ST FRANCIS COLLEGE RECOGNISED FOR ITS ACHIEVEMENTS
St Francis College, Mariannhill, has been recognised for its outstanding academic achievement last year by the eThekwini Municipality and the Department of Education in KwaZulu-Natal. In both functions the school was presented with a trophy and a certificate.
The school received first an accolade from eThekwini Municipality for obtaining a 100% pass rate during the 2012 academic year.The event was held at the Durban Olive Convention Centre, and was sponsored by Nedbank. The function aimed at schools that obtained a 100% pass rate, but also aimed at schools which improved more than 30% from their previous pass rate.
The second award for the school came from the Department of Education in KwaZulu-Natal. The function was held at the Coastlands Hotel in Durban. It included all the schools which performed exceptionally well throughout KwaZulu-Natal.
St Francis College principal, Mr Jabulani Nzama, said the school did not only get a 100% matric pass rate last year, but also obtained a huge number of matriculants who got bachelor passes which allowed them entry to universities. Of 108 learners who sat for examinations, 98 got bachelor pass while 10 got diploma pass.
Also notable in the class of 2012 was the significant growth in the number of distinctions, another clear indication that the school is serious about producing high quality results. The school attained a whopping 221 distinctions last year! “There was a vast improvement in the number of distinctions. The pass rate is of more quality than the previous years in terms of number of distinctions, said Mr Nzama.
Although St Francis College has in the past 30 years been producing excellent matric results, there is no doubt that the class of 2012 did extremely well and even better than the previous classes in the past few years.
Last year’s outstanding matric pass rate did not come as surprise. It was a result of extensive planning and dedication from teachers, parents, pupils and all other stakeholders, said Mr Nzama. “We always aim high. We don’t have sleepless nights when waiting for the matric results because we dedicate all our time to teaching our learners throughout the year. We teach and teach and teach,” he said.
The School principal also commended the efforts made by the school’s alumni, saying that their effort paid dividends.
“For the results I thank the alumni who motivated the last matriculants in various fields. Our learners went to the examination with a clear vision of the future,” said the principal.
Recent developments in the school
As the 2013 academic year is well under way, and we are at the beginning of May already, it is heartening to review the progress of the last few months, and also look forward to the coming ones.
About present learners
While we have more day scholars now than in the past, by far the majority of our learners appreciate and take to heart, not only the Catholic ethos of the school, but also the code of conduct or behaviour that all sign when they enrol at the school. This can be illustrated by their generous contribution to the Lenten appeal collection. This year it amounted to R6 564, 90 Which will be paid into the Mariannhill Diocesan fund, which will in turn pass it on to the relevant church body for distribution. Moreover, the enthusiastic support given by learners and educators alike to the blood donation drive of the SANBS is truly encouraging. We appreciate the educational value of the teaching given by the educator of SANBS, Sr. Ingrid Duma about the moral and
safe lifestyle that is required for participating in blood donation, as this re-enforces all that we and parents strive to impart to the learners.That the message is reaching the learners is evidenced by the last blood donation event at our school on the 24th April 2013, where the number of units collected, amounted to 44. We thank all those who participated.
About past learners
For all of us, the most uplifting and inspiring day, was the visit on 17th April 2013, by a panel of 13 past learners, to give career information and motivation to the present Grades 10, 11 and 12. Covering diverse careers such as journalism, medicine, dentistry, accounting, engineering, maritime, marketing, social science, chemistry, neuron-surgery, sports science – they spoke with the authority that comes from many years of study at highly respected Institutions of higher learning, and a wealth of experience in their respective fields.
Our learners had the enviable privilege of hearing about the careers and studies, and the chance to ask questions, but even more importantly, just to have these very busy professionals give the time to spend with them is the greatest lesson for us all. We are truly grateful to those who initiated this endeavour, as it is now in its third year, and our plea is that – whenever you as a past learner are approached, you avail yourself to continue this work. This year, an additional highlight for the Matrics, was the lunch provided for all of them, thanks to the generosity of Mr Sibabili Magubane.
In response, the Matrics especially, can be seen to be making a greater effort in their studies, and doing all they can to prepare for their future. We hope that with everyone’s assistance and good will, our work will continue successfully, and we can lead all our students to the expected outcomes.
WORKING TOGETHER WE CAN ACHIEVE MORE
Serving at St Francis College continues to offer more rewards than challenges – although the challenges are very real and urgent. The rewards we speak of, are seen and felt in the day-to-day activities of the school: when you watch the intent earnestness with which a chess game is tackled by some Grade 8’s, the camaraderie of a team leaving for a soccer match or listen to the spirited singing at Mass, either on Sundays or when the whole school takes part. Moreover, it is good to see how the learners rise to the occasion when they are called upon. Educational trips are still undertaken by each grade, as educators know that the learners will keep within the expected rules of behaviour, by and large.
