Morris Mtisi Education Correspondent
THE girls in the picture are the founders of the famous Cross Kopje Junior School. The fifth golden girl is the late Peggy Papaya. Rest in Peace Peggy.
What started as extra lessons for needy pupils five years ago, while the golden girls were still in mainstream teaching at Mutare Junior School, driven by passion and competence brought about by experience, ended up a registered independent school known today as Cross Kopje Junior School after the girls retired from teaching.
“All of us were inundated by parents’ requests to give their children extra tuition during week-ends and school holidays,” said Mrs Mashayamombe. “We all each soon became popular with the parents and the pupils. This is what motivated us to establish an independent school after retirement.”
Said Ruth Gezana, “Our passion for teaching and love for children yes was there, but do not forget our patience and in-born clinical determination to produce results. Some of the children who came to us were non-readers. We had the patience to take them one day at a time until they caught up with the faster and abler learners.”
Mrs Sandra Mutowo attributed all the success to hard work and the motherly-touch in all of them. “Mothers have it in their nature to nurture children and unfold them into formal discipline. Mothers find it easy to give a sense of growth and direction. We agreed to exhibit these qualities and proved that yes we had retired but were not tired. The result was Cross Kopje in 2012. We are proud that we registered our school with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education in January 2017 after a long spell of illegal ‘trading’” she added.
Citing the highlights of the school, Mrs Mashayamombe said since 2012 the Grade 7 pass rate has been 100 percent. “We attribute this to hard work, and prayer. Hard work and Prayer Breed Success, is our motto.”
Mrs Chirima told The Manica Post that high academic results were not the ultimate goal or aim. “At Cross Kopje we teach for Life. We aim at producing a wholesome child, morally, spiritually and emotionally.”
Ruth Gezana summarized the Cross Kopje legacy as “dedication to work, high academic performance and results, neatness and a live culture of reading. These are the attributes that make our brand and legacy. These are our strength and we are determined to keep that brand,” she said.
The golden girls attributed their success to individual attention in teaching and learning. The teacher-pupil ration of 1:10 or 15 makes it ideal for one-on-one attention. “Our classes are small and easy to handle.”
That Cross Kopje is a school…and a good school, is not the story. There are many independent schools in and around Mutare that have a good story to tell.
It is the story of the founders of the school that is the story. Brilliant and experienced classroom practitioners coming together for children and establishing an excellent tutorial model-developing intellect as well as behavior! Teaching for Life! Bringing up children who are not only academically fit but morally upright! Children who not only acquire knowledge that is abstract and bookish…perhaps even easily remote and dead! The golden girls’ precept and example established a model school that would offer learning that could be morally put to practice; knowledge that is easily transmuted into character!
This is not the only independent school in Mutare. There are many. But if you do not see the uniqueness of Cross Kopje, ask us and we will help you to see and understand. It is run by caring mothers whose ability and passion to teach has been naturally tested by God, time and experience. They have a visible motherly touch that is there for children to see and tap from. They are role models and the concept of coming together to maximize on experience and special NATURE cannot escape unnoticed. While many of such schools struggle with sole-talent and single-handedness, Cross Kopje basks in the abundance of shared internal resources.
Intellectual and moral integrity, honesty and educational sincerity are at the bottom of this school and it is built on avowed, public and socially responsible instruction. The golden girls are all in it facilitating desirable mental and moral growth in children.
The golden girls unanimously refused to reveal their ages to The Manica Post but as the picture insert shows, their ages could be ranging between late twenties or early thirties…one of them could really be around sixteen or seventeen. Well done golden girls! Makorokoto young old ladies!
This reporter is sincerely and honestly impressed by your concept of privatization of teaching and learning. We wish you every bit of luck and success even as you plan to move to a new site that will belong to you forever and ever for you and your posterity. Your legacy is seen, appreciated and acknowledged.
What more could good mothers do than teach more children even those outside their own biological families? God bless you and may He in His goodness see you through your hopes, wishes and aspirations!