They said it!

Ilan Gr 7

” Your attention ladies and gentlemen, this is a boarding call for passenger llan – you are kindly requested to go to gate B35 to board BV airline -flight number 2016 to Bellavista.” As requested, I presented myself to gate B35 and happily boarded this exciting airline to a new destination. A destination that so many people had recommended, one that I was assured would change my life, a destination that excited me to no end, but, being a little anxious by nature, a destination and a journey that created some form of stress as the unknown is always daunting.

“May I take you to your seat, Sir?” kindly offered a well- spoken airhostess, her tag on her stylish blazer displaying the name “Mrs Mons”. I was gently led to the second floor to seat number 108, where another soft spoken air hostess awaited me and kindly handed me with some books. “My name is Mrs Pillay;” she said, “and I will be looking after you for the duration of this flight. Please feel free to call upon me should you have any questions or should you require any assistance along the way. Should you require more books during the flight, you are welcome to pop downstairs where Romy will gladly attend to your query.”

I looked around at this most unfamiliar surrounding, took my seat and put on my safety belt. Shortly after, a passenger arrived to sit next to me. ” Hi”, he said with a friendly voice, “my name is Michi, looks like we are traveling next to each other”. “I am llan,” I replied shyly, “Have you travelled on this airline before? “Oh yes, “replied Michi with a friendly smile, “This is my 7th flight on BV airline. First time I flew, I was 6 years old, it was in 2010… just relax”‘, he continued, “you are really going to enjoy this flight. BV is an airline not quite like any other you might have travelled on before.”

Take off was relatively smooth, even though I still had second thoughts on whether this choice of airline was the correct one. I apprehensively glanced at the entertainment menu neatly placed in the seat pocket in front of me and was immediately astounded at the variety of options. This airline offered things that seemed foreign to me and that I had never encountered or experienced before on any other airline. Not quite knowing what to choose first, and feeling a little confused, I called Mrs Pillay for her kind assistance she had offered me upon boarding. Without a blink of an eye, she instantly allowed me direct access to the pilot. “Let me take you to the cockpit where our pilot, Mrs Scott and her co-pilot, Fleur Durbach will gladly guide you whilst they navigate the plane.” I was overwhelmed by their kind care and assistance. As outstanding and proud ambassadors of BV airline, they led me in the right direction and advised on the most suitable options for me.

I returned to my seat to see what there was on offer to eat, just like any 11 year old boy would do, as food is very important. I was introduced to a “sweetie tuck”. I had never been offered such a variety of sweets on any other airline. As impressive as that was, besides the meals and all the sweets, the airline was additionally serving a “snack attack” and a “brain break”… This simply blew my mind away! I proceeded to click on activities on my remote and decided to start watching. Wow!!! To my greatest surprise, I wasn’t just watching, all the activities were interactive, and I was becoming part of the game. I first decided to play a “making new friends game.” An entire new world opened up in front of me with people dressed in green and white with yellow caps on asking me to be their friend. As the game grew more intense, I began to know and play with more and more people and a large amount of those people were now wearing red blazers and red caps. I loved it but had to move onto another game.

The next game led me to a cross country. I couldn’t believe how good and fast I was at it and I actually came third in it. I then clicked on “circle group” – what was that all about? Six of the same people I had encountered in my first game were now meeting on a Wednesday morning with a teacher to talk about things. I eagerly participated as talking is really what I love doing. I totally adored playing this game. A horse game attracted my attention, it was called Eagala. An interactive game that involved playing with, talking to, brushing and grooming all types of beautiful horses. I was even allowed to name some of the horses that I was playing with: Caramel and Oreo were my chosen names.

The next game I decided to tackle was called “Mini City Councillors.” The game involved all the new people I had met in the first game I played. It appeared that teachers were nominating some players. To my surprise, I was nominated… how exciting. The winners were two great and skilled players named Duncan and Abby. They invited me to a dinner where I met so many other players from so many different places and even a prom where I danced the night away. That was possibly my best game I played.

