FOCUS ON : Augestinium Secondary School

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School Again on Course By Sbu Mjikeliso Exactly 140 years ago, the Rhenish Mission established a school for elementary training of Herero teachers at Okahandja. Princess Elizabeth of Lippe-Detmold obliged with funds; thus Augustineum was born. It wasn’t until a hundred years later that the school evolved into a high school. Then it began to cater for young learners when the institution was relocated to Windhoek. The school was named in honour of church father, Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo. The lady now steering the S.S. Augustineum is Beatrice Losper. ” I started working here as principal in 2003. I was a teacher for more than 17 years before I became principal,” Losper said. She had the difficult task of transforming a school in disarray into a formidable institution in less than five years. It’s been three years now and the school has made remarkable progress towards achieving its objective. “When I got here I was shocked to see that the school was in a shambles. The windows were broken, the school property in general was a mess, there were no lights in the halls and some doors were unable to open,” Losper added. This may not have shocked most members of the public, as the school was in a downward spiral to destruction. Sanity prevailed the moment Losper took over the reins. Students who were ill-disciplined were put on the straight and narrow. “I immediately sent the message to the pupils that they will no longer come to school in the wrong uniform, they will not arrive late or else they will be locked out (this also applied to the teachers as well) and learners would henceforth start to partake in sport and recreational activities, contrary to what they were doing before I arrived,” Losper recounted. The school, which has over the years produced a number of Cabinet ministers and Members of Parliament, was then set to revive pre-independence glory. Losper inspired the pupils to excel in sports. When athletics was introduced to the school, they went on to achieve third place in the annual schools’ athletics meeting. Sport such as rugby, soccer, basketball, hockey and netball were also not left behind. The school entered six teams in various national netball leagues, of which three won their respective leagues. The academic aspects also showed dramatic improvement. “We have improved our Grade 12 results by 10% since 2004; the best results we have had since the country’s independence. Now we are receiving calls from parents begging us to find their children space in the school,” said a very confident Losper. The school pulled off what could be considered as a coup, regarding their background, when one of the students scooped the Junior Achievement Award for his work in creating a school newspaper. “Initially, the school didn’t have the funds to support his project, but through his own perseverance, he managed to get private funding,” said Losper. The school’s achievements didn’t stop there. The institution entered and won a radio quiz in English in 2004, outshining formidable opposition such as St Paul’s High School. The following year they entered again in the Oshiwambo and Afrikaans divisions, winning and being runner-up respectively. The principal is now proud to say that the school has 1 050 learners and 44 staff members. It also has a boarding facility, which is key due to the shortage of accommodation for learners in the country.