Engaging the services of Mr Cyril Mthembu, of Comfitness, to coach the school’s soccer players has given new impetus to the boys’ playing, especially as Comfitness coaches on a professional level. This is giving our players the exposure which they have not had before, and we hope that it could even result in at least some of them obtaining bursaries for tertiary studies. It would also be most encouraging, if they
could develop to the level that they can gain access to provincial and national teams.
Our challenge now is to broaden the range of sports that the school offers, but the limitation of funds restricts those efforts.
We are very grateful to the few alumni whose efforts to build momentum to our fundraising attempts, have continued after the Fundraising Breakfast of August 2012. Through their efforts, the Breakfast function was a beautiful event, the paucity of attendance by alumni being the only drawback of the event.
This year a similar function will be held on the 24th August 2013. In preparation, email and sms messages have been sent out, requesting alumni to update their contact details so that all communication from the school can reach them. Invitations will be sent out soon, and we hope that more people can attend, or support our fundraising in every manner that they can.
The school’s fundraising committee is urgently in need of more alumni who can give of their time and expertise, to take the school forward.
FUNDS URGENTLY NEEDED FOR MARIANNHILL SCHOOL BUS
In spite of its outstanding academic achievement over the years, St Francis College in Mariannhill has been faced with the great challenge of lack of school transportation to ferry pupils on essential educational trips.
For years now the school has been relying on a fourteen seater minibus that has proven to be ineffective since only a handful of pupils benefit from the educational trips organised by the school while the majority of the pupils remain behind.There is an urgent need for a commodious – 23 seater – school bus for the school to continue to provide a holistic education to learners.
On this note, the school appeals to all well-wishers and donors to generously support the school towards the purchase of a 23 seater school bus. School principal, Mr Jabulani Nzama, said the school bus is an urgent matter. “Every year the school takes learners to obtain career information in different institutions. Such trips are important as they help them to get the necessary information directly from universities.”
The principal said every year the grade 12s in his school also attended various workshops which are organised by the subject advisors.
Again every year, our school organises excursions for all the grades. Learners thus need to be transported
to different venues such as Inkosi Albert Luthuli Museum, Phezulu Reserve Game (Hillcrest) and Hluhluwe Game Reserve. “All these are educational excursions,” said Mr Nzama. He added that the school is always obliged to pay thousands of rands in transport costs.Were the school to have its own bus, this money could be better used in meeting some of the other needs that exist.
Furthermore, Mr Nzama said there are also many learners who participate in various sporting codes. He added that “the 23 seater bus would help the school a great deal in playing against some of local schools, in that the bus would make it possible for the majority of learners to take part in different sporting codes”.
Those who wish to contribute towards the purchase of the 23 seater school bus are encouraged to deposit the money in the school fundraising account:
Ned bank Acc: 1339415801
Telephone: 031 7002824
Fax: 031 7003349
CHESS PLAYERS DO SCHOOL PROUD
Learners at St Francis College (SFC) in Mariannhill have had a remarkable start in their two inaugural inter-school chess tournaments in spite of being beginners in the game of chess.The first competition was held in March at Gelofte School while the second event, a month later, was held at Montclair Senior Primary.
During the first competition Mpilonhle Khuzwayo, a grade 9 learner, won all seven matches on the day. While in the second event Akhona Sithole, S’miso Mthembu, Thando Ziqubu and Lindokuhle Mbonambi also won all their eight matches.
The tournament attracted a wide participation from prospective future chess masters who hailed from different schools within the Durban region. Some of these schools, apart from SFC, include John Wesley (Pinetown) and Mount Edgecombe-Durban to name just two.
Ms Thandeka Khathi, the school’s chess coordinator, said the chess players are highly motivated and very enthusiastic.
“Our learners played very well considering the fact that the game of chess was only introduced in the middle of last year,” said Khathi.
Learners who participated at the chess tournament said winning so many of their matches gave them a spirit of triumph and achievement. In their own words, “thank you Ms Khathi and Mr Ndokweni for your unwavering dedication in making the game of chess a reality at the school”.
The introduction of chess is an indication that the school is committed to developing learners in all areas, and that it concedes the vital role the game of chess has in increasing higher level thinking skills and building self-confidence.
Studies show that students who have received chess instruction scored significantly higher on all measures of academic achievement, including mathematics, spatial analysis, and non-verbal reasoning ability.
MAKING THE HOSTEL A BETTER PLACE
The Boy’s Department of St Francis College has been in existence for over 100 years. Since then it has evolved from having a capacity of fewer than 50 to more than 120 students.With the school developing the living conditions at the hostel, it is hard for the learners not to give a hand as well.
