It’s with sadness, but also with a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation that Jeppe says goodbye this week – for the second time – to Mr Dudley Wallendorf.
Mr Wallendorf officially retired at the end of 2016 but, unsurprisingly, he agreed to come back at the beginning of the next year to take his grade 11s through to the end of matric. He stayed on for another three and a half years but has finally decided to call it a day now.
“The time is right,” he said. “The Covid-19 pandemic and the conditions for re-opening schools, which don’t allow people of my age to come back at this stage, played a big role in my decision, but I had been thinking of moving on anyway. I have things I still want to do. I live in a retirement village, so all my neighbours are old and it wouldn’t be fair to put them at risk of infection by going out every day anyway.”
Those who know Mr Wallendorf will not be shocked to hear his future plans include lots of travelling. “As soon as the world opens up again, and the Rand strengthens, I’m going on a long cruise,” he said. “Then we’ll see.”
More recent entrants into the Jeppe family will only know Mr Wallendorf as an excellent teacher, who popped in to teach his accounting classes every day, but in his initial 27 years at Jeppe he was much more than that. When he retired in 2016, he was correctly described as a Jeppe legend and his achievements in the classroom, on the sports fields and as a mentor to other teachers were recounted. The many years that he was senior master at Tsessebe House were perhaps his greatest contribution and he will be remembered long into the future by the thousands of boys whose lives he affected in that boarding house.
“Throughout the years I did many things at Jeppe, but the teaching of the boys in the classroom was always the most important, and the most enjoyable for me. I was very fortunate to carry on with that for another three and a bit years and I’m going to miss it,” he said.
“Things will go on, though, and I will always remember my time at the school and I’ll keep an eye on how the boys are doing.”
Goodbye and thank you Mr Wallendorf.