Aberdeen Full Service School (still known to most people as Aberdeen Primary School) held its annual diploma ceremony last Friday. Teacher Karla Rheeder, as programme director, ensured the smooth-running of the event with good planning and organisation.
Parents and learners gathered in the quad, thankful that it was not yet the full heat of summer. In most previous years, the ceremony has been held in the school hall, but as there is insufficient space for all the learners and parents, the decision was made to hold the ceremony outside.
After the opening and welcome, a rather nervous grade 2 class performed an item, which was enjoyed by the parents. The grade R children also entertained the audience before all received their diplomas, with much activity from the parents and their cameras!
Teacher Elise Darries explained the criteria used for awarding prizes to the other grades, and the successful learners from grades 1 to 3 were presented with their certificates by their class teachers. As well as certificates for achievement, regular school attendance was also rewarded.
Following this, principal Johan Minnaar gave his report, mentioning some of the general challenges faced in education at the moment. He was pleased to report that the school is fortunate not to have a problem with drugs and alcohol. One teacher, Lydia Koopman, has been on long-term sick leave since April, but the school’s governing body has been able to employ a retired teacher to cover for her. The school has three vacancies for non-teaching staff ( a full-time secretary and two general workers), and they are awaiting for appointments to be made in these positions by the Department of Education in line with the recommendations of the SGB.
Minnaar explained to the parents about the name change of the school, and pointed out some of the infrastructure changes that have been made to accommodate learners with physical disabilities.
One of the biggest concerns for the staff is absenteeism, which is a chronic problem with some learners. This is especially true around the time of the SASSA payouts, and Minnaar admitted to the challenge of reaching the parents of those children. He stressed that the best present that any parent can give their child is a good education, as a weapon to overcome poverty.
After this came the sports awards, one of the most outstanding being Mealndre Kombani’s achievements in netball. She was selected to represent Camdeboo schools, and then the Sarah Baartman District. Melonique Kekana, Lee-Ann Flippies and Robin Mackwena also received trophies for netball.
For the first time since its inception, the ABSA trophy for the most outstanding academic performance in grade 7 was shared. Both Mick Jacobs and Caithlin Klassen achieved outstanding results.