It’s official, Delft South Primary School’s literacy squad are champions.
Grade Six pupils Okuhle Duna, Chris Vaaltyn and Tawananyasha Mujuru walked away winners of the literacy division of the Growsmart Educational Programme inter-schools competition which ended last Saturday.
On arrival at school on Monday, they received a heroes’ welcome as the principal, staff and pupils gathered in the school hall to honour their achievement.
English and geography teacher Lukhanyo Nobula and the team used every opportunity to prepare, often long hours after school, for the competition. All their hard work paid off when they were declared literacy winners.
Nobula, who has been at the school since 2020, said besides the academic benefits of getting involved with the programme, it was also a good way to deal with some of the challenges they face on a daily basis.
“Sometimes you spend so much time addressing discipline issues instead of teaching. Gangsterism and substance abuse are huge problems we face in the community but we always try our best to help our learners by talking with them, to guide them to make the right choices and involve their parents to address and sort out all issues,” he said.
He said the school heard about the Growsmart Programme when they received an invite via email to take part in year’s competition.
“The competition is great in all educational ways. It helps in the goal of producing literate learners. Learners were given a book from the Growsmart Educational Programme. They have to know how to spell all the words in this book, know their meaning, and how to use them in a sentence.”
He said the school also entered a three-person team in the numeracy division but only the literacy squad made it through to the first round and ultimately win the competition in the finals.
Based on a spelling bee competition, the English-only literacy competition requires participants to spell words, give definitions and build sentences.
Not for the feint-hearted or ill-prepared, the competition is a nail-biting affair, presided over by a quiz master, judges and scorekeepers. As far as school competitions go, this is as big as any major cup final with the teams competing in front of an audience of supporters, teachers and parents.
The Delft South trio did not flinch, they did not come to play, they came to win.
The team not only walked away with the winners’ trophy but also valuable educational materials and other prizes that can assist the school with future development projects.
Established in 2010, the programme hosts curriculum-based inter-school or inter-grade competitions in literacy, story writing (creative writing) and mathematics for pupils in Grades 4, 5, and 6.
The programme is currently operating in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Limpopo in conjunction with the various education departments, including the Western Cape Education Department (WCED).
Schools taking part in the competition are selected by their respective education departments.
A mentor for each school in each subject is responsible to co-ordinate the programme at their school and a pupil may only take part once in any one of the Growsmart competitions.