Principal says farewell after 41 years

Ali Sablay from Gift of the Givers, hands over a plaque to Larry Lewis, who retired after serving Bokmakierie Primary School for 41 years.

Humanitarian organisation, Gift of the Givers, honoured retired Bokmakierie Primary School principal, Larry Lewis, by treating all the children to a warm meal and juice, a blanket and a stationery set.

On Wednesday June 12, volunteers of the Gift of the Givers, offloaded the goods in the school hall, where the pupils and staff gathered for a special ceremony in honour of Mr Lewis, who has served the school and community for 41 years.

Ali Sablay also presented Mr Lewis with a plaque. The words inscripted on it, came from the founder of Gift of the Givers, Imtiaz Sooliman, Mr Sablay said.

The message left Mr Lewis emotional. It reads: “For your tireless service, your infectious enthusiasm, your boundless love and for lighting the flame of faith for so many thank you.”

Mr Lewis said he came to Bokmakierie wanting to make a difference.

“I hope I have made a difference. I want to express my gratitude to Dr Sooliman and all the staff and volunteers of Gift of the Givers, for going the extra mile for us all,” he added.

Mr Sablay said Mr Lewis was more than a principal, but is also a father-figure to many in the community.

“We found it necessary to honour Mr Lewis for giving 41 years of unselfish service. He is a man who personally saw to the need of every child in the school.

“Mr Lewis would phone us for assistance if he is concerned that some of his pupils’ families did not have anything for Eid or Christmas. He said he would not be able to enjoy his Christmas, knowing there are children at his school who don’t have. He would also do visits to his pupils’ homes if they were not in school. Bokmakierie is an area rife with gangsterism and drugs. He could have taught anywhere else, but he chose to be here. The staff informed us the best gift we can give Mr Lewis, is to treat the children, as he would not want any gift. We appreciate what he has done for the community and appreciate all his efforts,” Mr Sablay said.