New life comes to Hillwood

2016-08-30 06:00
Gavin Alkana, the principal of Hillwood Primary School, says he is happy that the school is a happy place for everyone and they will be doing more to uphold their values to make it a very good school.  PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

Gavin Alkana, the principal of Hillwood Primary School, says he is happy that the school is a happy place for everyone and they will be doing more to uphold their values to make it a very good school. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

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Hillwood Primary School has been known as the “dumping ground” for some time, slowly but surely the school is turning over a new leaf.

“Things were really bad here and they were going down the slope. No one wanted to teach here. Even the kids in the area moved out to other schools. Kids that were not wanted from other schools were sent here, which was bad. Coupling with the challenges of the community it was just a nightmare being here. At some point I lost faith in the education system and I didn’t want to be a teacher anymore, but the new principal gave me hope,” says Bruce Asia, one of the teachers.

Gavin Alkana, the new principal of the school, says for over three years the school hasn’t had a permanent principal, which had a major negative effect.

“There were acting principals over the years. Yes, they did their part, but somewhere, somehow, it affected the school that they weren’t permanent principals. When I took over at the beginning of this year, there was a lot that was supposed to be done and I’m glad that we are all working together to take this school to higher heights,” says Alkana.

Due to a lack of proper management, staff members say they didn’t know whether they were coming or going. “It was a difficult time for us. All that was being done was to just pass the day. When I walked into this school about two years ago it looked really bad. Buildings were dilapidated. It was just sad and depressing. But now things are changing. We look forward to each day. We are excited to be here,” says teacher Zeenat Price.

Alkana says he and his staff had to go back to the drawing board. “We had to work together and find a way to turn things around. We had to revisit our vision and our mission statement. We have to live our values which are love, care, respect and kindness, and I must say it’s working for the school. It’s filtering through from the teachers to the pupils, creating a happy space. We had to paint the building to bring it back to life. Though a lot of things still needs to be done, I believe we are on the right track,” he says.

Price says the school is moving forward because Alkana believes in his staff.
“He makes you believe that you can do it. He is a good leader. I’m happy to be here. We work together to see how we can improve the school and to push our learners for the best. We are growing. Yes, a lot still needs to be done, but we are glad to say we are on the right path,” adds Price.
The school already has its classes full for next year, which shows faith is being regained. Apart from good management, the school has also attributed their success to the partnerships they are forming with businesses that are helping the school in many ways so they can achieve their goals.

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