Hillcrest High School is instilling a culture of unity and hope in its pupils, staff, parents and community. The teachers make it their purpose to help children grow in knowledge and give them hope for a better future. And while the school shines a light in all aspects – the classroom, on stage and on the field – it promotes a culture of assisting and going beyond the call when it comes to values. This is evident when you speak to the teachers, parents and pupils. Here is what some of them had to say about Hillcrest High School.
Acting Principal, Denise Knight, says the challenges of the last few years with Covid-19, political and economic uncertainty and more locally, the riots and flooding, have impacted the hope that many of their pupils, as well as their staff, have for their futures.
“We don’t strive for perfect pupils – or staff – but we do strive for an inclusive and unified environment to give our pupils and staff a sense of belonging.
“We strive to give all our students as many opportunities as possible to be the best they can be. Our motto is If it is to be, It is up to me.”
Head of Rugby, Dusty Noble, beams with pride when he talks about his up-and-coming players, who will be playing for the Sharks one day. “We strive in everything that we do to create hope and unity at our school. From the top – in terms of staff – we are unified all the way down to the pupils. Our aim is to promote good values and create good human beings when they leave school.” Noble also said that after Covid-19, as the sporting faculty, they appreciated being together again in all codes of sport.”
Head of Drama and Grade 8 Controller, Georgina Giorko, whose daughter also attends the school, says unity is very much in the school’s culture and is something they instil in their pupils lives. “The drama class brings together children from all backgrounds, ages and culture. The school is currently working on a production called ‘The Butler Did It’.” Giorko urges parents and the community to support the pupils and the school by attending the production when it opens.
Consumer Studies Educator and Head of the gospel choir, Nonkuthalo Magubane, says she serves in various roles to pupils and this means she is constantly offering hope to them. “We create unity between different cultures and ensure every child is treated the same. We also ensure that all our pupils feel special. We show we care for them and show love in our jobs.” Magubane hopes to change pupils lives and have an impact on them to make a difference when they become adults.
Proud parent Bronwen Ingle, who has been actively involved in her children’s schooling, says parents play an equally important role in promoting unity and hope at the school. As the treasurer of the governing body she says parents need to give their time to the school to make a difference. “The school survives on the support of parents as well as their actions, and we rely on parents volunteering their time,” said Ingle.
Although discipline is something that is associated with the role of Behaviour Management Officer, Laura Jaggard, she says first and foremost her role is to bring out the best in pupils. “We want to make an impact in our pupils lives rather than focus on punishing pupils for doing something wrong. In terms of unity, I work with the teachers, pupils and families. If need be, we will also call in other experts to get involved,” she said.
Grade 9 pupil Ethan Ainhirn said it is important to lend a helping hand, be it in school or the community. “I think it is important to help people in need, whether it is volunteering or getting involved in collection drives. It gives me hope when I see people doing good on the news,” he said.
Kiarra Chetty is in Grade 10 and says: “There is strength in the saying ‘we are one’ and we can only grow with community outreach. I believe in reaching out and helping others, whether it is in the form of peer tutoring or helping in children in need.”
Grade 11 pupil Natasja Degger says her school has done a good job in showing pupils’ how to reach out. “During the recent floods people were helping each other and going out of their way to make a difference.” Degger says she would love to offer more assistance outside the school in terms of anti-bullying campaigns, peer tutoring and other projects offering hope beyond the school.