1st matric farewell for Pilgrims Rest
Arisja Jacobs, Beeld
Pilgrims Rest - The Pilgrims Rest City Secondary School opened its doors 12 years ago, but this year for the first time since 1998 the Grade 12s enjoyed a matric farewell.
Curious residents, vendors and tourists gathered at the Royal Hotel on Saturday night to see the town's matriculants all dressed up for their farewell party.
Women cheered and danced in the street each time a veteran car dropped a couple off at the red carpet.
"Look how gorgeous our children are!" a woman called out every now and then.
Nobody knows whether she was a parent or a spectator, but that didn't matter.
The poorly resourced school, which doesn't even have a staff room, has not been able to afford a matric farewell since 1998.
"Earlier this year when I asked a few pupils what they planned to do for their matric farewell, they looked at me as if I came from another planet.
"Right there I decided that we as a community should do something for these wonderful children," said Isabel Jacobs, a resident and organiser of the farewell.
"Many pupils in rich schools take it for granted that they will have a matric farewell, but not these matriculants. They could never even have dreamt of such a thing," she said.
Jacobs assembled an organising committee which consisted of Christine Rowe, Marius Brummer, René Reinders and Sharon Paterson, and together they involved other businesses in the museum town to help organise a matric farewell.
The committee collected donations. Among other things, the committee contacted the Princess Project which collects evening dresses and suits for disadvantaged matrics countrywide.
The Pilgrims Rest school's 26 matriculants could pick what they wanted to wear on their special night. Even shoes and jewellery came pouring in.
The party was held at the Royal Hotel's Diggers Den, where tables were decorated with pink flowers, feathers and ballroom masks.
"It's more than wonderful. How can a parent ever say thank you for this?
"I've never seen my daughter look this beautiful," said Gladys Mashego, mother of the head girl, Goodness.
Thapelo Maphanga, the head boy, said the party was the highlight of his matric year.
"I'll always remember it," he said.