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At Paul Roos Mandela Day Is Every Day

Paul Roos Gymnasium is known as one of South Africa’s most excellent schools for boys. With the achievements of its current and previous scholars, its caring attitude towards its educators and parents – it is well-known that Paul Roos teaches its learners to strive for excellence in all aspects of life. With other core and equally important values such as respect and responsibility, it is important for Paul Roos Gymnasium to teach their boys how to extend a caring hand towards those in need, to build relationships and networks with learners from neighbouring schools and subsequently making a difference in the wider community. PRG has initiated and is involved in numerous projects that instill the importance and value of giving back, sharing resources and knowledge, and initiating ideas where there is a clear need for development and transformation. Its contributions span across academic, cultural, and social fields. PRG is also known for taking hands with Old Boys and local businesses in ensuring these contributions are legitimate, have value, have longevity and are sustainable, and have maximum impact on the PRG and wider school communities.

Examples of such initiatives, projects and outreach programmes are Societas, SUM, Student Council initiatives, Young Virtuosi, Filmit, the PRG Forum and the PRG Foundation.

Societas is a Paul Roos and Deloitte outreach programme that does charity work in the Stellenbosch community. Charities and causes are mostly identified by PRG learners themselves. Recent projects include Boots for Life (donation of togs and athletic shoes for underprivileged athletes), Odd Socks Drive (donating odd socks to the Stellenbosch Night Shelter), Youth Outreach Food Drive (donating food supplies for vulnerable children during the school holidays), School2School Shoe Box Project (donating Christmas boxes for Grade R, Grade 1 and LSEN learners from Joostenberg Primary School), Save The Sheep Drought Support Project (donating toys to children from the Karoo affected by the drought) and a project giving thanks to the Stellenbosch Fire & Rescue unit after massive firefighting expeditions. During Mandela Month 2021 Societas learners were challenged to donate from 67 minutes to 5 hours of their time towards a charity of their choice, provide food at drop off points for those affected by the recent riots in South-Africa or to donate R67 towards a support fund. Part of the proceeds went towards supporting those affected by the riots as well as other identified charities in the community.

SUM (Stellenbosch United in Mathematics) is a wonderful educational and empowering programme aimed at online support for mathematics teachers and learners. It includes online educational material for math students from Grade 8-12, as well as a collaborative teacher project aimed at mentoring, developing, and guiding teachers in broadening their knowledge and building their confidence as mathematics teachers. Five schools, their math pupils and teachers benefit from this educational outreach programme, which is supported by Remgro, and accessible via YouTube.

PRG’s music department noticed a lack of Grade 8 learners who play wind instruments like trumpet and trombone. This indicated a need for alternative music training for primary school learners with an interest in music and playing in orchestras. Young Virtuosi is a music development programme focused on learners from primary schools in Stellenbosch.  An external music teacher has been appointed to work with these youngsters, and instruments are sponsored by the 150 Trust where needed.  Ten learners have been recruited thus far of which two recently participated in the Hugo Lambrechts Concerto Competition.

Filmit is a brand-new creative initiative supported by Atterbury and WeBuyCars. It is a film competition for high school learners. The outreach leg of the competition stretches as wide as Namibia. All schools across South Africa and Namibia who entered this competition have access to a free online mentoring video where they get industry tips from producers, directors, screenwriters, directors of photography, actors, sound engineers, editors, and composers – all people who work in the tv and film industry daily. This mentorship video is free of charge. The twenty schools who are selected as finalists received one-on-one online mentorship with actors from the TV series Suidooster as well as Annie’s Wardrobe (costume design) in Cape Town. The winners receive further online mentorship from film and TV experts and celebrities as well as online training opportunities at the Red and Yellow Creative Business School. This is a first in the school community and PRG is proud to take hands with celebrities such as Neil Sandilands, Erica Wessels, Nicole Fortuin, Deon Lotz, Dean Smith, Marco Spaumer, Esther von Waltsleben, Jawaaahier Petersen, businesses AtterburyWeBuyCarsClemenGoldRed and Yellow Creative Business School and Annie’s Wardrobe in creating free-of-charge learning experiences for the creative leaders of our future.

PRG Forum is focused on the art of speaking. This forum helps learners at PRG develop their skills in public speaking and debating. PRG learners compete nationally and internationally and have achieved great success all round. The school has been innovative in kickstarting and hosting the Boland Debating League (Afrikaans and English) which is open to learners and schools from the district. In 2021 PRG is proud to announce that it is developing and planning to launch a brand-new Xhosa public speaking competition and training programme in 2022– which will be a first in the country. PRG plans to start in the Stellenbosch district and plans to invite all schools in and around Stellenbosch to compete. The competition will be preceded by a development and training programme empowering teachers to coach public speaking and judge competitions. The aim is to develop and expand this competition to a national level. By doing so PRG teachers will be sharing their knowledge and experience, creating opportunities for schools to create and develop their own Xhosa public speaking programmes and creating opportunities for learners to develop their speaking talents in their home, second and third languages. All this towards building a more unified and equal society.

Last, but not least – PRG created the PRG Foundation after a visit from Mr. Nelson Mandela on the 20th of March 2002. In Mr. Mandela’s speech he stated that “this is a place that prepares leaders”. PRG took this statement to heart and decided that the foundation would be utilized as an empowerment vehicle to develop leaders by giving talented youngsters from disadvantaged communities the opportunities to fulfil their academic and sporting potential. Herscel Jantjies (World Cup Springbok), Breyten Poole (South African athlete) and Damian Willemse (World Cup Springbok) are proud ambassadors of the PRG Foundation. The foundation aims to accommodate families by reducing the strain of financial burden when focusing on the development and education of their loved one.

With financial problems becoming more prevalent since 2019 Paul Roos matriculants initiated the Support a Paul Rooser project (2020). This led to the 2021 The Boy is A Tree Campaign – where funds were raised to accommodate PRG families who struggle to generate enough income for school fees. The months of September and October sees PRG launch the exciting inaugural Investec Paul Roos Gymnasium Art Exhibition and Auction. Funds raised will be dedicated to the Support a Paul Rooser fund. The exhibition includes a powerful outreach programme among the youth of Stellenbosch.

Learners, teachers, parents, and Old Boys all believe in the Paul Roos mission – to teach our boys that Mandela Day is every day – that a difference can be made by living and abiding to the core PRG values of pride, respect, gentlemanship, humility, excellence, integrity and responsibility.

For more information about these outreach and fundraising projects feel free to contact Luna Paige at media@paulroos.co.za or Karien Winter at kwinter@paulroos.co.za