When I walk into Steven Lukyamuzi’s office at Blessed Sacrament Kimanya Secondary School in Masaka, I am met with a smiling gentleman clad in a snow-white shirt with a navy blue silky tie.
The 44-year-old gentle and an ardent book lover is the esteemed teacher we are about to know. “In the many books I have read, I cherish the Bible most. It opened for me all the doors,” he says.
But his early beginnings were not rosy despite his current status of being head teacher of a school that has 1,600 students, 150 staff out of whom 82 are teachers on a permanent basis and 68 non-teaching staff. Despite the big numbers, Lukyamuzi says, cooperation has helped him lead effectively.
He, however, started practicing teaching during his primary school days at Maddu Church of Uganda Primary School in 1981. “I used to practice teaching my fellow pupils especially in Mathematics and English,” he recalls.
However, his dreams almost got shattered when his late father, Eriya Kaggwa, failed to raise school fees for his secondary education despite having got a First Grade in Primary Leaving Examinations.
“My father was also a teacher but he was not willing to pay my school fees,” he recounts.
This meant that when he eventually joined Bukandura- Umea Secondary School in 1990, he took on odd jobs to raise school fees. “I used to carry bricks especially when there was a building site within the school,” Lukyamuzi reminisces.
The situation became tough for the young man and he eventually quit the school feeling hopeless and abandoned by his father.
Ray of hope
In 1992, his mother Mary Nabbuto convinced him to go back to school after securing him sponsorship from Fr Rocus Kasole, the proprietor of St. Joseph Secondary School, Kigando where he studied up to Senior Six. “If it was not for those two, I would not be what I am today,” he says.
Lukyamuzi’s hope was to be shattered again when after Senior Six exams results were released and he discovered he could not make it for Law his dream course at university.
“In 1996 as we were filling in the JAB forms, I told my teachers that I would fill in one slot; that is law but when my results came back, I had scored Aggregate 21 instead of 24 which was required for entry,” he said.
He felt he had hit a dead end but as a true guardian angel, Fr Kasole came to his rescue yet again.
“He probably just loved me. By then he was a lecturer at Mubende National Teachers College and he convinced me to join the college for a teaching course instead,” he said.
“I felt like I had walked away from my dream. But when I derived comfort from early memories of me teaching my fellow pupils in primary school,” he said.
At the college, Lukyamuzi, says they used to live a militarist way of life. And when he was elected the general secretary of the guild council in 1997, it gave him confidence and he began seeing himself as a potential leader.
Start of a career
As soon as he graduated in 1998, Lukyamuzi was posted to St Kizito Secondary School, Banda, where he started off his teaching career. Here, he was serving as the director of studies and later the deputy head teacher.
Meanwhile he took on part-time teaching at St. Peters Busubizi, and because teachers were still few by then, he was forced to teach Commerce, Mathematics, Luganda and CRE yet he was qualified only in teaching Luganda and Christian Religious Education.
In 2000, he joined Blessed Sacrament Kimannya, as the A-Level Divinity teacher and CRE. Owing to his hard work, in 2001, the school board of governors appointed Lukyamuzi the deputy head teacher.
With the competition for such positions, one is safer with good qualifications.
That is why in 2002, he enrolled for a Bachelors in Education degree at Makerere University and graduated in 2006.
And indeed a few years later, in 2014, Lukyamuzi was appointed the school’s head teacher, a position he serves in to date.
Lukyamuzi, who is now pursuing a Masters in Education Management and Administration at Nkozi University, is married to Mary Nakawuka with whom he has five children; four boys and one girl.
Despite his position, Lukyamuzi says he serves students, parents and visitors with love, care and diligence. “I may not find the solution to all the problems in the school, but I try to give everyone who needs my help time. I make sure they leave my office with a smile.”