Grade 12 learners at Aberdeen Secondary School were treated to a formal academic evening last week, with the aim of motivating and encouraging them as they prepare for their final exams.
Wayne du Plessis, a retired school psychologist who has been involved in successful intervention programmes at the school, introduced former teachers successful past pupils, who were invited as special guests. Hans Hendriks, COO of the municipality, attended on behalf of the municipal manager.
Hendriks gave some words of encouragement to the learners, to persevere and make their own decisions on their future. He urged them not to be discouraged or distracted by others.
Leon Jaftha, a bass guitarist who has been involved in motivational work at the, gave a lively performance, which the guests thoroughly enjoyed.
The keynote speaker was Laszlo Maya, who is well-known in the Graaff-Reinet community for his work with the Maya Deaf Foundation. Left deaf after a childhood illness, Maya was fortunate to receive a cochlear implant, but spent his childhood feeling ‘different’ to his peers. He excelled at school, and was head boy and a high academic achiever. He told the guests how he sank into a deep depression after a setback at university, but picked himself up and returned the following year. However the #FeesMustFall protests were in full swing, and his deafness made it impossible to cope with voicenote lectures. Despite failing the year, he did not give up, and went back the next year – not only did he graduate, but he was also recognized as one of Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans for 2017. “It took me five years to finish a three-year degree, but those five years taught and gave me more than those three years or society’s plan for my life ever could have,” said Maya.
“In the end, when you have finally reached your goals, how many times you’ve fallen or how long it took won’t matter. What will matter is that you didn’t give up,” he concluded.
His address was very well received. Headgirl Marinda Maarman made a commitment on behalf of the grade 12s that they would indeed do their best, and each learner received a stationery pack from the school.
The evening concluded with some tasty eats for all, provided by the school.