matric farewell dance

A sparkly and glittery good evening, ladies and gentlemen. When I sat down and started thinking about what it was I wanted to say tonight, I put on the shoes I am wearing now, mainly because I was hoping the more I wore them, the more comfortable they would become for tonight, but also because a part of me thought they might give me some inspiration for what I was going to say in this speech. And, like magic, trying out my shoes conjured up the image of Cinderalla at the great ball. 
As children, we loved the tale of how Cinderella lost her shoe but found her prince. The story teaches us not to dwell on our losses but focus on our gains. Like Cinderella we are finally here, at our ball, glowing, resilient and transformed. In our process of growing into the people we are today, we’ve lost, hurt, and sacrificed, yet here we are, not with our losses, but with our gains. We stand tonight as beautiful, powerful and firm young ladies. 
A big part of this is thanks to Riebeek College and the room she has given us to grow.
There is an African proverb I love, which says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” We came to Riebeek as tiny, bright eyed, bushy-tailed, mischievous little children. And the teachers in this room took those children and moulded them into young ladies. Tonight is a celebration of who we have become thanks to the love and dedication of our teachers and parents. We thank our parents for their patience and sacrifices that allowed us to be here tonight with the outfit we demanded and the personalities they helped nurture. Our parents and teachers have played huge roles in the story of how we made it to this moment and we honour and value them tonight.
I would like to say a huge thank you, on behalf of the matric class, to Mrs Bean, the dance committee and all the teachers involved in the preparations for this amazing night for their hard work. It might seem amazing that the fairy godmother changed a pumpkin into a carriage for Cinderella but what the team has done in transforming this school hall into such elegance is truly beyond belief and the stuff of fairytales. Thank you, Mrs Stear and Mrs Snyman, for allowing us this special night – you have been kind in your responses to our many requests and we are so grateful. 
Our 2018 school theme is Ubuntu, “Umntu, ngumntu ngabantu”: I am because we are. Our grade has grown together, laughed together, and cried together, Tonight, here we are, still together, inter-connected by our shared story and spirit of sisterhood.
I am so honoured to be able to stand up here and say, “This is it!” We have finally made it here. And as we look at the people around our tables and then at everyone around this hall, we realise how far we have come, together – which is actually quite a long way; as recent exposure of our grade 4 profiles clearly shows. Most of us have been planning this night ever since we walked through the very same gates through which we entered tonight, 8 years ago. Between now and then, we’ve managed to put together quite the collection of memories and experiences, and while we haven’t always liked each other, we have mostly loved each other, and I think that is really what tonight is about; celebrating the years we have spent together, as Riebeek girls. 
My fairy tale wishes for tonight are: that our shoes do fit, that we do not lose a glass slipper, that our prince does not have to search the kingdom for us and; that tonight truly is our Cinderella fairytale come to life and that we do get to say, as in all good fairytales, “they all lived happily ever after”.
 March 29, 2018
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