In the heart of Fort Portal City, St. Leo’s College Kyegobe, once renowned for its academic and sports achievements from the 1980s through the early 2000s, was facing a crisis. Over the past eight years, a dedicated group of alumni, known as the Old Boys, has invested approximately Shs800 million to rejuvenate the school.
St. Leo’s College Kyegobe, established in 1921 by the White Fathers and now a government-aided school under the Fort Portal Catholic Diocese, had faced various challenges in recent years, leading to a significant decline in its academic performance and reputation. Strikes and academic misconduct had plagued the school, resulting in the cancellation of some Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) results in 2014. Consequently, disillusioned parents began withdrawing their children, causing the school’s enrollment to drop to 195 in 2019.
Led by Eng Emmex Turyatunga, the Old Boys embarked on a mission in April 2015 to restore the school’s former glory. They initiated a bursary scheme in 2015 to sponsor needy but bright students and undertook extensive renovations of school structures, including dormitories and sports facilities.
Mr. Turyatunga expressed optimism, saying, “In the coming two years, we are expecting the school to have an enrollment of 1,000 students after being ranked as number 51 in the whole country in the 2022 UCE exams.”
The school’s head teacher, Mr. Trophy Atuhairwe, credited the Old Boys’ efforts for the school’s revival, which included settling a debt of over Shs200 million. He explained, “What the school needs now is additional renovations and the construction of a perimeter wall. Our new strategy is to further improve in academics to attract more students.”
Bishop Robert Muhiirwa of Fort Portal Catholic Diocese expressed gratitude for the Old Boys’ role in reviving the school through their sponsorship of students from senior one to senior six, saying, “The school has what it takes to shine again.”
Dr. Richard Mugahi, an Old Boy, called on the government to invest in modern infrastructure, pointing out the school’s lack of digital resources. He emphasized, “This school, with about 600 students, has only 40 computers. The world is going digital, and students need to be digitally equipped.”