Top US school beckons for PE pupil

Anele Tetyana, 12, with a proud John Lombardo
Picture: Werner Hills

Youngster follows in sister’s footsteps with bursary to attend prestigious institution

A Joe Slovo Primary School pupil will soon be jetting off to the US to attend one of New York’s most prestigious private schools – after receiving a bursary worth more than half a million rands.

Anele Tetyana, 12, said he was excited about getting homework every day and teaching the Americans how to play soccer.

“I’m very happy and a little scared because everything is new. I’m a little nervous because I don’t know anyone but I have no problem making friends,” he said.

Anele will follow in the footsteps of his sister, Babalwa, 18, as he prepares to leave for the US on Friday – pending the arrival of his visa.

His sister is completing her final school year at Greensboro Day School in North Carolina. She also received a bursary.

Anele will be attending the Brooklyn Friends Private School, which offered him a 96% bursary for the $41 000 (about R554 000) annual school fees.

“I will definitely miss my country, family and friends but I can’t wait to get there,” he said.

Anele was identified by Artworks for Youth founder John Lombardo, who said the boy and his sister had received the schooling opportunity of a lifetime through sheer chance.

“I have been working in the township for about 15 years through the programme,” Lombardo said.

“We noted that pupils from those areas hardly ever reached matric, let alone acquired their senior certificates.

“I’ve known Anele and his family since he was four, through his siblings who were part of my programme.

“But Anele was more concerned about soccer than schooling initially – until he saw his sister’s success.

“Earlier this year, a volunteer [US citizen Elinor Hills] who attended Brooklyn Friends Private School, met Anele and suggested we apply to the school – which we did, explaining that he needed a bursary.

“Last month, they got back to us and said he was accepted with the 96% bursary.”

Anele will be hosted by the Hills family while in the US.

Lombardo said despite completing more than half of his Grade 6 South African school year, Anele would repeat the grade according to the US timetable which started last month.

“There is a major difference in the quality of schooling,” he said.

“Anele has already started some of the US syllabus which they have covered up till now.

“My programme can’t make up for all that they are missing in schools.

“He will have a hard couple of months at the beginning, but then he will soar, just like his sister did.

“But he is ready for the challenge.”

Lombardo said Anele’s plane ticket had been sponsored by another volunteer, who donated her frequent flyer miles.

“We have been very fortunate to have all this support,” he said.

“And while Anele will only be staying with the Hills family for a year, once people meet him I have no doubt there will be no shortage of people willing to host him.”

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