for working tirelessly to ensure he succeeds.
Dom is the CEO and co-founder of the Kenya Education Fund, an organisation which provides education scholarships to needy children. Dom credits his leadership skills to his High School experience as the chair of the school Wildlife Club.
“We joined AQ as boys and left as young men. We learned a lot of life skills that prepared us to be independent,” Dom states.
That experience is what drives Dom now as he gives back to his alma mater. He serves as the AQ Alumni Association President, a position he was elected in to in 2019. Dom is extremely keen on mentorship.
“I see myself in the current boys and remember the big brother I did not have while at AQ. I want to be their big brother and walk with them,” Dom points out.
Under Dom’s leadership, the AQ Alumni Association has made tremendous gains. They have refurbished sanitary facilities in all the school hostels, they have started a Career Day at the school which is now an annual event. They have held lunches with form four students providing mentorship and talks to prepare the students for the next phase of their lives on graduation from High School. The alumni have also set up a scholarship program with seven students now receiving full scholarships for their high school education.
But even as the AQ alumni work relentlessly to support the next generation they have also established a support program for alumni with a last expense insurance cover for registered members in the alumni association.
But it always hasn’t been easy, “schools have a lot of expectations, especially financial. Members have many and different interests too. It takes effort and wisdom to align efforts towards a common goal,” Dom explains.
But despite all of this, Dom is a strong believer in alumni giving at alma maters. He believes that it is mutually beneficial and rewarding to give back.
“There’s a feeling of inspiration when the boys look at you as the ‘guys who succeeded from here’. They feel that they can too. This also leaves you feeling good.”
Dom also points out it is a great opportunity to reconnect with former classmates to reminisce. Some AQ alumni schedule monthly lunches to catch up and also provide more constructive support to each other.
Dom is extremely optimistic about the future of the AQ Alumni Association; he believes that it will become a model for other alumni association, and draw in more alumni to engage with their alma mater and build a strong support system for alumni.
To those unsure of engaging in support of their alma maters, Dom offers this advice.
“High school has a huge effect on who we become, it shapes us. We lose nothing by being part of our alma mater. We don’t have to give back the same way but we all have something to give. It could be advice, ideas, cash, or even time. You can also go back to reconnect with that high school buddy from 20 years ago and laugh like time hasn’t passed.”