At the beginning of the year the boys were astounded by a brand new, state of the art plasma Samsung TV. The boys were very pleased and delighted with the quality pictures – which was pleasing to the eye but were later a little down spirited by the low quality of the sound from the TV.
The boys in the boys department did not take this lightly and soon found an opportunity to set this to right, and organised a fundraising event for a new sound system to match the pleasing picture of the plasma. Each boy contributed R20 towards the sound system.
Moreover, on the 1st of March an event called Feel It was held by the matric boys to fundraise towards this sound system, and was an instant success. They also, with the help of a parent, arranged a play station festival at which each individual had to pay R5 to play in the festival, but participation was optional. Eventually our target was reached and with the help
of the Finance Department of the hostel, we bought a sound system and as soon as it arrived, there was music to our ears.
With such ambition and courage the boys are now planning to purchase a DSTV. The boys of the boys’ department would love to thank the hostel boarding master, Fr. Ngidi, finance department and Mr Nzama, the school Principal, for all their support.
A MARIANNHILL YOUNG POET AMONG THE BEST
A learner at St Francis College in Mariannhill has done the school proud after her first poem was published in the Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Anthology.
Sandisile Tshabalala, 17, the author of a poem titled “Raping Nation”, said that when she was still in Primary school, a grade 3 learner was raped by an employee at the school. She said she was motivated to write the poem in response to the plight of women in our society.
Sandisile said she had not expected that her poem would be chosen for publication.
“I was extremely thrilled with the news,” she said. She said the publication of her poem encourages her to write more. She is currently writing short stories about teen love.
St Francis College principal Mr Jabulani Nzama commended the efforts of the learner.
“It is a very interesting poem, and will encourage other learners to think constructively,” he said. Read Sandisiles’s poem below:
The Raping Nation
How could the silent be so loud?
Why is this darkness not bright enough? Why are cries not heard?
In shards our words lie at our feet
We are living in a raping nation.
Date rape, mate rape, child rape
And there is no escape
From this violent rape
The African women cry
And the little children die.
Why are the cries not heard?
HIV is seeping and creeping everywhere Please bother yourself and care.There is no comprehension
Of these demonstrations
We need some explanations
Young girls losing their virginities
Children growing up not knowing their daddies They are worried about their morals, values and principles
But really don’t care about the women’s future The African men don’t know their responsibilities And the women have lost their integrity. Now who must we blame?
The women with short skirts
Or the men who don’t have self-control?
We are living in a raping nation
Why are our cries not heard?
I LIED TO MYSELF
I lied to myself
At first I thought you weren’t the one
But later I realised you’re the only thing I’ve got And complete opposite everything that I’m not
I thought they were Joking
I never listened to what they said
I never believed what I was told about you
And I thought it’s only lies about you
I used to fool around
Thinking that I’m not good for you
I thought I was no match for you
But they kept telling me about you
In good and in bad times you were with me
In times of hardships you made everything easy
In tearful moments, my tears you wiped them away And in times of pain you healed me
Now I know you and trust you
I put all my problems unto you
And for all you’ve done for me,
LORD THANK YOU!
THE MESSAGE FROM THE CHIEF PREFECTS
Speaking on behalf of our fellow learners, our duty as chief prefects is to ensure the smooth functioning of the school. This consists of monitoring of the behaviour of learners and assisting educators in carrying out their work efficiently. We also aim to uplift and uphold the good name of our school. However, we cannot do it on our own, we need the assistance of everyone and most especially the cooperation of our fellow learners.
It is necessary to reflect a little on the purpose of a school. it seems as though we have forgotten, judging by the way we behave ourselves in general. The school is supposed to be not only a place of safety where we acquire knowledge and wisdom, but a place where we are groomed and made better individuals by the time we leave the school.
There are various issues that need to be considered in order for our school to reach its desired level. Such issues include the high level of noise and the apparent lack of interest in learning amongst some learners, to name just two. That is, instead of focusing on teaching, often educators spend time on disciplining learners in class. It seems as if we (learners) don’t know what our parents or grandparents are paying school fees for. Let’s make a difference in our attitude towards schooling. Let’s show more enthusiasm and interest in becoming more focused and goal- orientated learners. Most importantly, let’s respect others by first respecting ourselves. Remember this is your year to excel in everything through God who is your strength.
LESSONS FROM THE PASSION OF CHRIST
As part of our Easter preparation this year, we Grade 12’s had the chance to see a DVD of the Passion of Christ, by Mel Gibson. For all of us, it was the most touching, searing and unforgettable movie we had ever seen. Below are my
reflections upon viewing this movie: A crown of thorns they gave Him. “One befitting his Highness” they said… “We are paying respects to you King” they said, all the while beating him… A red robe they draped around His body: ‘a perfect colour for His Majesty’, they mocked Him. This was torture undeserved by the Son of Man from a world He would die for.
