Beacon Hill pupil becomes first National Learner Award winner

From left are Premier Alan Winde, Alessio Marcus, Education MEC Debbie Schäfer and WCED head of department, Brent Walters.
Beacon Hill pupil Alessio Marcus becomes the first National Learner Award winner.

A Beacon Hill pupil has been named the first recipient of the National Learner Award.

The award was presented as teachers and pupils were recognised at the National Teachers Awards. All teachers, governing bodies and district officials had been invited to submit nominations of teachers at registered public sector schools.

“These awards give us the opportunity to celebrate the outstanding work of our teachers during the past year – one that has been made especially difficult by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Education MEC Debbie Schäfer.

The provincial winners this year have demonstrated their dedication to the education of children in the toughest of times, setting aside their own fears to make sure our learners could keep learning, she said.

Alessio Marcus, 17, the head boy at Beacon Hill High School, said he was overwhelmed.

“I feel absolutely blessed to have been considered to receive this prestigious award. Achieving this award during the pandemic is nothing short of a blessing. I appreciate the fact that I could be appreciated for my contribution to the betterment of the youth of my province and the country even during the pandemic,” he said.

“Congratulations to every one of you, and to our runners-up. We are proud of you, and of all the teachers of the Western Cape who have worked so hard this year to support our learners in very difficult conditions,” said Ms Schäfer.

Premier Alan Winde described teachers as the bedrock of the education system.

“Our teachers have had to work under very difficult circumstances amid the new-normal to ensure that no child is left behind in achieving their educational milestones.

“We have heard the wonderful stories of teachers using TikTok, delivering teaching resources in person, and generally finding innovative ways to educate learners amid the pandemic. Thank you to each teacher in the Western Cape for going above and beyond throughout this difficult time, and of course, a special congratulations to the winners,” he said.

The 2021 provincial winners are:

• Excellence in Grade R Teaching: Cecilia de Vries, Langebaanweg Primary School, Langebaan

• Excellence in Special Needs Teaching: Jevonn Cloete, Rusthof LSEN School, Rusthof, Strand

• Excellence in Teaching Mathematics (FET): Ruth Thembela Maliwe, Manyano High School, Khayelitsha

• Excellence in Teaching Physical Sciences (FET): Danielle van Eck, Protea Heights Academy, Brackenfell

• Excellence in Primary School Teaching: Ashleigh Taljaard, Van Rheede Primary School, Oudtshoorn

• Excellence in Secondary School Teaching: Mariechen Vermeulen, La Rochelle Girls High School, Paarl

• Excellence in Technology–Enhanced, Teaching and Learning Award: Nikki Potgieter, La Rochelle Girls’ Primary School, Paarl

• Excellence in Primary School Leadership: Anthea Williams, Dorothea School, Stellenbosch

• Excellence in Secondary School Leadership: Renate van der Westhuizen, Apex High School, Blue Downs, Eerste River

• S/Hero Award (new category): Chadley Davids, Protea Heights Academy, Brackenfell

• Best Teacher Award (new category): Mariette Wheeler, Protea Heights Academy, Brackenfell

• Lifetime Achievement Award: Ivan Kroneberg, Hillcrest Secondary School, Mossel Bay

• Kader Asmal Excellence Award: Adnaan Adams, Modderdam High School, Bonteheuwel