United Through Sport South Africa started a very promising relationship with one of the top multi-racial high schools in Port Elizabeth. From the beginning of 2010, Pearson High School has and will be continuing to offer scholarships to talented kids brought to them by UTS SA. The kids have to excel in sport and ideally start in grade 8 at Pearson to enable them to get maximum benefit for their academic progress.
At the moment, we have three rugby boys attending the school in grade 8. Brad, Sithembiso and Sibulele were selected last year and they all played U/13 provincial level rugby at the time. These three boys were selected from the UTS SA U13 team that went on a sponsored tour with us in 2009 to Saffron Walden, UK. The boys have adjusted well to the new school, although the school workload has proven to be much tougher than primary school. Their afternoons are packed with extra-mural activities but we are putting into practice making use of our international volunteers to help with homework and extra tuition on their free afternoons.
The selection for next year’s scholarships is in progress and we are looking to have a mixed selection of boys and girls. The boys for next year are also from our UK tour team who were selected from our various primary schools programs. The girls are from our Primary School Mass Participation Program (MPP) and were identified for their talent and commitment by our School of Excellence (SSE) netball coach who was the “helping hand” in scouting for this raw talent. These boys and girls currently attend schools in the townships and this will be a great change to the schooling life they have known thus far. Pearson has all the facilities they will need for their sport, to polish their skills as well as extra-mural activities that they will be introduced to for the first time in their lives. The kids could even realize talent they didn’t know they had due to the sad fact that they weren’t exposed to certain facilities and activities in the township schools they have attended previously. Such facilities that will contribute to this include Pearson’s state of the art Music department, modern aquatics centre, science labs and brand new sports science gym and fitness centre with full time physio and personal trainers.
All the parents have all been extremely grateful for the opportunity as they would otherwise not have been able to afford to take their kids to such a school, due to their financial constraints. This was particularly a blessing to one of the families where the grandfather, a pensioner, is the sole source of income in the household. All the families have similar backgrounds where the reality is they would never have been able to give their kids such a schooling opportunity had we not given them this Pearson scholarship.
Talking to the kids, you can just see the eagerness of going to a multi-racial school for the first time; they are excited but at the same time they are naturally anxious of the communication skills and how they will fit in. The medium of instruction from the teachers as well as communication with their fellow-scholars will now have to be strictly in English, a language they are not too familiar with. UTS SA will however be on hand to support the kids at each step of the way with extra tuition, personal mentoring and homework assistance. Schooling at Pearson will open up doors to these kids as they will be exposed to other cultures and widen their perspective and outlook on life.
For United Through Sport SA, it has been a pleasure working with Pearson as they have really shown the passion to develop the kids; both on and off the field. Both the headmaster and the sports convener have been very welcoming to and supportive in continuing the relationship between UTS SA and Pearson High School.
We all look forward to seeing these kids progress at Pearson and we thank the school for the opportunity awarded to these and the upcoming scholars. Obtaining schooling such as this is, in reality, very far from the kids in the townships’ reach. Through sport, UTS SA and Pearson are trying hard to bridge this gap and provide better education for these children.
“Being at Pearson has exposed me to a different world, the work load is tough but very rewarding when we complete it and do well. The vibe on Saturdays (around Rugby fixtures) is amazing and I feel so privileged to be a part of it.” – Sithembiso Metshe, UTS SA Scholar attending at Pearson, also Pearson U14 Rugby Captain.
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