(breath). Term 2 came and went in a blaze of exhilarating highs and crushing lows. From a personnel point of view, we gained a new team member through a partnership with the Jabulani Rural Health Foundation, but also tragically lost two outstanding individuals.
A massive highlight was the successful running of our first round of Early Grade Reading Assessments at six Junior Secondary Schools. The results, however, paint a bleak reality in terms of literacy in this area. We're hopeful though, that we will see improvements as we partner with teachers to stimulate learning. Our careers team has been facing the challenge of university applications for our Ekukhuleni Grade 12s - a truly formidable task. In spite of the frustration with how difficult and inaccessible the process is to the average rural learner, we're tremendously excited about the potential packed into the matric class of 2015 - and for those up and coming grade 11's who've been exploring the working world through job shadowing.
It's a privilege to be part of the Axium team - holding the tension between frustration, lack of agency and blatant unfairness, alongside hope, talented students and their tenacity in reaching for a bright future. We are excited and expectant for what's still to come in 2015. Recently we took time as a team to pause and reflect on the term that has been. Click the link to read some of the feedback from that session.
You'll notice that we're doing the newsletter a little differently this term. What follows below are short highlights packages from the many different areas of our work at Axium. In each section you will find a link to the full story, on our Axium Blog page. There's lots of exciting content this term! We hope you enjoy the new format.
Yours in growing rural talent and opportunity,
The Axium Team
Remembering Fallen Heroes
We have lost some true heroes in the past few months. Though our hearts are still heavy with their passing, we feel privileged to have worked alongside such inspiring people.
Mr Petse, who was the principal of Dudumayo Senior Secondary passed away on 28 May 2015. His contribution to rural education will continue to ripple across these hills and beyond for many years to come. Read a tribute to Mr Petse from Craig Paxton, here.
Thulile was a past pupil of Seaview Senior Secondary, and one of the Jumpstart and Paragons crew. Read more about the first 'Paragon's' legacy in this tribute, written by his friend and fellow Paragon, Siyamthemba.
Early Grade Reading Assessments, briefly referred to as EGRAs, are tests used to measure early reading skills such as letter sound recognition, word and passage reading, and basic comprehension. For the first time, the Axium team has implemented this assessment, and we're excited to have more information about foundation phase literacy in the area than we've ever had before! In our first round of EGRAs, the pioneering Nobalisa team tested 883 learners from grade 1-3 at six schools
find out more here.
Spotlight on Ekukhuleni
It has been an exciting term at Ekukhuleni, Axium's Saturday school program for high schoolers, with many new faces and record attendances. This term has also seen the introduction of our Paragons. These young men have added tremendous value to our team as well as acting as inspirations for their younger peers still in school. Click here for the full Ekukhuleni report and here to find out more about our Paragon Unit. And if you're looking for an awesome avenue to get involved, check out our new Reading Lab Project, here
The Jabulani Rural Health Foundation has been setting up a library for the past few years. Recently, the library has been passed into Axium's hands, with ongoing support from Jabulani. With our education focus, and growing work into foundation phase literacy - it's become a great fit! So we're delighted to have a new team member, Phelisa Memeza, who has been working as the librarian for almost a year. Having the library as an Axium resource has us dreaming about lots of possibilities for the months and years to come! Read more about developments in the library and get to know Phelisa a bit better here.