The academic year is off to a great start at SSP. We kicked started the year with excitement and celebration; enjoying media attention and engaged debates on the role of scholarships in leadership development in South Africa – with our Class of 2022 valedictorian in studio adding her views and experiences. More on the interview, watch the video below. This was a much-needed moment for us to reflect on the impact of the programme from the point of our resilient and high-performing scholars. The Class of 2022 made us proud for their outstanding performance despite the odds
In January, we hosted two graduation ceremonies, in Johannesburg and East London, that reignited the spirit of community and dedication to our vision, 22 years on. We enjoyed performances by our scholars and guest artists and listened to speeches by our guest speakers. We were happy to host parents, SSP partner schools, Heads of Schools, donors, mentors, trustees and development partners in what was our first series of in-person event on this side of the pandemic. The ululating and proud tears began as the prize giving of our Grade 8 to 11 scholars lead the programme. We watched our scholars make impressive strides of excellence towards their graduation. To end off the day was the riveting speech by our Class of 2022 Valedictorian Rita Zeefal.
In the Eastern Cape we welcomed the Class of 2027. Six new eager learners have been successfully placed at Clarendon Girls High School and Selborne College in East London in the Eastern Cape.
The recruitment process for these learners began in 2022 and spanned the vast Eastern Cape Province. Our Grade 8 scholars hail from as far as Addo, Qonce and the Kei, most of which are rural and peri-urban areas. The new cohort of scholars are now adjusting to their new environments which are not without challenge for them. However, their respective schools and the academic teams are supporting their transition and ensuring that they settle in well.
As we look ahead to the future, we realize there is much to do to enable access to quality education as well as raising the bar on academic achievement and we are up for the challenge! Improving scholar performance is a continuing debate in the education space and we too have seen the significant shifts. It is encouraging that with the commitment of our mentors we have created an ecosystem of support for our learners which further enables them to succeed. Our programmatic activities are back again, and we couldn’t be happier. This year we are leaning towards planning for the future of our high-impact leaders with more university readiness programs, subject choice workshops and monitoring subject performance for planned studies.
The academic team, having identified the need for more mental health awareness and intervention initiatives and resources to be made available to scholars and parents, we look forward to partnering with organizations who work in these fields. In our quest to curtail the rising numbers associated with mental illness, the team together with SSP alumni in higher education and social wellness communities will work on tailormade workshops either in person or online addressing these matters.
We are preparing for the upcoming school visits for the first Academic Review Meetings (ARM), an opportune time to check-in on our scholars and school coordinators. See you soon friends.