Honouring former school teachers | News24 | #teacher | #children | #kids



Former learners of WD Hendricks Primary School held a teacher appreciation service at the Volkskerk in Kensington on Sunday 12 June. PHOTO: supplied

The saying goes, the influence of a good teacher can never be erased. This proved true for a group of former learners from a Kensington primary school who held an appreciation ceremony to honour their former teachers.

The group of learners from WD Hendricks Primary School held a teacher’s appreciation service on Sunday 12 June at the Volkskerk in Kensington.

Rev Phillip Philander, residing minister at Volkskerk and organiser of the event, says the aim was to honour the teachers for the “foundation which they laid in our lives”.

Philander (60) says 25 teachers were invited to the service where certificates of appreciation were handed over to them.

Philander says he organised the event with former classmates Rev Brian Da Silver and Prof John Klaasen.

“We organised this thing because I felt the primary school teachers from the school we attended taught us under difficult circumstances. I am now 60 years old and everything that we have become is because they have laid the foundation. Despite the circumstances where we came from.”

He continues: “There were drugs, gangsterism, parents abusing alcohol, poverty and violence all around and these teachers were like parents and social workers to us.”

Philander says the educators were dedicated and faithful in their duties.

“When we needed to be fed, they fed us, they encouraged and motivated us. They believed in us even when our own family didn’t believe in us. There are a couple of us who got our doctorate degrees, one of the guys is a professor at UWC (University of Western Cape), some who have their own businesses.”

Philander says they want to encourage other school alumni to follow suit.

“We are forever grateful for what they have done for us.

“We just felt that we wanted to appreciate them. Of course, God deserves all the glory but they deserve to be recognised.”

One of the educators Veronica Cassie, who taught Grade 3 children in 1970, expresses her gratitude.

“I experienced it as a humbling one and reflected on the past – thought of how my late mother made sacrifices to enable me to enter the teaching profession, realised once again how fortunate we were to be members of the staff of WDH and could only thank the Lord for making everything possible and asked for forgiveness for mistakes made.”

She says seeing her former learners make a success of their lives fills her with pride.

“Most of those learners came from poor backgrounds, were Afrikaans speaking but excelled in English, so much so that they always obtained special gold awards at the annual Eisteddfod. The appreciation shown at the service filled me with gratitude and pride. Looking at and listening to those past pupils reminded me of the words of the late Mr WD Hendricks: ‘Out of this apparently barren soil, diamonds will still be dug.’ ”

Cassie says one of the values that they as teachers instilled in the learners was to “aim high”.

“What we tried to instil in the learners and were successful in was pride that was evident in the neat appearance of the school, in the appearance of the learners themselves who even wear blazers at the time, respect and to aim high. We all have the ability to rise above our circumstances and to always strive for excellence. It was mind-blowing to think that in a small way each one of us contributed towards those learners’ success and achievements.”



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