Educating future leaders

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Legends in the making


A special group of learners enrolled at LEAP 6 this year, will be remembered as a legendary class: they are the first group of Grade 8s at LEAP Science & Maths Schools. Not only are they benefiting from earlier access to the academic and social life of LEAP, they are bringing new energy and optimism to the school.

Until 2013, new LEAP learners joined the school in Grade 9. The decision to pilot a Grade 8 class came about from a desire to start an earlier intervention, and enable learners to have a smoother transition to high school.

Zonke Mpotulo, an English teacher and Relationship Leader at the school in GaRankuwa, says the pilot is off to a fantastic start. “The Grade 8s have brought an injection of energy,” she explains. “They embrace everything and are so eager and excited.”

As a former LEAP student, Zonke can contrast the experience of having a group of Grade 8s with her own years at LEAP. And having been on campus last year when there were no Grade 8s, she’s noticed their presence and the changes they’ve bought on campus.

They’ve really benefited the school. Our singing is better, and even our cultural activities have more life and energy and enthusiasm. They’re louder too!”

The new LEAP learners are also pleased to have joined the school. They all come from surrounding primary schools in the Pretoria and GaRankuwa areas. Buang Ledingwane, 13, joined the school from Lesego Primary School. He says LEAP is a wonderful school. “I love many things, like the code of conduct, and the way teachers treat us. At LEAP they also provide lunch for us.”

In the past eight months Buang has experienced LEAP’s innovative Life Orientation (LO) classes, and they seem to be having the desired effect of equipping him for life. “I like LO because it’s changed me. When I express myself and share some of the problems I have, it helps me. My classmates give me good advice, and I forget about my problems.”

The intention behind starting a Grade 8 class is for learners to be academically and emotionally empowered as soon as possible. Boineelo More, 13, says even though she’s only been at LEAP for a short while, she’s already learnt a lot. And the learning hasn’t just taken place in the classroom.

We have community meetings every week, and when I talk at them I feel good. Even though I am only in Grade 8, I feel like I am a leader because I can express my thoughts and feelings. ”

Like Buang, she’s also found LO helpful. “I like that we sit in a circle and share. We all have problems. And when we don’t share them we end up doing things we regret. But when I share, I get relief.”

When the group shared who they are, where they come from and what they hope to achieve in a brainstorming exercise, there were some surprising results. As well as predictably wanting the good things in life, this energetic group also wanted to give back and make something of their lives:

When I grow up I want to be a pilot. I want to be one of the women who doesn’t fear flying a plane. I want to travel overseas and take people there.”

When I grow up I want to buy a big car which I can use when it is an emergency at work.”

I want to be an educated man.”

It is my dream to do charity work and help those who are in need.”

My dreams: pass matric and university.”

I want to support my parents and family.”

While high school will bring its challenges, it seems that Buang and Boineelo are set to deal with them positively. Along with their 30 other classmates, they’ll be remembered for helping LEAP make history.

Values - Everyone at LEAP commits to:

  • Being kind, honest and healthy
  • Being punctual and looking good
  • Working hard and never giving up
  • Admitting and learning from mistakes
  • Confronting issues and being open to change
  • Working together and sharing