Thando Mijiyako has mixed feelings about the lockdown, and not being at school at the moment.
“To be honest, it’s been stressful,” he said. “This is our matric year and I’d been looking forward to being a senior in the school and to getting good results at the end of the year, and this has disrupted that.”
Thando came in at number seven on the grade 12 Top 10 academics list that was announced recently, so he clearly takes his academic work very seriously and the current circumstances had made it more difficult. “It’s been great that we are able to keep our work going as the school was well prepared for something like this, but the prospect of no personal interaction with the teachers has placed a burden on us. We have had to do research, and gather resources for ourselves, which increases the workload.
“At the same time I have been given the opportunity to spend more time at home with my family that I usually get. As a hostel boy, I am enjoying the home comforts and I am actually getting to know my brother and sister. That’s something I somehow never had enough time for before and it’s been a big plus in these difficult times,” Thando said.
Thando is the chairman of the school’s RCL and his work there has also been disrupted. “The personal contact element is missing, and we have had to put our outreach initiatives on hold, but we are still carrying on with our learner welfare programme, which is more important than ever now,” he said.
The RCL set up communication groups earlier in the year and that is proving to be very welcome now. “The RCL exec is on a group and we talk every day, and we got all the class reps to set up Whats App groups with their classes. So they keep in touch and they can find out how the boys are doing and report any cases where anyone is struggling for whatever reason and we liaise with the school’s care programme.”
The motivational video clip that went out early in the lockdown was an RCL initiative and they contributed to its production, Thando explained.
“We don’t know what the future holds and how the re-opening of the school will happen. That’s obviously causing uncertainty and anxiety. We should all be thankful that Jeppe had an online learning plan and that it’s been working. Many of the schools around the country are not so fortunate.
“My message to the boys is to keep their spirits up. This will pass and we are all going to enjoy seeing each other again when it does.”