Fresh buzz at Ekukhuleni!

The Ekukhuleni Programme works with high-schoolers – teaching Maths, Science and English on Saturdays and supporting after school study groups.

Ekukhuleni students roaring into action during a break from lessons.
A dramatic response from some Ekukhuleni students to the suggestion that polony sandwiches would be delayed by 10 minutes.

In the last school term, Axium has invited just over 50 new students into the Ekukhuleni program across grades 10 and 11. These additions have come as a result of commitment to weekly study groups as well as excellent reports from teachers and stand-out performances in recent school tests and exams. And what a boost these new students have been for Ekukhuleni! There has been a palpable shift in the academic climate on Saturdays. Students who have been in the program for 6 months and have perhaps begun to slip into complacency have reacted positively to the new additions and there is a real buzz around school on Saturday mornings. Attendance records have been smashed and then re-smashed several weeks in a row and even our bread and polony order has had to increase significantly!

Our June and July bootcamps were both resounding successes. It is always such a pleasure to see students for five days back-to-back and to be able to see real learning coming out of a place of continuity and consistent attendance. Our Science gurus had a highly creative chemistry experiment running throughout one camp in the form of a murder mystery which had students putting their knowledge into practice; whilst in the English department we have been balancing our time between an intensive grammar basics course and producing some excellent creative writing pieces, some of which might even feature in Axium’s on-going Reading Lab Project. Both the Maths and Science teams have really benefitted from the addition of our Paragon Unit – a group of young guys straight out of high school, two of whom who have embarked on their Jump Start year (a year-long gap year programme run jointly by Axium and Jabulani Rural Health Foundation). Their passion for learning and passing on knowledge to their younger peers has been refreshing, and their diligence, work ethic, and availability to slot in where needed have made them vital cogs in the Ekukhuleni machine.

Grade 11s at Zithulele Hospital for job shadow
Grade 11s at Zithulele Hospital for job shadow

The Grade 11s and 12s have benefited greatly from several career guidance sessions and both grades have had a chance to take ‘next steps’ towards reaching their dreams. The Grade 11s recently completed a week of job shadowing, with many of our students visiting the hospital and getting a glimpse into the world of medicine and health care in general.

Axium students meeting some of the health professionals at Zithulele Hospital
Axium students from Dudumayo and Lutubeni meeting some of the health professionals at Zithulele Hospital

Here’s what two of our students had to say about their time on job shadow: “I saw many different things and got information about audiology” – Liziwe

“This is the day I will never forget, because I now know what I want to do in my life” – Masibulele

The Grade 12s have been in constant contact with our university applications team. This is a process that has so many challenges even for urban kids with access to resources, so it can seem almost insurmountable to the rural student. It is therefore so rewarding to be able to help coordinate and ultimately submit so many applications for our Grade 12s. We are always looking to improve and streamline this process and we will be experimenting with some new systems in the next term.

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