Adopt-a-School Foundation Essay Competition Winners 2017

Adopt-a-School Foundation runs an annual essay competition for all of the schools under its adoption programme. The competition aims to encourage learners to think creatively, express their views and opinions and share their personal experiences.

Foundation Phase

Winner
Motshidisi Letsela
Grade 3b
Semomotela Primary School
Free State

My Favourite Season

My favourite season is summer. I like summer very much. In summer it’s hot and rainy, we play in the rain. There are lots of flowers and beautiful green gross. Sometimes my father builds us a tent so we can play. My mother makes us hot dogs and juice and we eat them on the grass. In summer there are lots of fruit and vegetables, fruits like water melon and melon.

My brother and I like to play in the rain, it’s so fun and we laugh a lot. We jump and have lots of fun. My mother said “In summer we don’t use electricity, because we don’t use heaters and electric blankets.” There are beautiful and colourful birds in summer. We don’t wear lots of clothes in summer because its hot. There are lots of shades in our yard in summer. I sit under the tree and eat ice cream with my brother. The cows have lots of calves in summer. The land looks beautiful and green. The animals always have green pastures during summer.

Every summer my brother and I visit our grandmother at the farm. My granny likes to shout, look out for the pigs. There is lots of milk and mealies at this time of the year. We love to visit her every summer because at night, we sit outside with her and she tells us a story. We listen to her until my brother falls asleep. In summer there is no need to wash yourself with warm water because the water from the tap is warm. Most people like summer because it is the most beautiful season where everybody wears shorts, sandals and caps to protect themselves from the sun.

People usually go to swimming pool and visits different places to have fun and enjoy summer. In summer there’s no danger of people burning in their homes. Many lives are saved from burning especially in summer.

I love summer so much. I wish it was summer all year long.

2nd Place
Lehlohonolo Coangae
Grade 1a
Emeng primary school

My favourite pet
The name of my pet is Sporty. Sporty is white in colour sporty plays with me. When I come back from school he comes to greet me at the gate and winks his tail because of joy.
Sporty loves me and I love Sporty.

3rd Place
Neliswa Mathonsi
Grade 3
Phakamani primary school

My day ended with smiles

It was Friday early in the morning. I woke up and greet all my family members and no one says happy birthday. I think maybe it is too early – they will tell me later. It was afternoon but they didn’t tell me. I became angry because mom didn’t tell me and there is no cake in the fridge. She used to throw a birthday party for every year.
I decided to go to bed. When I woke up I saw a tent with white and pink colours. But there was no one in the tent. There was a big cake, flowers and beautiful chairs. When I turn around they shouted surprise. I became happy to see my dad. After a while I ran away to dad and mom came and say happy birthday. She gave me a big beautiful doll.
There was a pastor who blessed my birthday. He also taught me how to respect my parents. This was the most interesting moment of my life.
My day ended with smiles.

Intermediate Phase

Winner
Tshegofatso Phele
Grade 5A
Boiteko Public School

My Hero

“Behind every great daughter is a truly amazing dad.” The person i am writing about is a loving father, hardworking man and a provider. He works at a garage, but he has achieved more because of his creative thinking. My dad loves his family very much. He teaches us how to work hard and save money.

He did not go to college but he has his taxi business and manages his money very well. He is still working at the garage and manages his small business at the same time. When I ask him to buy something for me he will ask me “if you save half price of what you want, I will meet you half way”. He always tries to find ways to make us happy and to use money wisely.

He is very strict when coming to the use of money, but at times he will spoil us, buy toys for me, phones for my brother and sister. He loves delicious foods a lot. He sometimes gives us money to go to the park and enjoy ourselves, but during the year he will remind us to save so that when December comes we will have enough to spend as much as we want.

He has achieved so much. He has built a big house for his family and bought three cars, a taxi, a corsa and avanza. He still wants to achieve more. When he talks to my mother you can hear that he has big plans to grow his business. He has given someone a job so that a man can also work for his family.

I learn a lot from my father every day. When you work hard to achieve your dreams anything is possible and you have to be persistent if you want something. He always tells me, my sister and brother that he works hard so that we can finish school and study until university. He said we must dream big and be prepared to work hard to achieve our dreams and desires. I am very proud of my father. Above all he is my hero.

2nd Place

Lwazi Dhlamini
Grade 6
Isu’lihle Primary School

My day ended with a smile

I was about eight years old and living with my parents. My mother tummy was growing very big. I was surprised and I asked her why her tummy was getting very bigger. She would laugh and say it was because she ate a lot those days.
I was worried about my mother and I thought that, what if her tummy kept growing and ends up exploding. She never looked like she was sick or anything. I think that made me to feel better, but I asked myself why was my daddy not worried about that thing I was seeing in mum. Maybe he didn’t see her, but how? Mummy had even bought new bigger clothes.