A colourful game caught my attention next. It was a play called “Colours” – why not I thought – so I clicked. I was transported into a whole new world surrounded by colours and became a rainbow. I could have played that for so much longer but I didn’t want to miss out on anything else. A “Snoezelen room” was my next choice. I needed a bit of time out after all the stage excitement. I immediately became surrounded by total tranquility and serenity… pure bliss. I felt as though I had been transported to heaven. I was lying on a waterbed, then relaxing in a ball pond while closing my eyes and listening to calm background music. I had never quite experienced anything like this.

I felt completely recharged and decided that it was now time for some action. And what action it was when I clicked on “business project”. I was appointed a partner, Michael. My entrepreneurial skills led me right to the core of this most thrilling games. I stared sourcing, importing goods, continued by trading, selling and making a profit. This was definitely a game designed for me.

But, to my great sadness, I heard a voice, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is Captain Scott speaking. We will shortly begin our descent and arrive at out destination. Kindly stow away the table in front of you, put your seat in the upright position and fasten your seat belt.” How could that be? I hadn’t even played all the games offered and we were already arriving…. Time clearly flies when you are having fun.

I turned to Michi next to me and said: “Who is fetching you from the airport?”

“A Yeshiva bus,” he replied.

“Oh,” I said, “l am catching a Redhill bus. Hope we can stay in touch then. It was really nice meeting you,” I added.

As I was disembarking, two very friendly air hostesses at the door said to me, “Thank you for choosing BV airlines, we hope that you enjoyed your trip with us and wish you a pleasant and successful journey forward.” I looked and saw Mrs Landsman and Mrs Evans on their name tags.

What an incredible journey this had been. I felt that I had grown, matured, changed and clearly encountered a world like no other. As I was walking away, I turned my head one last time to look at the green BV airline plane parked on the runaway – a plane which clearly changed my entire outlook on life and gave me confidence and my own set of wings to now fly with. I felt a tiny tear trickle down my right cheek: “Goodbye, Bellavista,” I whispered softly, “Thank you for all you have done for me, thank you for showing me the light, I will never forget you!”

Sam Gr7

“ I remember so clearly the day I found out I would be coming to Bellavista. I was walking in the Hypermarket and my mom said, “I have good news, you have been accepted into Bellavista.” I was so excited that I started to cry. I had been on the waiting list for 3 years. I have learned and done so many things at Bellavista. Apart from all the learning I was accepted into the sound crew, which involved doing the sound and lighting at assembly every Friday. I have loved being involved in this and felt very privileged to be have been given the responsibility. I was also involved in the in the first ever EV3 robotics competition. This involved the programming of robots and a challenge between a number of schools. As it says in the song “I found my place in the sun, Bellavista” I did find my place in the sun from Day One. I don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for you. Thank you Bellavista. I am really going to miss this amazing school. I want to thank all of the teachers and therapists who have cared for me, taught me, guided me and challenged me over the years. I don’t think that anyone could really understand how special our little school is, unless they have lived the magic. I know I am privileged and am leaving here a better person for my experiences.”

Tali Gr7

On 10 June 2010, I officially became part of the Bellavista family. That was the day I got a place at the best school in the world, Bellavista. Before Bellavista, I barely spoke. Most people thought I didn’t know how. Bellavista helped me believe in myself and I even came second place in Bellavista Stars in Grade One. This was because I wasn’t embarrassed anymore. Bellavista is a friendly place and although it is a small school, there is someone and something for everyone.  It is a hope filled school with hearts. I believe I have made life long friends here.  As I have changed over the last seven years, so has the school. New chairs, new desks, a new uniform shop, this stunning hall and the world class Snoezelen Room. The love in this school, however, remains constant. The values, how to be a mensch, accepting everybody no matter what, overcoming feelings of challenge and courage are some of the treasures I will carry with me. We are all truly privileged to be part of this special family. In the words of Dr Seuss, ‘You have brains in your head, feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.’ Thank you ALL for helping to steer me to my place in the sun.”

