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Farewell, Mrs Chrysostomou

BY admin
Riebeek Old Girl, Mrs Chrysostomou, leaves Riebeek…again, but this time the departure is more intense than the time we watched her in the Valedictory tunnel. This time, she leaves as a married professional, a blossoming teacher whose time here was characterised by vigour and enthusiasm, who has endured trauma and shown us the principle of strength in adversity.
 
Mrs Chrysostomou matriculated from Riebeek College in 2006 with her trademark involvement and enthusiasm in evidence: Interact Club, Dance Committee (heading the Miss Riebeek Portfolio), Grade 11 RCL, Wild Life Society, Prefect, Eleanor Vice House Captain, Second Team Hockey and the School Indoor Hockey side. She studied at NMMU and undertook the practical component of her qualification at Riebeek in 2011. After a gap year in Cyprus, Mrs Chrysostomou joined the Riebeek Family as a staff member in 2013.
Riebeek was the perfect fit for this enthusiastic, capable and vibrant young teacher. Working with a best friend, Mrs T. Woods, Mrs Chrysostomou taught Grade 6s and then Grade 7s. She served as a Grade Head, the Junior first and second team hockey coach, the teacher in charge of Junior Going Green and the Junior Computer Lab, Junior Hockey Festival co-organiser, Sasol Enviro Quiz to Free State in 2014, Junior Inter-house hockey co-ordinator, Stay-Awake coordinator and Junior Movie Days co-ordinator.

The learners speak of her hockey tours with awe. They loved that she taught them card games and board games. They enjoyed her technology innovations in the classroom and how much effort she put equipping the junior school computer room. She brought lessons to life with the i-pads. She broadened the girls’ general knowledge and she encouraged them to take part and do more. She warned them of the dangers of social media. She not only taught her subject or coached her hockey teams, she infused her time with the girls with character building and holistic development. Her work with the junior Going Green club led to dirty girls, vegetables grown and recycled items forming outdoor furniture around the junior prefabs.

Megan Potgieter, Grade 8, wrote: “Whether it be on the hockey field or in the classroom, Mrs Chrysostomou brings a certain excitement everywhere she goes. She has shown love, respect and support. Her tough love and hard work is shown with her hockey teams. Mrs C, we wish you good luck and thank you for all your jokes and important lessons. You will be missed.”

Mrs Woods said, ““It’s not what you have in life, but who you have that matters.” This statement rings true for Mrs Chrysostomou. She has enriched lives at Riebeek College, for the past 5 years, giving of herself and her time to fulfill the needs of the learners. She has always been willing to go the extra mile for the Riebeek girls. Her learners and sports teams have always benefited from her love of adventure. Last year’s Junior Hockey team went on tour to hike, see tigers and go on a boat ride with Mrs Chysostomou. Her love for fashion and the latest trends is admired by the staff and the girls. We all agree that Mrs Chrysostomou looks “on point”. l will miss the cup of coffee from her when she knows I am having a tough day, our walks up to class, sharing our lunch because we are trying to eat healthily but we are always hungry, our evening phone calls to chat about the day and supper, our unhealthy obsession with Le Creuset and the latest must-have kitchen gadget, and comparing how layers of clothing in winter.”
Miss Hattingh fondly remembers winter days when Mrs Chrysostomou came knocking on her door, either looking for a blanket or begging her to join her to sit in the sun. Grade 6 and 7 classes would work on the tennis court so that there could be warmth.
Mrs Chrysostomou has a great way with babies and children. Mrs Viljoen, Mrs Gunter and Mrs Gerber attest to Mrs Chrysostomou being a favourite aunt to their children. Mrs Chrysostomou is a loyal friend and the staff have relied on her for Greek rusks, the latest music, help with technology and advice. She has been a pillar of strength through the toughest of times.
The travelling bug has bitten Mrs. Chrysostomou numerous times. She loves to travel. As she and her husband embark on more travels and adventures, we hope that they continue to make memories together. Mrs Woods wrote, “Chloe, my girl, we will miss seeing you every day, but we are all very excited for you as you and Angelo embark on this new journey together. You deserve all the happiness in the world.”
For Mrs Chrysostomou, there were many highlights at Riebeek. She enjoyed the opportunity to work with the people she did, especially being fortunate to work closely with best friends and to bounce ideas off of each other’s ideas and energy. The junior school concert led to feeling proud when she saw Jaymee Swanepoel and Erinn Kettledas pull off the main Jackson moves. Hockey tours were special and she loved seeng what the girls gained from it. She also realised how much she learnt from the girls too on tour. Seeing the girls grow and building relationships with them, realising how helpful Riebeek girls are and noting that each learner has a purpose in the classroom were special aspects of Riebeek. Last year’s Grade 7s effort to make 2017 a great year will be remembered: “Each girl took initiative to play an important part of each day in the classroom. Whether it was cleaning the class, making everyone laugh at the start of each morning, writing articles, editing articles, making sure we were up to date with music for events, making sure we had good movies for movie days and constantly reminding me about important things... this was all the girls’ efforts.” The saying " The floor is lava" which the Grade 7's of 2017 would randomly scream out in class when she was teaching would mean they all had to jump onto seats and continue working in order to survive. She will miss the family handshake of her classes and the positive morning greetings every class sings. She will miss knocking on teachers’ doors to distract the teachers a bit, make their day a little more interesting and unsettle their classes slightly, just for fun. She loves how protective they are about the Grade 6 and 7 prefab area.
Mrs Chrysostomou remembers, with gratitude, often knocking on Mrs Snyman’s door for her first two years at Riebeek for guidance when it came to English teaching and then the last three years for every other issue that came about or advise needed. Another mentor was Jayde, who she worked side by side with. Mrs M Woods’ continuous words of wisdom and time spent with the staff were cherished too.
“Riebeek has been a big part of my life. It has helped me grow personally and professionally. I will cherish the friendships that I have built, what I have learnt from my colleagues and the memories. The girls will always be special to me as they always went out of their way to make me laugh, no matter what. I am grateful for the support that Riebeek has given me and the unconditional love from the girls and staff when I needed it most,” were Mrs Chrysostomou’s farewell words.
Mrs Chrysostomou leaves Riebeek with these words of wisdom:” Don’t let your troubles from yesterday affect who you are and what you do today because in life "tough times don't last, tough people last." Always move forward: #AlwaysForward because Hakuna Matata. Hold your head up high and don't let anything stop you from succeeding. Walk through life with dignity. Stay humble. You never know what path you end up on so be true to yourself. I believe that the biggest test is life itself. We are here to be pushed and tried to see how far we can go, and there is nothing you cannot handle. Do not stress, its contribution is futile. It is how you present yourself and how you decide to handle a situation that determines your results. There are two options; you can either choose to learn, become better, grow and inspire or let it be your downfall. It is ultimately your choice. Have a goal, stick to your intuitive and make a success of yourself. No excuses.”
 March 21, 2018
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