The principal who built a community

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The principal who built a community

first_img“Education opens doors for everyone. My background is proof of that.” Dr. Fannie Sebolela (Image: Sulaiman Philip)• Dr. Fannie SebolelaPrincipalKhensani Primary School+27 12 7974217• Helping kids shine at school – in their own language • The importance of learning to read • Sanitary pad project gives poor and rural girls dignity • Blecher changes the education paradigm • South Africa’s mother tongue education challengeSulaiman PhilipThe intense fragrance of the blossoming hook trees is the first sensory experience you have at Khensani Primary School in Soshanguve. Towering over the roofs of the classrooms, which are clustered around a garden, the soft green leaves and creamy white flowers throw a mosaic of shadows across the courtyard.A pupil, no older than seven, darts through the garden, hops on to a walkway and heads towards a classroom. From inside, a cheery song of multiplication tables can be heard, the children’s sing-song voices flowing across the grounds. As he is about to reach the safety of his classroom, the pupil is brought up short by a familiar voice.“Tuck your shirt in and wipe the dust off your shoes,” Dr Fannie Sebolela, the school’s principal, demands in Tswana. Even in the airless heat Sebolela’s tie lies snug against his throat. Minutes later the newly neat pupil skips off into his classroom.Being kind and supportive, yet exacting, has helped Sebolela turn around Khensani Primary from a failing school with dropping enrolment into a model facility with applications far outstripping the places available. Today, it is the top performing school in the Tshwane District and one of the best government schools in the country. His determination to change the lives of the children at Khensani has landed him the Teacher of the Year Award twice. This year, again, he is the Gauteng representative for the national award.“We see our success even affecting Soshanguve High School. Our children are channelled into the mathematics programme and I get calls from the principal praising their work ethic. Last year, four Khensani kids were among the top matriculants in the province.”Watch Dr. Sebolela being interviewed on CNN’s Voices of Africa (Credit: CNN)Rebuilding a rundown schoolWhen Sebolela arrived at Khensani in 1999, it was two rundown blocks of 10 classrooms with ceilings caving in, plumbing that continually backed up and fields of dry dust. A lean man who speaks in measured tones, the first thing he set about doing was rebuilding the school’s relationship with the community.“Some people called it a bribe but for me it was a way to motivate parents to become involved in upgrading the school. We planted a garden to provide fresh vegetables to the community. We went from 10 parents at the first meeting to where parents were volunteering to help clean the school.”Discipline with dignity describes Sebolela’s teaching philosophy. In a community where most of the households barely survive he sees his school as an oasis. He began with a measured enforcement of rules, especially where it came to school uniforms. He demanded that each child, no matter their circumstances, be dressed in a full uniform. For the poorest of his students, he went out and found sponsors to donate clothing.“We remind them that their minds are not disadvantaged or deprived, and the more time they spend focused today the easier the future becomes. I tell the children that your circumstances must not define who you become, take pride in what you are capable of. Education is the key that will open doors.”Sebolela strides around his school grounds pointing out the improvements that have been made. The Department of Basic Education has more challenges than it has resources, he says, but that should not stop an enterprising principal from going out to look for solutions on his own. With help from corporate sponsors – BMW, Dole and Safmarine have been the biggest benefactors – Sebolela has managed to build a new library, a computer centre that is open to the community, new classrooms, and the vegetable gardens for the benefit of the neighbourhood.“We use the memory of our past to improve our present” Dr. Fannie Sebolela (Image: Sulaiman Philip) Value of partnershipsHe sees himself as the chief executive of the school, someone who does not have the luxury of folding his arms and waiting for problems to be solved by somebody in an office far away. “I want to change the lives of my children so I can’t fold my arms and cry. We never ask for donations; we want partnerships. People are eager to help if you can show that you are making a difference. Our partners share our goal of providing the best education.”Everyone grows up watching teachers teach, and assumes that it’s a simple, easily learnt task, but teaching is an extremely difficult skill to master, Sebolela says. Teachers coming out of university are not ready to stand in front of a classroom, he argues, but as is his nature he is helping those who want to be helped. He mentors young educators and tutors experienced teachers on Saturdays.Sebolela jokes that he has not had a weekend off since he was 16 so it’s not much of a sacrifice. Back then, he gave up his weekends to work as a gardener in his hometown of Mabopane to supplement his mother’s income. “I worked for a Mr De Klerk who constantly urged me to dream bigger. He would say ‘Aangaan, aangaan, leer‘ (go on, go on, study). He even offered to pay for me to study further.”He received his Primary Teachers Certificate in 1979 then, as he jokes, he went on – and he was the best BA and honours student at the University of Pretoria. Sebolela has published a Tswana-English dictionary and is the author of the maths workbook for Grade 3. The only way to get children to achieve great things, he points out, is to have teachers who inspire through achievement. Most of his teachers live in the community, and are encouraged to come in early and to stay late.“Education is meaningless if you don’t give back to your community,” he says, candidly. Sitting on the child-sized bus bench on the tarred section of the school grounds used to teach road safety, he raises his head to the sun. His eyes closed, he is silent, listening to the noises of learning coming from the classrooms. “When I started teaching principals wanted me posted to their schools because I was such a hard worker. I coached gymnastics, I was a choirmaster, I pushed myself because all I ever wanted to be was a teacher. That dedication is what I demand from my staff as well.”last_img read more