Matthew  Gr7

“It was just the other day when I heard Max laugh under the tree at the gates to Bellavista. I was nervous and I wasn’t comfortable with school. You see, I was still learning about the new me. I was different than I used to be. The new me uses one arm and has learned to walk and talk again, and the new me wasn’t sure of who I was or who I could be. Life had changed when I was five. I soon learned that the best way to avoid Maths was to flee to the bathroom, but what happens when your bladder stops working? UR-INE big trouble! Despite these tactics, I felt accepted from the very first day and it gave my family hope. I am resilient because this is what the word Bellavista means to me:

B- belief in myself

E -empathy for others

L – love

L – laughter

A – acceptance

V – values

I – inspiration

S- safety

T – triumph

A – attitude, a good one

I am thankful for the privilege of being here, for the milestones I’ve met, for the people I love and who love me; for the guidance I’ve been given and for the belief that, despite my challenges, I am worthy of respect and success. I wish I never had a neck injury or my strokes, but I am grateful for YOU and how you have touched my life and my family’s. I can’t say who my favourite teachers are because you have all been amazing. This includes ALL the staff and my friends too. I still find life a challenge and I’m always checking the time to see when the lesson will end, but I am on my way to finding myself. The tree at the gate has now gone and its time to move on, but as Nelson Mandela once said, ‘Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed towards the sun, one’s feet moving forward.” I will always remember the light of Bellavista, in the darkest of times.'”

Dennis Gr7

Finding My Place in the Sun:

“My name is Dennis Kibuuka, and today I want to tell you about a special plant called the aloe. The aloe belongs to the succulent family. Many people think of aloes as plants for dry climates. These tough and extremely strong plants survive in many environments, but thrive best in the sun. My favourite species of aloe is called ‘Aloe Marlothii’. It is my favourite aloe because it grows very big and very strong. Its leaves turn a reddish colour when there is a lot of sunshine. For me the aloe is a symbol of strength and perseverance, surviving the toughest conditions. The dead leaves of the plant or ‘beard’ protect it from fires. Its thick leaves and thorns represent bravery, as they form a ‘shield’ protecting the delicate parts of the plant from wild animals. When the aloe is fully grown it develops orange-red flowers. Their colour and that of the leaves becomes deeper and more intense, the brighter and stronger the sunlight. These beautiful red flowers remind me of the children at Bellavista, finding their place in the sun. Bellavista has helped me to find my own place in the sun. I am proud to wear my red blazer, I am proud to be at Bellavista, and just like the aloe I will persevere with my studies, believe in my own strength, and look forward to my future with courage.”

Sabine Gr1

“I like school because it is fun.”

Dylan Gr2

“I love Bellavista because I love the teachers who teach me. I think this is the best school ever.”

Joshua Gr3

“I like Bellavista because of break and computers and DnT and PT and my friends are nice to me so that’s why Bellavista is a nice school to go to when you are sad or even happy.”

Matthew Gr 3

“I like Bellavista because it has no swimming pool and I like it because it is small because other schools are big. I like it because I don’t need to walk far. I have been at Bellavista from grade 0 to grade 3. No one has bullied me. We learn to make stuff in DnT and computers and break. And I have the best teacher anyone can have.”

Ross Gr 4 

“ I love Bellavista School because it is a very good learning school.”

Jonathan Gr4

“I love Bellavista School because it has the best principal, teachers, therapists and staff, and no-one gets bullied and everyone gets helped.”

Rhett Gr4

“I love Bellavista School because sometimes it feels like everyone here is family.”

Nicholas Gr4

“They are so confident about what they do.”

Chase Gr5

“I learn lots of new things and the teachers are charming. I also have many kind friends.”

Maseeha Gr5

“The children and teachers are so helpful and treat everyone the same.”

Gila Gr6 

“The teachers are well qualified and kind. Bellavista is an organized school.”

Alex Gr6

“The teachers have taught me how to read.”

