School head spends birthday with her pupils

Gadija Jacobs, the principal of The Leadership College Junior School, in Manenberg, celebrated her 60th birthday with the children at school.

The principal of the Leadership College Junior School, in Manenberg, celebrated her 60th birthday by treating her little charges to a party.

Gadija Jacobs said she did not want to celebrate her birthday, which was on Monday October 9, in any other way, than with her children at school.

Ms Jacobs took the reins as principal at The Leadership College Junior three years ago when the school opened its doors.

However, she has been a teacher in Manenberg for 42 years.

“My heart is with the children. My life and everything revolves around them. I almost don’t want to be in the office for too long, and that is why I am teaching a Grade 1 class as well. Manenberg is where I earn my bread and butter, and just like the children are my everything – so too the teachers are everything to the children.

“I have a big love for the community of Manenberg, including the parents. I have been blessed that the parents have always been supportive. I would not want to spend my birthday any other way than with the children,” Ms Jacobs said.

She has no plans of slowing down yet, saying she will remain a teacher for as long as her “health and wisdom carry me and the knowledge I can still impart on the pupils”.

Her love for the Manenberg community is so great that she even rejected an offer to work at a school in Malaysia – which, incidentally, if she had taken it up, a job would have started on her 60th birthday.

“I am teaching the third generation now. I have taught some grandparents of the children I am teaching now. There might be many negative things said about the area, but there are many good things happening here.

“I am not denying the challenges out there for the children, and that is why we strive to make the school a better place for them.

“I am also very grateful for my fellow teachers at The Leadership College Junior, because without them, I would not be able to run this well-oiled machine. We make a good team,” Ms Jacobs said.