Stalwart turns the page

Former staff and pupils also attended the ceremony to wish Sharon de VosFrancke well on her retirement.

Modderdam High in Bonteheuwel hosted a farewell ceremony for the school’s first secretary, Sharon de Vos-Francke, who retired after 42 years of service.

Ms De Vos-Francke’s name is synonymous with the school, as she is well loved and popular not just among her colleagues, but also the parents and pupils.

She is also an ordained Anglican priest.

Although she is looking forward to enjoying her retirement years, she says she still has many other projects lined up, including her ministry work.

“We are like a family here, and I will miss the children and my colleagues very much. The school has helped to shape me. I have grown into who I am and the school has had a big part of that,” she said.

Ms De Vos-Francke has served under six principals at the school.

Former principal, John Swart, who started at the school in 1981, and served as principal from 1990 to 1997, said it had been an honour working with Ms De Vos-Francke.

“Ms De Vos-Francke not only brought her expertise, but also her personality and sterling qualities, such as her strong interpersonal skills, a professional and friendly demeanour, and her strong moral and religious attitude. I would like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation from me, and I would like to take the liberty of including my two dearly departed predecessors, Mr Daniels and Tommy Petersen (former principals) , for your services rendered and all the sacrifices you made for the school.

“You also served with Isaac Kora, Desmond Snayer and currently Rona Rayray, and each of these principals represented an era in the history of the school – and you have been there with your gifts and unique personality to render support,” Mr Swart said at the ceremony.

Another former principal, Mr Snayer, who also attended the ceremony, said that during the years of political upheaval, Ms De Vos-Francke had been in the middle and had to “manage two hostile sectors”.

“She constantly had to put out the flames. I was in the privileged position to have a secretary who is an ordained priest – a person with deep faith. This helped her deal with the many challenges of the job. She has been a witness to so many events happening at Modderdam.

As a retiree, my only advice to Ms De VosFrancke, is to not do nothing all at the same time – she must save some for later,” Mr Snayer said.

Current principal, Ms Rayray, said Ms De Vos-Francke was more than a colleague.

“We have been friends since 1991, when I started here. We grew as young adults together through all of life’s challenges. I will miss her caring nature here at school. I wish her the best of health as she embraces this new chapter in her life, and I hope it will be full of adventure.”