The Alex Education Committee (AEC) founded by late philanthropist Deane Yates, continues to inspire hundreds of Alex children.
Also the founder of the top-notch Maru-a-Pula school in Gaborone, Botswana, Yates started AEC in 1996 after identifying, through his church in Alex, boys and girls with potential who were unable to produce good results matching their potential at local schools.
He raised funds for bursaries to support them from Grade 8 to 12 at better functioning former model C schools such as Highlands North, Sandringham, Waverley Girls and Vuleka Secondary schools.
The beneficiaries are said to be excelling. Their work is supplemented with after school, weekend and holiday tutorials conducted at Waverley Girls.
The committee’s student career guidance councillor Sydney Seolonyane said all 39 Grade 12 beneficiaries last year passed, with 30 obtaining varsity entry and nine diplomas. Seolonyane said they supported them from Grade 8 in maths literacy, pure maths, physical science, life science, English language, computers and other subjects requested by beneficiaries.
“The 100 percent support includes books and stationery, uniforms, food, transport including for school excursions, and bursaries for varsity studies. Also, they receive mentorship and those struggling to cope with depressed conditions received social worker support,” Seolonyane said.
He added that despite the difficult economic environment in raising funds, the programme won’t be derailed and the beneficiaries will remain focused with the support of motivated teachers and good tutoring.
To date, more than 400 are said to have successfully gone through tertiary education, are employed in various social, business, science, engineering and medical careers, plough back as mentors to their successors and are active alumni.
Volunteer tutors commended the initiative. Kate Yong said the youngsters attending weekend tutorial indicated a commitment and determination to succeed. “They are aware that their lives will be better with matric and varsity qualifications.”
Katherine Langford said the challenge was to synchronise the beneficiaries’ different strengths as they came from different schools and teachers. “We try to fill in the gaps to balance their knowledge and confidence to do well. They have amazing commitment coupled with that of their sponsors.”
Beneficiaries Karabo Moalefa and Kabelo Moleke commended the extra lessons and occasional meetings of encouragement with sponsors, saying it guaranteed them distinctions for varsity entry.