Basic building blocks: integrity at Calvary Christian College

| April 10, 2018 | 0 Comments

BY REEVA ROBERTSON

In late 2017, a Grade 11 learner who had just been awarded a bursary for 2018 came to me and said: “I would like to give my bursary to another learner in my class.”

Iasked her why she wanted to do this. She responded that there were financial problems at the other learner’s home and because of that, this learner would not be able to attend the school in 2018. The bursary would enable her to complete her education at Calvary.

I was amazed by this young woman! When last have you heard of a learner doing something like this?

I will tell you what the outcome of this story at the end of the article.

Calvary comes into being

Calvary Christian College is situated in the south of Johannesburg in Alan Manor, close to Mondeor. It was established in 1986 because, as Christians, the founders believed that every child – no matter what their racial heritage – deserved an equal opportunity to enjoy a good education. We met with massive opposition from the government, with threats of closure, regular site visits from more than one inspector at a time, and the promise of taking us to court.

However, we won through and, in 1989, the school was eventually registered with the then Department of Education.

Throughout our history, we have relied upon a simple saying: “…BUT GOD.” Whatever we have faced, whatever opposition has frustrated our plans, whoever has stood in our way of seeing our vision for the school come to fruition – there was always a BUT GOD we could depend on. Here are just some of the ways we saw God move on our behalf:

A providential property plan

The school was originally on rented property and in April 1994, we were asked to move as the land had been sold to a developer. We had just three months to vacate! We searched and searched, and eventually found a place suitable for our needs that would accommodate a multiracial situation such as ours, in a nation that was still radically divided, despite the approach of the historic first democratic election. We approached the owner and he allowed us to rent from him. When he saw the kids of all race groups playing together, he told us that 14 years before we came to him, he had a picture in his head of what was now a reality. He had refused to sell the property although he had had many offers, because he was waiting for the right buyer to come along. And so we became proud owners of the property about a year later.

Acquisition of buildings another bright moment

Of course, we did not have sufficient buildings for our learners. Then we heard about the prefabricated buildings that were to go on sale at the old Standerton power station. Sure enough, the financial manager said we were free to drive down and look at them. Upon arriving and looking at the structures, we boldly said we wanted five buildings. They promised to call us. All they asked was that we bring a cheque with us to pay on that particular day. The call came and with a measure of fear and trepidation, two of us went to see the financial manager.

“How much do we owe you?” we asked.

“R14 500!” was the response. We looked at each other, doing the sums in our heads: R14 500 multiplied by five equalled R72 500. That was a bit steep for us. “Sir, we don’t have enough money for all five. Can we take just two, please,” we asked.

“You don’t understand,” he said. “It is R14 500 for all five! And that includes the panels, the ceiling boards, the plugs, heaters, light fittings, the toilets attached to the buildings – everything. All you have to do is move these buildings.” We were flabbergasted, to say the least.

There are countless stories such as this that we could recite; numerous instances where the impossible became possible.

Steady growth leads to ISASA

We began the school with 150 learners, but by the time we had moved onto the new premises, only 68 learners remained. Since then, we have grown and this year we have 430 children in the school. From a primary school, we have grown into a high school going up to matric. The year 2010 will be remembered by many people as the first time a World Cup was staged on the African continent – but we will remember it as the year our first matrics wrote the Independent Examination Board (IEB) exams. Since then, we have had a 100% pass rate. Not bad for a small school such as ours!

We have been aligned with a number of associations, supporting a voice that expresses our position and opinions on a broad range of educational and staff issues. With the untimely passing of the director of the Association of Christian Education (ACSI), and having been a member of that association for more than 15 years, we felt the time had come to move on. We were looking for an association that could help address the complexities of independent school education in the changing landscape of South Africa, and it was this that led us to ISASA.

An example of student integrity

So, what happened to the learner who was willing to sacrifice her bursary for a less-privileged friend? Well, we explained what had happened to Mineral-Loy CC,1 a company that provides four academic bursaries for our learners in grades 10–12. Their response was immediate: they would sponsor both these learners for 2018.

This learner, who was willing to give up her bursary, epitomises our school’s vision: to develop future leaders of integrity. Many schools and businesses are suddenly into this issue of developing leaders, but Calvary Christian College has had this as a vision for 20 years now. In a nation where we feel there is so little integrity, we have seen our learners rise above the mundane, refuse to embrace the narcissism of the generation Ys and Zs,2 and stand for sound biblical morals and values.

We have a great group of teachers, administration and maintenance staff.

Our basic building block

In short, it is not only what we stand for that counts, but also what we stand against – irrespective of what is going on around us – that matters. This is a basic building block of integrity. This is what we teach our learners, and this is what we practise to the best of our ability.

References:

1. See: https://www.yellosa.co.za/company/513524/mineral-loy-cc

2. See, for example: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/features/11002767/Gen-Z-Gen-Y-baby-boomers-a-guide-to-the-generations.html

 

Category: Autumn 2018

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