Simon of Cyrene carried the cross with Him. He helped ease the burden. Although it wasn’t a situation he’d wanted to be in, he still kept walking with Jesus. Simon saw the struggle, felt the pain. The little bits and pieces that on-one else saw. Up the mountain the pair trudged, cross heavy on their shoulders. On one side was a man who was innocent, who on His shoulders not only carried the cross but the sins of the world too.This for a world that mocked Him and scourged His body beyond recognition. On His shoulders He carried the sins of believers and non-believers alike, never excluding those
that sacrificed Him. On the other side, a man who was thrown into a situation unforeseen.This was a man who nevertheless didn’t utter a complaint, but looked into the eyes of Jesus and as if they had spoken, agreed to share the burden.
If Jesus could carry the cross beaten and battered, falling along the way, never giving up and allowing Simon to help ease the burden, how do we say we believe in Him, when we give up so easily? How when we need to fall only once and say I give up, I’ve had enough, this is not my fight.
We fail to forgive. Though day by day we ask God for forgiveness, pleading with Him to forget our sins. Yet, we fail to do the same, instead we judge, condemn, curse and bear grudges that take us away from His mercy.We can’t be saints like Him, our human nature doesn’t allow that, but we can try, to forget another’s imperfection, to love unconditionally and forgive without doubt.
We learn from Simon that no matter the situation, sometimes it’ll do us well to forget ourselves, to crush our pride and offer a hand, an ear, a shoulder to carry someone else’s cross; and be their support system.
The main lesson we learn from the Passion of Christ is to give without expectation, to avail ourselves, to love, to have faith and to remember that there’s a Man who gave up His life, who took our sins and bore the pain for them, so that we may be forgiven.
BEING IN MATRIC 2013
Simelane Londiwe and Nokwanda Mthembu
As Matric students in this blessed school, we all have common challenges, wishes, hopes and dreams. We are highly motivated and determined to achieve all these – and thus walk in the footsteps of those who have gone before us.
Even before anyone tells us anything, we can feel the pressure of being in matric, because of the results especially of the last year before us. Not only were they excellent, and the 100% pass goes without saying, but they achieved 221 subject distinctions. This means that we now also have to try to reach a similar goal.
We are motivated by these latest alumni of our school.We also wish that we could better control our stress, by placing our trust in the living God, as our school continually tells us how important it is to believe in Him.We hope that our grades this year can improve from those of Grade 11, so that we do not just do well, but we excel.
This would enable us to apply for bursaries for next year, which would give us access to the Universities and Technikons where we can study further. Everyone keeps telling us that through hard work, all is possible.Yes, this is true, but the support of everyone, especially the educators, is also very important.
As Matriculants, we wish to grow much more spiritually so that we can be ready to face all that life away from school will throw at us; and so that our dreams, hopes and wishes can become a reality. We also just want to enjoy it and create wonderful memories that will last forever.
More than all this, we hope to keep up the standard of good passes, and even exceed that of last year.This is our spirit!
WE NEED TO MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICES FROM THE START
Being in school may seem as an obligation. We are forever thinking and dreaming of the life after matric. The illusion of the idea of freedom, the idea of less supervision and moreover, the false perception on non-regular attendance of classes at tertiary level seem to preoccupy our minds.The question that one needs to ask himself or herself is “What are your prospects or plans after matric?”
As we begin our academic journey from lower grades to matric we seem to know what the year has in stock for us. That is what is required of us to achieve and also how to go about achieving whatever is set for us. These are the years of strict supervision and control by educators at school. However, when we think of life after matric, we are overwhelmed by the anxiety of the unknown as we have in our minds various visions, goals or dreams to be achieved.The question to ask is: “how are all these goals and visions in our minds going to be accomplished?” The secret to achieve your goals starts with an illumination of one’s heart’s desire. It starts at grade 9 when one has to begin choosing the subjects that are in one way or
the other in line with the future career of the individual.
Many things need to be considered when it comes to career choice. For instance self-introspection is the stage in which one begins to list his or her values, personality, interests and abilities to name a few as early as grade 9. This helps provide a good understanding of one-self and the kind of life and work environment that one would like to pursue in future.
Therefore by the time the individual is in grade 10, 11 or 12 she needs to have decided on her career choice and begin working hard towards the accomplishment of the desired goals or objectives.
While the school is academically focused, however it still finds time for entrepreneurial training. Leaners of each grade plan, prepare and sell various food and non-food items to raise funds. They do their own marketing, and take responsibility for everything that they have used. Indeed, one can see budding business magnates among them already.
Below are some of market day scenes.