John Noah High School recently held a surprise event to celebrate a leadership award granted by the provincial department of basic education to principal Samkelo Maka.
Maka was recognised with the Excellency in Secondary Leadership award at the 2021 National Teaching Awards for leadership and improvement on the school’s results.
The school was pitted against other Komani schools, came out on top and will soon represent the Eastern Cape in Gauteng.
“My emotions are mixed right now. I did not expect any of this to happen. When I participated in the national teachers’ awards, the staff and school governing body assessed the situation of our school very closely and decided we should enter because we are working towards progress. We were underperforming over the years, but now things have changed,” said Maka.
The school has had many challenges, including a high drop-out rate and pupil absenteeism, which affects performance. Some of the challenges have been attributed to the pupils’ socio-economic background.
Maka said he and his staff reminded the children of the reason they attended school – to prove that all is possible through hard work and investing energy and mind into their work. He hoped that one day the pupils would play a meaningful role in society.
“This school would not be what it is today if it were not for the staff and the determination and effort they have put in to achieve all this success. Determination is a key to unlock the impossible,” said the principal.
According to Maka, this was an eye-opening experience. “Our school was one the schools people looked down upon. In 2018 we noticed a drastic change in results from 38% to 66%, when the previous year we were on 73%. In 2020 we were first out of all the schools in Mlungisi that were underperforming.”
” We work as a team and that has helped us,” said teacher Vuyiswa Mtonga.
Reporting by Mbalentle Stofu