FROM HEATHER BLANCKENSEE
HEAD OF COLLEGE
It is hard to believe that three months ago we went from the hustle and bustle of a busy first term filled with the usual sports, cultural and academic activities to an online digitally-driven academic program filled with creative and positive energy. Little did we realize when 2020 presented itself, that we would find ourselves living in a world that has shifted dramatically, and reeling from the impact that this pandemic has had both locally and globally. We cannot begin to estimate the social, economic and political impact that this has had both short term and long term on our country and world. Environmentally we are seeing a reduction in CO2 emissions and wildlife claiming back urban and suburban streets, a greater appreciation of how tenuous life on earth can be and a reconnection with families and friends. This connection hopefully makes up for the disconnect that our students are currently feeling from their friends and teachers and lack of routine.
We are deeply conscious of our privilege as a school community in being able to continue to teach and learn, have a holiday and then resume our teaching and learning when there are a significant majority of students who don’t have that opportunity despite their best efforts and through no fault of their own.
As I write this Mark Potterton our Primary School Principal is presenting a weekly educational program on Radio Veritas to reach our Three2six students who don’t have the same privilege and opportunities to learn like the other students at Sacred Heart College.
The teachers in this program have found innovative ways to reach the students and we have been able to provide over R540 000 worth of food support vouchers to our 250 students across the three schools. It is an irony that in March we went into lockdown and had our rights to move about freely severely curtailed. This was obviously in the interest of providing people with the right to remain healthy, free of infection, and to allow our health officials to prepare for the rise in infections. We pray that we never forget the importance of protecting our rights and those of others. In the month of April, we celebrated Freedom Day marking 26 years as a democratic society and we have had our concept of freedom severely tested as the lockdown was extended and implemented.
It has also highlighted the fact that while we may be a democratic society many of our fellow South Africans are not free of the economic hardships and social impact of this pandemic.
And yet in all of this, we as a community are presented with many opportunities to think differently about things. We can shift our focus from being busy to understanding ourselves, our purpose and place in the world, and our contribution to others. I look forward to seeing our children appreciate the value of time for themselves, deepen their understanding of relationships with each other, the earth, and with God. I have a strong sense of hope and a belief that we will emerge stronger, more informed, resilient, and with empathy for others that was often lost in