Kuils River teacher scoops award

A Kuils River teacher scooped the Kfm Teacher of the Year Award, and he has already dedicated the cash prize to helping his community.

Jeremy Dietsiso, a teacher at Silversands High, was announced as the winner of the competition on Tuesday December 1. He will receive the award on Monday December 14 during a presentation at the school.

Mr Dietsiso said winning the award was a humbling experience and that he was honoured to have been nominated.

“One of my students nominated me for this award, and that, in itself, has been a major motivator for me, as my goal is to be a role model for my students and for the youngsters from my community.”

Mr Dietsiso, a life and natural sciences teacher who grew up in Blackheath, said he had chosen to work at Silversands to help his community.

“The area where I grew up serves as the feeder community for Silversands, so after I completed my studies at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, I applied at six different schools, and even though I was successful with the other applications, I chose Silversands. The reason being is that I want to uplift my community and show them that they can go and make a positive impact in the world.”

By winning the award, Mr Dietsiso earned R10 000 for Silversands, but he also plans to spend his own prize of R15 000 to help his community.

“During lockdown, I started a feeding scheme in my community where we provided between 800 to 900 youngsters with two meals a day. That scheme has continued so hopefully this cash prize will go a long way in supporting that and we get to feed more people in the community.”

Teaching and helping his community are not the only passions in Mr Dietsiso’s life. The 27-year-old is also a qualified netball official.

“I am a national A netball umpire – the highest rank in South Africa – and in 2018 I travelled to Australia where I officiated at an international under-18 tournament, where I was in charge of the final between Australia and Samoa. In the same year, I was also nominated for the national teacher of the year award, but I ended up as a runner-up at district level for excellence in secondary teaching.”

Some 1300 nominations were received during the five-week competition, and that number was whittled down to 10 finalists, a group Mr Dietsiso blew out of the water by taking more than half of the 8684 votes.

Kfm presenter Darren Simpson, who announced Mr Dietsiso as the winner on December 1, said: “This campaign is a testament to the commitment of each and every hero teacher in this country. What an incredible acknowledgement of the profession. And what a worthy winner. Jeremy is the future of this profession.”