The steady chanting of “left, right, left” to the beat of drums was all you could hear coming from the Heinz Park Primary School grounds last week.
The Heinz Park Community Drilling squad was hard at work, preparing for the 10th anniversary of the Mitchell’s Plain Schools Marching and Drilling Competition that will be held at Stephen Reagan sports field in Westridge on Saturday October 14.
The competition is a Mitchell’s Plain SAPS initiative, and it will see 22 primary and high schools competing. Heinz Park Community Squad, which is competing for the first time, is the only squad representing a community instead of a school.
The Plainsman is the media partner for this year’s competition, which is organised by Midea Events. The Heinz Park Community Squad’s coach, Faraanah Roman, is eager for the community to see what the squad of 37 children aged 4 to 17 years old can do.
The children have a great support system, with six community members on the committee who make sure they have all the necessary gear. The committee members sell cakes, chips and other treats in the area every weekend to raise funds.
Ms Roman said the club was started to keep children off the streets and away from crime and drugs. “In our area, domestic violence is high, and the reality is that people young and old are living in poverty.”
The squad started in June and has weekly rehearsals. Ms Roman said it was all about giving the children hope and showing them that they could excel in life. The kids learn that you need discipline, respect and teamwork to make a marching band work
“They are so excited about rehearsals, that they end up at my doorsteps two hours before practice,” Ms Roman said. “It is wonderful to see that they are dedicated and want to learn.”Community leader Rose Claassen believes the squad has the power to change the children’s lives for the better.
“We are behind the team. May they grow from strength to strength and be an example to others. The community of Heinz Park wish the team all of the best for the competition,” she said.