Andile Gr7

“I love Bellavista because it’s a great school and it is very helpful.”

Saskian Gr7

“I love Bellavista because it makes you appreciate the good things in life.”

Jonathan Gr7

“ It is a nice school and very homely and warm. It has helped me through thick and thin and I have enjoyed it for seven years. Through all the hard times, Bellavista and I have risen to the top.”

Natalie

My son and I were driving through to Bellavista this morning after dropping my daughter at Grayston at 7am.  We had just got to St David’s when we received the school notice about no water today.  I told my son what was happening and that there would obviously be no school today…I honestly expected a “Yay,  Mum!  No school so I can play at home”  Instead I got, “Oh no Mum, but I REALLY want to go to school”.  My heart smiled.  My little boy would rather be at school learning and playing with his friends than be home with Mum for the day – a “free” day of no hard work – but first choice was school!  What an amazing compliment to Bellavista and to its staff.  I wonder if kids at other schools love going to school as much as the children at Bellavista?  How lucky we are to be a part of the Bellavista family!

Rachel

“Just a small note to inform all the past teachers of Bellavista School who dedicated their time and effort to my son. Today I stand as a proud mother of a Civil/structural engineer who is a WITS graduate but also just graduated yesterday with an MBA   (Master of Business Administration) from the University of Pretoria.
This is only to pay tribute to all the teachers that accommodated  and believed in him as a child…..
I am the proud mother of this young man and I could not have done this without the help and understanding of the Bellavista team!
THANK YOU,THANK YOU, THANK YOU…….”

Dee

“What a lovely surprising evening I have just had! Rachel has outdone herself academically for 2016 and I’d like you to share in her excitement and joy. It follows….
Certificates for Most improved student in Afrikaans, Top practical student in Technology, Most improved student in EMS and Perseverance and Diligence in Maths.
A gold certificate for Social Sciences ( awarded to getting over 80%). Then she came away with the following trophies…. the Kelsey Toubkin most improved reading award, Technology cup,  Junior NS cup and Social Science cup. Topping it all off Rachel was awarded with her Academic Colors!! A very proud Mom and a super excited daughter! She’s still bouncing all about.”

Michael

My son, Michael, attended Bellavista School from 2004 – 2005. He was in Gr 0 with Mrs Miriam Wilder and in Gr 1 with Mrs Sue Hill. He mainstreamed to The Ridge in 2006. We relocated to Durban in 2008 where he attended DPHS followed by Westville Boys’ High School. Michael matriculated with 7 distinctions and an 89% aggregate. During his high school years he maintained a high standard of academic excellence, was a school prefect, played 1st team cricket and was captain of the school cross country team (I fondly remember him winning the cross country when he was at Bellavista and noting his competitive spirit even at that young age). He received school colours for academics, cricket, cross country and service to his school. Michael will be studying a BSC in Maths and Physics at UCT this year. I will always be grateful for the excellent start Michael was given at Bellavista and for the love and care, both he and I received, from his teachers and therapists. My odd little boy was warmly embraced by everyone and most of his needs accommodated.  He even went to Maths with the Grade 3’s when he was in Gr 1. Michael is proud to be a Bellavista past pupil and always tells how he started in a remedial school much to the disbelief of most people. Thank you Bellavista for the role you played in shaping this young man.

Erin

Bellavista is not just a school. It’s a story. In this story there is a garden and this garden is very special because the seeds and flowers growing here have great potential. The seeds and flowers need help and guidance to grow to their full potential and that is where the gardeners come in. The gardeners feed and care for the seeds and flowers, and help create this beautiful garden. Some flowers start off in this garden as seedlings, and other flowers are transplanted from other gardens. I was one of these flowers, a shy and timid rosebud, but under the care and guidance of the many gardeners in this special garden, I am able to blossom. I have been helped to accomplish many things. I have learned courage – the courage to stand up for myself. I have gained the confidence to ask the questions that I need to know the answers for. I have developed self-esteem to believe in myself and my ability to lead and guide others. I would not be here without the support of my family, friends and teachers. This school, this special garden, is not just a place to learn. It’s a place to create better opportunities in life. Every student in this school needs to know that they are here for a reason, not just to learn but to grow into beautiful flowers and share their beauty, joy and kindness with the rest of the world. So, don’t stop believing in yourself. Don’t stop growing and blossoming.

