Excited little faces as pupils start new chapter
By Madeleine Chaput, Sivenathi Gosa and Zolile Zamisa
SCHOOLS around East London officially started yesterday, welcoming many new and old faces for an exciting and educational year ahead.
As the Grade 1 class for 2018 took their first steps into “big school”, parents, principals, teachers and school staff members prepared for the many happy memories, challenges and achievements ahead.
“We have about 90 new Grade 1 students this year. I’m very positive about the year ahead – there will be challenges, but I know that my staff members will overcome them successfully as they have every year,” Beaconhurst School principal Aubrey Norman said.
Anticipation filled the air at the school gates as the Grade 1s showed off their smart uniforms and ‘big school’ backpacks before entering their first formal chapter of primary school.
Some grinned from ear to ear with excitement, while others were more hesitant, yet each had something to say about the start of their new adventure.
“It’s my first day of Grade 1 today. I am excited! I like learning about letters, like A,B,C,D. That’s my favourite,” said Ryan Freitag.
“I’m so excited! I’m a little bit scared too,” said little Mosa Mondliwa.
“They grow up too fast. It’s crazy that our little one is already in Grade 1,” dad, Lindele Mondliwa, said.
Despite being a fairly small school, Beaconhurst has just over 1000 students across the primary and high schools.
Inundated with late registrations this year as well as overflowing applications, Norman said there was a lack of schools within the city centre.
“We are faced with so many parents who just want the best for their children, but we cannot possibly accommodate them all. More schools are definitely needed in the city centre.”
Mdantsane’s Londolozani Junior Primary School was filled with anxious and excited children, some who were beginning their school careers.
While some Grade Rs clung to their mothers, others seemed excited about the new chapter in their lives.
Principal Mandisa Filita said she was excited about starting a new year with fresh faces and that she was willing to work well with the teachers, pupils and parents.
“My vision for this year is for the parents to work hand in hand with us as we are always faced with the same challenges annually of parents enrolling their children on the day of the opening of school, which causes a delay,” said Filita.
Government officials should assist the school, as there were pupils without birth certificates which would hold up the registration process.
“The community should work with us by guarding the school after hours as there have been break-ins.”
She said the school wanted to produce the best pupils in Mdantsane this year.
Grade 1 pupils Ayola Nana and Lunje Maneli were excited and said they were looking forward to learning about colours and letters.
“I want to be a teacher when I grow up,” Ayola said.
The queue of enrolment was long. The school enrolled 249 pupils on Wednesday, with more parents trying to enrol their children.
At King’s College, parents arrived to drop off their children from as early as 6.45am.
Teacher Fortunate Pindurah said dealing with kids was not an easy task. “I have 11 years of teaching experience but it’s always a challenging situation to deal with new children, but in the process you also grow.”
Principal Dora Nell says they were set for the year.
“Our stationery and textbooks are already in class. We have done the orientation and are now ready to begin with lessons.”