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Graduating as 2020 CUEA Valedictorian and Top of Class

African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC)

Sr. Irene holding her Valedictorian award at the CUEA graduation ceremony in November, 2020.

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HESA participant Sr. Irene Kwena receives honors as top graduating student and valedictorian of her class at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) in Kenya.

Higher Education for Sisters in Africa (HESA) program student is the top graduating student and valedictorian from ASEC partner institution, the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA), in Kenya.

Sr. Irene Kwena, Franciscan Elizabethan Sisters (FES), received the prestigious title of Valedictorian at her graduation held November 27, 2020. 

Sr. Irene joined HESA in 2017 and received her Bachelor’s of Commerce. Her Journey began when she received a very unexpected admission into the HESA program during her first year as a Sister. She was elated with the news from her superior and had infinite heart-felt gratitude. Sr. Irene stated,

“My experience as a HESA student in the university is really an overwhelming experience in the sense that, somebody outside there, cares and wishes the best for my life…”

Not only has Sr. Irene demonstrated academic excellence, she has also shown a level of generosity that is beyond measure. Sr. Irene was awarded an additional scholarship by her Lecturer due to her incredible performance and ranking top in her unit.

Already being sponsored by HESA, Sr. Irene took this additional scholarship and donated it to a student in need, Joseph Okello. This philanthropic act on behalf of Sr. Irene had immense impact. It offered Joseph an opportunity to continue his studies after being unable to afford classes for two years. With enormous appreciation, Joseph wrote to Sr. Irene,

“…you stood by my side and whenever I see you I see my [deceased] parents in you. You redeemed my hope in life which I had lost.” 

Due to her vast accomplishments, CUEA has offered Sr. Irene a full scholarship to pursue her master's degree.

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In a reflection submitted to ASEC by Sr. Irene, she adds,

"It has not been an easy task being a young consecrated woman in meeting the demands of the studies and demands of junior sister formation, however I esteem my congregation for the opportunities and challenges that my sisters laid around me to encourage, motivate and strengthen me."

On behalf of all of ASEC, we would like to congratulate Sr. Irene on all her success and encourage her to continue pursuing excellence.

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This article is addressing the following UN Sustainable Development Goal(s):

Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning
Sr. Irene Kwena, FES

Sr. Irene Kwena, FES
Profiled in article
HESA Alumna - Kenya  

Waleska Salgado

Waleska Salgado
Author
Research Assistant, HESA Program  

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