TOP achievers walked off the stage with armfuls of trophies at El Shaddai Christian Academy’s prize giving for its high school pupils last Friday night.
In her address, principal Rene Payne said it was a year of many firsts, as the school celebrated their first ever matric class, first preliminary exams, first matric farewell, first valedictory and the matrics are now going through their first finals.
She said the year had started with a little chaos as they had to shuffle about to fir pupils and staff into their allocated buildings, but on the positive side, this was the first year since the inception of the school that the staff has had a comfortable staff room.
We have over 250 years of teaching experience among our staff… Not that we’re all that old
“We have over 250 years of teaching experience among our staff,” Payne said with pride, “Not that we’re all that old.”
Among the activities through the year, various grades had outings to the beach to learn about types of rocks, to Fish River, museums and to businesses like Spur and Debonairs to learn about jobs.
“We had a pupil participate in Albany Tennis and others in national archery competitions. We have a strong netball team who even beat the teachers’ team, even though the teachers were cheating,” Payne said to laughter.
Pupils also had the opportunity to participate in the school’s talent show, Eisteddfod, movie evenings and the school dance.
“Overall, it was a year of fun and hard work.”
Believe in your child even when they don’t believe in themselves. Never allow them to give up, and never give up on them
Payne exhorted parents to believe in their children. “Believe in their capabilities, potential and goodness. Believe in your child even when they don’t believe in themselves. Never allow them to give up, and never give up on them.”
But she cautioned parents not to think they have to be their child’s best friend.
“I see a lot of parents who are trying to be their child’s friend. That is not your role. Your child has many friends, but only one or two parents.
“As a parent you should set boundaries – your children will be safe and secure within those boundaries.”
She also urged parents to value their child’s education. “Take an active part and do whatever has to be done to help them achieve. Support your child’s school, check homework, enforce study, ask questions, set little tests, attend functions and parent meetings,” Payne said.
“You need to encourage them from an early age. It’s too late to expect a Grade 12 pupil to suddenly start studying if you have never taught your child the self-discipline of study in the previous years.
Model the behaviour that you want your children to follow
“It is also important to model the behaviour that you want your children to follow. If we want our children to become kind, compassionate and motivated – we need to be those things. Model your walk of faith.”
In his speech, acting chairman of the school governing body, Pastor Justin Ndoro, said it was not buildings, tests and exams that determined the success of a school, but the quality of the teachers.
“I believe we’re standing at a tipping point of what God wants for our school. I’m trusting God for a great breakthrough in developments at the school, as in the school fields,” he said.
“I think we’re going to see more happen for our school over the next year than we ever have. My prayer for 2018 is that we see every stakeholder – teacher, parent and pupil – join hands and trust God for what he is going to do for our school.”