By Lydia Gwambe, Bridging Year Academy coordinator at our Dumphries Digital Learning Campus
Enrolling in school to study is one thing, but getting through the whole course – such as Good Work Foundation’s one-year Bridging Year Academy (BYA) programme to bridge the gap between school and work or tertiary education – is another thing altogether, and a very proud moment to be celebrated.
One of my “aha” moments about all the graduations that I attended in the past year was seeing how excited students’ parents and guardians were. I realised that graduations are not only about the graduates, but also about our everyday motivation to wake up and better our lives – and make our parents proud.
Imagine seeing the beauty of a smile or a little tear of joy on your parents’ faces – a precious moment that money can’t buy.
We are studying further because, yes, we need the qualifications, but it goes beyond that. When one reaches graduation stage, it becomes clear that the student was committed to seeing this journey through to the end.
For me, a graduation is about more than just a mere qualification – it’s the beginning of a beautiful future. It’s also about the parents who supported us, and the facilitators who gave their all in delivering the BYA content with love.
Graduations are all about celebrations, and I had the privilege of taking pictures of these beautiful ceremonies at all of GWF’s Mpumalanga-based campuses last year.
On one of the campuses I interviewed a student who gave me a very confident answer. I asked her, “What does graduation mean to you?” She simply said, “It is the ability to pursue my dreams.”
She then added, ‘’I feel like I now have the key to go after my future and it’s all thanks to Good Work Foundation. I see this as a stepping stone to go after the life I have been longing for.’’
It was a very exciting moment for me to hear such encouraging and motivating words from one of our very own students, as it took me back to my own graduation as I put myself in the graduates’ shoes.
I myself was once a BYA student at Good Work Foundation who graduated with distinction in 2018. I still remember the feeling: it was priceless, seeing my mom who was so proud of me, and it made me proud of my own achievements.
Today I can proudly say I am a BYA coordinator who oversees the smooth running of the content and the progress of all the students we impact each and every year. My dream and hope for this organisation is to grow from strength to strength.