Breakfast club puts pupils on solid footing

Susan OHagan, Janet Bowman, Gillian Anderson, Giovanni Botes, Shirley Botes and Bev Frieslich ready to serve breakfast.

Matrics at Ocean View Secondary School have more than just butterflies in their stomachs as they tackle their finals.

After overhearing a fellow matriculant complaining that she couldn’t think straight ahead of an important exam because she hadn’t eaten anything, Giovanni Botes, 17, realised she wasn’t the only one coming to school hungry, and spoke to his mother about it.

Giovanni’s mom is Shirley Botes. She is on the committee of the Fish Hoek 100 and Beyond group, a member of the Emergency Volunteers Service and a member of Rotary of Good Hope.

Ms Botes said: “It took two days for it to fully drop into my head. When Giovanni first told me, I was so busy. Then it hit me, what he had said: there were children who weren’t eating. And we expect them to perform nonetheless?”

She began calling on her network for help.

“Rotary Cape of Good Hope sponsored all of this, and have committed to feeding all the children breakfast every day at school. This is the first time we have done this – but we already intend to do it every year,” Ms Botes said.

Now the school’s 184-strong matric cohort has a choice of cereals, milk and sugar, juice and an apple ahead of their exams in the morning.

Matric Nikishka Vorsatz said she battled to eat too early in the morning, and so was grateful that she could wait till she got to school before having breakfast. “If I eat too early then I feel nauseous. This is much better,” she said.

Petronella Botha and Jacquiline Chibale both said it was nice to be able to eat at school together.

Rebecca Le Fleur said she liked the cereal while Nikay Laguma said having breakfast at school was cool.

One of the Ocean View parents Aysa Blankenberg volunteered her time to hand out juice and apples and give the pupils some encouragement for their exams.

“It is my privilege to be here and help – I think what Giovanni, Shirley and Rotary are doing is a good thing, an important thing, and I wanted to be part of it,” she said. Ms Botes said the matrics seemed more relaxed since they had been getting breakfast.

Principal Keith Klein said he was very grateful for the care being shown to his pupils and he had been delighted to discover that one of the Rotarians serving breakfast to them was Gillian Anderson who used to be head of department of Bay Primary School, where his own daughters went to school.