DATE: 03 DEC 2021
VENUE: 110 Park Drive, Port Elizabeth Central
My Name is Ms Perky Umera, The Managing Director and Founder of Purpose Finder Academy Group of School.
It gives me great joy to preside over the 1st Speech and Prize ceremony and graduation ceremony for the grade R class of 2021. What an honour and privilege to be here with you today, and to celebrate your enormous achievements.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. The journey you are on is important, and don’t take lightly these achievements we celebrate today. What we are seeing here, would be a tradition of excellence and celebrating achievement at Purpose Finder Academy.
Purpose Finder Academy is a manifestation of my ministry calling. Born out of Bright Student Learning almost a decade ago, brick by brick we have built thus far. The history of the school ladies and gentlemen, is an amazing journey and we are still far from getting close to our vision. As the name suggest, Purpose Finder, we are distinguishing ourselves from other educational institutions through provision of purposeful learning. “Purpose is a long-term, forward-thinking intention that is both meaningful to the self and consequential to the world.” Our educational needs and services are inspired by this view and we have embedded it into our future goals as a learning institution.
Where we are going, we will need purpose and inspiration.
Success is attracted by hard work, commitment, dedication and passion, but to that, you need purpose and inspiration. “Purpose is that sense that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, that we are needed, that we have something better ahead to work for. Purpose is what creates true happiness”. That, ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, is what we at Purpose Finder Academy is striving for.
Invited guests, today is the first of many memorable years that Purpose Finder Academy will celebrate. We have set great goals for ourselves. We see ourselves beyond offering only academic services to young learners.
As part of our future goals, we envisage a Purpose Finder Academy that provides vocational and psychomotor skills to adults as well. We envisage a Purpose Finder that provides practical electrical courses, bricklaying, entrepreneurship courses and many others as we empower and enlighten the Zimbabwean community and the whole of Africa.
But before we get there, we need to equip Purpose Finder with State-of-the-Art learning Infrastructure. In that regard, key things that should be present at this school as a matter of urgency are as follows:
Education is increasingly viewed as a shared responsibility of educators and families. Purpose Finder Academy will only grow through strategic partnership with parents, who are the key stakeholders. Schools and families have essential roles to play in promoting children’s positive development and academic performance. When educators and parents work together as partners, they create important opportunities for children to develop social, emotional, and academic competencies.
Thus, mutual goal-setting is a great way to encourage parent involvement, working together to collaborate to improve children’s learning. A we share the responsibility of child development, Purpose Finder Academy suggests that “clarity, alignment, and evidence of success are three objectives that problem solvers” must keep in mind. When parents have the opportunity to participate in problem-solving, they also become part of the solution. We are therefore, encouraging and urging parents to play a key role in the schools projects.
Today, as we have witnessed individuals getting awards in academics, smartness, discipline extra-mural activities, and so on. You might be wondering: why awarding people for club activities when this is an academic institution? What we are seeing here, illustrates a fundamental aspect that I would be happy if we all understand.
A school is not just a place for academic learning, but also for physical, cultural, social and spiritual learning and growth – to be exposed. Exposure will teach you things that you do not learn in class. So read widely. Read newspapers. Watch the news. Participate in a social club. Learn people skills.
To the senior class, the high school, let me warn you that, we live in a globalised world where life is multi-dimensional. Now as people studying to become professionals in your different chosen fields, your chances of success are high if you train yourself to be well-rounded.
I am going to tell you this: there are certain places and certain heights that grades alone will not take you. You need more than good grades. You will need exposure, you will need to know people, you will need interaction skills, you will need the ability to put ideas into action.
So be engaged. Participate in a society and in a club. Be active in the society you live in and think of ways that in your houses, sports teams, classes, and clubs, through which you can do something worthwhile that you will one day look back at and be proud of.
I was very engaged in school. But in that, I never neglected my studies and I did come out with some good grades, but I was very active in social clubs, in sports, interschool activities and in community initiatives. Through those engagements, I met people who would eventually guide me in career choice. I urge you to do the same.
What are presented before you are opportunities for you to grow in these many facets. How you choose to use those opportunities is up to you, but once these years are done, you will either count your successes or count your loses. I would prefer that you count your successes.
Smart people, Disciplined people: it is not enough to be a smart or to be disciplined while lacking academically. Those who have scooped academic awards today, it is not enough to just know books and nothing else. The point I am making is that, you need to be well-rounded students. That is how the real world works.
Prize winners, I am proud of you. I am going to warn you not to be complacent, not to relax and not to think you have conquered the world. Not yet, because your potential is tremendous: I have seen it shining through your achievements today.
And to all those who are not receiving anything but are nonetheless here to celebrate with our winners, I have so much faith in you, and I hope you have received inspiration so that next year, we celebrate you too.
