Today we are shining the spotlight on Ernestine Julies, who is the recipient of our Rising Star award for March 2024. Ernestine began her journey with ORT SA Cape in May 2023, when she joined ORT SA Cape on the ‘YES 12-month work experience programme’ and was assigned as an intern at St. Raphael’s Primary School in Athlone. Throughout her internship thus far, Ernestine has shown tremendous dedication and growth in her role as an assistant to the class teacher. She is recognized as a kind, humble young lady, who is well liked and respected by the children and staff alike. She has consistently put in extra time after school, to help struggling students with reading and homework. This extra attention from Ernestine has significantly helped some learners and improved their grades and reading abilities. She did these things without any expectation of compensation or recognition from the school.

Ernestine recently suffered a traumatic experience, when her home burnt to the ground, due to an unexpected fire, that raged out of control. There was no way for anyone to save her home, nor the belongings within. She and her grandmother were left with nothing and nowhere to live. In a community where every resource and any spare cash is precious, people did their best to assist. The staff at St. Raphael’s Primary School rallied together to raise some money to help Ernestine ‘hold it together’ and rebuild a new home for her and her grandmother. Others gifted a few clothes and household goods, to assist in the rebuilding process, which will hopefully take place soon. This level of support is testament that she is valued for her dedication to the children she works with, her attitude, and her work ethic.

Ernestine dreams of being able to study education someday soon. Education is her passion.

She says: “I particularly enjoy working with students who struggle, because they encounter the most challenges such as fundamental writing skills, like letter formation and phonics comprehension. I love spending my afternoons assisting those learners to improve their academic progress.”

ORT SA Cape is proud to have Ernestine as one of our many dedicated interns. We commend her for going ‘above and beyond’ at her host school, for her commitment to the 12-month work experience programme and for setting a fine example of ‘rising above adversity’.We believe that she has earned the title of RISING STAR – INTERN OF THE MONTH, because despite extremely tough circumstances, Ernestine’s positive attitude is an example and ‘shining light’ for us all.

Click here to read reviews and feedback from our interns, learners and partners. 

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