A beacon for the Valley

2018-03-27 06:01
Alessio Marcus has his sights set on office and is already inspiring his peers with his determination and passion. Here he is pictured with principal Gregory Kannemeyer.PHOTO: Samantha LEE

Alessio Marcus has his sights set on office and is already inspiring his peers with his determination and passion. Here he is pictured with principal Gregory Kannemeyer.PHOTO: Samantha LEE

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He has his sights set on a career in politics and has already taken up his first position in office, serving as junior deputy mayor on the Junior City Council (JCC).

Although not a political forum, Alessio Marcus (14), a learner at Beacon Hill High School, says he looks forward to learning as much as possible about the organisation and the inner workings of the City Council during his one year in office, adding that he will use this opportunity as a stepping stone to his career.

“I would like to go into politics and work in the president’s office one day,” Marcus says.

The school has been sending learners to participate in the JCC since 2013, says principal Gregory Kannemeyer.

“I arrived at the school in 2013 and in 2014 we sent five learners. It was there that we started building the relationship. Every year we send learners and last year our ward councillor also sent out nomination forms requesting that we register and have learners take part in the elections so that the ward is also represented. We only sent in two names but with Alessio’s presentation, he was shortlisted,” says Kannemeyer.

He adds that Marcus is very focused and kept his eye on the prize.

“He knows what he wants to do and in my interaction with him, it became clear that he wants to go into politics one day. Alessio is a positive influence on the rest of the learners. He has achieved his goal in a short time at Beacon Hill High School,” says Kannemeyer.

The Grade 9 learner was motivated to become part of the City Of Cape Town’s JCC by his teachers, Veda Manuel and Ursula Damon­.

He is a confident youngster who is goal driven. This is evident upon meeting him.

“I am interested in politics and this is why I wanted to get involved in the JCC. I wanted to focus on one specific thing because if you focus on one thing you understand it better,” he says.

The JCC is comprised of 150 learners from across the city and some of the key objectives are to develop good leadership skills among high school learners, to equip youth with critical thinking skills that will help them develop an understanding of public policy processes, to develop an awareness of those less privileged and of problems within communities, and to teach youth to become involved in community issues and solve problems independently.

Marcus only ran for junior deputy mayor, but his hard work paid off.

“I prepared my speech from the get go. What I said, I said with full authority and I think that is what got the councillors to vote for me,” he says.

“I did not want to make promises, I wanted to tell them the qualities I have. Everyone makes empty promises these days.”

“It is not about what was written in the speech, it was the way he said it,” Kannemeyer says.

Marcus is also always ready to help and stand up for his peers.

“There are many young children whose last resort is drugs and gangsterism and I want to take them out of that dark space. I grew up in a nice home and there are children out there who did not grow up the way I did. My parents always motivated me to help them and that is what I will always do.”

His future goal is to tackle gangsterism and drugs, but not only focusing on the youth.

“I want to focus on the elderly and the education system in South Africa. Some schools don’t have the relevant resources available to them and I would like to [use this office] to speak with Mayor Patricia de Lille and President Cyril Ramaphosa to ask them to fund some of these schools with resources such as computers,” he says.

He is also passionate about encouraging the youth to stand up for themselves and he looks forward to being an advocate for this.

“We are the future of South Africa. We need to focus on what the country will be like in 20 years. We all need to get involved because current leaders will not be around in 20 years so we need to get involved to make South Africa a better place not only for us but for our children as well,” he says.

He would like to major in political analytics and teaching when he matriculates and will wave Beacon Hill High School’s flag high, hopefully in office, Kannemeyer says.

But this opportunity is more than just a chance at making a difference for Marcus­.

“I want to learn more about it and see if this is the correct career path for me to take,” he says.

He thanks the school, teacher, principal and deputy principal, Ashley Albertyn, for their contributions in getting him to the JCC.

Regardless of his career path, the inspiring youngster hopes to remain a beacon of hope for Beacon Valley.

“The area does not make you who you are and you do not have to go into drugs and gangsterism.

“In the end it will not be the gang or drug bosses that face the consequences, you will face the consequences. There are other options and you do have a future­.”

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