Blouvlei LSEN goes Wild Wild West this year

Every year I attend the farewell function of the OO class at Blouvlei LSEN in Retreat. I simply love celebrating with the school when they send off their 18 year olds to start their own life. Often this occasion is marked with much fanfare and all of us - the learners and their partners, the parents, the sponsors and of course, guests like myself participate fully in the occasion.
A few of the learners who graduated on the night.

This year the theme was the Wild, wild west.  Most of the decor is made by the learner themselves. The ceiling was adorned with hanging paper lanterns, there was a horse carriage at the entrance and the stage was straight from a Western film: there were high hay bales and all the other paraphernalia - fabulous stuff.

Gideon is the educator of the learners who was honoured this year. Gideon, I believe is the perfect educator for these learners. He has Job's patience, a calm demeanour and he simply adores his charges. The entire night Gideon darts about, taking photos of his learners, giving the occasional pat on the back to those who pass by and ensures that the evening stays upbeat and fun.  The Blouvlei staff look dashing in their cowboy and cowgirl outfits. Maureen, the principal, has donned a funky skirt and sported a cowboy hat, smiling all the time and happily gives me the history of many of the learners who started their school career at Blouvlei LSEN.
A few staff members and learners. See coach as prop as well.

I almost missed this joyous occasion - usually one of my not-to-be missed engagements on my calendar. While I was at another school, Maureen called to hear when I was coming and there was a tinge of disappointment in her voice. Then, to cut all the fluff, I literally sped through my business, rushed home, took a typical cowboy splash, flew into my cowgirl outfit and raced to Blouvlei. By the time I arrived, the speeches were done and most guests had completed their meals already. The music was hotting up and yep, I was ready to be part of the festivities!  Off I went to get some potjiekos, made by 'Nurse' and I tucked in with a vengeance, all the while listening to Maureen's update of the early part of the evening.
Maureen and a few of her staff members fully kitted in the Wild  Wild West  costumes

Maureen told me about the stirring farewell speech by the learner. The girl thanked the school for caring and supporting her and for accepting her for who she is. She had relayed how rejected she felt at her previous mainstream school where she was forced to sit alone in a corner. Here at Blouvlei, our heroine said, she was embraced and taught confidence, self love and given the wings to grow.  I am sure I would have cried if I had been there to hear our keynote speaker.
High festivity with Gideon poised to catch every moment.

Yes, that is my experience of Blouvlei Lsen school. Our special angels are given space to spread their wings and fly.  Maureen and her caring staff - including 'Nurse', Mr Basson, Merle and Derrick to name a few of the support staff - have been chosen to serve as the mentors and coaches of all our young ones who can so easily be trampled on in life.

Viva to Blouvlei... continue keeping the spirit of ubuntu alive!
Maureen and I - two Cowgirls ready to have a swell time.


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