By Cheryl van der Spuy, Grade 2 teacher
As I was recently thinking about my retirement, I realised that I am now the longest-serving member at Port Alfred High School, having completed 35yrs this year. It has been such a long time that I am now a proverbial part of the furniture! However, unlike a piece of furniture, I have not allowed myself to be pushed around or be rearranged in any way. Neither have I been hit on the head with a hammer, although over the years there might have been the odd colleague or boss who would have liked to have done so! The only time that I was moved, together with the other furniture in my classroom, was when the Foundation Phase moved from the old prefab classrooms to our present brick Foundation Phase classrooms.
I have served under five headmasters, starting with Mr Keith Howard when I arrived here in 1986. He was followed by Mr Roy Hewett, Mr Rob le Roux, Mr Clive Pearson and the present incumbent, Mr Nigel Adams. The Heads of the Foundation Phase during this time have been Mrs Noeline Kirsten, Mrs Yma van Zyl, Mrs Erika de Klerk and Miss Megan Sparg, all of whom remain very dear friends of mine.
I have always been passionate about my school in general and have always involved myself in numerous activities. These have included coaching sports, catering for sports teams on Saturdays, managing the Staff Fund, being the Carnival co-ordinator and organising the end of term and Christmas Staff functions.
I am an Eastern Cape girl. I grew up in Bathurst where my parents owned and managed the Pig and Whistle Hotel, started school in Bathurst and finished schooling at Victoria Girls High in Grahamstown and then studied at UPE, as it was known then (Nelson Mandela University), taught in Port Elizabeth for a few years then moved to Petermaritzburg then back to Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg and finally to the Kowie. I am the proud mother of a son, Dylan and granny of two gorgeous little girls, Isabella and Emerson. They live in Cape Town so any opportunity I get, I visit!
I love my job as a Grade 2 teacher and am happiest to be in my classroom teaching my “chickens” as I call them. All those who have been in my class, know that I follow your school careers and your after-school lives with much interest and am so proud of those who are living very successful and happy lives all over the world. And yes, I have taught, and am teaching many little ones who are the children of my “chicks” whom I taught years ago! Now I am really giving my age away!