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COMMUNITY AFFAIRS

Ikusasa Lethu, formerly known as the Alexandra High Schools Programme, has three features: an academic programme for Grades 10, 11 and 12, an enrichment programme for Grade 10s and a mentorship programme. The aim is to assist learners from schools in Alexandra, and some privately sponsored learners, to achieve results that will enable them to enter tertiary institutions of their choice.

Linda Giuricich (second from left), director of Community Affairs at St Mary’s

St Mary’s girls make and distribute sandwiches at Saturday school

School, with Christine Hill, head of service, Julia Bell, deputy head of Community Affairs and Imaan Hassim, head of Community Affairs

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The academic programme St Mary’s makes its classrooms, laboratories and computer rooms available on Saturdays. A number of St Mary’s educators, and educators from other schools, teach a variety of academic subjects. During the week, Myendran Moodley gives extra Mathematics classes in Alexandra, and the Grade 11s and 12s attend holiday classes at Jabula Recreation Centre in Sandringham. Some of the learners are sponsored by Ernst & Young, The Gumboots Foundation and private sponsors (see page 3, middle right). Thanks to the programme, last year’s Grade 12s achieved a 100% pass rate. Four learners excelled: Zipho Memani and Sphamandla Jiyane achieved six As, and Nompumelelo Nzuza and Siyasanga Mtayi four As.

Zipho Memani

Sphamandla Jiyane

Nompumelelo Nzuza and Siyasanga Mtayi

Staff of the Ikusasa Lethu programme

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(Top) Winnie Khanyile (St Mary’s), Andrew Muruwa (Saheti School, HoD Commerce) and Ingrid Zlobinsky-Roux (St Mary’s, HoD Mathematics) teach Saturday school (Middle left) The parents of the 2016 learners were invited to St Mary’s to hear about the programme and see the facilities (Left) Lona Ngobeni, who is a Grade 10 learner, sells mats and knitted scarves in Katlehong. Kohlofelo Mohale, the top Mathematics learner at Realogile High School, started Numeral Stars in 2014, teaching extra Mathematics to her Grade 10 classmates. This year she taught her matric classmates one afternoon a week. Kohlofelo also provided sandwiches for the group, sponsored by her mentors. Paballelo Mabiza bakes scones and sells them to help her family

Lona Ngobeni, Kohlofelo Mohale and Paballelo Mabiza

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Grade 10 enrichment programme In addition to the academic programme, an enrichment programme is arranged for the Grade 10s. They take part in yoga, chess, tennis and art lessons. Once a month, they sing and dance with musician Peter Machaka. In July, WWF discussed the importance of water with them, and they researched where it originates and how it is delivered to their homes. A team from Mott MacDonald instructed them on the building of bridges, which they proceeded to construct from paper and straws. In August, JEFA (Junior Engineers for Africa) organised a workshop using LEGO. Computer programming courses were run in December 2015 and July 2016, in the MOOV (Massive Open Online Varsity) centres at the Sandton Library and in Alexandra respectively.

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Sizanani Mentorship Programme Valérie Hirsch, manager of the Sizanani Mentorship Programme, partners learners with mentors. This registered NPO programme is chaired by Monique Adams, a St Mary’s Old Girl. Job shadowing, Life Orientation classes and outings in and around Johannnesburg are organised and learners are assisted with applications to tertiary institutions and applications for bursaries. Groups of learners visited Reutech Engineering and enjoyed a camp in the Magaliesberg with their mentors. They spent a day at the Sunninghill Hospital. Rendani Makubane “learnt that being a doctor starts now, by being compassionate, seeking consent and showing that you care. I also learnt how to sterilise and dress a wound, and insert a drip. It was a validation of how much I want to do medicine.” The Grade 12s visited ABSA Bank, and the Grade 11s did a “Dependable Strengths” course sponsored by Rotary. Valérie Hirsch, Deanne King and Linda Giuricich met the French ambassador, Elzabeth Barbier (bottom right image, second from the right), and Martha Stein-Soches (right), of Agence Française de Développement.

