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A jet-setter farewell! Celebrating the class of 2018 in style

By Galaletsang Keebine, Science Engagement Intern & Omphile Khutsoane, Science Engagement Officer, SAEON Arid Lands Node
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On 29 November, the SAEON Arid Lands Node hosted a celebratory closing session for the learners participating in its Science Engagement programme that has been running throughout the year.

The event was held at Emang Mmogo Comprehensive School in Galeshewe in the Northern Cape Province.

In attendance were learners from five different schools from Kimberley and surrounding areas - Emang Mmogo Comprehensive School, Greenpoint High School, Tetlanyo High School, Thabane High School and Vuyolwethu High School.

The event was aimed at celebrating the outcomes of the Science Engagement programme over the three years since its establishment in 2014, and bidding farewell to those learners who have been part of the programme since its inception.

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The "SAEON Kids" proudly display their certificates. From left: Joslyn, Galaletsang (intern), Pulane, Lebogang, Vanessa, Winston, Galaletsang, Thuto, Reitumetse, Phenyo, Pontso and Omphile (science engagement officer)

What it means to be a SAEON Kid

Through the years, the Node’s staff members have been able to spark the interest of the learners in environmental science. The science engagement programme has ensured that the learners have had practical, first-hand experience of various careers available in the environmental sciences. This was achieved through ongoing learner engagement initiatives such as science camps and workshops, school visits, science expos and facilitating interaction between learners and scientists.

On the day of the event, the programme started at 09:00. Excitement, anticipation and joy permeated the room and it was clear that the 40 learners were looking forward to the events of the day.

The “SAEON Kids” were treated to a special programme consisting of song, poetry, dance, games, a motivational speech and slideshows for learners to reminisce on the events of the past three years. The song, poetry, dance and speech were all performed by fellow learners who volunteered to provide entertainment. Pontso Mothibeli, who represented the Arid Lands Node at the annual SAEON Science Education Symposium, gave an inspirational talk on her adventures and learning experiences.

Omphile Khutsoane, science engagement officer at the Arid Lands Node, gave a motivational speech which served to inspire the learners to overcome any possible obstacles that life may throw at them in the future.

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The 2017 "SAEON Kids" (learners in grades 9-11) who participated in the science education programme of the Arid Lands Node

The class of 2018 (Grade 11s) received certificates, name badges and CDs as mementos of their SAEON science education journey. The rest of the learners were given goodie bags as a token of appreciation for their involvement in the programme through the years. The learners were highly appreciative of the gifts.

The day also allowed the senior “SAEON Kids” an opportunity to share their experiences in the science education programme with other learners. This allowed the learners to realise the various benefits and opportunities that are part and parcel of being a “SAEON Kid”.

Another year has come to an end and we can proudly say that it has been a favourable and conducive one for SAEON’s Science Engagement programme in the arid lands.

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