Raphaella

Bellavista is like riding a roller coaster – when it starts, you want it to stop. and when it stops, you want it to start.

Talia

Above all, Bellavista has given me the opportunity to be me. I am able to be myself in an environment that nurtures me and encourages me to give of my best at all times. There is a quote that reads, ” Thank you, Bellavista angels for holding our hands along this journey“, and now I can proudly say thank you Bellavista for holding my hand along this journey.

Daniel

I came to Bellavista School in Grade Five and WOW, what can I say? It has been the best three years of my life. What an adventure it has been for me at this warm and loving school. This is my last year at this amazing school and we got all sorts of privileges, such as wearing red blazers and telling all the small kids what to do. The only thing that I did not like was exams and homework, but I know these have set me on a good path for high school. To Bellavista School, thank you for everything you have done for me and for giving me a view to a brighter future. Most importantly, thank you to my loving parents for sending me to this magical school! Thank you!!!

Sabreen:

I joined Bellavista in Grade R and I have been here for eight years. I was a little nervous on my first day in Grade R. Both my parents took me to school and I did not want them to leave. I came from The Bridge Nursery School and none of my friends came with me. What I remember is Miriam’s smile. She is the most amazing teacher who continues to be involved in my education at Bellavista. My mother was very nervous about me coming to Bellavista and took a sabbatical of four months from work so that she could be class mum. She was happy to go back to work when she saw how amazing the school was. The collective effort of my teachers through the years, like Mrs Cruickshank, Mrs Nowikow, Mrs Allan and Mrs Tempel has resulted in a five year old with pigtails growing into a confident teenager standing before you today. In fact, when Mrs Tempel asked who wanted to speak and I raised my hand, she said, “Sabreen, you have come out of your shell – do not go back in!” You will not find more caring and kind teachers who go beyond the call of duty to assist the children. Every child is taught that they can be a leader and made to feel special. Bellavista has the most amazing concerts and Bellavista Stars. Bellavista Stars is a talent show. It is the highlight of my Bellavista years. Next year I will be in Grade Seven and after that I will leave the school but will take with me my good memories. You will not be disappointed with your decision to join the Bellavista community.

Michi:

Hi, my name is Michael. I struggle with reading and spelling. Bellavista is the best school in the entire world – trust me, I know because I have been here since Grade R. I arrived as a shy, quiet boy who was afraid to put himself on the line. I would NOT stand up and talk in front of people. People have mocked me because I am short when I tell them I am in Grade Six but at Bellavista nobody cares if you are short or tall or have a disability. They accept you for who you are and what you are, no matter what. So, in Grade R, I had one of my favourite teachers, Miriam. We got a break basically every 10 minutes. It was the best. Now you might think it was because we did nothing in class, but rather, it was our teacher working u shard while we could concentrate and were available to learn and then we had a break. In Grade One, I had Mrs Wetterhahn. She was one of the kindest teachers. WHY? Because she gave us credits for blowing our nose with a tissue and catching is in everything we did right! FYI, a credit is a merit system that you earn so you can get a badge when you have reached a certain amount of points and these points go to your house. Mrs Wetterhahn started our process of learning how to have a good work ethic. Grade Two: now let me see if I can pronounce this name- Mrs Anastassopoulos – otherwise known as Miss A. Actually, because I could pronounce her name, I got her for grades two and three. In these years, we earned beans every day and when we got 5 beans, we got a credit until one day, when we found bugs in the beans. So, we had to spill the beans … into the dustbin… and we had to move to buttons. In Grade Four, Mrs Nowikow was a very funny teacher. She took pills she called her “witch pills: and she said they could turn her into a witch and sometimes we actually believed her! Although the work was challenging, she was a fun teacher and I loved doing the concert with her that year. Grade Five was Mrs Poolchand. Just like me, dynamite comes in small packages. We believed that she had eyes in the back of her head, because nothing was ever missed by Mrs P! She too helped us develop a good work ethic and brought the best out of us. Grade Six – last but definitely not least. She has made this my favourite year, Mrs Pillay! She is the kindest teacher ever and although she too has eyes at the back of her head, unlike Mrs P, she chooses to keep them closed. We love laughing with her and our school day is so enjoyable. NOW, as I said in the beginning, I arrived as a shy, quiet boy who would not be happy to be the centre of attention. Bellavista, Mrs Scott and her team have helped me and other kids to find their voice and space. They look out for our strengths and help and encourage us to bring these out. In the last concert, I even had a singing role. This is why Bellavista is THE best school and when you guys join it, it will be even better. Let your journey begin…

