St Mary’s Girls Secondary Secondary School
St Mary’s Karonga Girls Secondary School is a catholic grant aided secondary school under the proprietorship of the Catholic Diocese of Karonga. It is located in the northern part of Malawi in Karonga district. The school lies at Latitude S 10⁰ 1′ 10″ longitude E33⁰ 55′ 57″ and is at altitude 515.5 m. St Mary’s Karonga Girls Secondary School opened its doors on 12th September, 2016 and was officially opened by His Lordship Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka, the Bishop of the Diocese of Karonga on 30th November, 2016.
It is a three stream secondary school (three classes per form) with the capacity of 600 students. It is the biggest girls’ national secondary school in Malawi in terms of capacity. Being assisted by the government and owned by the Church, the school receives 90 students from the government and 60 from the church. This translates into 60% and 40% respectively. In both cases, students are selected on merit. Currently, the school has 290 students. In the 2016/17 academic year the school registered 140 students while 2017/18 academic year the school registered 150 students hence the total of 290 students.
St Mary’s Karonga Girl’s Secondary School was born out of an idea conceived by the Bishop of Karonga Diocese, Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka to build a girl’s secondary school in the diocese. His line of thought was in tandem with that of parishioners of St Mary’s Parish who were dreaming of constructing a girl’s secondary school in the parish but had no funds. On a separate note, Sr. Beatrice Chipeta, of the Sisters of the Holy Rosary shared with a friend in the United States of America about the need for a girl’s secondary school in the parish. Out of these joint efforts, funds were realised through Br Peter Daino and Don Neureuther to construct the school in question. The two belong to TeamLift, an organization based in the United States of America, founded to help in development projects in Africa.
Ground breaking ceremony to commission construction of the school was done by His Lordship Bishop Martin Mtumbuka on 16th November, 2013, construction started in the same year. The first joint meeting involving the Proprietor (Diocese), Partners (TeamLift), Project Manager (Brother Peter Daino) and the contractor was Held on 4th January 2014 thereafter intensive construction began.
The magnificent St Mary’s Secondary school has 12 classrooms, an administration block, two science laboratories, a multipurpose hall and a kitchen and a library block. There are 16 houses for teachers and 10 for technical staff. There are six dormitories of which five are named after female saints; St Mary’s, St Anne’s, St Tereza, St Adele and St Bakhita. The sixth is named after Sister Beatrice Chipeta the humble charity worker in the Diocese of Karonga who indirectly contributed to the existence of the school. In general terms, the school has almost all the required infrastructure except Home economics and computer laboratories.
The school is run by management team which comprises the Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher, three heads of department (from Language, Science and Humanities and Marianist sisters considering that it is a Marianist school. The school is blessed with four Marianist sisters namely; Sisters Amelie Alawi and Chantal Ateyo from Togo and Sisters Chamelie Tiru and Reena Kerketta from India. These sisters help in academics and spiritual matters.
Students also help management in running the school through the body of prefects. The prefecture is elected by the students themselves through voting. The body of prefects acts as a bridge between management and the entire body of students.
All activities in the school are geared towards the school motto ‘Ad Dei Gloriam’ a Latin expression which means ‘For the glory of God’. This motto is Jesuit in nature emphasizing in giving God the very best. Management is striving towards achieving the best in all activities in school.