THE best thing that could have happened in my life is that I am leaving a profession enriched with experiences and knowledge.”
These were the last words a Papenkuil Primary school teacher, who for the past 46 years had given her life to teaching and will now embark on the beginning of a new era in her life.
Elizabeth Louis, who retired at the age of 65, said she hope to leave behind a legacy of years of hard work, loyalty and dedication to education.
“I’m retiring from a monthly salary of clocking in and out at work but I’m not retiring from education. We need to bring forth positive learning by building not only the school but the whole community,” she said. “Our pupils must be equipped for the struggle outside, especially the community in which we are educating pupils. In a time of gangsterism and shooting, we need to bring forth positive attitudes.”
Louis took a trip down memory lane as she walked the school corridors for the last time last week.
Born in Woodlands in Tsitsikama in 1949, Louis had to leave the difficult circumstances at home and follow her parents, who were in search of better jobs, to Port Elizabeth.
Coming from a poor family, Louis did not have the opportunity to complete school as she had to drop out in Grade 10 at Paterson High School, in Schauderville, to take care of her younger siblings who had to leave school under apartheid laws.
Louis then went on to study at Dower Teacher Training College in 1965 for a period of two years in order to complete her teaching degree.
She started her teaching career in 1968 at Papenkuil Primary school as a foundation phase teacher for 12 years teaching “sub A” and “sub B”, which are now known as grades 1 and 2.
Louis then moved on to senior phase in 1980 where she taught Life Skills and Afrikaans. She was then elected as head of department of the senior phase in 2005 and had the privilege last year to participate as a judge at a national spelling competition for Grade 6 pupils all over the country at Stellenbosch University.
Papenkuil Primary school principal Neil Deerling found Louis to be an active worker when it came to school programmes and admired her willingness to tackle problems.
“Her retirement at our school will leave a large void not only in her phase, but also the entire school and community,” he said.
“I would never forget her and what an excellent organiser she was when it came to extramural and sports activities.” – Chanice Koopman