Beacon Hill pupil elected provincial RCL chairperson

At the back, from left, are Jule Booysen, from Bernadino Heights High School in Kraaifontein; Sibongiseni Sigodi, from Oval North High School in Beacon Valley; and junior deputy mayor Alessio Marcus, from Beacon Hill Secondary School, in Beacon Valley. In front is Junior Mayor, Sinovuyo Mankayi from Rhodes High School.

Beacon Hill Secondary pupil and Beacon Valley resident Alessio Marcus, 16, has been elected as the new chairperson of the Representative Council of Learners (RCL) for the Western Cape. He was elected at the RCL youth summit hosted by the Western Cape Education Department at JG Meiring High School on Friday March 13 and Saturday March 14.

Teacher learner officer, Ricardo Adamson, who accompanied Alessio to the summit, said there had been a bit of concern about Alessio being chosen as the chairperson as he had served as Junior Deputy Mayor for the City of Cape Town, until February and is the current deputy speaker of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Parliament, a position he will hold until the end of this year.

Alessio withdrew his candidacy out of respect for other candidates who wanted to stand for chairperson on Friday March 13. However, they felt that his other leadership responsibilities shouldn’t be the determining factor on who is elected, said Mr Adamson.

And when ballots were cast on Saturday March 14, most of the pupils voted for Alessio as the RCL chairperson, said Mr Adamson.

“A 17-year-old boy, who has such great influence, was voted in by so many pupils who only knew him for two days. He will make waves in this country and in his future. I am very proud of him and how far he has come,” said Mr Adamson.

Alessio will address the schools in the Western Cape as the new chairperson when the new term begins in April.

“It was an honour and privilege being elected as the RCL chairperson in the Western Cape. I am here as a youth for the youth. I would like to forever remain an advocate for the youth. This new position is not just another badge, it is not just another title, this is work. This is another responsibility because with leadership comes responsibility. It is something I know I will be able to handle and deal with,” said Alessio.

Western Cape Education Department spokeswoman Bronagh Hammond wished Alessio the best “in this very important role” on behalf of the department. “At this very uncertain time, we need strong youth leadership to advocate our government’s call to take precautions against Covid-19 and to remain focused on one’s studies.”