KwaZulu Natal teachers Ms Ruwaida Kader, from W.A Lewitt Primary, Ms Taahirah Loonat, from Paul Sykes Primary and Ms Thembekile Cele, from Wiggins Secondary School won first, second and third in the 10th anniversary year of the Woolworths Educational Programme and MySchool Teacher’s Day national competition. An incredible achievement as a record of almost 50 000 South African school children nominated their outstanding teachers who has been the shining star making a difference in their young lives.

Overall winner, Ruwaida Kader, a Grade 3 teacher from W.A. Lewitt Primary School in Pietermaritzburg with Zayan Allee, her learner who nominated her.  Zayan Allee nomination commended Mrs Kader for her shining example of goodness and generosity beyond the call of duty as well as being a steady, bright light in many South African children’s lives.  

Pieter Twine, General Manager of the Woolworths Education Programme and MySchool MyVillage My Planet fundraising programme says, “We congratulate all the incredible 2019 winners of the Teachers Day Competition who have highlighted the life-changing role that teachers can play for our children.  It has been overwhelming and inspiring to receive nearly

50 000 entries this year, and that tells us that there are over 50 000 amazing teachers out there guiding, mentoring and looking after the precious minds of our country’s future leaders.”

Second prize winner, Ms Taahirah Loonat, a foundation phase teacher from Paul Sykes Primary School in Newlands, with Kholeka Khumalo the learner who nominated her. Kholeka’s nomination commended Mrs Loonat for her creative and holistic teaching methods, always striving to make every lesson fun and for always being there for her as well as being her biggest supporter.

In an effort to properly recognise and reward teachers who routinely go beyond the call of duty, the 2019 Teachers Day Competition awarded a grand total of R400 000’s worth of  prizes.  Based on a written motivation by the learners, the competition judges selected two finalists in each school phase, as well as a principal and a specials needs educator who received a special recognition.  The finalists enjoyed a fully paid, 2-night stay in a luxury Gauteng hotel with a partner as well as a R10 000 cash prize; with the top three winning an additional R30 000, R20 000 and R10 000 respectively.  The learners who nominated the finalists each won R6 000 towards their educational needs and the finalists’ schools also each won R10 000.

Third place winner, Ms Thembekile Cele, a Grade 9 teacher from Wiggins Secondary School in Mayville, with her Babalwa Tshoba, her learner who nominated her.  Babalwa’s nomination commended Ms Cele for giving her unwavering support and guidance in her school and home life.

“Woolworths has a long-standing commitment to supporting quality education in South Africa,” concludes Twine.  “This annual event, encourages South African schools and learners to join in the global celebration of World Teachers Day on the 5th of October.  The growth of the Teachers Day Competition, which is supported by the Department of Education, is testimony that there is fantastic awareness of the importance of celebrating teachers as leaders and everyday heroes in our communities.”