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Feeding Farmers Week 3 – Watson Farms, Sandusky County

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Week number three of Feeding Farmers, courtesy of AgriGold, took the Ohio Ag Net crew to Watson Farms in northern Ohio on the Sandusky-Seneca County line.The family operation is headed up by Dusten Watson. He took over in recent years after his dad Lee handed down the keys to the next generation, something he plans to do himself down the road. The farm also recently brought on the full-time employee Joe Ringholz.They’ve experienced a unique planting season. Some much needed rain this past Thursday was “a godsend.” Dusten did say that they should’ve stayed home with regard to planting on May 9th as everything put in the field that day had to be replanted.Ty Higgins talks more about the farm in the video below.last_img read more

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Geocachers Care – “One Ring to Rule Them All”

first_img SharePrint RelatedAnnouncing the Geocacher of the Month: November 2014December 31, 2014In “Community”Interviews With Geocaching Filmmakers – Part 2February 18, 2015In “GIFF”Geocacher of the Month Nominees – Add Your CommentsAugust 12, 2011In “Community” AgTitan receives his alumni ring, againErik Hulse, AgTitan, gets straight to the point, “This is a story I will be telling for the rest of my life, a story I will never forget.”The story he’s talking about – and will talk about for decades to come – begins on the soft, muddy bank of a Texas river.  AgTitan and Kenny Wade, GeoGeex, hiked through a park on an early April geocaching adventure.Their first obstacle would be little more than a slithering side note. AgTitan says, “The hike was several miles and the snakes were out in force.  GeoGeex spotted the first snake of the twelve we saw that day.  We both had several close calls, almost stepping on several snakes during the day, but thankfully we averted disaster with the snakes.”But an attempt to cross a river set the stage for a good deed that AgTitan could little imagine. He fell hard into the water. He says, “According to GeoGeex, the high pitched wail and spastic water dance was a sight to behold.  We learned several things during the encounter… like… when your hand hits the muddy, clay-like material on bottom of a creek, Aggie rings easily slip off the finger!” AgTitan lost his beloved “Aggie ring.” It’s a Texas A&M University alumni ring.  He says, “It sobered the mood the rest of the day.”But AgTitan put a call out for help. He posted the coordinates of his fall into the river on a local geocaching Facebook page, jokingly calling the location, “One Ring to Rule Them All.”Ground zero (GZ) where the ring was lostJeff Cruser, Z_Malloc, saw the post and reacted, “I knew that I could not let a fellow Aggie (Texas A&M Alumni) lose his ring without at least hunting for it! So I packed up my metal detector from work and loaded up the cachepack for a water trip.”But Z_Malloc wasn’t prepared for the jumble of fallen trees when he reached the location where the ring was lost. He says “As I approached GZ (the coordinates) I saw that it was not just a simple narrow stream with a single log to search around, but it was to be a whole blockade of logs and other submerged debris with small rapids flowing by.”Z_Malloc says that time was crucial. Rains were expected later in the day which could wash the ring downriver. He says, “I made some logical guesses about where the mighty AgTitan may have fallen in and focused on the partially submerged log in the middle of the stream. I was really glad I was alone because I bet it was quite funny to see me bent over at the waist in thigh deep water running a metal detector in one hand and feeling the bottom with the other. But after about ten minutes, and on my third hit on the metal detector, my hand brushed something in the moderately packed clay on the bottom.”Z_Malloc recovers the ringZ_Malloc pulled a silt covered ring from the water and kept his sense of humor intact. “I had the ring in my hand. So as I dragged the cache (ring) to the surface. I knew I was going to be FTF…..but NOOOOO the log (inscription) read Erik J. Hulse. All that work and to not get the FTF! So feeling all depressed, I tossed the ring back in the water for the next person to find and walked away.  Just kidding.”Z_Malloc says he got a great story out of the adventure and helped a former Texas A&M alumni and geocacher.AgTitan says that he only found out the ring was recovered when GeoGeex called hours later, “Kenny (geogeex) called me when I was at work because Jeff (Z_Malloc) posted on Facebook that he found my ring.  I didn’t believe Kenny at first, and kept asking him if he was joking with me.  When I realized it was for real, I found Jeff’s number and called thanking him.”AgTitan says he didn’t just receive his ring back – he also earned a new respect for the geocaching community, “It is amazing what geocachers (and Aggies!) will do for one another, even when you hardly know someone.  TFTR (Thanks for the ring!) Jeff!!”GeoGeex, Z_Malloc and AgTitanShare with your Friends:Morelast_img read more

