Deputy’s absence felt at Harverster

Franklin Jacobs said goodbye to Harvester Primary School and called his job jubilee, meaning he has named his purpose in life and is free to practise it.

After more than 39 years of dedication to education, Franklin Jacobs, has decided to call it a day.

The 60-year-old Wetton resident, and former deputy principal of Harvester Primary School, in Westridge, has been a symbol of dedication and joy to many.

On Thursday April 26, the school celebrated his final day and long education career.

Mr Jacobs started his career at Heatherdale Primary School, in Belgravia, in 1978, where he worked for six years.

He studied at Hawet Training College. In 1985, he was promoted to the head of department (HOD) at Harvester.

He became the acting deputy principal in 1994, before he was appointed permanently in 1995.

In 2000 he was appointed acting principal at Florida School of Skills, in Ruyterwacht.

In 2001 he went back to Harvester where he worked until his retirement.

Mr Jacobs is known to many at the school as the custodian of mathematics.

“I’m a mathematics person; I have a passion for it. I believe that the pupils must know the basics thoroughly in order for them to understand the difficulties that come thereafter,” said Mr Jacobs.

His exploits have not gone unnoticed.

One of his former pupils and now a teacher at Harvester, Taufeeq Laattoe, 22, labelled
Mr Jacobs as more than just a teacher.

“He would go the extra mile for anybody, just like he did for me,” he said. He added that he would help him go on school tours when his parents had no means. “From that moment on, I wanted to be like him,” he said.

Mr Jacobs comes from a legacy of teachers. His mother Cynthia Jacobs, 85, who was also a teacher, while his uncle, Reginald van der Speck was the principal of Bridgetown High School, in Athlone.

“I have never applied for any other school because I believed in this school and I believed in Mitchell’s Plain,” said Mr Jacobs.

He did a bit of everything at Harvester.

He was involved in the drilling and marching bands at the school and would go with pupils on tour. He also formed part of the school governing body and served on the school’s disciplinary committee.

Fatimah Chetty, 35, from Colorado Park said: “We will miss how he handled the children. He has a level head and understood the situations within their homes. He would be the first person we call because he knows how to calm a child down.”

Desiree’ Okkers, 61, from Westridge and Valerie du Plessis, 69, from Lentegeur are the two longest serving teachers at the school. They had been at the school for more than 40 years and were both part of Mr Jacobs’ travelling club.

He would pick them up and take them to school every day.

“You only know a person’s value in their absence. This was made clear to me when I was at Winners waiting for Mr Jacobs to pick me up with the tuck shop necessities and forgot that he’s no longer here to do that,” said Ms Du Plessis.

Ms Okkers added: “We will miss him dearly. It was an honour to work with him.”