‘I love this school’

2018-11-05 15:03
Jean Rose is pictured with Russell High School pupils during a happiness day event at the school earlier this year. PHOTO: Ian Carbutt

Jean Rose is pictured with Russell High School pupils during a happiness day event at the school earlier this year. PHOTO: Ian Carbutt

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After 16 years serving as the principal of Russell High School, Jean Rose has retired with hope that whoever picks up the baton will continue to take the school to greater heights.

Rose (65), from Montrose, has been in education for 38 years.

She joined Russell High in 1990 as an arts teacher and was promoted to principal of the school in 2002.

“I’ve stayed here because I absolutely love this school,” Rose said. “My time as principal has been challenging, but I love challenges, I thrive on challenges.

“I also love our school building. It’s beautiful and also a national monument, which makes it very special. It’s very unfortunate that the roof is falling apart but I hope that gets sorted soon.

“The furniture is also very old but still beautiful with the wooden floors. Those are just some of the things I will miss most, including my girls and my staff of course.”

Rose said that in her years at the school she has seen it evolve and grow.

The numbers and demographics have also changed drastically. When she joined the school there were about 360 pupils, but now they have 540 pupils from diverse backgrounds.

Rose said it was always rewarding to see some of the pupils, with tough backgrounds, being able to break through thanks to the opportunities offered by the school.

“You don’t need to be wealthy to have manners, you don’t need money to have loyalty, kindness and honesty, but it’s these values, which we preach to the girls at the school, that help our girls be better people in the public.

“That’s how we have groomed our girls to help them make it in life,” she said.

Among her accomplishments, Rose said she was proud to have helped the school develop a good reputation in the community.

“When I joined the school the girls did not seem to be proud about telling people that they attended Russell High. I wanted to instil that pride in them.

“We did workshops with the girls to find out what exactly they were unhappy about and we tried to change it by instilling values in them.

“We also worked on the school’s reputation by ensuring that the girls are always neatly dressed and are on their best behaviour when walking through town.

“The feedback from the public has been very positive and encouraging.”

Rose intends visiting her son in Sydney, Australia, and another relative in Hong Kong over the festive season, before returning to Pietermaritzburg where she plans to continue helping local youngsters.

“I still want to be involved in development of young people, working with people and mentoring,” she said, adding that she planned to keep visiting the school now and again, because it was hard to detach completely.

She encouraged the next principal of Russell High to have a fresh, positive vision, and to communicate it and carry it through.

“My vision was to create an environment with heart and a soul and I hope whoever continues will also build on that,” Rose added.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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