Passion for science, maths inspired former pupil

25 May 2007 | Story by Helen Swingler

Inspiration: Phaldie Tregonning of Rocklands Secondary School, this year's winner of the Stella Clark Teachers' Award.

Passion, inspiration, commitment and reward are some of Dulan Simons' favourite things about his former high school mentor, Phaldie Tregonning, winner of this year's Stella Clark Teachers' Award.

And it's clear the Rocklands Secondary School teacher likes seeing his pupils going places. For example, Simons, who nominated Tregonning for the award, is now a second-year chemical engineering student at UCT.

Tregonning is the second recipient of the award. The late Stella Clark was a language development lecturer in the Academic Development Programme in the Centre for Higher Education Development. A dedicated teacher, she worked with students from disadvantaged communities in working-class schools on the Cape Flats and at UCT. The award honours the work of the many unrecognised teachers who go beyond the call of duty to provide excellent education in difficult circumstances.

'Mr Tregonning is one of the greatest inspirations I have had in my life,' Simons said. 'He instilled in me a great passion for science and helped me become a lateral thinker.'

Simons lauded his mentor's efforts to improve maths and science education in the community, his work extending to Gugulethu and Khayelitsha.

'He spent many Saturdays at the school helping learners improve their maths skills. Through this he got involved in the Dinaledi project, which is committed to improving maths and science education in our country.'

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