Much to take in on day one

2012-01-12 00:00

THEY sat around the knee-high yellow tables in groups of six — some concentrating very hard as teacher Sandy Matzopoulos explained the contents of their stationery packs.

For some this required a lot of thought. It was clearly too much for one little boy who gave an enormous yawn and leaned his head on the table top. His giggling companion nudged him.

Athlone Primary School headmaster Anton Wepener appeared relaxed and jovial as he welcomed parents and pointed them in the right direction. It is his 20th year as the school’s headmaster.

“We keep our class numbers reasonably low due to the good support from the parent governing body, and we manage to employ an extra 11 teachers,” he said.

The two grade one classes each have fewer than 25 children.

The grade ones will embrace the wonderful world of the alphabet and colours and days of the week.

Shiny shoes, freshly pressed clothes and nervous energy abound, but experienced teacher Matzopolous takes it all in her stride.

Her calm authority floats over the room and there is not one teary eye in the whole class.

Ella Vilhelmsson is here from Sweden while her father works at Grey’s hospital.

Little Alphelele Ngcobo, the youngest child in his family to start school, was not nervous as he cheerfully waved his dad goodbye.

At Howick West Primary, Asavela Ndimande entered the gates, leaving behind her thrilled mother Nokuthenjwa Nxumalo.

“I am so excited and proud of my daughter. She is my first girl and last-born. We are from Mpophomeni.

“I chose Howick West because it’s the best and I applied in time. She’ll have a better education than I had, because she’ll be in a multi-lingual school.”

Principal Sivanundhan Pillay said, “We finished all our admin last year. We’ll be handing out stationery first, today. We are still getting inquiries. There’s been an influx of children in this area.”

In Imbali, Anele Ndlovu (4), who started pre-primary, ran around the yard and hugged a pole, refusing to let go as others marched to their classrooms. “I want to go home. I don’t want to go to class. They’re going to hit me,” he cried.

His mother Nomfundo said, “He’s frustrating me. I don’t know why he’s acting this way.”

Proud father Nkosivelile Mzimela, who had a child in Grade R, said he was over the moon to see his only child starting school.

“I need to rush to work now, but it’s so hard to leave her behind. I have so much joy,” he said smiling.

But Funulwazi Primary School had some bad news.

Cebolakhe Ndlela, who was due to start grade two yesterday, drowned with a friend at an Umgeni Water pipeline construction site on Monday.

Principal Mphumuzi Zondi said they would offer counselling to grieving friends.

At Sanzwili Combined Primary School, many children appeared to be happy to be back with friends.

“I’m enjoying myself. I missed singing and praying at the assembly and writing and playing too,” said a grade two learner Xolani Dlamini. He has big plans for the future — he wants to be a policeman.

Principal Thulani Zuma said they are still waiting for the Department of Education’s delivery of stationery, but they did have the textbooks.

Photos:

Jayden Cameron on his first day at Newholms Primary School

Photo: Shan Pillay

Roxy Turner and Bayanda Dladla listen intently to their new teacher Miss St Leger at Northeren Park Primary school grade 3 class. PHOTO MARK WING

RR Graders at Northern Park Pre-Primary, Sibongakonke Mbongwe and Deltrish Townes share in harmony as they build models together.

Photo: Mark Wing

Rookaya Mohamed on her first day at Newholms Primary School.

Photo: Shan Pillay

Making friends are from left: Charlise Erasmus, Markus du Toit (middle) and Liandie du Toit (right) who started grade one at Suid-Natal Primary.

Ready to start grade eight at Port Shepstone High School is Sinaye Pumane (left) and Ross Ashmore (right).

Kimeshan Pillay (left), Savannah Pearce (middle) and Lifa Malanda (right) were among the goup of grade one's who started at Hibiscus Coast Academy in Umtentweni.

Grade one pupil Nathan Card enjoyed his first day at Suid-Natal Primary.

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