Our esteemed Guest of Honour Ms P. Umera, Distinguished guests, parents, Techers and students, I extend a warm welcome to each and every one of you as we gather here this morning to celebrate the myriad of achievements of our talented young men and women. This occasion marks the first prizegiving at Purpose Finder Academy and at the first Principal, I am extremely proud to represent this incredible school and celebrate with you the successes of our students here today.
The achievements of the young people sitting in front of me is nothing short of outstanding and each of them, plus many other children not recognised today, should be celebrated by all of us. Over the past 6 months we have seen the school continue to grow and develop. Purpose Finder Academy is becoming increasingly well-known and the interest at all levels is overwhelming
Behind every prize and every success are the teachers, parents, friends and supporters who have been with you, our precious students, every step of the way, through the highs and lows. Today we can all sit back and feel very proud of your achievements and who you are becoming as young men and women. Your story is still being written.
Before this, however, prizegiving is a time for us as educators and learners – of which we all are – to continue to reflect on the world and the space of change we are navigating in the way we all approach education. As a School, we must continue to embrace the requirement to change and adapt, to chart a new course built from the strengths of what we do best – Teaching and Learning. Change is a constant in this rapidly evolving word. We recognise the challenge to prepare our students for a world where innovation, collaboration, resilience and the ability to solve complex problems will be required; a world where key strengths a young person will need are the ability to learn to be adaptable, relational and culturally located.
At Purpose Finder Academy, we are aspirational. We strive to deliver learning that is Christianity centred, connected, culturally located, authentic and exciting, where all our students want to be engaged, where our community willingly shares its skills, strengths and values and where learning is at the core. This is our aspirational journey.
A major focus over the next 12 months will be on our first class of O’ Level. However, as we look towards the new academic year, 2022, we have plenty to do. The school outlook should show that Purpose Finder is here to stay as it will undergo a full redevelopment with internal and external decoration and restructuring of some spaces, our learners should be computer proficient not literacy, our library should function, our sport department will be vibrant, our clubs department will be fully functional among other critical areas of our learning.
In addition to our significant academic ambitions, we also seek to provide a full and diverse range of opportunities to prepare young people for the big wide world.
God grants what we pray for. We get what we expect and our stakeholders must continue to expect great things from Purpose Finder Academy. Our collective challenge as a School, parents and stakeholders in 2022 is to continue to grow not only strong young men and women who experience academic success, but young people who are compassionate, considerate and Christ minded. We thank all parents and guardians for your ongoing support of our School and look forward to continuing to build strong working relationships focused on student success next year.
Despite opening later on into the year, 2021 has proven to be a very successful year for the school. As we celebrate the character, commitment and achievements of our students in academia, allow me Guest of Honour madam, our distinguished guests, to list some our proud moments in 2021.
A special thank you must go to our Managing Director today, Ms P. Umera, who is also our Guest of Honour today. Mam, look at the future you are creating, look at the generation you have give a chance with your wonderful mission.
On the 24th of September, the school celebrated the Heritage Day in style by lining many activities that showcased the talents of our students and richness of our cultures. The invitation to watch the activities was extended to parents with only one parent attending.
On the 26th November 2021, the school took a long trip to Addo to experience nature. It was a magnificent experience, which we want to replicate with much more learner-centric.
It behoves us all to reflect on our amazing journey this year. In providing this snapshot of student contributions and successes, we must acknowledge that these things are not possible without the dedication of a community who integrate faith, life and culture. To our parent, none of these plans would be possible without your wonderful support. I am grateful for the trust and confidence youcontinue to place in our teachers and wider school community. We wish to create various Parent groups who would be vibrant in spearheading the school’s programs and endeavours. Allow me to motivate the parents’ participation in the school programs by words said by Johann Friedrich Herbar, the father of Pedagogy and I quote, Education is a shared commitment between dedicated teachers, motivated students and enthusiastic parents with high expectations.
As Principal, the quality of our staff and the potential we have for making a profound difference in the lives and the learning of the students in our care, is of paramount importance to me. I feel very blessed to be working with some of the best educators that I have had the privilege to work alongside. The drive, passion and determination – underpinned by skill, knowledge and empathy, has seen teaching and learning continue to raise progress and achievement despite the ever changing social, learning and emotional needs that we are confronted with today. The resilience required from the 21st century teacher is an incredible mix of passion, professionalism, patience and persistence. In acknowledging the teaching staff, I acknowledge too the wonderful support staff team that ensures this School runs smoothly. They are often the unsung heroes of our School. Every member of this staff team, both teaching and non-teaching, has a critical function in the success of this School. Please know that your contributions and efforts are most valued and appreciated.
I must also pay tribute to the supreme dedication and support of the sister branches in Cape Town and Pretoria, Senior Leadership team led by the Managing Director Ms Umera. Thank you all for your support and guidance this year and many years to come. Today marks the last ‘first time’ for me experiencing a School activity this year. It’s a really interesting space to navigate where you are expected to have an answer or make a decision but you don’t know what an event, activity or procedure fully entails.
So, there we are, our distinguished guest, the hardest and most important part is done and we move on to the next one with confidence and excitement.