Tributes continue to pour in for PE teacher

2015-04-24 14:34

Port Elizabeth - Tributes have poured in from all corners of the world for Jayde Panayiotou following her murder earlier this week.

In the United Arab Emirates on Friday, more than 70 South Africans took part in a march of remembrance through Al Ain.

Expat Carol-Ann Poisat organised the march in memory of Panayiotou, as well as to show solidarity for all victims of crime in South Africa.

The much loved Riebeek College Girl’s High School teacher was allegedly abducted outside her home at Stellen Glen residential complex in Deacon Road, Kabega on Tuesday morning. Her body was found the following day in an isolated area near KwaNobuhle Township in Uitenhage.

Riebeek College held a memorial service for Panayiotou at 11:00 on Friday and closed at 12.

 (Photos by Derrick Spies)

Learners coloured in images of owls, which Panayiotou loved, wrote tributes to their former teacher.

Teachers and learners also shared their thoughts and memories on the school’s website and Facebook page.

One former learner also put a video tribute together for Panayiotou.


A special video was received by the teachers. It was made by an Old Girl in Tribute of Mrs Jayde Panayiotou.

Posted by Riebeek College Girls' High School on Thursday, 23 April 2015

Riebeek staff recounted their favourite Jayde moments online.

“I think Jayde was a kindred spirit to many people…To me, she was the person who kept on reminding me of all the good in the world."

"Her dedication to causes and people were humbling and so sincere," a post read.

"Memories with Jayde that light up my face is when we shared our child-like moments. Sharing happy dances, jumping on the jumping castle together and tobogganing at full speed.

She is not just a person to call 'friend', she shared herself with others and made you feel cared for. I will celebrate you my friend,”  wrote Miss Potgieter.

Mrs Stroebel remembered pizza and Coca-Cola deliveries on Friday, delivered at the back gate to make sure they did “not get into trouble”.

Viljoen loved Panayiotou’s laugh, how it cheered up the staff all the time and remembered Panayiotou would pinch her nose to contain her laughter.

Mrs T Woods wrote remembered Panayiotou sitting in the staff room putting her sunglasses on upside down and tying her hair up in a high pony and swinging her head around and around like a helicopter.

Woods remembers how Panayiotou taught her how to drive the older school bus and they rode around the block practicing gearing down and parking.

Mrs Gunter pictures sitting in her chair in the staff room, saying "pow pow pow" and kicking her legs. She would bounce on her chair doing this whenever she got excited.

Feisty, enthusiastic, loyal

Other staff members spoke of Panayiotou’s personality: feisty, enthusiastic, respectful, dependable, loyal, filled with integrity, strong, courageous, modest, highly capable but assuming, lovely laughter, her good vibes, how if she did something then it would be done precisely, neatly and thoroughly, how she was not a moaner but a do-er.

“She has a lovely laugh. She had a fantastic manner with children - empathetic but firm and she instinctively knew when to be which of the two. She cared about people, principles and animals. She never shied away from hard work. She was the best kind of teacher because she was a role model. And, most of all, she is very much loved because she touched lives.

Mrs Woods sums it up: “We, the staff, are all feeling devastated by the loss of Jayde. It was senseless. She was a gem of a friend. Someone always willing to go the extra mile for the people she loved. I think that heaven couldn't wait to see her.”

Tributes written by the learners:

“You were a limited edition”

“Your positive attitude, bright personality and your beautiful smile shall dwell inside the buildings of Riebeek College and in my heart.”

“You taught us things that made us proud, you are now in a better place”

“Walking in the corridors and seeing that everlasting smile, always turned my bad day into the best day. I remember coming to you, going through some tough times at home and not a single day did you hesitate to give me comfort. You always out yourself in my shoes and made me realise that people do care. I thank the Lord for having met such a loving soul like you.”

“I enjoy the memories we had. I remember before the hockey festival you gave the whole team pink headbands to play with, and as a team we took a selfie. I also remember on Monday 20th April when I was excited to get number 9 written on my bottle.”

“I love you so much and I guess heaven couldn’t wait to see you. So go on, go home and remember that you are an angel. We love you from the moon and back, from earth to pluto and back. We hope to see you again soon.”

“Mrs Panayiotou, you taught me life skills I needed. You made me laugh and you made my school days happier. No one can replace you, you are amazing,”

“She was amazing. Beautiful. Colourful. Colourful because she stood out, she was a rainbow in my grey cloud. Mrs Panayioutou was always there for me when I needed her. She was my role model as I looked up to her. She was a mentor and hero. Mrs P was strong and brave. I am so blessed to be able to have known her. May her soul rest in peace and fly free.

“Mrs Panayioutou, a true reflection of our living God. I may not have known you very well, but your presence touched my soul too. We will celebrate and remember the time you shared with us.”

“Owl miss you Mrs P always. I will treasure the moments you walked into class and made me laugh.”

“Dear Mrs P. You were one of the best teachers I knew. You will always have a place in our hearts. Nobody on this planet could ever replace you as you were so amazing. The whole of grade 6 and the school misses you. May you rest in peace.”

More tributes to Panayiotou can be read here.

Read more on:    jayde panayiotou  |  port elizabeth  |  crime

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