Uitenhage – The heart of a true teacher can unlock any student’s potential – and Jayde Panayiotou had the heart.
That was the message that Professor Jonathan Jansen, Rector of the University of the Free State, shared with students at Riebeek College Girls’ High School in Uitenhage on Wednesday, Netwerk24 reported.
Jansen wanted to share some hope with the school after one of their favourite teachers, Jayde Panayiotou, was murdered in April.
And according to the school’s principal, Marilyn Woods, the students “hung on to every word” he said.
“He contacted us and said he wanted to speak to the students,” Woods said. “Of course we said yes, because he is a great speaker and full of energy.”
Woods believed Jansen’s message encouraged the learners.
“The speech was cheerful, but included very serious lessons. He spoke of one of his own teachers, who told him he had the potential to have a bright future.
“Because the teacher believed in him, he continued to pursue his dreams and never had any doubts.”
“He talked about what lies in the heart of a teacher, and said he believed Jayde was, in her heart, a real teacher – and he was right. She had a huge heart,” said Woods.
Although students and staff miss the popular Panayiotou, Woods continued, together, they are still strong.
“It is remarkable to see how things have returned to normal. The people here are strong. Our school’s motto is ‘pray and work’, and this is what we do now.”
Panayiotou was abducted in April while she was waiting for her lift outside the security complex where she lived.
Her body was found in an isolated area in KwaNobuhle, outside Uitenhage.
Her husband, Christopher Panayiotou, and two others, were arrested eight days later, and have been charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances and defeating the ends of justice.
Odette Kemp, Netwerk24
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