Rylands Primary principal retires

Grade 2 pupils recited a poem and handed over notes written by all of them. Here principal Mark Chetty and his wife Jean Chetty, receive the notes from Nishaat Sait, Rania Barnes and Shimaaz Hanervil.

Staff and pupils at Rylands Primary School held a special assembly to bid a fond farewell to their beloved principal, Mark Chetty.

Mr Chetty has retired after 38 years in the profession – 32 of these years he spent at Rylands Primary.

He started his teaching career in KwaZulu-Natal, before moving to East London. In 1986, Mr Chetty and his family moved to Cape Town, when he joined the staff at Rylands Primary.

On Thursday September 27, the pupils entertained with song and poetry while sharing their most memorable moments with Mr Chetty.

The staff and the school governing body also shared their memories and spoke of the legacy they said Mr Chetty would leave them with.

Deputy principal Yureshni Naidoo said Mr Chetty’s leadership had seen the school grow in leaps and bounds.

“Mr Chetty is a disciplinarian, and he is loved by all, even
the naughty pupils. One of
the qualities I admire about
him is that he is always calm
and composed. Mr Chetty has always encouraged and fostered a love for reading, and he was instrumental in the library set-up. He gave up his Saturday mornings to tutor Grade 7 pupils, and this shows his caring nature. Under his leadership, the school grew in numbers and he has instilled a good work ethic among the staff,” Ms Naidoo said.

School governing body chairman Afzal Shaik described Mr Chetty as an exceptional principal and mentor.

“More major developments have been done at the school
over the past nine years – since
Mr Chetty took over the helm – than I have ever seen done at
any other time. I have a long association with the school, as my
eldest daughter started her schooling here in 2005, and I am a former pupil as well. I have two more
children at the school, so I have seen the changes and developments. He may be leaving the building, but his legacy will remain. He was more than just a principal – he is a father, friend and colleague, who always had an open-door policy. We owe him our sincerest gratitude for all his contributions,” Mr Shaik said.

Major developments at the school include the building of its hall in 2013.

Although he will miss his “other family”, Mr Chetty said he was looking forward to “relaxing”.

“I’d like to travel a bit, spend more time playing bowls, and doing church and charity work. I will also continue giving extra classes,” he said.

Choosing teaching as a career had come naturally for him, he said, as he came from a long line of teachers.

“I wanted to be a physical education teacher, because I was an athlete, but because I received a bursary for my studies, I could not choose. I enjoy teaching, and especially loved the extra curricular activities. There is also a lot of good of teachers here. They made it easy for me – they made me look good,” Mr Chetty said.