Sir Richard boosts morale

The combination of fit minds and bodies has seen pupils at Lavender Hill High School reach for the stars.

This came after the school received gym equipment from international entrepreneur and Virgin Active founder Sir Richard Branson.

Last week Branson visited the school to see the gym which his company sponsored a year ago.

The initiative is linked to one of his initiatives, Future Crew, which aims to promote positive change byeducating teachers and coaches, engaging youths to become more active and employable, and to create future employment where the need is greatest.

Former Springbok and now rugby commentator and also Future Crew brand ambassador Ashwin Willemse spoke at the event. He shared how he grew up in difficult circumstances which led to him considering suicide.

“Look inside you and not at your limitations. The gym is here to not only increase your triceps and biceps, but to also expand your imagination,”Willemse said.

Pupils entertained Branson with song and dance showcasing the their talent.

Branson spoke of his experience suffering from dyslexia, which created an immense dislike for school and caused him to drop out.

He subsequently started his own magazine, called Student.

“I loved creating things which you can sell and this sparked (the idea of) the magazine, an (international) record label, airline company and gym. Think of entrepreneurial things, have big dreams, set little goals, achieve them and then (go on to) bigger targets and achieve them,” Branson advised.

The school’s softball team has been doing well – thanks to the gym. Every Friday the team uses the equipment to increase their fitness.

Team member Joelene Pokwas (18) says she’s never heard of Branson before, but attributes her team’s success to the gym equipment.

Dancer Chante Marinus (17) says it’s difficult growing up in the community, but one quickly gets used to the situation.

Principal Faseeg Manie conveyed his gratitude to Branson.

He has also warned pupils and staff that he continue referring to the day when the entrepreneur visited the school to not only see the gym, but also encourage the school family.

“The impact of Sir Richard Branson’s visit to our school has been enormous. The province has 1700 schools, but he chose to visit Lavender Hill High School. I know he has a high regard for the school because he knows what we’ve achieved despite the odds we face,” Manie says.

“Pupils need to dream big and not become another high school drop-out. This is a school on an upward curve. We did not blame our apartheid past as an obstacle to achieve our 88% matric pass rate, implementing a feeding scheme, gym, library and computer labs.”

Future Crew has also assisted Bishop Lavis and Hawston high schools with gym equipment.

– People’s Post

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