Fruit trees planted in honour of deceased teachers

Liesbeeck teachers held a fruit planting ceremony for teachers who died of Covid-19 and cancer.

Three foundation phase teachers at Liesbeeck Primary School who died – two of them of Covid-19 – were honoured at a fruit tree planting ceremony.

The ceremony was a private gathering for the staff and family members of the deceased, with Reverend Enrico Heuwel blessing the ceremony, said teacher Irafaan Abrahams.

Teachers and family members of the deceased teachers at the fruit tree planting ceremony.

Peggy Williams, Sofia Staalmeester both died of Covid-19, and Charlotte Christians who died of cancer, will leave a void and will be missed dearly, said Mr Abrahams.

“What they all had in common was a beautiful smile and (that they) always had something pleasant to tell the next person,” he said.

Ms Williams, who was one of the oldest teachers at the school, was part of the athletics team. She trained the children and helped them with their sports early in the morning. She also helped with the sports administration, he said.

“Two weeks before she passed on she encouraged me. She has been at our school for over three years and previously taught at Mitchell’s Plain Primary School,” said Mr Abrahams.

When the teachers let go of the balloons to fly into the air, the balloons flew against a tree. The teachers agreed that the teachers who have passed on did not want to leave the school. The balloons stayed in the tree for a while until they floated off, said teacher Irafaan Abrahams.

“We thought our school was blessed with no Covid-19 fatalities. We are saddened to see our own teacher pass because of the virus. The tree planting ceremony was closure for our school. It gave us an opportunity to share in their lives and their life stories. We learned so much about their legacy. It was a blessed day,” he said.

Teacher Irafaan Abrahams speaks at the fruit tree planting ceremony.

“The ceremony on Thursday March 25, was a small token of our appreciation to the school and so many lives they’ve touched. The trees will be memories of special people,” said Mr Abrahams.

They selected special trees for each of them. The tree planted in Ms Williams’ honour was an orange manderin tree, and for Ms Staalmeester, a lemon tree. “We need the boost, especially against Covid-19. She always used to say to us, ‘daar is niks meer verskonings nie, eet jul suurlemoene by die skool sodat julle kan gesond word.”

Ms Staalmeester taught at Liesbeeck Primary School for 10 years and helped out at the school last year in her retirement.

The tree planted in Ms Christians’ honour was a blueberry tree, remembering all the health benefits coming with it, said Mr Abrahams.

“Ms Christians loved teaching, she loved her children at school, they were her everything. She lived for them,” he said.

Despite their age, the three women maintained high levels of enthusiasm when being involved in school activities, said principal Wahied Gasant.

“They were of the old stock and the new generation of teachers were fortunate enough to be mentored by them. They added value and their contribution to making this a good school will never be forgotten. They will remain in our hearts,” said Mr Gasant.