MORNINGSIDE High School held a ‘Youth Celebration’ on June 23 in an effort to inspire the learners in sport with the support of a few external coaches.The event was dedicated entirely to team building among sports teams. Under the watchful eyes of Siyanda Jemsana, his people and Onke Sotyato, owner of Unearth Entertainment, the learners were led through a programme containing ‘icebreakers’, a lesson called “Who am I”, the various stages of team building, communications and a number of games played outside.Jemsana, the owner of Afrotangible Entertainment and Arts, said their aim was to get kids looking forward to playing sport.They want the learners to play at least two sports a year, one in the winter and another during the summer. “It is very important for kids to play sport,” said Jemsana, who is a basketball player and former Morningside High learner. He added that the event was to promote sport and to get learners who are not academically gifted to understand that they stand a chance at winning a scholarship if they are good at sport. “Most parents can’t afford to send their kids to university after high school,” he said. This is a very common concern among parents. There were many basic sports that were previously not available at the school due to a lack of coaches. This caused many learners to lose interest in the sports programme at the school.“We started rugby three months ago. There was no rugby team at the school,” Jemsana said. They started the u16 team. The school currently offers netball, hockey, soccer, rugby, basketball and tennis. New sports include table tennis and swimming, and a cricket team is in the making. A rowing club is in the pipeline for next year.On the academic side of things, the school is also forming a debate team and looking into the possibility of spelling bees for high school. A recent article in the Business Day Live states that about 60% of children in South Africa cannot read at even a basic level at the end of Grade 4.Jemsana said that this is a problem for the Morningside learners as well. “Oftentimes, the answer is correct, but the spelling is wrong. You cannot really give them a mark.” The spelling bees are an attempt at addressing this problem. Twice a week the learners only go home at 3pm, when things like the debate team are introduced to them. “We get more involved with the school on a one-on-one basis.” According to Jemsana, the principal, Saraswathi Pather, is trying very hard to change the school for the better. “We even introduced tablets this year.”He added that they are considering getting the entire school involved in an event like the Youth Celebration for Mandela Day.