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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Valedictorian speech by Kate Kiama- 25th October 2013

Riara Law School

Good Afternoon ladies and gentlemen,

It is indeed a great privileged and honour to be appointed valedictorian of the first Pre-KSL class of 2013.

There is a story of a young, but earnest Zen student who approached his teacher, and asked the Master, “If I work very hard and diligently, how long will it take for me to find Zen? The Master thought about this, then replied, “Ten years . .” ?The student then said, “But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast — How long then?” “Well, twenty years.” Replied the Master. “But, if I really, really work at it, how long then?” asked the student. “Thirty years,” was the Master’s reply. “But, I do not understand,” said the disappointed student. “At each time that I say I will work harder, you say it will take me longer. Why do you say that?”?The Master’s reply is what am driving at-his response to his earnest Zen student was that  “When you have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path.”

This is the dilemma we all faced when we enrolled as students at Riara Law School. We were all so focused on one goal-to get admitted to the Kenya School of Law. In this way we quite frankly we were only interested in doing whatever it takes in the shortest time possible to achieve our original objective. And here we are today…

As a class, we have definitely gone through more than we could have imagined possible in the last few months. Some more difficult to face than others. Yet we are seated here for a reason. We are here because we have all accomplished that original objective. But unlike the earnest Zen student, we soon discovered somewhere along the way that there is more to life than that one goal and more often not we have to have the  focus of  both of our eyes to achieve our goals.

So other than getting a step closer to finally undertake the Advocates training Program, our stay at Riara Law School has taught us valuable lessons which we are already using and will be for a long time. All of us can easily put Constitutional Experts to shame with our comprehensive, analytical and in-depth knowledge of Constitutional Law thanks to Mr.Kibet. Dr.Jackline Nyaga not only managed to teach us and remind us of Latin Maxims in Land Law, Company Law and Jurisprudence but was also able to really indoctrinate in us the importance of critical thinking not only for academic purposes but also for our general application in life as well. Ms Njogu’s meticulous eye for detail is a lesson we all learnt that makes the world of difference between being great and being exceptional; Mr. Wekesa reaffirmed that sometimes you will be required to step up your game for the greater good of others and you should do so with grace and equal zeal.

Every single student here has taught me something which I am taking away and I believe so are you. It is absolutely heartwarming to have gotten to know each one of you and it is quite a relief that even when we do get to KSL we have others to look up to, for support and encouragement and of course a good laugh to go the distance.

On behalf of all the Pre-KSL class of 2013, I’d like to sincerely thank all the lectures, staff and the entire Riara University fraternity for making our stay here as short as it was fruitful, eventful and purposeful. We’d sincerely like to acknowledge all the efforts by Ms Damaris and Professor Kangar’a who constantly sort better ways to make our stay here as comfortable and effective as achievable. I’d also like to thank all our parents, guardians, spouses and employers for bearing with us and accommodating us during the period we were here.

To all the Pre-KSL students, I wish each one of you happiness. It doesn't matter what your plans are, or what you consider to be "great things." Just remember that you can. You can try, you can fail, and you can try again. I have three last pieces of advice which I learnt from my father, a retired military man who is unfortunately is not with us today. - I have modified them to suite our purposes and they are self-explanatory. First to achieve your hearts desires, you must be disciplined. Secondly leave no lawyer behind and finally when the going gets tough, which it might sometimes, armor up.

Thank you for indulging me.


  1. Inspiring! Loved it, still do Kate.

  2. Hi, what a nice speech! Very well said. I am planning to do the pre-KSL program at Riara and would like to consider doing it alongside work. Are the classes daily?

    1. Hi Miss Wanza,many thanks for your kind words.Yes the classes run from Monday-Friday and depending on how many units you have to take you might have to be in class everyday through out the week.All the best and take care