Summerdale High School pupils who will be the Lentegeur school’s first batch of matrics next year say they are determined to leave an inspiring legacy for their younger peers.
The school was first Aloe Junior High School, a middle school for Grade 7 to Grade 9 pupils, but it became a fully-fledged high school last year to accommodate Grades 8 to 10 and eventually a matric class in 2024 (“Not enough school capacity for growing community,” Plainsman February 9, 2022).
On Friday September 8, the school’s 165 Grade 11s took part in a workshop held in the school hall by the United Nations Youth Association (UNYA), which runs leadership programmes at the school.
During the workshop, the Grade 11s were split into six groups to discuss various topics in preparation for their matric year.
Grade 11 pupil Litha Ngqolmbe encouraged his classmates to make a difference in their final school year.
“We would have to speak up and show the younger ones to care for themselves and each other,” he said.
UNYA South Africa ambassador Tiffany-Joy Wehr, 16, spoke in her group about how the Grade 11 pupils could have a positive influence on younger pupils, including listening without interrupting, acting with integrity and being the change they would like to see at the school.
UNYA SA president Henry Jacobs said: “We are constantly surrounded by ‘bad and negative’ news, and it is vital that we showcase the good our schools and their kids are doing to uplift the morale of society.
“We as the UN Youth Association bring hope to our communities by echoing the positive work being done by our learners with limited resources.
“These are learners who give up their spare time and also during intervals to inspire others to do better and become a global citizen.”
Summerdale has been running UNYA programmes since 2022 (“United Nations Youth Association clubs launched at high schools,” Plainsman October 5 2022). The programmes include mentorship and leadership training.
Principal Rakim Rooi said Mr Jacobs was helping to prepare the pupils to become global citizens and giving them the tools to rise above daily adversity.
Earlier this year, 12 of the UNYA SA pupils participated in the Buddies without Borders Challenge in Washington DC, facilitated by the UN.
Mr Jacobs said UNYA clubs educated the youth about the work of the UN and how the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals impact everyone on the planet.
“Global warming is also part of the Grade 10 curriculum, and for that reason it is important for our youth at high school to understand how they can play a positive part in securing the future of the planet,” he said.