Steenberg High School geography teacher and deputy principal James Hendricks, 60, will be leaving teaching after 39 years in the profession.
All of his teaching years have been at Steenberg High School and although Steenberg wasn’t initially his first choice, he doesn’t regret planting his roots firmly at the school.
The Grassy Park resident recalled the good old days of athletics and soccer but said there has been a shift – now the school is focusing more on music.
“In the past we were known as the sports school, now we’re a music school and I couldn’t be prouder because we’ve got two bands,” said a beaming Mr Hendricks.
Asked what he’s planning to do with his new found freedom, he said: “I don’t have any big plans so far but I just want to rest for the first few months and wait for my wife, who is also a teacher, to retire,” said Mr Hendricks.
Principal Andre Kraak said when he thinks of Mr Hendricks’ classroom management and teaching, there is passion, enjoyment, rapport and connection with the children.
“His academic prowess is commendable and evident by the many certificates the school received for geography results. He’s an organiser, disciplinarian. We as the community is losing someone who has meant a lot to the school ethos.
“We do, however, hope he enjoys his retirement and that he will have the time to enjoy what life has to offer and what he has missed out on because Steenberg High was essentially his life for the past four decades. His legacy will last for a very long time after he has left and we will miss him immensely,” said Mr Kraak.
Janete Harry who was taught by Mr Hendricks and taught alongside him at the school for several years, will miss Mr Hendricks’ humour the most.
“He was someone you could speak to just about anything and he would always make you feel welcome. He’s a lovable character and we will miss him immensely. He’s done so much for the school, now it’s time for him to rest,” said Ms Harry.
Friend and fellow, teacher Fred Lawrence, has been working with Mr Hendricks for the past 35 years and said he is a pupil-centred person. “He can be very harsh sometimes but there’s method to his madness and he always has the best interest of the students at heart. He lightens up people’s days and he’s very jovial so we will miss him,” said Mr Lawrence.