STAR Leadership Academy Students Awarded Prestigious Harare International School Scholarships

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Three STAR Leadership Academy (SLA) students, Nicole Phiri, Nokutenda Dzobo and Simone Kamupinya, recently awarded full scholarships to attend the Harare International School (HIS) say the skills they gained at SLA will help them adapt to the new environment. 

HIS is a premier international school in Zimbabwe. It is the only institution offering the International Baccalaureate (IB) Curriculum in the country, with students from 42 countries. 

Annually, HIS awards four School Merit Scholarships to Zimbabwean students, three of which were claimed by SLA students this year. 

The three students who are part of the SLA 2023 Cohort said although they will be leaving before completing their one-year program, they will apply what they have learnt at the institution in their new adventure. 

According to Nokutenda Dzobo, her time at SLA has shown her that she can face any challenge. 

“SLA has taught us how to innovate, see a problem, come up with a solution and make it sustainable. I also learnt time management and how to stay on top of the situation when faced with tasks and pressure.  

“It is a competitive environment, which helps you to remain focused on what you came for and avoid being distracted,” she said. 

Dzobo added that relationship building and networking have been among the central concepts of what they have gained at SLA, and she will continue to nurture the friendships she has made at the institution. 

For Simone Kamupinya, the opportunity would not have materialised, had she not been part of SLA, an environment where dreamers are nurtured. 

“I found out about the scholarship before I came to SLA. When I saw that it had a lot of essays, I decided against applying.  

“They advertised the opportunity again after I had joined SLA, and I felt I was in a better position to apply,” she said. 

Daily after lessons, she would sit down to refine her essays and submitted on deadline day with the rest of the class who had shown interest. 

“I feel grateful that I managed to get the opportunity; however, this does not mean I am better than everyone else. There are brilliant minds here at SLA, and I keep learning a lot from my colleagues every day. 

“This is such a good environment to be in if you are ambitious,” said Kamupinya. 

Nicole Phiri was among the last to be admitted to SLA but had already started her lower six at Dominican Convent when the confirmation came. 

“I decided to come to SLA because I felt what I would gain would set me apart. I was right; I may have never gotten what we have gained at SLA in a conventional school setup. 

“Even this opportunity to go to HIS would have been difficult to pursue outside SLA,” she said. 

For the three, transitioning to HIS will be relatively easy as two SLA alumni are already learning there. 

Farai Mariga and Wellington Mapise were admitted on the same scholarship in 2022. 

SLA Onboarding Success Partner Mr Tigere Njawaya said the scholarships endorse the quality of students SLA produces. 

“Last year, HIS took two of our students under the same scholarship; this year, we have three. This is a vote of confidence to us as it shows that our students are blending well in the demanding environment,” he said. 

The criteria for HIS scholarship is academic excellence and a show of high problem-solving aptitude. 

“The scholarship is merit-based, open to students across Zimbabwe, and valued at US$65 000. This covers the course, IB1 and IB2, travels and SAT tests,” said Mr Njawaya. 

Outstanding students who leave SLA are admitted to schools that offer the International Baccalaureate curriculum, which trains students on critical thinking and problem-solving before onward admission at prestigious universities worldwide. 

For Phiri, Dzobo and Kamupinya, the rite of passage, which ordinarily comes after completing a full year at SLA, arrived early, and they say they are ready for the task.