JASCA DE ABREU
This year St Michael’s celebrated their 100th annual Speech Night, an award ceremony that commemorates academic, sporting, and cultural excellence. However, due to the coronavirus, things were a bit different – what was once a Speech Night, became a Speech Day and what once was a cathedral filled to the brim with excited learners and proud parents, became an empty chapel with only one grade of recipients present at a time. Nevertheless, elation bubbled over, and pride filled the room as learners prepared themselves to receive the well-deserved recognition of the hard work that allowed them to produce excellent results in a difficult year.
This year’s Speech Day had some interesting moments. The matric class of 2021 was devastated to find out that they lost their two-year hold on the Work Cup, which is awarded to the grade with the highest aggregate (and is sought after for its bragging rights), to their grade 8s. This year was also the first time in over 30 years that two learners at St Michael’s shared a first on year title, namely Katherine Burt-Robinson and Jasca de Abreu. There were also a number of matriculants who were awarded laureates. Laureates are awarded to grade 12 learners in recognition of exceptional effort in the following areas: academic excellence, neatness and diligence, extra-mural involvement and character development. The latter includes loyalty, integrity, helpfulness, politeness, cheerfulness and dignity. A laureate is regarded as an overall recognition of quality input by a learner, which is in the interest of St Michael’s in its entirety, and is therefore the highest achievement the school can award. The following learners are the silver laureate recipients for 2021: Keabetswe Litsili, Lisa Makapela, Amogelang Senyatsi, Jasca de Abreu, Marloné Surtees, Zenay Harmse, Gabby Marais, and Katherine Burt-Robinson.
There is no doubt that St Michael’s learners always pull their weight. To have such an exceptional prize-giving in spite of being housebound for 3 months is truly admirable, and for the school to have gone through the effort of organising an award ceremony that adheres to all the Covid-19 regulations, shows how SMS strives to celebrate and acknowledge the hard work of its learners.