My First Matric Ball Experience as a Parent
(Outside the One&Only Hotel)
I am of the opinion that matric balls are way over rated but I have worked hard at my view of what all the fuss is about at least for the sake of my only daughter. So let me share my first matric ball story with you.
My daughter has completed her matric examination at Mondale High and once she completed all her study subjects, we started with the preparation for her matric ball. The only thing we started before the exam was the arrangements with the dressmaker.
Once her matric exam was over on the 26th November, we had a week to sort out the rest of the arrangements. What a week to say the least. I think I drove the whole Western Cape peninsula flat just looking for shoes. By the Sunday before her matric ball, which took place the Monday, everything was sorted except for the dress and the obvious things like her hair and make-up and the rest.
The dressmaker arrived at about three to do the final fittings and after about fifteen minutes my wife came to me saying that this dress is a total disaster. You can imagine her disappointment. By that time I was getting ready for a preaching appointment. I said they must try and fix what needs to be fixed, which they tried but at about 16h30, when I left there seemed to be no progress. I said they must keep in touch.
While I was in the service I received a message from my daughter asking if they can look for another dress to which I immediately responded with a resounding yes, knowing that this would cost another thousand or so.
When I got home much later that evening they had found a dress. I was greatly relieved without much thought to my very limited finances. My daughter’s happiness was more important. The dress was not what she wanted but she said she would make it work.
At this stage I thought that was it, regarding all matric ball stress, but was I wrong. I took off from work the next day to drive my daughter around to complete all her errands. The hairdresser did an exceptional job with her hair, and she was so excited but that was when the turn of events started.
I got a message from her school that I needed to collect her invitation, which she had no idea she had to do. By the time (after 2pm), I got to the school I was told that the principal wants to see me. In his office he informed me that my daughter’s partner who was also a matriculant at the school was suspended from all extra-curricular activities and would therefore not be able to go to the matrci ball.
In my great disappointed, I explained the tough week and weekend we have had and that this sudden announcement was completely untimely and out of order. I was told that her partner has committed an offence a year ago and the governing body of the school has suspended him accordingly. I continued to explain that all plans have been made and that there was no way I could stop them, especially considering all the expenses that both families had incurred.
I also explained that the school accepted his money and his class teacher told him that she will do her best to sort out his suspension. The principal told me that he has gone behind their backs and paid his money and that they will stand by their decision to suspend him.
I left very angry and disgusted with the lack of compassion and grace shown to one of their very own learners. I was saddened by the fact that they had no consideration for my daughter who too would be affected by their decision. They could not tell me why they would inform us a few hours before the event.
In my anger and frustration I immediately contacted Cape Talk and the local education department. The radio station allowed me to express my view on live radio and the department said there was nothing they could do.
My daughter and her partner continued with their plans. They got prepared and went for their pre-arranged photo shoot. They were then picked up by their driver in a Chrysler 300c and taken to the various homes where the traditional viewing of the couple takes place. I must say a proud moment for a parent. My daughter and her partner looked absolutely beautiful.
Everything at this point went according to plan until they arrived (with their photographer) at the Calvin Grove venue. They were stopped at the door by two teachers who were sent by the principal. My daughter’s partner was refused entry which caused his boy to break down in tears. The driver, security and the manager of Calvin Grove all pleaded for common sense with the educators but to no avail. After they called me I instructed the driver to take them to a posh restaurant which was the back-up plan we put in place.
The driver took them to the One & Only restaurant where one has to make a reservation. The driver shared their story with the manager of the place and immediately embraced them. They spent the evening there and became the couple of the evening as some came over to hear their story as they were standing out in their attire. They were loved by everyone who showed any interest and had a wonderful evening together.
I picked them up after midnight and was relieved to have this evening over. This will certainly be a matric ball I will never forget. I was saddened that my daughter and her partner were robbed of ending off their matric ball in a way every hard working matriculant should.
My Thoughts as parent on:
Every school should have a discipline process in place, for without it, effective teaching and learning cannot take place. However it must be kept in mind that the purpose of any discipline process is transformation. In other words we discipline to help someone become a better person. This boy certainly did bad things at his school and committed offences by his own admission.
Showing interest in my daughter and growing up without his father I took him under my wing, and since his offence last year this boy has not committed any according to my knowledge. In fact this boy has moved from being a failure and almost a drop out to almost being in the top 20 learners at his school. Why I have to wonder would a school want to continue to inflict a punishment on a learner who has a solid year try to impress his principal and teachers to make amends for his offences committed, unless there is perhaps a personal vendetta.
“Training them in the way they should go”
This is the logo of Mondale High that attracted me to this school. I remember my wife and I going to see the principal about two years ago about their logo when he addressed my daughter in a very rude manner. I asked him to consider this logo as parents entrust our children to him and his teachers. I kindly asked him to implement his discipline but not to break the spirit of our children.
Any institution should live out the reality of their mission, vision statement and logo. I believe that the decision made by this school has both broken the spirit of this boy and been completely against training him in the way he should go.
My daughter’s partner went to school the next day to get his money back and he was told that he is not allowed on the school grounds. In fact the security pushed him off the school grounds. Eventually he got his money back. When I enquired about my refund I was told by the principal that all expenses were already paid for my daughter so they cannot give my refund.
I told the principal this does not make any sense. If I was told on the day that this boy was not going and he too had already paid, then surely the money was spent for his place too.
Well that is my story and some of my thoughts. I can only hope and pray and that my influence and those that surround us with love will help my daughter and her partner place this experience where it belongs and use it as a stepping stone toward becoming all that God created them to be.