Suji Secondary School traces its beginning to 1906, when Seventh-day Adventist German missionaries established the mission center. It started as a primary school and continued as such until it developed into a teacher training school in 1926.1
As a Teacher Training College (1926-1945)
In 1931, it had its first graduation producing the first qualified woman teacher with a Government Teaching Certificate in Tanganyika in the person of Ms. Damari Kangalu. The school ceased to offer teacher training in 1945.2
As Middle School (1945-1965)
The institution continued as a middle school (grades 1 to 8) until 1965 when the government nationalized all primary schools in the country.3
The Secondary School Starts, 1985
The idea of starting a secondary school in the community, originated with late Ferdinand Mashauri and Elipendo Lazaro; who were able to convince the other elders about it. They proposed that the then Suji Primary School should be relocated to Kitunda area, so that the former mission school could be renovated to meet secondary school requirements. The late Pr. Godson Elieneza who was the president of the field then, accepted the idea, and in 1984, the reconstruction took off. In 1985, the first class started with 48 students. In September 1999, the school attained a new status of being a high school by adding form five and six to the four classes of ordinary level.4
The building of the school was done through a strong partnership between the people of Suji village and the North East Tanzania Field. It was an exciting partnership, elder Baraka Kilonzo remembers Geoffrey Mbwana who was once a teacher in its infancy, working with students fetching sand and carrying it on their shoulders from the valleys up to the hill where the school is. He also worked with students to bring freshly sawed timber from the forest up on the mountain down to the school, in the morning before classes and also in the afternoon after classes. Geoffrey Mbwana who now serves as vice president of the General Conference of Seventh -day Adventists, regards Suji Secondary school as his launching board. But it has been a launching board for many great leaders in the church at national and international levels.5
Suji Secondary School is a core education, boarding and day school; offering a complete secondary school program according to Tanzania government curriculum. The school is situated on a 12-acre, piece of land among the Pare people in the west of Pare Highlands, 18 kilometers from Makanya, a town in Same District; along Arusha, Tanga and Dar es Salaam highway. It is also about 52 kilometers from Same town where the headquarters of the North East Tanzania Conference the owner and operator of the institution is located. It is located among the Pare people. While majority of the students are from the Pare tribe, there are students who come from other regions in the country. In 2018 the school had 630 students, 26 teachers and 24 non-teaching staff. The school is a registered center for all national examinations.6
Suji Secondary School has raised awareness about education within Suji community. Majority of educated people in the community attended Suji secondary school. Many of them have gone to hold high positions in the government as well as in the church. The school has greatly contributed to the evangelistic efforts of the Adventist Church. Dozens of students have been baptized through the school’s spiritual programs.7
Andrew Singo (1985); Laurance R. Tenga (1986-1987); Joel Oola (1987-1989); Herry Mhando (1989); Elinihaki Tuvako (1989-1993); Leonard Mgweno (1993-1994); Z. J. D. Mkitunda (1994-2006); Sadick Chaligha (2006-2007); Nicodemus Mashauri (2008-2014); Dismas Silvan (2014- ).
Chediel, Richard W.; Nesta Sekwao; Pinnecy L. Kirumba. “Private and Community Schools in Tanzania (Mainland). Mechanisms and Strategies of Educational Finance. Working Document.” ERIC. Accessed August 14, 2018. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED462760.
Kangalu, Elineema B., et al. ed. Arise and Shine, Vol 1: Stories of 32 Suji Mission Schools Alumni. Pietermaritzburg, SA: Interpak Books, 2015.
Elineema Kangalu B. et al., ed., Arise and Shine, Vol 1: Stories of 32 Suji Mission Schools Alumni (Pietermaritzburg, SA: Interpak Books, 2015), 206-211.↩
Richard W. Chediel, Nesta Sekwao, and Pinnecy L. Kirumba, “Private and Community Schools in Tanzania (Mainland), Mechanisms and Strategies of Educational Finance, Working Document,” ERIC, accessed August 14, 2018, https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED462760.↩
Togolani Sefue, telephone interview with the author, August 21, 2018.↩
Baraka Kilonzo, telephone interview with the author, August 22, 2018.↩
Dismas Silvan, telephone interview with the author, August 24, 2018↩
Personal knowledge of the author as chaplain of Suji Secondary School from 2006 to 2014.↩