Nina

My name is Nina and today I will be talking to you about my journey at Bellavista, and how honoured I am to be at such an amazing school. It all started that day at the beginning of Grade Two when my parents said we should have a family meeting. I didn’t know what it was about. My mom began and said, “Nina, me and dad have decided that you will be going to Bellavista and that it will be a really good change for you.” I wasn’t sure what to say because I felt happy inside but at the same time a bit sad cause was leaving all my friends. After a few weeks passed I went to look at the school and I met my teacher, Mrs Yudelowitz. She seemed really nice. When we got to the classroom, she showed me where I was gonna sit and my heart was beating really fast. My fist week there was actually really fun and I made lots of friends. In Grade 3, I had Mrs Cruickshank who was a funny but strict teacher. She always gave us projects and homework, but taught us so well that you nearly knew everything off by heart. That was also the first year of the Bellavista Stars talent show for me. l entered and I did a dance of my friends. l felt our dance kinda failed but it was really fun and we ended up getting a silver for it. This year, I am in Grade Six, which the teachers call “the naughty grade that gets up to no good”. We have the best teachers, Mrs Tempel and Mrs Pillay who make you laugh until your tummy aches. The Grade Six camp was the camp that l have had the most fun on, from leopard crawling in mud and doing teamwork routines, to swimming in the dams. And now here I am talking to you and telling you how amazing Bellavista is, and that it will take you on the most incredible journey of learning. Yes, you will have your up hills that will challenge you but at the end you will turn out to be fantastic and that is why one day you will be standing here just like I am today and telling the newcomers that everyone that comes to Bellavista finds their place to shine and has an opportunity to prove to everyone around us that we all can and will conquer the world!

Justin

School is cool! I didn’t always think this. I moved to Bellavista in Grade 3 and from the start everyone was kind to me I was given support in reading as this was one of my struggles. I was made to feel that I could, instead of couldn’t. In Grade 4, I had Mrs H, she was one of those teachers that help you straight away when you have a problem. The funny thing is that when she spoke her tone was loud, yet kind. She used to walk around the field with us in the mornings, chatting away with us as if we were long lost friend. One thing l’ll always treasure from her is a ruler that she bought for the boys; probably to keep us on the straight and narrow! In Grade 5, I had Mrs Poolchand – a small teacher yet dynamite. She gave me the confidence to write faster, as l was really slow! She focused on my comprehension, which gave me a feeling of competence. Now I am at the end of Grade 6 and it’s been a hard year. The one thing I’ve struggled with is the increased work pace, but I have never felt like couldn’t cope. Mrs Pillay and Mrs Tempel have helped me in Mathematics, Afrikaans and Social Science with their gentle kindness. Sport has always been my passion and at Bellavista they don’t break you down whether you are good or bad at sports, they build you up. I won the Victor Ladorum in Athletics, which inspired me to set a goal for myself and never give up. I have made so many friends along the way and I want you guys to remember this, when you go to school, you may think it boring but Bellavista makes it fun!