The Paris theme was all the rave after Lenasia Secondary’s matriculants were given a standing ovation by teachers, parents, and the school governing body as made their grand entrance into the school hall at the Lenasia Secondary School on the night of the 17th of August 2013. Before letting the class of 2013 venture into the world on their own, principal of Lenasia Secondary School madam Munshi armed them with two powerful weapons that would help them on their long journey towards success. She told the graduating class that in order to succeed, one needs to, “always laugh, and thank someone.” Although the hall erupted in laughter at the comment that “for many of you this is the only graduation you’ll see,” the graduating classes could not ignore the fact that only 15 percent of those that enroll in university actually have end up with a second graduation at university.
Lenasia Secondary’s honorary alumni that evening, was Professor Haroon Saloojee who graduated in 1978. Professor Saloojee told the graduating class that the one thing that high school does not teach you is that you have to take responsibility for your own life.” As a professor at Wit University, he added that it is sad to see so many youngsters who fail in university because of the different environment where students are now forced to work on their own, without the teachers holding their hands. The professor advised the classes that, “you must give yourself permission to take your the time in making up your mind.” He said that, “though some of you know what you want to be, you don’t have to make that decision right now,” but he quickly added that “the critical thing is to find something that you passionate about.” Professor Saloojee reiterated that if you can do that, you can then make a living. He relayed his own experience where he choose a field in medicine because his class friends were planning on it, however he explained that this was a lucky choice for him as, “I am now passionate about my choice.” He also gave a final message to the class of 2013. “You must be willing to take chances, be a risk taker,” he said. Professor Saloojee explained how one of his colleagues decided to pursue a different avenue of research, one that could make or break a career. He spoke about Mr. Garth Japhet’s idea of forming Soul City/Soul Buddies, which now has about 120 0000 learners affiliated to his club. He also remembered life at Lenasia Secondary, recalling his many classmates who sat with him in the same school some 35 years ago, some, charming, some of them funny, some intelligent but in the end he told the audience that “each one of my classmates left an enduring memory on me.” Looking at the camaraderie of the many students he added that he was envious of today’s graduating class of 2013, quoting American film director Woody Allen’s version of reliving your life in reverse, something the maturing and graduating students understood well. While it true that for many the dream of taking a ‘gap year’ backpacking across Europe to find themselves may have ended in front of the Eifel tower that evening, the words of their principal, or their future professor rang true in most of the young minds that evening. As many who have reached the bliss of doing what they love as a living will tell you that road to personal success begins with being thankful, being able to find the passion in your chosen field, and being able to laugh, and being able to follow your dreams no matter how idiotic it may seem to others.
It was these life lessons that many took away that evening in their final year of leaning at Lenasia Secondary School. It is with this in mind that to those that made a difference in the lives of others, be it excellent advice from the stage, or that lifelong striving in the classroom, today’s society, today’s proud parents, but more especially the class of 2013 owe the many teachers a debt of gratitude for the success of reaching the famous Lenasia Secondary School Matric Farewell on night of the 17 of August which was done, as usual, in true style and elegance.