I became worried when mummy told me that she was staying at home because she couldn’t work anymore. I thought that mummy was dying. I even suggested that we went and see the doctor because I didn’t want her to die, but she promised me that she was well. I wanted to believe her, but I was worried and still my father was not seeing anything wrong.

A few weeks after mummy stopped going to work, my father told me one morning that he had to rush mum to the clinic because she wasn’t feeling well. I said but mummy promised that she was well. There was no time to explain, but daddy had to rush. By then, my mum wasn’t looking too well.

I was left with my neighbour. When they left, I was sad. Later on that day, in the afternoon, my neighbour took me home and told me that my parents were coming back. I was happy and after we got home, my parents arrived. My father was carrying a baby. I asked who that was. My mum replied and said it was my little brother who had been in her tummy all the time. I wanted to hold him, but they said I could only kiss him.

What a day it was and it ended up with great smiles. So babies make tummies grow, I thought.

3rd Place
Kgomotso Tshabalala
Grade 6b
Ntswanatsatsi primary school

My hero
A hero is someone whom you look up to, someone that you can model yourself. Someone who sets an example for you and someone with a good set of morals and values. My mom is that person to me. She has always been there for me, always tried to provide the best for me, even in hard times. She is the strongest person that i know and exhibits all the qualities of a leader and a hero.
She is my role model I really adore her. I will like to be like her because she has never done wrong in my eyes. She always makes the decision that put others first and the ones ensure the safety and best interest of her family. Other people in her situation have quit and given up. But my mom fought hard for our family with virtually no help from anyone else my mother raised my brother and me. This has been a very taxing task for her and looking back upon it. I am thankful that she has always been there for me.

In addition, my mom always inspired me. She has been setting example for me to follow sine i was little. She has been there to set rules for me and guide me. She has been there to catch me when i fall and to help me get back up when i need it. She did all without asking anything in return. She has done it all out of the good of her good heart. I have never heard her complaining about getting me from baseball or getting my brother from soccer. She did it because she wanted the best for my brother and me. No one else helped me like her
She is my hero because she motivated me. Without my mom i would not have had any of the values that she has instilled in me over the years i will never be able to repay my mother for that she has given to me and the things that she has done for me. I can only one day hope to be a big hero for my own children.

GET Phase

WINNER
Kegomoditswe Seleke
Grade 9
Lodirile secondary school

The experience of overcoming fear

Fear. It’s a four letter word that has the power to change a person life in a tremendous way. It has changed my life in a way that I have become wiser and more vigilant in everything I do.
While some people are afraid of spider, snakes, closed spaces and foreigners, I had an unusual fear and that was the fear of not fitting in. I was always worried about fitting in, being like everyone else, being liked and accepted in the modern society. I was constantly comparing myself with other people. In my eyes, I was never good enough. Every time I told myself that I’m at my best, something or someone in my head just told me to try harder. I would ask my mother for money to buy clothes even though I knew that she didn’t have it because she was not working at that time.

I had become a big pot of insecurity. Nothing I did was ever right, or at least that’s what I thought. I sometimes came up with excuses, when my friends wanted to go out with me because I felt like I’m not looking good enough or “what will people say when they see me wearing unfashionable clothes?”

The fuel to my undying fire of fear was media. There were some shows that I used to watch where they would show all the latest trends so in my mind. I was always like, “my wardrobe is full of out dated old fashioned clothes.”
My journey of overcoming that fear began when I was scrolling through the pictures on my phone and I came across a picture that was captioned, “Be you, do you, love you.” I literally stopped scrolling and looked at that picture for a very long time. That picture had only six words but it said a lot to me. I went to the local internet cafe and used my pocket money to have that picture printed out. I took the picture and put it in my bedside drawer and I would look at it every morning when, I woke up and every night before I went to sleep. In that way I would keep reminding myself of how much I wanted to overcome this fear.

The picture helped me in many ways. It helped me in terms of how I see life. I realised that I have to live for myself and nobody else. I started expressing myself through poetry. I write and recite poems whenever I feel uneasy or just when I feel the need to express myself.

Now I live for myself, I’m doing my own thing and I don’t worry about fitting in. After all, I was born to stand out.

2nd Place
Amanda Maredi
Grade 9
Glen Cowie Secondary school

My future lies in my own hands
Last year around June, My sister Florence and I were chased out of our examination class because our fees were not updated. The thoughts of my friends writing at school and me being at home really hurt. When my parents arrived I told them about the situation at school and my father came with a decision to take us to a public school because he couldn’t afford the school fees. My friends were very supportive of me throughout.
“You need to get a plan of action to fulfil the desires of your future and that is only through education,” said my father during supper. That very same night I realised that there is no other way to lead a better life without education. It is what leads human souls to what is best for their future. I also decide to put one’s hand to the plough so in the end I can have, be and own what I have always wanted.

