PHS Greets a Legend After 45 Years | iinfo TZANEEN

Not only was Ms Mariana Badenhorst a teacher at Pietersburg High School for 45 years, but also a pupil at the very same school for her entire secondary phase school career. She entered the big school gates as a wide-eyed gr 8 learner (then known as standard 6, of course) in 1963. She has been living in Polokwane since birth and was in Ivypark Primary School. In 1967, she matriculated at PHS.
 
Love for and loyalty towards a place that becomes part of your being, brought her back to PHS – this time as a teacher. In 1972, after four years' study, she walked through the gates again: a lot more confident, acquainted and inspired to make a difference in the lives of young people, in the same way her teachers had positively impacted her. At the end of last month, the staff of PHS, and some colleagues/peers of yesteryear, took leave of her after her 45 years of dedicated duty to her alma mater.
 
So far, Ms Badenhorst is the only grade head to have received the Grand Slam Award for being the only grade head of a grade that won Kardoesie five years in a row. In the 49-year-long history of Kardoesie, it was only the matric group of 2007, guided by Ms Badenhorst since grade 8, to achieve this.
 
(Kardoesie is a singing competition exclusive to PHS, where the grades compete against each other. It is an event that has the whole town of Polokwane abuzz, involved and in attendance.)
 
After managing the department of hospitality studies (formerly the subject domestic science) for many years, she was appointed as a vice-principal in 2008. A legend is known to leave a legacy of some kind. Many traditions that she introduced are still kept for which she will always be remembered fondly.
 
One of the things she is looking forward to most, is simply being a home-based grandma to her grandchildren in Polokwane and to have the opportunity at last to explore any nook and cranny of this country with her husband, who had shared her with the school for so many years and faithfully supported her in all her ventures and responsibilities.
 
She started a chef programme recently, realized it wasn't her cup of tea and left it.
 
"This is one of the best things of retirement: you can really do what you like and if you don't like it, you don't have to do it," she quipped. "Of course, I will miss the school and it will always be in my heart."
 
For the place where her feet possibly covered every centimetre of the grounds over the years, she wishes even higher heights, and that the name and values of PHS will always be held dear and precious by everyone involved in the school.
 
I spoke to Ms Badenhorst while she was visiting her son in Strand, Western Cape. She was sewing, something she hadn't done for years. The subject, domestic science, used to include sewing and cooking.
 
One of the highlights of her school career, was when one of her pupils, who was an exceptional seamstress, won a competition of which the prize was a trip to Switzerland with her teacher…none other than yours truly! Johnny Hamman, the winner of the first Kokkedoor, a cooking competition on Kyknet, was a pupil from her first hospitality studies class at PHS.
 
"People sometimes ask me if it isn't terribly hard to teach 'today's children'. It isn't. My teaching years were wonderful. Children today are the same as thirty years ago. One must simply allow them to know who they are, what they have inside, and give them the opportunity to let it out." To her, this was never simply a career that ensured a salary at the end of the month, but a worthy calling. A salute to someone who knew what it was all about…
 
* Should you, reader of this blog, know of anyone in your vicinity who deserves this kind of recognition for long-term or sterling work, we would be delighted to be informed and make work of it. Please send suggestions and/or ideas to bobbi@iinfo.co.za
 
 

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