Tribute to Prince George’s ’heart of the school’

Lameez Rabbaney, Prince George Primary School.

Bernadette Cogill, secretary at Prince George Drive Primary School in Lavender Hill died on Friday August 13 after . She was buried on Tuesday August 24

Bernadette Cogill joined Prince George Primary in June 2009 as an administrative clerk. When I was appointed as principal in October 2009, she became my right hand. She fiercely protected me from all outside visitors and as one service provider noted: “protected my time as if it was her own”.

I was informed that during her interview for the position as administrative clerk, she shared that she would like to make a difference in the lives of all children and felt that she would be able to do this if she worked in a school community.

She was true to the words she uttered in her interview. She loved her school children and during the 11 years she was the mother of more than 11 000 learners.

Bernadette Cogill was the secretary at Prince George Drive Primary for 11 years.

As the school secretary, she wore many hats. She was a colleague, confidante and friend to staff, parents, guardians of learners and service providers.

She reported learners who needed support and assistance, so that they would not have to return to neglected or abusive homes. If she had her way, she would have taken many of these learners home.

Staff and pupils paid their respects at a memorial service which was held at the school.

In her heart she adopted many learners and cared for them when they were in school.

As the school secretary, she planned and organised successful events. Since 2019 she served on the School Governing Body (SGB), where she continued to make a positive impact. She believed in excelling at what she did, both in her daily administrative tasks and additional tasks.

She mentored and assisted her peers and interns who learned under her tutelage. She was an active listener to everyone who needed an ear. She was honest about how she felt but never forgot to remind you that she cared about you.

She was the heart of the school and served all who entered it. She always made nervous novice teachers feel at ease and calmed the nerves of anxious learners. The immense sadness of her school family when she succumbed to a short illness was evident of the impact she made in the lives of those she came into contact with.

She is missed and her memory will live with us forever.