Thirty-four Sophakama Primary School Grade 3 pupils graduated on Thursday June 8 from a one-year English literacy programme run by a non-profit.
Teachers, parents and volunteers cheered as each child walked on stage to get their certificates. Volunteers from Rogz Academy’s Books and Beyond programme also gave each pupil a gift.
Now in its second year, the programme is one of several Rogz Academy offers pupils at the Dunoon school.
One of the programme’s team leaders, Tracey Farquhar, said saying goodbye to the children after spending a year with them was hard but she was proud of their commitment.
Volunteers met with the pupils in the school hall twice a week to do reading and writing exercises and play language games.
“With a little bit of help, they can reach their full potential. I’m very grateful to the volunteers for their continued support and the combined effort from the school and parents,” said Ms Farquhar.
The programme gives one-on-one attention to the pupils, although at the moment they have one volunteer for every two pupils.
“We started with nine volunteers and 18 children when the school was still run in prefab classes on the premises next door. We sat in the quad on little plastic chairs and very little resources,” said Ms Farquhar.
Over time they built up a collection of donated books and games. Now the school boasts a well-resourced library run by librarian Noxy Mdini.
Another volunteer, Big Bay resident Louise Retief, wanted to do something for the community and tagged along when Rogz Academy visited the school.
“It’s rewarding to see how they improve with time and their comprehension,” she said.
Rogz Academy first got involved with Sophakama Primary through the Partners for Possibility programme in 2013. The programme partners business leaders with school principals (“Partners make learning possible,” Tabletalk, 25 November 2015).
Irene Raubenheimer, the director of the Rogz pet gear company, thanked Sophakama’s principal Sabelo Makubalo and staff for welcoming the company to the school.
Mr Makubalo encouraged the children to carry on reading and to reach far.
“We are glad that we were given the chance to be part of this programme,” he said.
Rogz Academy also runs the Year Beyond Programme to improve the numeracy and literacy of 100 Grade 1 to 4 pupils after school and Brain Boosters, a bridging programme for Grade 1s.
Visit www.rogz.com for more information about the academy or find them on Facebook.