Mass, mental health and masonry: the Jesuit school offering pupils a complete experience  

Pupils taking part in a community clean-up event

A Jesuit school in South Sudan is teaching its students that a well-rounded educational experience is the gateway to a positive, hopeful future.

The staff at Loyola Secondary School in Wau have spoken of the need to offer pupils an insight into all aspects of life to prepare them for what lies ahead.

To achieve this, alongside a traditional curriculum, students take vocational classes in everything from graphic design to masonry, as well as learning about societal issues such as mental health, the environment and gender-based violence.

Scholastic and science teacher Irving Walinge, who is doing his regency at the school, said: “It is a very dynamic, lively place, where the students are really ready to learn.

“They appreciate our presence here; we give them a lot of hope, and I wish that all [young people] in the state would come and study here.

“We don’t only teach basic subjects, we give them skills in life so that, when they leave school, they can find jobs. It’s a wonderful thing to be a part of.”

Loyola pupils sitting an exam

The school, which is supported by Jesuit Missions, has maintained a strong Jesuit ethos since it opened in 1984, with ‘excellence, service and justice’ among its key principles.

It holds a weekly mass, and regularly receives visitors from Jesuits working in the East Africa Province.

Loyola also offers a number of short-form courses, for example in Philosophy, with specialisms in areas such as Pan-Africanism and Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, that members of the local community can enrol in.

Several pupils have already gone on to find success following their time at the school.

Muna Albashar, for instance, has ambitions of opening her own tailoring shop in Wau, thanks to the skills she developed at Loyola.

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