My Journey to the Great Gates of School Leadership

It was the year 2023 when I was transferred to a new school, a place that surpassed my previous one in every way—politics, academics, talents, and religious engagement. This school presented an opportunity for me to redeem myself, challenge the entire institution, and become the best version of myself. From the moment I arrived, I knew I had to set a goal: to become someone close to the students, to hear their voices, and to address the issues within the school. I wanted to achieve something unprecedented in the 56-year history of this institution.

My first step was to befriend the current cabinet, gaining their favor and trust. I also impressed the teachers by being attentive and active in class. One of the school’s most important rules was speaking English, and my accent captivated everyone. They were surprised when they discovered I also spoke Luganda. Debating is my hobby, so I participated in every debate. Representing my class and the O’level, I made sure my team always won by God’s grace. My debating skills impressed not only the students but also the entire school. I quickly garnered a fan base, as no one had seen such debate prowess before.

In the second term, I reported back to school late and found everyone writing application letters. My friends suggested various posts for me—sanitary, language, or welfare—but I had my sights set higher. I wanted the post that everyone feared, the one that no senior three students, let alone a Muslim, had ever held: Chief Judge.

Despite the laughter and disbelief from my peers, I was determined. With the help of my friend Nakazzi Lynet, I applied for the post. The screening process was intense, with many experienced competitors. When they called me back for a rescreening, my confidence wavered, but I stood firm. The patron saw my potential and offered me other senior leadership positions rather than assistant positions that I had applied for, for to them, they so much more potential in me holding and leading in a senior role compared to a junior role as much as I was in junior level. I chose to run for the Chief Judge post. I told him that even if I failed, trying would be my biggest victory and this impressed them even more.During the fourth phase, candidates presented their manifestos to the entire school. I didn’t dance or flatter the audience because I was nervous. I simply stated,

“I took up this post to challenge myself and you that nothing is impossible. I was told I wouldn’t be voted because I am Muslim and in senior three. Vote for me to prove that anything is possible with our minds set on it.”-Latifah Uwihoreye, Big Sister 

The crowd erupted with cheers and screamed the words, ‘Girl, Up’ endlessly which left me overwhelmed with joy. Voting day arrived, and the process was as serious as a presidential election. After two weeks, the results were announced. I was voted the Chief Judge of St. Henry’s Girls’ School, Buyege, making history as the first senior three student to hold this position in 56 years.

My bravery, faith, and the support of my friends enabled me to achieve this milestone. I broke the long-held belief that only A ‘Level students could be Chief Judge, opening doors for others to aim for bigger positions. Nothing is too big or scary to achieve. Measure your limits, set your strategy, and aim high. Never show the world your weakest point; always act strong, even when you feel broken.

As my terms draw to an end, I celebrate my every effort and investment in challenging the norms not forgetting my achievements as a student leader. My biggest gratitude to Girl Up Initiative Uganda for clearing the path for me and mentoring me into who I am today and to a better Latifah Uwihoreye in the future. 

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