Excitement as Gauteng schools reopen
Johannesburg - Pupils showed excitement, nerves and a few tears on Wednesday when Gauteng schools reopened.
"I am a bit nervous," said a Grade 8 pupil sitting in her mother's car waiting for the 07:30 bell which would signal the start of her first day at Roosevelt High School.
Her ambition was to be general surgeon one day.
Also there to lend moral support was her father, but in a separate car because both parents had to go to work after seeing her safely through the gates.
The girl's older sister - who completed matric at the same school last year - had some advice for her sister: "I told her she must work hard from the first day".
"A lot of people play around at high school, but you really need to start working straight away."
Her mother said it had been tricky to keep her children entertained over the long Christmas holidays.
However, she was sad her daughter was going back to school after their quality time over the holidays.
Matrics at Roosevelt High School said they were "very excited" to be back, and were determined to work hard towards their final exams.
They said they had enjoyed the holiday, but that "after a while it became a bit boring".
Near the gate, a group of pupils who aspire to be lawyers, doctors and veterinarians animatedly chatted, catching up after the holidays.
At Risidale Primary School, a 10-year-old, Grade 5 pupil said she was happy to be back at school and was excited that she would be learning new things.
As she was a returning pupil, she said she was not really nervous.
Carrying a bulging rucksack, another schoolgirl walked with her mother to the school gates.
"We have to leave home early, catch two taxis and walk for about 15 minutes to get here in time," her mother said.
"A good education is the most important thing you can give to your child," she said.
A load of giggling pupils from various schools in a school 'hopper' taxi said they had missed their friends, but were apprehensive about the hard work which would be expected of them in the coming year.
A Grade 2 pupil, who wanted to be a doctor, said he had missed playing school soccer.
At Franklin D Roosevelt School, a group of senior primary boys said they were not particularly excited to be back at school: "We're not ready, we need longer holidays".
However, they admitted that they were enjoying being back with their friends and intended playing lots of sport in the coming year.
They said they would also work hard at their favourite subjects: maths, arts and culture.
The boys said their intended careers were physiotherapist, athlete and train driver.
School headmaster Hilton Westlake said the first day had got off to a smooth start: "There have been no hitches, but it's still early".
In previous years, some pupils had arrived at the school without having applied, but this generally did not happen.
"I think the department [of education] has done enough this year to publicise the issue, so we shouldn't have a problem this year," Westlake said.
He said those who had not applied were advised to go straight to the department.
As a number of pupils greeted him, Westlake said: "We enjoyed the holidays, we do need the break, but it is nice to be back."
A Grade 1 girl, huddled in her mother's car, bravely fought back tears and said she was hoping to make lots of friends at "big school".
"My mum gave me a Tinkie in my lunch for the first day," she said, smiling and rubbing her eyes.
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