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On Tuesday we shared with you the story of Kenneth Wani and the first Excel Academy. Today we are highlighting some key moments of our first five years sponsoring secondary students.

In our first year, Africa ELI constructed a secondary school in Lainya County which opened in early 2008. It is located near the childhood village of Kenneth’s family. The school became home to 76 girls, four full-time teachers, and numerous volunteers. For students not quite ready for a first year of high school, transition classes were offered. Those students are on track to graduate this year on the heels of the 54 students who graduated in 2011.

As a result of insecurity experienced in early 2009, a decision was made to relocate our students and personnel from a very rural area to the security of Yei town. A public-private partnership was established with Yei Girls Boarding School. The next two years were spent expanding our sponsorships and partnerships with multiple schools and communities in four of South Sudan’s ten states. And of course, Kenneth’s founding of Excel Academy in Yei unfolded.(Read about that story here!)

This year, Africa ELI received a green-light to return to our original campus. Following meetings with village leaders and feeling secure in returning to Lainya County, it has been opened as the “Excel Academy – Mukaya campus.” After being approached by neighboring county officials to run a new, freshly built school, a third campus is operating as “Excel Academy – Morobo campus.” Kenneth is now the director of three school, with a carefully selected and dedicated staff and group of teachers. As of today, more than 1000 girls and boys are enrolled in an Excel Academy. Africa ELI continues to sponsor girls, teachers and programs in these secondary schools.