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Professional Development Physical Sciences and Life Sciences workshops Jenny Page, St Mary’s HoD of Life Sciences, and Herbert Mudzwinga, from St David’s Marist, Inanda, arranged monthly Life Sciences and Physical Sciences workshops at St Mary’s for 23 educators from high schools in Alexandra. They also visited these Alexandra schools. The Alexandra Life Sciences educators spent a day at St Mary’s and the Physical Sciences educators a day at St David’s. A team of St David’s and St Mary’s pupils assisted with making laboratories in the Alexandra schools more user friendly. Mildred Mashau, who teaches Life Sciences at Realogile High School and attends the Life Sciences workshops, is a past Alexandra High Schools Programme (Ikusasa Lethu) learner.

Jenny Page and the Alexandra educators

A Physical Sciences teacher presents a lesson to Herbert Mudzwinga (second from the left) and other educators

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Reggio international conference St Mary’s follows the Reggio Emillia approach in its Pre-Primary School (Little Saints). In order to share this creative, child-centred approach, the school hosts a three-day conference in June. The conference, now in its fourth year, is always well attended, with teachers from under-resourced schools sponsored by the PUTCO Foundation. The conference is organised and facilitated by Tessa Browne (bottom right), formerly HoD of Little Saints.

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Junior School outreach projects Grade 6s and 7s from St Mary’s are involved in weekly “buddy reading” with Grade 3s from HA Jack Primary School. Junior School girls brought cheer to the residents of Waverley House and they collected clothes, baby products, pet food and Easter eggs for those less fortunate than themselves. They visited the SPCA, and were enthralled by the children from Kids Haven.

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Mandela Day

On Mandela Day, the Senior School girls knitted squares, iced cupcakes and collected shoes. The Junior School girls made sandwiches and sweet treats, and collected books for the HA Jack Primary School library.

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Senior School outreach projects

House activities The four school houses, Clayton, Furse, Karney and Phelps, collected and delivered baby products to The Lighthouse Baby Shelter, made up hampers for expectant mothers at the Alexandra maternity clinic, and donated winter clothes and blankets for newborn babies to The Grace Factory. They visited the Princess Alice Adoption Home, donated care packs to the Epic Foundation, and money and knitted squares to the Warm the World organisation. The houses decide on the projects they will undertake at the beginning of each academic year.

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Service trip to Alma Primary School, Limpopo Sixteen Senior School girls spent their February half-term teaching arts and crafts to the young learners at Alma Primary School. Activities with the children included tie-dying, making hand puppets, crowns, masks and a fishing game, and painting bags and pottery. The St Mary’s girls helped the teachers of this under-resourced school by making teaching aids, such as Snakes and Ladders board games and pictures of the seasons.

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Alexandra High School A group of matrics from Alexandra High School spent two days at St Mary’s undertaking practical work for Consumer Studies, as the kitchen at their school was being renovated.

HA Jack Primary School Through the JUMP Maths programme, St Mary’s Senior School girls helped Grade 5 learners from HA Jack Primary School enhance their mathematical skills.

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Waverley Girls’ High School Learners from Waverley Girls’ High School attended Linda Giuricich’s rhythmic gymnastics classes, dance lessons, and swimming lessons given by St Mary’s girls and coach Kelsey White. Girls from Waverley Girls’ High School also attended the St Mary’s careers expo.

Meetseng Primary School, Soshanguve Big Pond in Australia donated three pallets of books to the Meetseng Primary School library. This was organised by Linda Giuricich in collaboration with the HM Pitje Foundation Trust. At the St Mary’s Investec Hockey Festival, R88 600 was raised to send 443 children from schools in the Eastern Cape to attend a Coaching for Conservation course, run by Investec Rhino Lifeline.

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Running the Community Affairs department requires time, effort and commitment. It is supported by Deanne King, head of St Mary’s School, the St Mary’s Board of Directors, the St Mary’s Foundation, the girls and their parents. It is Linda Giuricich’s responsibility to ensure that it runs smoothly and she raises funds with the help of the St Mary’s Foundation. Community Affairs is grateful for the generosity of all those who make the programmes possible.

Linda Giuricich Director of Community Affairs 55 Athol Street, Waverley, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa PO Box 981, Highlands North 2037 Cell: 083 377 3177 Tel: 011 531 1800 Fax: 086 504 1122 Email: linda.giuricich@stmary.co.za www.stmarysschool.co.za

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SMS Community Affairs Oct 2016  
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