Student(s) of the Week: Maxine Todd & Martin Babl

On Mandela Day, individuals are encouraged to dedicate 67 minutes to service, representing the 67 years that Nelson Mandela fought for social justice.

This week, 38 high school volunteers from six different schools raced past 67 minutes and are fast approaching one whole week as they finish a soup kitchen, adult literacy hall, store room and two vegetable patches in Philippolis, one of South Africa’s poorest towns.

While each volunteer has contributed beyond our expectations, two students have gone “above and beyond” and we would like to honor them with a combined “Student of the Week” award.

Maxine Todd

From Bridge House School in Franschhoek, 16-year-old Maxine surprised everyone. She might come in a small package, but she certainly knows how to focus, organise and get her hands dirty!

“I know I am committed” says Maxine, “but I didn’t know that I can physically do some of the things that I have done this week. Philippolis is similar to Franschhoek and many other South African towns in that there is extreme poor and extreme wealthy. By contributing to an adult literacy centre I hope that I am contributing to building a ‘middle base’. Privileged people must contribute.”

Maxine wants to be a pilot when she finishes school and already has 25 hours on her private pilot’s license.

“I want to stay in South Africa. This is where my future is. The future of our country depends on resolving a number of political problems, but what is great is that there is much less racism among people of my generation.”

Martin Babl

Also from Bridge House School, Martin’s family runs a wine farm in the Swartland. It’s not surprising that Martin looks very ‘at home’ outside, on a scaffold, putting up roofs and cementing floors.

17-year-old Martin said a couple of very interesting things during our interview:

1)      “Going to private school is an opportunity. How you use that opportunity is entirely up to you.”

2)      “Just because Madiba has passed away doesn’t make this week of service seem more special for me. We should be serving our country in any way we can every week and every month.”

3)      “My mother taught me about committing yourself 100% to a task. Get things done and get them done properly.”

Martin is planning on studying engineering at Stellenbosch. With this young man’s attitude, anything is possible.

Martin added something that many of us forget: “Service is fun and hugely rewarding.”