Passionate young philanthropist

Grey High pupil helps needy students and animals

Passionate about community upliftment and driven by a desire to help others, Keegan Hull has selflessly donated a bursary to a school in need and is helping raise funds for an animal organisation.

The 17-year-old Grey High pupil’s philanthropic outlook has snagged him a finalist spot in The Herald GM Citizen of the Year in the youth category.

Last year, Keegan, along with the other members of the Community Service Society at Grey, took part in the ATKV Handevat project, which raises funds for schools in need.

The society’s mission, among others, was to raise funds for Hillside High School in Windvogel.

Since the start of the project in 2013, R20 000 has been donated to the school – R5 000 of which was given by Keegan in a single donation.

Hillside teacher Debbie Labans said the money had been used to sustain and maintain the school.

“They have really created an environment to help the school to provide better quality education,” she said.

Keegan, who was elected chairman of the society at the beginning of his Grade 10 year by last year’s matric class, said although there had been a significant amount of money raised, he had decided to further support the initiative by donating a R5 000 bursary he was awarded at a prize-giving event in October last year for his exceptional marks in maths and science.

“I thought there was no point in my having the R5 000 if there were others out there who needed it more,” Keegan said.

“At the stage of the prize-giving . . . Handevat was still in full swing and we were still in communication with Hillside,” he said.

Keegan has since stepped down as chairman of that society but is still actively involved in it as well as three other service-based society’s at Grey, including Grey Union and Grey Pulse. He is also a Blood Peer promoter.

The avid gamer and reader said he had always had a passion for community service and considered his elder brother Kelvin, 22, his role model and inspiration.

“I have a very close relationship with my brother. I have always looked up to him and strive to be like him,” Keegan said.

Keegan recalled an incident where Kelvin, while chairman of the first aid club at Grey, had assisted someone who was experiencing a severe epileptic fit. He then accompanied them to hospital.

“When he came back [from the hospital] he said how great it was to help others. I then decided I wanted to be like him and help others where I can,” Keegan said.

Keegan is actively involved in a Grey Pulse initiative to raise funds for Animal Welfare with the aim of raising R60 000 through a Golf Day hosted at the PE Golf Club.

He said should he be awarded a bursary again this year, he would once again donate it.

“If I do get a bursary again this year, I plan on giving it to another Grey pupil in need,” he said.

Keegan plans to study a BCom Rat in Computer Science and Information Systems.

“I see [myself] using these skills to help other communities,” he said.

Keegan also hopes to become involved in the Rotary Club where he will further help communities in need.

“I am applying everywhere but NMMU is my top choice,” he said.

Grey teacher Amoré Kember, who is also in charge of the Community Service Society, said Keegan was sorely missed in the society but she understood and supported his endeavours.

“He [Keegan] is very hands-on with everything he does and I understand he wanted to be part of other societies such [as Grey Union] and that is one of the reasons he stepped down as chairman,” she said.

Kember said Keegan’s contribution and donation last year was merely a fraction of what he had done, and is doing, for the greater community.

“Keegan definitely deserves the nomination, not only for his selfless acts such as the bursary donation last year but for everything he does,” she said.

“He never has to be asked to do something – he is always there, very hands-on and has never dropped anyone.”

Kember said she was very proud of Keegan and his achievements. “He is very mature for his age and is very humble, which you don’t really see with Grade 11 boys,” she said.

She said Keegan was in the top 10 academically at Grey and was also in her social squash team.

Brenda Paulsen, the Hillside teacher in charge of the Interact club, which works closely with community projects including Handevat, said Keegan deserved his nomination and selection as a finalist.

“Keegan made a very heartfelt donation, his heart is in community upliftment and it is evident in what he has done for the school [Hillside],” she said.

Paulsen said Keegan showed positive characteristics not always evident in someone his age.

“He [Keegan] looks out for everyone. He has such a good personality, which is open to everyone. He definitely deserves the acknowledgement and the recognition.”

Grey rector Neil Crawford said the school supported Keegan’s nomination “without reservation”.