There is an African proverb which says “It takes a village to raise a child”. This became a topic of conversation at one of our new teachers’ meetings this year. Pinelands North is the epitome of this proverb. The whole community takes responsibility for the development of your children – from Karen in the tuckshop who watches your child’s nutrition, to Cathy in the uniform shop who kits out children of unemployed families with uniform donated by you.
Discipline is also one of the ‘whole village’ issues. Some children arrive at Pinelands North from other schools unable to control their behaviour, and they leave in grade 7 as different children – in fact, when Valentine, our Deputy, was first at the school he asked me one day if a particular child had been at the school for his full primary schooling. I looked at him strangely as it was so – the child had only been with us for two years. On querying why he had asked, he replied that he could see the difference in this child compared to the rest of his class! I was astounded, and very pleased that people could see such an obvious difference. We all make a difference to every child here.
Even though zenophobia raged all around us earlier this year, our children of all colours, religions and countries, stood together to decry the situation, and they asked, with puzzled expressions, ”How can people behave like this to each other?” Discrimination is so foreign to them because our school ‘village’ includes all peoples of the world.
The ‘village’ of Pinelands North includes you, the parents, pupils, grandparents, neighbours, past pupils and families, Pinelands community members and teachers. Because we all care, our children grow into exceptional human beings who are able to hold their own in society at large, and in our wonderful country in particular.
Thank you for the part you play in the village, in this our sixtieth birthday year, with pride in your achievements. You made the year what it has been, and together we will continue to raise our Pinelands North children for the next generation.