Our gratitude is overwhelming. In a year that tested us all, VMS managed to come through with flying colours, thanks to YOU, our dedicated supporters. Our 108 children, 8 permanent staff members, and 3 volunteers shared the love you so generously offered.
As we bid farewell to another successful academic year, we are delighted to share some of the highlights of this term. The past three months have been filled with activities and accomplishments that reflect the vibrancy and unity of our school community. Some of the activities that we engaged in are as follows:
Heritage Day Celebration
On September 22, our school was a vivid display of diversity as we commemorated Heritage Day. Students and staff came adorned in colourful traditional attire, showcasing the rich cultural tapestry that makes up our school community. The day was filled with cultural performances and dance, traditional food and activities that allowed us to appreciate and celebrate our shared heritage.
In October, we joyfully celebrated the birthdays of our learners born between July and December. It was a delightful occasion filled with laughter, music and, of course, birthday cake. Our most vulnerable children do not have birthday celebrations at home, making the school celebration even more special for them. The celebrations created lasting memories and reinforced the sense of community that makes Vhutshilo Mountain School a special and safe place for our students. Once again, a huge appreciation to all our sponsors for making all this possible.
Grade R Graduation Ceremony
On November 31st, Grade R learners marked a significant milestone with their graduation ceremony. Over 300 people attended the ceremony, including guests from the local royal family, the Department of Education, and VMS board members. It was a heart-warming event where we celebrated the children’s achievements and growth throughout the year. The event brought the community together. Chairs and decorations were donated by area organizations and shops and local women arrived early to prepare lunch for everyone. We are truly humbled by the support we continue to receive from people near and far. We are immensely proud of our young graduates and look forward to watching them continue to blossom as they carry on their educational journeys.
Throughout Term 4, our students continued to shine academically. We applaud their hard work, dedication and resilience, both in the classroom and during virtual learning sessions. The commitment of our educators and the support of parents have played a crucial role in fostering a positive learning environment.
In November Lizzy Leto from The Netherlands, a painting artist, teacher and creative therapist travelling around Africa and currently working in Venda, heard about VMS from a friend. She visited the school, fell in love with the children and staff, and spent three weeks painting amazing murals of animals in our reception area and administrative office. Thank you Aardvark Hardware in Sibasa for donating paint for the project. Lizzy, we thank you for giving our reception a fresh look and for the art lessons you provided to our grade R and grade 1-2 students. Lizzy has completed painting commissions in the Dutch harbour industry and as a live painter at Schiphol AirPort. You can see more of her work on her website at www.LizzyNieuwenhuis.NL.
We continue to provide support to HIV+ children, youth and women in our community as we also ensure that our former students remain in school to complete their educations. We handed out 33 food parcels to needy families in December and provided families with food parcels at the end of each school term. These were made possible by donations from Netcare Foundation, Hope for Limpopo, church members in Scotland, individual sponsors and local shops donations.
We are excited as we look forward preparing for upcoming events in the new academic year. These include our annual birthday celebration, the Arts and Culture Festival, and numerous educational excursions aimed at broadening our students' horizons.
In 2019, visitors from Scotland to Greenock spent time fixing our playground, providing our students with many years of enjoyment. On the evening of the 1st of December there was a huge storm in Venda and our playground was destroyed. Our agenda will include seeking funding and assistance to rebuild in 2024.
I consider myself fortunate to be part of the VMS family: staff members, Board members, children, and community. YOU are all amazing and help make my work fulfilling and rewarding. To our family and friends in Scotland and the United States your continuous support has been wonderful, and we appreciate each and every one of you. Your enthusiasm and commitment are vital to the continued growth and success of VMS.
I hope you all experienced a restful and enjoyable holiday season and look forward to welcoming everyone back for another year of learning and achievement in the upcoming academic term.
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