School History

Lenana School is a secondary school in Nairobi, Kenya. It was formed in 1949 by colonial governor Philip Euen Mitchell, known then as the Duke of York School, named after a British World War II King George V-class battleship (1939).

The school was renamed Lenana School in 1969 after the central person in the interaction of the Maasai with invading British imperialists and spiritual leader of the Maasai, Laibon Lenana, around the end of the 19th century through to the early 20th century. The first Kenyan headmaster (principal) of the school was Mr. James Kamunge. The referral to old students of the school changed from the phrase Old Yorkist to Laibons the latter being a title given to religious figures of the Maasai. A picture of Lenana painted by a student artist called Sam Madoka can be seen hanging next to the steps that lead to the 2nd floor of the administration block.

Lenana School currently has 1200 students. In 2006, it was ranked 26th best high school in Kenya based on Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education results. Through the 1980s and into the 21st century, Lenana School has maintained high academic standards ranking in the top 10 and top 20 respectively for many years in the 1980s. The current School Principal is Mr. William Kemei.


Lenana School was divided in dormitory blocks of 2 houses each. By 1988 there were 5 blocks which equaled 10 houses. Each house had students ranging from form 1 to form 6. Each of the block had its own dining hall where students take their meals. The dining halls fall under the jurisdiction of the school caterer. Of late, the block dining halls are headed by a council secretary head of block. It is the head of blocks dining halls that are appointed by the teachers after every successful council body elections. The four are under supervision of Boarding captain. Each house consisted of all the class streams i.e. form 1 to 6 (in the old system) and form 1 to 4 (in the new system). In the old system form 1 to 4 had approximately 18 students each per house and form 5 to 6 had approximately 10 to 12 students each per house. The house was divided into 2 categories, Form 1 to 3 were known as juniors and they had their own sporting leagues. Form 4 to 6 formed the seniors and they too had their separate leagues. When it came to school team selection this was open to both juniors and seniors. Form 1 to 4 students slept in dormitories. Some form 5’s slept in the form 4 dorms while the rest and all form 6 students slept in studies either 2 sharing one or in singles e.g. the Head of House and his deputy and the sports prefect.

Each house was governed by a house master who consisted of a senior teacher living adjacent to the house. The student in charge of the house was known as a Head of House (HoH) and was a 6th form student. Assisting him run the house was a deputy head of house and about 5 or 6 other prefects all drawn from the form 6 students. The prefect roles were divided amongst the activities of the house and the most influential being the sports prefect. A new set of prefects was selected towards the end of the year (3rd term) from amongst the form 5 students. Each block of two houses shared a dining hall except for Block 1 and 4 where four houses shared one dining hall. Each house had one janitor who took care of the laundry services for the students and the general upkeep of the house.

The dormitories (houses) were named after famous explorers or persons related to historic events. Some house names changed over the course of time. This was done to acknowledge the changing times from the prior to independence and the many heroes involved in the independence movement in Kenya, as well as folk heroes. A few of the houses still retain their original names. Below are the house names listing the former name, current name and house colour where applicable. These details are listed in the Lenana School brand manual on its alumni website.