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I saw this, Aunty Acid caption, “I’m not adding this year to my age, I didn’t use” on social media the other day and it made me think that maybe 2020 is the year that never was! The year that should be completely obliterated from the calendar and all memory. It was a tempting thought, but it ended after I read this short but thought-provoking poem.

What if 2020 is the year we’ve been waiting for?⁣
A year so uncomfortable, so painful, so scary, so raw — that it finally forces us to grow.⁣
A year that screams so loud, finally awakening us from our ignorant slumber.⁣
A year we finally accept the need for change.⁣
Declare change. Work for change. Become the change.                                                                                                                A year we finally band together, instead of pushing each other further apart.⁣
2020 isn’t cancelled, but rather the most important year of them all.

By: Leslie Dwight

Maybe 2020 came deliberately so that we learn that we are capable of so much more! Maybe it came so that we learn that what we think is our best is not only that but only the beginning.  Maybe 2020 came to show us that we do not have to go it alone in this life when we have friends and neighbours. Maybe it came so that even though we have come to rely on each other, we can still do that without weighing each other down. I thought this was interesting and this took me back to our school and how it does what it does!

It made me think back to March; about how we were faced with a seemingly insurmountable task of having to come together to teach and learn and yet stay apart for our own protection and safety. While this seems a contradiction in terms, I was made to realise how literally overnight we were able to learn how to work with online platforms like Zoom and Google Classroom and a whole lot more.

It made me see that even though it might not seem like it, the beautiful lessons that came out of this were so creative and well researched, actually products of individuals who had given so much of their time and effort but did not have so much as a second to enjoy them! They were so busy working on their next creation that they just could not begin to understand how beautiful and awe-inspiring the previous one really was. I was made to appreciate the amount of crumpled paper there was in all our houses. How many ideas came to mind but were still-born. How some of these sequels almost never saw the light of day. Coupled with this, it made me realise the amount of blood and tears that went into those collections and creations.

The author of this little ballade made me realise something else. I began to understand the flexibility that is in our children. How, despite the comforting familiarity of the physical classroom environment they had come to know so well, they were quickly able to adjust and embrace the new virtual reality. I noted how they quickly swopped pen and paper for keyboard and screen.

This hopeful poem made me think of the parents of our children and sacrifices they had to make in terms of helping their children cope with online learning and all the pressures that came with it all. Overnight, parents were turned from stars in their areas of expertise into teachers of note and psychologists par excellence! And to top it all up, they took it in their strides!

As if we had not had to contend with enough change, this short poem made me aware of the fact that, after we returned to school, we were willing to adopt a new norm. Where we were used to greeting each other pumping handshakes and crushing hugs, in their place came deep and searching gazes over our masks followed by equally deep and searching questions about each other’s health and wellbeing. Children who were usually used to running around at breaktimes and kicking a ball until they were all sweaty took naturally to sitting apart and chatting the short breaktimes away.

I suppose the biggest and most significant adjustment for us at Cedarwood is the physical environment itself. On returning to our school campus, we have been met with many changes to show how hard everyone had worked to ensure that not only is everyone protected but that it does not become a hindrance to the workings of our school. The school has prepared a clear and safe screening procedure to ensure that everyone is protected. They have made sure that there are information posters to explain what is required of everyone. In addition, everyone who wants to gain entry into the school has to have a face mask and have their hands sanitized. Children who arrive in the morning are escorted to their respective classrooms by teachers to ensure that social distancing is maintained.

In the end, I have realised that even though we may not have used the year in the normal way that we have become accustomed to, we have used it in a different and more effective way. we have used it to ensure the survival of a generation. We have used it to learn new ways of showing each other love and to keep going even though it is difficult to do so. Yes, 2020 may have come unconventionally but it has come to teach us that we are so much more than we give ourselves credit for.

At Cedarwood we do not shy away from the challenges posed by this year as indeed we have never avoided any responsibility in the past. We have taken the challenge head-on as we do everything in the life of our beautiful school.

Find time to talk to some of our friendly and professional staff and they will show you the amazing work we do and what we can do for you and your child.

Oliver Ngwenya