School says thank you

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Lavender Hill High School staff members show their appreciation for local frontline workers.PHOTOS: Racine Edwardes
Lavender Hill High School staff members show their appreciation for local frontline workers.PHOTOS: Racine Edwardes

Lavender Hill High School staff members showed their appreciation for the frontline workers in their community last Thursday 4 February, gifting five organisations with a plaque of appreciation and donuts for the staff.

“I want to take you back to after the hard lockdown; how we felt, how fearful we were. Now imagine being a nurse and knowing you must go out and save lives, dealing with sick people the whole day and going back to their family. And the police – they are always there,” said Fuad Viljoen, principal at the school, in an address to the school’s staff.

This talk given at the appreciation day confirmed to all present why it was so important to thank local frontline workers. Soon after, the staff set off to Steenberg police station, Retreat Day Hospital, Lavender Hill Clinic, New World Foundation and Seawind Clinic, donuts and plaques in hand.

Viljoen explained the idea came to him soon after his and the management staff’s return to school on Monday 25 January. The organisations chosen to receive plaques, he said, were just some of the important ones who played a big role in the lives of staff and learners.

“If we have any issues, we refer our learners to them – they go for testing (at the clinics). If we need the police, they’re a phone call away, so we wanted to just show in our small little way that we appreciate what they’re doing. We also want to project that there are a number of positive things coming out of Lavender Hill,” Viljoen said.

A minimum of a R20 contribution from each of the approximately 50 members of staff made the donation possible.

Steenberg police station was the school’s first port of call where station commander Col Jan Alexander was on hand to receive the handover. The colonel, who has more than 30 years service in the police, said the gesture restored his faith in the community.

“I’ve been here in the community for more than five years and sometimes there are just so many critics; it breaks the spirit of the members. The fact that the community reached out to the police and the fact that they are appreciative and appreciative of what the police (are) doing; I will make a memory log of what happened here today,” said Alexander.

The Retreat Day Hospital, which has suffered a spate of attacks in recent months, was the second to receive their gift. Sister Charmaine Adams, operational manager at the day hospital, said: “We always appreciate when people say thank you, and that’s all that we want; a thank you so that we know we are appreciated – even if it’s just by one person.”

She added that, considering the trying times they were facing as medical staff, this gesture was confirmation that they were doing good things for the community.

The New World Foundation’s senior programme manager Kim Pillay told People’s Post that they serviced the school with their after-school programme, emergency safe house service and the advice office.

“We really appreciate our partnerships with organisations and schools in the area and we can’t do this work without you; not without strengthening the partnerships with the schools and the community.”

Lavender Hill High School has become well known for their show of heart; setting up food kitchens for the community during lockdown, assisting with the burial of a learner who was killed recently, and more. Last week’s show of compassion is a clear indicator that the school does not plan to stop giving back to their community.

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