Glendale Secondary School has bid adieu to their matriarch, principal Kathy Davids, who retired after 40 years of service.
Teachers, young and old, shared their experiences with Ms Davids in coming to grips with the teaching profession and the ever changing landscape of education, at an intimate luncheon at Tuscany Gardens, in Rylands, on Wednesday April 26.
In 1981, Ms Davids taught at Portland High School, before returning to study at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) to complete her teacher’s diploma.
Two years later she spent a day at Rocklands High School but did not “feel at home”, she said.
Four months later she received her first salary while teaching at Glendale High School.
She started as a post level one teacher, teaching needle work but soon up skilled herself by attending short courses and mastering her teaching technique to achieve 100 percent pass rates.
She taught Afrikaans and biblical studies. She enjoyed teaching computer applications technology (CAT); taking up any and as many opportunities and worked hard to not be idle.
“I get easily bored so I do different classes. So I taught and went back to school. I taught history, life orientation and economic management sciences (EMS).”
“I could not be teaching the same subject over and over for the rest of my career. I would branch out, retrain and enjoy teaching all over again,” she said.
Ms Davids became deputy principal in 1995 and about 23-years later she became principal at the Rocklands school, after being shortlisted to be at the helm at Norman Henshilwood High School, in Plumstead.
Ms Davids completed her first teachers diploma, degree and masters at UWC.
She completed an advanced certificate for management and leadership at the University of Cape Town (UCT) over two years, finishing in 2012.
Many of the teachers and support staff shared their fondest memories and experiences with Ms Davids last week, which include, her cooking, knitting, listening and being a trailblazer in ensuring learning and leadership opportunities for her colleagues.
Ms Davids’ last day at Glendale was on Friday March 31 when pupils bid her farewell.
“During this time I have learned to graciously accept the title ‘mother’,” she said.
She was also called the “iron lady” in some circles ensuring discipline and respect.
Ms Davids said teacher participation in extracurricular activity was key in ensuring the pupils see you in a different light, that you care and that there are different sides to the same coin.
“They see a different side to you and they want to connect with you. Sometimes they only see you as a teacher and disciplinarian and other times as a cool teacher,” she said.
Ms Davids would like to encourage the pupils to continue studying.
“They can change their lives and grab all of the opportunities.
“They can never take education away from you. Even if you don’t have matric, go to night school. Always just give and be kind to other people.
“We need to emphasise the development of people. As a principal, as a leader I had to create opportunities for teachers; they have to see they can grow and take flight. Not only at Glendale but go where you need to go to grow,” she said.
Deputy principals Sumaya Noordien and Fowkia Smith both shared stories of the family-like environment at school.
Ms Noordien prayed that the Almighty keep them together like a solid cemented structure, like the one that was laid down by their predecessors.
“I pray whomever takes over, makes Glendale a beacon of light, a home away from home, an outpost of hope for all of those who walk through our doors and our community.
“Aunty K, we salute you,” she said.
Ms Smith referred to Ms Davids as an iconic mentor, a mom, a parrot and cat lover and dear friend.
She admired Ms Davids as not being afraid and “oppit”.
“Ms Davids has taken many of the young people out of their comfort zones to recognise their true potential, to believe in themselves and to strive for excellence,” she said.
Ms Smith said Glendale was their home away from home, where they could still do their work.