Roelof Ferreira bids fond farewell to Laerskool Ermelo
25 May 2021
"If I had the chance to change anything in my life, I would have done everything all over again, because of the joy teaching gave me."
“I was born on 6 March 1958 in Vereeniging, where I grew up. I also matriculated from Hoërskool Vereeniging. The decision to become a teacher was never planned, it was made in the spur of the moment during the last term of my matric year in 1976. I started my studies at the Potchefstroom Onderwyskollege in 1977. I completed my studies in 1980, and only applied for posts in Pretoria. I was appointed in a permanent departmental post at Laerskool Pretoria-Oos, but first had to complete my compulsory two-year military service, and was sent to Infantry School in Oudtshoorn, where at the end of 1981 I became a full Lieutenant. I wanted to complete my second year of Military Service in Pretoria, but the Military Force had other plans. I had to stay on at Infantry School in Oudtshoorn, a year that I really enjoyed, and in which grew fond of Oudtshoorn and its surrounding districts. In 1983 I started teaching at Laerskool Pretoria-Oos, a time that I really enjoyed. I soon decided that I wanted to be the principal of a big school one day. I then started applying for promotional posts, and was appointed Head of Department Educational Guidance at Laerskool Ermelo in 1989, where I stayed in the hostel of the school, Uitkomst Koshuis (now the District Office). Here I met my wonderful wife, Sarah, and her son. We got married on 29 March 1991, on Good Friday. On 27 May 2004, I was appointed as Principal, P3 of Laerskool Ermelo. The biggest challenge I had at that stage was to get discipline and performance of educators and learners up to a high standard, and to start improving the school’s sports and overall facilities. It started with the palisades, all staff and learner bathrooms, many other projects, and ended with the most beautiful staff room. The high point of my career at Laerskool Ermelo was when other schools started to recognize our sports teams as competitors to be reckoned with. On the academic side, we also did our best, and kept a very high standard of education. Discipline was, and remains of utmost importance to me, because without discipline you cannot achieve good results. Another memorable part of my career as Principal was all the different School Governing Bodies who shared my vision for the school. I want to thank each and every member of all the School Governing Bodies for trusting my ideas and capabilities, and for always having the best interest of the school at heart. My dream of becoming a principal of a big school eventually became true when I was appointed as Principal P4 of Laerskool Ermelo in January 2019. I want to place all that I achieved in the hands of our Lord Jesus, as he guided and protected me in every aspect of my teaching career. I wish to thank the community of Ermelo for all the support Laerskool Ermelo received from them, it is much appreciated. To all the parents, thank you for the support the educators and I got from you for the last 17 years, much appreciated. The learners, you are education! Thank you for respecting me as your principal. It was an honour to serve you. Thank you for all the good wishes, hugs (before COVID-19) and compliments I received from you. One compliment I will always remember, was a little girl in the Foundation Phase who gave me a hug and said to me: “Sir, I love you because you are always neat.” If I had the chance to change anything in my life, I would have done everything all over again, because of the joy teaching gave me. To all members of staff, teaching and non-teaching, I wish to thank you for the respect and support I received from you. You are a great team and the hardest part of retiring is leaving you behind. I truly hope that my successor will realise what a wonderful staff you are! I wish you and Laerskool Ermelo all the best for the future. May God bless you with all the best blessings. After 40 years and 5 months in Education, I think it is just fair that my wife and I may return to Oudtshoorn for a well-deserved retirement. And I promise you, God-willing, we are not planning to sit down and wait for old age. We plan to tour the parts of our country we have not yet seen, as well as Namibia. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for a wonderful career in Education, and thank you to my wife who supported me over the 32 years that I have been at Laerskool Ermelo. We greet the community, learners and teachers. May God bless you!” Roelof Ferreira - Principal