I joined Michael Oak in 1994 in Nursery and my teacher was Ann Coop, followed by Helen Tilanus for my primary school years. I have a myriad of memories from my school days including: landscaping fairy gardens, failing spectacularly at Maths quizzes, building bright bonfires (and smaller ones in the Nursery garden), getting lost in the enchantment of jungle gyms with my friends Jake and Monwabisi, and listening avidly to fables in assembly. I even have a vague memory of being Thor in our Norse Mythology play, my one and only foray into acting. My favourite memory involves sanding down my first sword. This was a thrilling experience and my eternal love for the sword was born. I still have my very first sword and have added a few more steely ones to what has become quite a collection!
I left MO at the end of Class 5 as I found myself craving a different kind of academic structure to the one provided by a Waldorf school, yes, I was the child who desperately wanted to see A++ in my reports and wear a uniform! Ironically one of my first grades was a C or D, because my new teacher complained that I had used too many of my original drawings in a project instead of cutting and pasting pictures from a magazine. Sigh.
Nevertheless, I went on to matriculate from Damelin College in 2008 and studied BSc at UCT. I have a BSc Honours in Ecology and Evolution, and a Masters in Biological Sciences from UCT. After graduation, I worked as a Nature Conservation Officer at CapeNature where I investigated poaching and other illegal activities related wildlife and the protection of plant species. This was really exciting because it meant going into the sites and seeing wild animals and natural flora upfront in all their glory.
Now I work as a Land-Use Scientist for CapeNature which I thoroughly enjoy. Much of my work entails reviewing and evaluating scientific environmental reports to assess whether all the biodiversity aspects and impacts have been adequately considered and mitigated in development applications for buildings, farming, mining etc.
My favourite school years were definitely the ones I spent at Michael Oak. I believe I am exactly where I want to be and owe much of my academic successes and my love for nature to my foundation years at Michael Oak, and a depth of gratitude to Mrs Coop and Mrs Tilanus, who both encouraged and inspired me.