By Amanda Mkhize

SPARK Riversands scholars got a chance to shine the spotlight on both the environment and community work recently when the Witkoppen Clinic hosted a tree-planting ceremony at their school.

The focus of the ceremony was to highlight Witkoppen Clinic’s 75 years of providing world-class health services to its community. By planting trees at the school, scholars were not only exposed to the work of the Clinic, but also to the aftereffects of climate change and what they could do to promote responsible behavior.

SPARK Riversands principal, Zamajola Mnyaka, said the tree-planting day was held to commemorate the significant milestone of Witkoppen Clinic’s 75th anniversary, to build community pride, social cohesion and to promote environmental sustainability.

“At SPARK schools we already work as society shapers where our model is based around building a holistic child. Our five core values – Service, Persistence, Achievement, Responsibility, and Kindness – inform everything we do. This fun day with Witkoppen Clinic is part of this building process,” she said.

Planting trees is one of the easiest and most effective ways of helping our natural environment, said Mnyaka. “Through this exercise our scholars learn that trees provide oxygen, preserve soil, conserve water, improve air quality and support wildlife,” she said.

Added to this environmental lesson, the interaction with Witkoppen Clinic also exposed the scholars to the crucial work done by NPOs in communities around the country.

Mnyaka said a key component of SPARK’s education model is to shape impactful, valuable global citizens. By exposing pupils to major issues affecting their world, it allows them to learn and experience real world issues and be proactive in addressing them.

“In our fast paced and changing world we need people in our society who are intrinsically aware, caring, interactive and feel that they can do, and be good in the world. These values are the foundation of nurturing social and emotional intelligence and are embraced and taught in-depth, through everyday daily activities and routines. Our philosophy of developing good citizens gives a platform for our scholars to be better people, functioning in a healthy community,” she said.

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