Circumstances in one’s life are bound to shape character depending on whether ones faces hardship or ease.
For a woman whose father passed when she was in Primary three, a middle child among nine of her siblings and raised by a peasant mother; Diana Hope Nyago the owner and President of the Uganda Premier League Club Kirinya Jinja SS envisages her journey as a testimony for the victories she has been able to embrace.
“…what puts my personality in the right perspective is that my middle name is Hope. So I look at every challenge optimistically. I know that at every end of a challenge, there’s going to be a victory,” Nyago explained.
She was never the sports girl except when she reminisces of Scottish country dancing, debate, drama and acting Shakespearean plays while at Bweranyangi Girls.
The little girl who was the chairperson of the debating club would decades later be placed at the helm of a former top tier school Jinja SS which was ballooned in a crisis; struggling academically, in discipline, infrastructure with a decrease in enrolment from about 6000-1200 students in 2008.
“I said why me? I felt I was being sacrificed. I felt I was being punished. There was no attachment at all to this school. But I told the Commissioner that I am requesting to go to Jinja SS for only two years and within those two years, I would either have made a contribution or I would have failed…,” Nyago admitted.
In the clouds above are successful heads of institutions in Uganda among which Nyago is listed to have thrived at transforming a school that had been prone to a maximum of two strikes a day to none and reawakening the interests of the learners through finding a balance to keep them in school and prevent them from misbehaving.
Her revelation was that students that were not very good in class were good at co-curricular activities which prompted her to facilitate them to prosper in the field of sports, “at the end of the two years that I’d given to myself, there had been no strike! To me and everyone else, it was magical…and we still raised our enrollment from 1200-4000 and I think we’ve done well.”
She adds that it was her negotiations with the Ministry of Education and Sports which lifted the 3-year ban against the school to participate in national sports games because of their earlier disruptive record is what won the students over onto her side giving birth to “the Mighty School” that started recording national championship trophies in Football motivating her to start club football.
“…suddenly you finish senior four or six and you can’t play football anymore for the school and you haven’t done very well in exams…..so I quickly realized that these students need to be helped…so I said I can start a football club and maintain them here…,” she excitedly opened up.
It was this driving force in 2012 that birthed the Uganda Premier League Football Club Kirinya Jinja SS which is sponsored by the school, however, Nyago hopes that the club will be able to attract outside sponsors in addition to Pay TV Star Times.
Nyago is a professional teacher; who three years into her career at Rock High School, Tororo in 2001 was elevated to a caretaker Deputy Head teacher. She would later become a Substantive Deputy Head teacher appointed by the Education Service Commission.
Never satisfied with being a teacher and looking towards a placement in local administration, Nyago had returned to school and got a post graduate diploma in Human Resource Management in addition to a Masters in Public Administration and Management at Makerere University.
Nyago’s appointment as a full Head teacher at Rock High School in 2001 would deeply engrain her into the teaching profession a relic she has embraced eighteen years later to have begun a legacy that fortifies her as an educationist and the first woman in Uganda to own a football Club.