A successful future begins with dreams and thoughts hence if you can dream and not make dreams your master. If you can think and not make thoughts your aim, rather die because where there is no vision the people perish. So make hay while the sun still shines because life is real, life is also earnest so be ready to achieve and pursue greatness.
My mother always says, “be wise and thoughtful when it comes to friends because we have friends who are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them,” sometimes I even ask myself which one I am among those.

As teenager I tend to meet obstacles that try to stop me on my way to success. Well some obstacles are conquered but some make me trip and fall but I will never let them crush me instead I will rise and my hardworking ethics to conquer. Even if my friends might laugh behind my back, I will never let the financial crisis of my family bring me down nor my friends bring me down. I will try to avoid negative thoughts to have positive outcomes for my future. My parents may not be able to buy me all the books I need but I am grateful for all they have given me. I have to start living my dream in order to accomplish it. I have to be up and going, learning and reading my books. The clock is ticking, so there is no time for procrastinating. I should focus on making South Africa a better country because it all starts with me.

It is my future after all so I know that I have to take my time investing in it, through patience and perseverance I can overcome the greatest difficulties of life, because I know that my future lies in my hands.

3rd Place
Manchidi Marinkie
Grade 8
Glen Cowie Secondary school

How school should deal with bullying
According to bing, bullying is the use of force, threats, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate other. The behaviour is often repeated and habitual. The issue of bullying often starts at home. A lot of children come from different walks of life, some children can start bullying because they want to decrease their stress levels, some do it for fun and to look superior, some are driven by peer pressure and this can lead to lack of educated minds in our generation.

Talking of different background, parents often abuse their children emotionally and physically, this causes the children to imitate their actions by bullying other kids, they develop anger and use other people as their punching bags.
Bullying can result to a lot of dangerous things, victims may think of committing suicide because they want to get away from all of the emotional and physical trauma. Some victims begin bullying others as a way of avenging themselves, and as a way of feeling superior. The increase in bullying in schools causes a lot of drop-outs as learners get afraid of experiencing something very painful each day.

The only way to prevent bullying from occurring is by allowing teachers to take responsibility of their learners, by this i mean that teachers should also engage in helping bullies and their victims. Parents should also stop arguing in front of their children, because when they do so the kids see it as something cool. That is why they tend to do it to other kids. They eventually feel like they have power over their peers.

Parents and educators should also advise learners on how to behave, respect and love. They should be there for victim of bullying. Parents should show their children the importance of loving and caring for other, the importance of considering other people’s feelings, that way, children will learn to act fairly amongst each other.

Communication is very important, so to also help with the destroying of bullying parents should talk to their kids in a very firm and strong way, they should tell them about the outcomes of bullying. Parents should have a little pep-talk with their kids, teaching them to live in kindness and humanity. Social workers can also try to come up with programmes that will help children deal with bullying.

If all these action can be implemented, bullies in school are going to decrease because people will learn to love one another. The more we show love to one another, the more South Africa grows, wise and bold. Learners will no longer be afraid to go to school because of bullies. The level of discipline in schools will increase, as learners will be respected.
If schools and communities can work together they can deal with bullying, firmly and assertively.

FET Phase

Winner
Nxangani Mpone Jeanette
12A
Kgabareng secondary school

The Door

Very strong, rigid and firm. Some of them are well painted, new and attractive. While others are old and weak. Whether real or imaginary, they all do the same function. To open and to close.

Behind closed doors abuse is witnessed. People’s true feelings are revealed but the door cannot do anything with that. I remember one day behind the door, my parents were shouting at each other. The other one had found secrets and bad deeds of the other. During a heated argument, my father decided to open the door and closed it very harshly. The very same door had to listen to them quarrel and throw accusations that showed betrayal and total dishonesty. My father never got a chance to open the door he had closed.

After a while I heard somebody knocking like a policeman on duty. I had no choice but to open the door. I wish not to have opened it because of the news that came with opening it. One thing I heard from the long story was that my father is no more. I wanted to ask my mother but I could not because she was in extreme pain. The only thing that knew all the answers was the door but it could not speak. My father was indeed a great man surely the heavens doors will be opened for his soul. Unless the door knows something I do not know.

Every time I looked at the door knob I saw the top screw as the eyes, the handle as a nose and key hole as a mouth. It looked like a face that would tell me something, maybe why my parents were fighting that day. I got tired of waiting for it to tell me the truth. I decided to close some chapters and move on. I focused more on my studies and performed very well. The good results opened many doors for me. It came back and made sense, my father closed the door of his life but I opened many doors for me. It came back and made sense, my father closed the door of his life but I opened a door of success for myself.

