Marist Schools live out the vision of their Founder Saint Marcellin Champagnat daily by providing a holistic education that envisages each boy living out the key values that Saint Marcellin aspired to: Humility, Modesty and Simplicity. At the heart of this vision is the realization that as much as the boys are seeking to achieve excellence in the spheres of Academics and Sport there is a greater striving to fulfill the vision of Service to touch the lives of many under-privileged South Africans. Thus the imperative of service at St. David’s is to “awaken Learners’ consciences to the problems that affect society” and must “involve our pupils in charitable works that bring them into contact with situations of poverty”.
Part of St. David’s criteria is that all boys are involved in full time service to assist those less fortunate than themselves: this is done proactively, through a hands-on approach. This approach affords the boys opportunities of being involved with people and realizing the difficulties others, especially those of their own age, face.
Beyond Our Gates
Our “Beyond Our Gates” Outreach Programme is designed to instill in our boys an opportunity to focus within their particular Grades on a project that they will be involved in to the end of Grade 12.
The Co-Workers is a group made up of over 30 boys and three staff members. The Co-Workers have various services that they are involved in namely: HEADWAY, where the boys assist in physiotherapy for young people who have motor skill or brain defects through traumatic accidents. Another service is that offered to the Blessed Joseph Gerard Old Age Home in Alexandra where every year a Christmas Party is held for the elderly: the boys serve lunch, put on a show and hand each person a Christmas gift. A further area of service is the Oncology Ward at Baragwanath Hospital where the boys play and communicate with the children. All these service areas take place on a rotation basis every Friday.
The S.M.I.L.E. (St Mary's Interactive Learning Experience) programme is an oral skills programme, aimed at improving the competence and confidence of second language speakers. Grade 5 learners from disadvantaged communities interact with Grade 9-11 pupils from St. David’s and through activities such as rhyme and role play, learn English and basic reading skills.
The programme benefits not only the young learners from Tembisa, but also our boys, who derive a great deal from this cross-cultural endeavour. They gain a sense of achievement, enjoyment and insight into the lives of others.
S.M.I.L.E. engenders a wonderful community spirit at St. David’s. While some pupils serve as S.M.I.L.E. guides, others play a pivotal role in providing lunches that the Tembisa children enjoy. At the start of the year, money is collected for this purpose. It is wonderful to see how the boys respond to this opportunity to give. The kitchen staff helps with preparation, while mothers and staff serve the lunches. It is indeed a community affair.
Staff Bursary Fund
In keeping with the Marist tradition of educating the disadvantaged, a bursary fund was started by the staff seven years ago. This fund is financed by monthly contributions from the staff, generous amounts from the PTA and Matric Dance Committee, and our annual fundraising on Champagnat Day. Several pupils are currently benefiting from the Staff Bursary Fund.