In the low-lying sandy soils of Rondevlei in Knysna, stands a 3-classroom primary school. Here 72 primary learners spend their school days; ably taught by the Principal, Mrs Saayman and Mr Swartz. With the help of Oakhill School and many caring community workers, this school is helped with donations of books, food, furniture, clothes, playground equipment and many essential items.
Friday was a morning of celebration for us all as we lined the church walls and filled the available seating. Parents, past and present teachers, local community helpers and the proud Rondevlei learners were all part of the morning of thanks, celebration and farewells.
The morning program included a warm introduction by the School’s Principal, Mrs Saayman; delicate voices harmonising and singing Christmas carols; younger learners swaying and moving to the words of Heidi and the Grade 7’s parading in their finest and bidding goodbye to their Primary School and teachers. Tears, hugs and clapping charged the morning with emotion as goodbyes were said to those leaving.
Christa Benson, a past pupil of Rondevlei Primary, and currently a Bursary Student at Oakhill, sat quietly in the front row recalling her special days at Rondevlei until her name was called out to accept a gift from Mrs Saayman – a gift in recognition of Christa’s determination and achievements of top awards at Oakhill’s recent Celebration of Excellence. Gasps of proudness were audible from parents and students as Christa’s achievements were appreciated and applauded.
As the morning program came to a close, a booming Santa Claus rustled out of the bushes – mumbling he was looking for the Rondevlei children. With bent stick, hobbling gait and rosy cheeks, he greeted us all to shrieks of delight and clapping. Each and every Rondevlei learner enjoyed a special moment on Santa’s lap whilst receiving their Angel Bag, a bag filled with needy items, a football and other treats – delight and surprise imprinted on every child’s face.
Thank you to all the Oakhill parents who kindly supported the Oakhill Angel Tree Project and helped make the morning so special – “Angels dare to live in the hearts who give”.
Story by Vanessa Eyre
Photos by Petra Quinlan