It was a moment of pure joy and uncontrollable tears when a grade 7 Hangklip Primary School pupil surprised his parents by telling them that he was one of the recipients of the 1965Ride Bursary and Scholarship Fund last week.
Queenstown Education Foundation (QEF) stakeholder relations manager Jacqueline Wijtenburg said the foundation was formally started in 2013 with a vision to transform the town into a universally recognised centre of educational excellence and currently runs six programmes. “A total of R121 000 was awarded and divided between each member school to offset against school fees of the successful bursary recipients. This is to help them retain exceptionally dedicated and talented pupils in situations where those learners’ families are experiencing severe financial challenges.”
Wijtenburg indicated that the money was raised by the 1965Ride Cycle for Education annual tour that sees cyclists riding 850km between Johannesburg and Komani.
“QEF has a long-standing partnership with the 1965Ride fund-raiser, an initiative of the Johannesburg- based non-profit Education Endowment Fund (EEF) which facilitates the bursary award program among its member schools. The EEF has more than R1 million invested in an endowment fund to ensure the sustainability of the bursary program. ”
She said the bursary program facilitator (QEF) adjudicated bursary applications and made recommendations to the independent board of the EEF.
The first of the bursary fund was awarded last week, with the rest handed over to the beneficiaries this week. Member schools are Queen’s College Boys’ High, Queen’s College Boys’ Primary, Queenstown Girls’ High, Balmoral Girls’ Primary, Hangklip Primary, Queenstown Get Ahead Project, Southbourne, Get Ahead College, WhitGAP and Stepping Stone Junior School.
“The majority of the bursaries awarded were to the value of R11 000 each and cover a large portion of their school fees. They recipients all come from disadvantaged backgrounds and hold a record of extraordinary academic and extra-curricular dedication and performance,” she said.
Wijtenburg said this year’s Queens Junior bursary was to be named the 1965Ride Lester Pike Bursary in honour of the late headmaster, Pike, who passed away suddenly last month.
Addressing the beneficiary in a virtual zoom meeting at Hangklip Primary this week, EEF board member Nathi Tyembile said: “I am speaking on behalf of many people who are sitting behind their desks here in Johannesburg and other parts of the country. All we see is the black and white on paper. This was an opportunity to experience the kind of decisions made and the impact. Big congratulations to the recipient. I think you have done exemplary work. Continue to believe in yourself and everything that you do.”
Hangklip Primary School principal Henko Serfontein honoured QEF and efforts made by the 1965 crew. “We want to do the best we can for our children and this boy has shown me from my first year at the school that he has the potential to reach the top level, where we want all our children to be. Financially it is not always possible to support your child. I am so thankful to the QEF and the 1965Ride for the money they raise and the difference they make in our children’s lives. It is so worthwhile.