Matrics in the Western Cape have taken Winter School to a whole new level by being the first group to participate in a Matric camp. An innovative part of IY’s annual Winter School holiday program, the Matric camp was launched in 2013 by the Western Cape team and has seen 62 Matrics from Makhaza, Masiphumelele and Nyanga get together for a week getaway at the Rotary Glencairn camp site, for 5 days of intensive tutoring, academic workshops and exam practice.
The first day saw all the learners arriving at the site and immediately getting into energetic team-building exercises led by Masi Branch Coordinator, Johnlyn. The exercises proved a worthy ice-breaker as learners started interacting more freely across the branches, and working collectively to earn points for their various teams, comprised of Matrics and volunteers from each branch.
Johnlyn led the group in a workshop on vision and goal-setting, where she spoke frankly about being in Grade 12, the imminence of exams and what it takes to reach goals and achieve desired results. The session was an inspiring one for many learners, and Yonela Jongilanga from Nyanga branch had the following to say: ‘This is different from the other camps I have attended. I like it because the focus is about being serious.’ Tutoring started in earnest and learners spent the rest of the afternoon working on their schoolwork.
Makhaza Coordinator, Zukile took the learners through a valuable workshop on how to calculate their aggregates and types of passes they are currently receiving in their school reports, for the purposes of tertiary studies. The session also covered the National Benchmarking Tests and their importance for accessing studies at certain universities in South Africa. The workshop ushered in a very sombre mood amongst the group, as learners realised the amount of work required of them, in order to access university. Nyanga Branch Assistant, Siphelele, then led the group into an energetic slogan, where learners re-stated their confidence in their ability to achieve their dreams. The evening wound down on an emotional note, as the group openly shared individual experiences and challenges individuals have experienced.
As the Matric camp continues, the learners have all managed to do take part in a variety of activities aimed at preparing them for their final exams and tertiary studies. On day 3 of the camp, the Matrics’ mentors joined the group for an afternoon session of tertiary applications and each learner applied to 5 tertiary institutions for study in 2014. Afikile Nkonyana said the following: ‘’I am glad I had people to help me with my applications. My first option for study is Chemical Engineering and I applied to Stellenbosch, NMMU, CPUT, Wits and TSiBA and I hope I will get a place at one of them for next year.’’ Later that evening, the learners went on a trust hike up the mountain, which is one of the activities that has enriched the learners’ overall experience whilst on the camp. Luyanda Jaranda from Makhaza branch said the following: ‘As we have bonded, it has become quite easy to be tutored together and we have become so relaxed and free during the sessions.’
On the last full day of camp, the learners started the day with a workshop on writing amazing applications. For young people who are on the verge of exiting the school system and entering tertiary education and employment, this workshop came at the right time. Many of the learners are interested in accessing bursaries and other sponsorship for their studies and were very enthusiastic about a workshop that addresses writing to potential funders and employers.
One of our Masi volunteers, Janna, ran a workshop on study guidelines, schedules and time-keeping, which is essential since the Matric exams are a month away. The group also got to enjoy a refreshing walk to the beach, where they had a fun afternoon playing games, swimming, chatting, doing photo-shoots and having lunch at the beach. After walking back, the learners were exhausted, but had enough energy to get ready for a Maths workshop, facilitated by SAAO.
True to ikamvanite culture, the learners got into a rigorous tutoring session after the day’s many activities and spent a number of hours getting assistance in their school subjects from their tutors, who as usual were more than up to the task. Lindiwe Grootboom, a volunteer said the following: ‘I have found the camp very inspiring. I hear the stories from the learners and tutors and I am amazed by what they go through every day, and yet they are here, studying and working to make their lives better.’
Matric Camp has been a success so far, and Kuhle Riti from Makhaza said the following: ‘The camp is a success because we have got a chance to focus on our studies and help each other as Matrics from (the Western Cape). ‘’ This strongly echoes IY’s value of peer-to-peer sharing and IY is excited to witness the fruit of the Matric camp as the learners write their mock exams in September and final exams in November.
A very special thank you to Pick’n Pay Fish Hoek, for generously supplying camp catering, and ensuring that all our learners, volunteers and staff are well fed every day of the camp, as well as Rotary for the accomodation.
Matrics 2013 Yes we can!!!