In conclusion I would say, with each and every door you might come across, handle it with care. Remember to open or close it for the right reasons. One amazing object, the door!

2nd Place
Sibanyoni Nosiphosethu
Grade 12
Emjindini Senior secondary school

The Experience of Overcoming My Fear

Every human has a prison. A prison without walls or security, a prison worse than even death that only exists in our minds. Most of us are unable but those who do, find everlasting freedom. That prison is called fear.
Growing up I was one of the thousands who have glossophobia. I was a shy, nerdy girl who loved reading and singing but only sang at home and when I was with Kelly, my best friend. My classmates were friendly, but some took advantage of my shyness and bullied me. Kelly would always be at my rescue.

I always had trouble with oral presentation. I was always the last one to present, but always rendered the best speeches. I would always wish I was just like my vibrant, fearless and enthusiastic best friend.

We were in the tenth grade when it was time to choose our Representative Council of Learners. To my surprise, my name was pinned on the notice board. I knew Kelly had nominated me and I was furious. The principal summoned all the nominees to the foyer where he told us to prepare our campaign speeches for Friday assembly. I was startled, I knew I had to face my fear and only had three days to do so. Kelly assured me that I was going to nail it and it was time to come out of my comfort zone.

I went home and told my mother. She was overwhelmed and she offered her help. The following three days were the most hectic days of my life. I was patiently coached on how to present myself in front of my audience, my body posture and on my breathing patterns.
It was then Friday. I dressed best in my school uniform, my mother wished me luck and I was off to school. Inside the school’s auditorium, the whole school was sited according to the respective rankings. The principal introduced us and gave us the platform, each speaker was given five minutes.
Listening to the other presentations was nerve-wrecking as I was the last speaker. My turn came, I was so anxious, I could hear my heartbeat like an African drum. My stomach was in knots, my knees were vigorously shaking and my palms profusely sweating. I went closer to the microphone, closed my eyes for a second, took a deep breath, cleared my throat, and then started talking.

It was as if my speech was prepared for the king. I was perfectly flowing just like Kelly anticipated. After my presentation, everyone was on their feet applauding. I felt like royalty. I was proud of myself. I won and became the school president.

From that moment I gained courage, I learnt that running away from your problem is not a solution, as the saying goes “he who fights and runs away lives to fight another day”. When you overcome your fears you gain strength to face bigger problems later in life, and you become free.

3rd Place
Vundla Celimpilo
Grade 12
Mthunzini High School

Can technology replace a teacher in the classroom?

The use of technology in the classroom does not lessen the need for great teacher. It can help the process of learning, but it cannot replace the role of the teacher. In fact, it is a great teacher who makes using technology so significant in students education.

Education is much more complex than that. It is about the trust and bond between a teacher and young person that creates the environment where learning can occur and grow. Virtual learning simply cannot do that, the teaching profession is more important than it ever was. It is teaching that keeps it real- teaching that keeps young people alive, in short teachers and profession will never die. Students need teachers to direct them in learning hands skilled in science, technology, art and mechanics. Moreover, in order to learn critical skills like decision making and time management, a child needs a teacher as technology cannot teach these human skills. A teacher is more than just a facilitator of knowledge, a teacher also act as a guide, a mentor and inspiration for students, a role that cannot be replace.

Technology is certainly changing the way students learn, but it cannot be termed as a replacement for teachers. High- quality teachers create a classroom culture that motivates students and leads them on the path of success. Technology cannot inspire, help them through their struggles, help them stand up. YES! Technology can only be a helping factor to learn, but it cannot replace the experience that come with a teacher.

A teacher leads, guides, facilitates and mentors a student. They are role models who set an example to students and drive them towards a brighter future. A good teacher encourages independent thoughts and independent learning. He/she can be a positive influence; can be an inspiration to achieve goals. The trust and bond between a teacher and students creates the perfect learning environment.

Technology is a great way to offer educational service to students, but it still has its limitations. No matter how “smart” a product or computer program is, it cannot compare to what life experience a teacher brings to the classroom. Technology usually takes a one-size-fits-all approach to learning that does not account for learning difference or students with special needs, it cannot interact with students.

While the role of technology in education is stealing increasing, it is more likely that it will continue to be used as a supplement to teaching rather than an alternative to teacher. However available school and online universities still employ educators to create lessons, mediate discussions, and evaluate student progress. Teachers are an important part of the learning process and help students become productive of society.

Technology is assisting students in their learning, but as of now it does not have the power to replace teachers. Human interaction cannot be replaced by computer and human skills cannot be taught by technology, modern teachers need to be aware of the new technology.