Fairy godmother waves her wand

What started as just a conversation between two women turned into the opportunity of a lifetime for a group of grade 12 learners. Party-loving Rene van Wyk put her planning efforts and funding into making the matric farewell of over 70 scholars a magical night.

12 November 2019 | Youth

Ester Kamati

Matric farewell is one night that leaves lasting memories and is a much-anticipated event for most learners. After having worked on matric farewells for a good three years, it dawned on Renee van Wyk that there are some teenagers who do not get the chance to attend their matric farewell functions because of a lack of money. She made the necessary arrangements for using De Kayak, home of the Windhoek Canoe Club, to make the matric farewell of Augustineum Secondary School one for the books.

“Because we are in the party industry, the best thing we can give is a party and we wanted to give it to children,” said van Wyk, who has spent roughly 15 years in the hospitality industry. Giving back to the community warms Van Wyk’s heart and according to her, seeing the children’s happy and smiling faces is what gave her the most joy. She treasures matric farewells because grade 12 is a huge milestone for the children and she is glad to be part of ensuring that they get one day to simply unwind after a long academic year.

Van Wyk hopes to continue the project and assist other high schools in underprivileged areas that cannot afford to host a matric farewell. Augustineum Secondary School being the first to benefit from Van Wyk’s generosity, school principal Rudolf Matengu said the relationship between her and the school can only get stronger and applauded her for a gesture that will always be appreciated by the school.

Matengu, in his speech to the matriculants, urged them to learn good skills and serve their community with these. One such skill would be aiding others wherever possible, just as Van Wyk did. According to him, the attendance of the matric farewell was the highest this year with an attendance of over 80% of the grade twelves. He said the school hopes to teach its learners to be kind and give to others whenever they can.

“Even when they are successful in their lives, they must know that they were once helped; they must also help others,” he said, adding that they can make a difference to other generations. “From now on you represent this school to the world as alumni,” he added.

Emma Iipinge, the 2019 head girl, encouraged her peers to follow their dreams. “Climbing the ladder to success is hard work,” she said. Determined, patient and confident is how these newly matriculants are going to enter the larger society according to Iipinge, who gave thanks to everybody who has moulded the group into the individuals they have grown into.

As part of her donation, Van Wyk provided a free venue, meal, drinks, a live DJ and even transportation for some of the learners. This was with the support of the sponsors that she had engaged, which included Coca-Cola, Namib Poultry, and Celebrations for the décor, as well as her staff, whom she thanked.

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