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Black Friday Vs. Cyber Monday: Toward A New Shopping Calendar

first_imgThe Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Related Posts What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … christina ortiz Are Black Friday and Cyber Monday fighting a battle neither of them can win? It certainly looks that way as shopping landscape shifst both online and offline. A few holiday seasons down the road, both big-deal days may seem as quaint and dated as Sears Catalogs and keeping stores closed on Sundays. Enter Cyber Monday The term “Cyber Monday” was born during the holiday season of 2005, when the U.S. Trade Association’s National Retail Federation began to notice that shoppers who had just spent the entire Thanksgiving weekend barreling through crowded stores, were cyber-shopping when they sat down at their work computers on the following Monday. The federation’s site Shop.org officially coined the term in 2005 and set up an eponymous site in 2006. Obviously, post-Thanksgiving online shopping at work had been going on long before the NRF put a name on it. But it’s grown into something bigger and more influential, not only changing the way Black Friday works, but also the way retail stores handle the holiday shopping season. Cyber Monday revealed the biggest weakness in the Black Friday concept: brick-and-mortar. What used to be an asset is now hurting this once powerful shopping day as harried workers rebel against early hours and ornery customers fighting over flat screens. Add on the fact that retailers are now expanding Black Friday into Thanksgiving evening, and you’ve got one messed up system. That’s why Black Friday is now projected to be only the second busiest shopping day of the year, behind Cyber Monday. Research from Compuware APM pegs total spending on Cyber Monday at $1.44 billion. But what about Cyber Monday? Does it even make sense?In the modern world, it doesn’t matter what day it is, wherever you are, you can shop the holiday sales from anywhere as long as you’re connected. Most shoppers now have decent Internet connections from home, and as Dan Rowinski pointed out last week, mobile shopping now accounts for about 12% of the purchases made on Cyber Monday. Obviously, you don’t need to be back at work to use your smartphone.Et Tu, Target? So what’s the future of Cyber Monday in a world where office computers are not required to buy online? Retailers are recognizing this and beating Cyber Monday to the punch by starting sales earlier – both online and in store. The sales calendars don’t matter any more, but that doesn’t mean retailers won’t try to leverage the ideas with sales and deals tied to no-longer-relevant concepts.Online-only sites like Amazon are morphing Cyber Monday into Cyber Week. They’re posting new deals every day leading up to Black Friday or during the week following Cyber Monday to help keep the shopping excitement going longer. Brent Shelton, a spokesman for FatWallet, told the Daily Finance Blog that we should be expecting events like “Cyber Monday II” on December 5. Whether it’s longer sales online or in store, the retail calendar we follow today won’t stand the test of time. And that’s probably a good thing compared to getting up at 4am to stand in line at Wal-Mart – or spending your work day on eBay.Image courtesy of Shuttershock.center_img Tags:#Amazon#e-commerce Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagementlast_img read more

