Pride and success were palpable in the air when learners from disadvantaged schools came together to celebrate the closing of a successful and GUTS-y year for 2010.
The GUTS programme, short for Go to University to Succeed, which was founded in May 2010, has seen learners from non-Wits traditional feeder schools blossom into individuals who are making their own choices, knowing where they want to go, shifting boundaries and working hard to achieve success.
The closing event, which brought the learners from Grades 11 from Aha-Thuto, Raphela, Leshata, Lakeside and the Jabulile secondary schools together, was a joyous affair with children sharing and comparing their achievements with their new counterparts while affectionately reflecting on the journey that they had travelled as part of their very first Wits experience.
Zena Richards, Director of the Student Equity and Talent Management Unit, custodian of the GUTS programme, said the unit was pleased to be part of such a successful programme and that she was honoured to execute the vision of the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof. Loyiso Nonxga. “We are quite honoured to have been part of the implementation of this programme and this vision. If you do not have vision, you are going nowhere. Our direction is very clear – we are working with education in a way that allows individuals to explore their destinies,” says Richards.
The programme speaks to a wide variety of issues that touches the lives of learners. It includes personal and educational development, financial aid, career guidance, social interaction and assistance in making university choices, with the aim of initiating a different life for learners.
Mentors for the youth were selected from a pool of current Wits students who offered their time and effort to help the GUTS participants.
Prof. Nongxa thanked everyone who was involved and swiftly made the first year teething problems a thing of the past.
“I would like to thank all the staff members who gave up their time without extra pay to contribute to this programme. A special thanks goes to our students, the mentors, who have done an outstanding job through their volunteerism, and to those who have made an investment in this programme,” said Nongxa.
Richards offered her appreciation to the keynote speaker, Zakhe Khuzwayo, the Chief Operating Officer of InnoVent, for donating 25 laptops to the learners.
“When we were asked by Prof. Nongxa to get involved in this programme, it didn’t take much convincing because that is where my education and our company started – from humble beginnings,” explains Khuzwayo.
“Success breeds success and the GUTS learners should grab any opportunity and they will have it coming their way in no time. It is very important for our company to latch onto opportunities such as these because it allows young people to reach their full potential in life. There is a small difference between success and failure and we believe that by providing access to technology for young people, we give them opportunities and add to their education for their paths to success.”
In 2011 the GUTS programme will see a new group of Grade 11 learners joining the current group, who will be in Grade 12 next year.
Article by GradX
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