THIS year marks Brackenhurst Primary School’s 40th year of existence, and they’re celebrating by doing good deeds for four Fridays, which started on the week of Mandela Day (July 18).
Celebrating by giving back
This year of the school decided to celebrate their 40th birthday by giving back to the community. Though Mandela Day took place during the school holidays, this did not deter Brackenhurst Primary from doing their 67 minutes when they got back to school.
They decided to reach out to the less fortunate, especially children, by having learners collect and donate a pair of usable shoes to the Sole2Sole and Life On The Streets (Lots) non-profit organisations. Over 2 000 pairs of shoes have been collected.
“The reason we chose these charities as our beneficiaries, is because we are already familiar with them and have established a connection with them last year,” said Beverley Barkhuizen, one of the school’s teachers.
“We really admire their causes.”
Learners who could not give shoes donated money in aid of the Epworth’s Children’s Village and were allowed to wear casual clothes to school.
“The response was overwhelming,” said David Lawrenz, another teacher at the school. He said that on July 27 almost 100 black refuse bags full of shoes were collected by the learners.
All the shoes were arranged in the school square in the shape of a giant number 40, in celebration of the school’s birthday.
“I actually stood on the roof to be able to snap a photo of the big arrangement,” said David with a smile.
Other good deeds the school will be doing includes gathering and distributing “care packs” to less fortunate children, and gathering food, money and blankets in aid of the SPCA.
Other fun celebrations
Brackenhurst Primary didn’t forget to celebrate their birthday with fun. For four Fridays, the learners will be allowed to dress up in fashions resembling a different decade each week, starting with the 1970s.
A wonderful rainbow of a celebration will take place through the Colour Fest that the school will be having on September 1, from 10am to 3pm. It will cost R80 per person, but colours will be included.
A brief history lesson
The school was completed in 1978. Two-hundred-thirty-three first and second grade learners began their education at Brackenhurst Primary School. Four-hundred-and-thirty senior primary learners were transferred from Alberton and Alberview primary schools to Brackenhurst Primary. The building and equipping of the media centre, tuck shop and school hall was completed.
In 1979, Louis Nel was appointed as the first permanent principal. By this time, there were 901 learners and 28 educators.
February 29, 1980, marked the official opening of the school by GJ du Toit, the director of education.
From 1983 to 1989, the school held its first athletics meeting on its new fields; had its netball, tennis and cricket courts built, Louis Nel transferred and replaced as principal by Chris Swanepoel who later became the permanent principal.
In 1991, Chris Swanepoel was also replaced as principal by Melanie Grové, who became the permanent principal the next year.
Computer studies were introduced as part of the school curriculum in 1992. The next year, Brackenhurst Primary, as well as all schools, converted to Model C status, allowing enrolment of all race groups.
In 1993, a new tuck shop was built. Four years later, the media centre gained an audio-visual room, classroom and two computer centres.
Craig Bowker was appointed as the school principal in 1998 – the year the school also turned 20 years old.
In 2007, the current principal of the school, Anne Burger, was appointed. Then, in 2014, Brackenhurst Primary School became the first public primary school in South Africa to fully introduce e-learning.
Vision for the next 40 years
The RECORD asked what the school’s vision is for the next 40 years. Kevin Mostert, another teacher from the school, said it beautifully: “We’re a community-orientated school and we just hope we can reach out to and help more people.”
Another teacher who has been with the school for many years, Mariana Potgieter, added: “We would love to develop even more academically and help each learner become the best version of themselves.”
The principal, Anne Burger, concluded the conversation with a heartfelt message: “How humbled and privileged I am to be a part of this amazing family called Brackenhurst Primary School.
“Alberton is a community that we often count on to give to those less fortunate. So, it was no surprise to me to see so many pairs of beautiful shoes that were donated to this very worthy cause. How fitting it was that so many shoes were donated in keeping with Madiba’s ‘Long Walk to Freedom’.
“In our 40th year of existence as a school, my prayer for the future of this truly great institution is: ‘Sometimes, it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.’ – Nelson Mandela.”
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