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Getting Started with DaVinci Resolve

first_imgWant to try your hand at color grading? Curious about Resolve? This informative video tutorial will get you started.This tutorial is one of the best we’ve seen at providing a comprehensive overview of color grading in DaVinci Resolve (notwithstanding the lackluster audio quality). The tutorial uses the free version of Resolve, DaVinci Resolve Lite, however the techniques and features explained are also applicable for the full version.Highlights of the video tutorial include:Importing media (XML & EDL)Color grading workflowBasic color correctionUsing nodesThis DaVinci Resolve tutorial clocks in at about 45 minutes, but it’s worthwhile viewing for anyone interested in improving their video edits with the industry’s leading color grading application.Thanks to South Korea based Sliced Pictures for sharing this useful Resolve tutorial!last_img read more

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AI flight skids off runway in Pune

first_imgPune: Passengers on Delhi-Pune Air India flight AI 849 had a close shave after it overshot the 2,535-metre runway at the Lohegaon Airport in Pune, forcing an emergency evacuation of those aboard. No one was injured. Authorities said all 152 passengers were safely evacuated, while the runway was shut down for over an hour as the aircraft had to be towed awayA number of flights between 6.27 p.m. and 7.30 p.m. were delayed as a result.“The plane overshot the runway after touching down at 6:27 p.m. It halted safely and was towed away. All passengers were evacuated using chutes and no one was injured,” said Air India officials.While many flights were delayed, details were awaited at the time of going to press. Directorate General of Civil Aviation officials said the incident was serious in nature and would be investigated. “This is a case of runway excursion, which seems to be due to excessive tail winds. But there is no damage to the aircraft. A DGCA team from Mumbai will visit Pune on Saturday,” officials said. The Pune Airport forms part of the Indian Air Force’s Lohegaon Air Base and currently handles 126 civil aircraft movements. Air India officials said that a ferry flight was being arranged to fly from Delhi to Pune for the passengers waiting to fly to the capital.last_img read more

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Karni Sena leader agrees to watch Padmaavat

first_imgFilm distributors in Rajasthan on Monday announced that they would not acquire the distribution rights of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film, Padmaavat, with Rajput groups demandinga complete ban on the movie and threatening violence at cinema halls screening the period drama.The film exhibitors also gave in writing to Rajput Karni Sena, spearheading an agitation that they would not screen the film. Meanwhile,Karni Sena founder Lokendra Singh Kalvi agreed to watch Padmaavat on Mr. Bhansali’s invitation before its release on January 25.Rajasthan’s leading film distributors, Yash Raj Jai Pictures and Marudhar Cine Entertainment, said that they had decided not to distribute the movie in the State. The decision came four days after the Supreme Court stayed the notifications and orders of Rajasthan and two other States banning the film’s release. .Hearing todaythree-judge bench of the apex court would hear on Tuesday the State government’s interim application seeking modification of its January 18 order allowing the film’s release. Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria on Monday asked Karni Sena and the erstwhile royal family of Mewar to become co-petitioners in the case by filing review petitions.“We have conveyed people’s sentiments to the Supreme Court through our petition seeking recall of its order. We have to find a way out to respect the popular beliefs and faith in history, which should not be distorted,” said Mr. Kataria. He said the State government had invited the Rajput groups to join the legal recourse to get the matter settled.Mr. Kalvi told reporters that a “public curfew” would be enforced and protests organised outside the cinema theatres if Padmaavat was screened. He also said that he had accepted the film-makers’ invitation to watch the movie at a pre-screening event, but added that he knew it was a “ploy to deceive Rajputs”.Youth climbs towerProtesters blocked highways in Rajsamand and Barmer and raised slogans outside two cinema halls in Jaipur, warning them against screening the film. A 20-year-old youth climbed a mobile phone network tower in Bhilwara demanding a ban on the movie. He was later brought down.The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) extended support to the demand for ban on Padmaavat, saying no one should be allowed to distort history.last_img read more

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Man kills labourer for insurance claim money

first_imgA man faked his death allegedly for making insurance claim, but ran out of luck as the police nabbed him on suspicion that he had killed a labourer and burnt his body in his car. Aakash, a resident of Chandigarh, was arrested on Tuesday from Palwal Railway Station in a joint operation of the Sirmour Police and the Government Railway Police, Haryana, Sirmaur Superintendent of Police Rohit Malpani said Wednesday. Prima facie, Aakash and his family wanted to grab the huge life insurance money, the value of which will be estimated after further investigation and interrogation of the accused, the SP said. He said Aakash’s nephew Ravi Kumar (29) was also involved in planning and executing the alleged crime and he was arrested on Monday from Himachal Pradesh’s Nahan.The accused will be produced in a court to seek his remand for interrogation, police said.last_img read more

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