By Stephen Ssenkaaba
and Paul Kiwuuwa
ON a small plot atop Lubaga Hill 100 years ago, the Missionaries of Africa set up a small school where young Catholic men would be taught English, Arithmetic, Christian instruction, Luganda among others. The school of lower primary standard located on a 400 sq ft stretch where the Lubaga Cathedral offices now stand.
The Rt Rev Henry Streicher, offered the land for the construction of this school. As enrolment increased, the school was moved to a bigger location in Kisubi offered to the Brothers by Kabaka Mutesa I. St Maryâ€™s College Kisubi (SMACK) thus came into existence.
What started as a small school now stands tall among many secondary schools not only for academic excellence, but also for its ability to instil discipline, good morals and hard work among them.
Walk into St Maryâ€™s College Kisubi today and you would not know the school was built almost 100 years ago a healthy well-manicured compound with winding tarmac pavements lined with blue and white concrete buildings make the face of SMACK.
On August 13, St Maryâ€™s College Kisubi will officially celebrate 100 years of existence.
â€œIt is a celebration of 100 years of abundant harvest and excellence, a tribute to SMACK, its founders, former and current students, teachers and parents for the commitment and hard work dedicated to making the school a great success,â€ says Br Edward Bukenya, the headteacher.
To celebrate this occasion the school established in October 1997, â€œa decade of developmentâ€ a 10-year development programme meant to upgrade its facilities. Developments under the programme include: the establishment of a junior library, expansion of the HSC reading block, replacement of the old asbestos roofing on the school buildings with iron sheets, renovation of the school structures, construction of a computer laboratory with internet and construction of a modern swimming pool worth sh150m.
And as a centennial monument, a modern HSC dormitory worth sh1.2b is under construction.
The complex is expected to accommodate 320 students. Various events including charity walks, fundraising dinners, Music, Dance and Drama festivals have been held to raise funds for the centenary celebrations.
To these will be added a fundraising dinner and public lecture to be held July 20 at UMA show grounds in a run up to August 13.
Inspired by their motto â€œDuc in Ultum (launch into the deepâ€”literally) SMACK has always been driven by an undying desire to soar above the rest in the skies of lifeâ€™s challenges just like the eagle in the skies.
The school features among the best academically performing secondary school, especially in science subjects. It also performs well in other activities especially music and other co-curricular activities.
Such has been and still is the fire that keeps the school that produced Ugandaâ€™s Vice President Prof Gilbert Bukenya, second Deputy Prime Minister and minister of Public service, Henry Kajura, the Speaker of Parliament, Hon Edward Ssekandi, Dr Alex Cortinho, Director of The AIDS Support Organisation (TASO), Charles Mbiire, one of the Directors of MTN, among other successful professionals in various fields especially the science oriented ones.
Others include former DP president Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere, Dr Lawrence Kaggwa, director of planning in the Ministry of Health, Hilary Onek Minister of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries, Justice Remmy Kasule, Justice Joseph Mulenga, Maj General Kale Kayihura, Inspector General of Police Maj. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, son of President Museveni, among others.
Founded on Christian values, SMACK was administered by the White Brothers of Christian instruction for 43 years.