Student Spotlight: Villitracia

“Hi! I hope you are fine. For me, I am very fine here in school and everything is well.”

Villitracia (Viliy) has a larger than life personality, with her smiles and laughs outsizing her small statute. She works hard in school, performing best in computer class, Christian religious studies, business studies, and Chemistry. She has a great ability for public speaking and enjoys school drama and poetry recital competition, and is active in student government. A younger brother and sister live with her mom and dad not far from Christ the King secondary school. She is very happy to be attending secondary school and fills every letter with thanks and blessings for her sponsors.

After the disputed 2007 election in Kenya, waves of rioting and violence tore across the country, eventually killing over 1000 people and causing hundreds of thousands of people to leave their homes. Nine-year-old Villitracia and her family were among the thousands of displaced people who flooded into the town of Nakuru from the surrounding areas, seeking safety in the city. They found a small home and her mother and father built a new life. Vilitracia attended St. Paul’s Primary School, an hour’s walk away, but where she thrived as a student. Her father began working as a casual laborer, which he continues to do today. Villitracia describes both her mother and father as hardworking, determined and friendly people who are her role models.

Despite the violence that impacted her young life, Vilitracia is an incredibly friendly and outgoing young woman. For example, in her final year at St. Paul’s Primary School, she alone in her eighth grade class had introduced herself to the new American volunteer teacher while her classmates avoided eye contact. Her letters to World Scholarship Initiative are long and full of stories. She has a powerful gift for public speaking and can hold the attention of a room while teaching or telling a story. At the same time, she is infused with infectious energy that surrounds her with laughter, either hers or others. She tells a story from her first months at Christ the King of another student asking if anyone knew what a “pipette” was. Vilitraica responded that perhaps it was pet dog named Pi, at which time, she writes, her audience “burst into laughs and even dropped tears from their eyes.” (In fact, a pipette is a piece of laboratory equipment similar to an eye-dropper.)

Like the majority of Kenyans, Villitracia is Christian. Religion is important in her life. Christian Religious Education (CRE) is a mandatory class in primary and secondary school, in which Vilitracia often captures the attention of her classmates when giving the student sermon. CRE is Villitracia’s favorite class at Christ the King; she described her teacher as so talented that “at the end of class everything is flowing in your mind.” In a letter, Villitracia told us that she recognized her first-term grade in CRE – 78th percentile – need improvement. Sure enough, a year later, she was ranked first out of 105 students. Vilitracia showed her developing aptitude for leadership when she was elected to serve on the student government’s “Executive Committee” as Liturgy Executive, representing students in church issues. (The school is located on the grounds of the largest Catholic church in Nakuru.) Faith gives her confidence to persevere in the face of challenges. She writes, “by the power of God I know he has a great plan for me.”

WSI sponsored Villitracia because she excelled in primary school. She has validated our decision by succeeding admirably at Christ the King. Coming from a very poor background, Viliy faced a difficult transition to the relatively posh environment of the boarding school. She told us that she was initially nervous, but soon realized that “boarding life is so cool.” When the first grades were released, however, she recognized that she needed to improve in some classes. Unfortunately, during the rainy season she became sick with pneumonia and spent time at the hospital, which sidetracked her schoolwork. Her grades did not improve during the first year, remaining around the 75th percentile. She identified her most challenging subjects and wrote, “but I promise that next year please God they won’t be challenging any more.” She was good on her word and the next term her performance jumped, she was ranked the best student in CRE and Computer Studies and 92nd percentile overall. She wrote, “I topped [ranked] 10 over 109 students but it wasn’t satisfactory to me. I hope next time I will even go higher than that.” Villitracia has a reason to keep pushing herself to excel: her big goal for the future is to be a cardiologist. This is an ambitious goal and she knows it, but given her track record of success, we’re excited to watch her performance.

“Thank you all of you who are sponsoring me, for your kind hearts because you have helped with open hands. May you continue being blessed by God and may his blessings be with you wherever you go. I love you all”

For more information on Villitracia, see her profile on the Awarded students page.

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