On 22 October 2015, the Sparrow Combined School bestowed the Richard Bernhard Award to one deserving learner. The award is awarded each year to students who have been consistent loyal and Cheerful ambassadors for the school. The learner must demonstrate perseverance, determination and consideration for others.
This year, grade 9 learner, Mantsha Modiga, proved to be the most deserving. “I was so nervous and happy when I got the award because I did not expect it,” Mantsha says joyfully. The 16 year old from Pimville, Soweto, joined the Sparrow Combined School in 2014. Before joining Sparrow, Mantsha had trouble coping in school and her academics were very poor.
A year later, since joining Sparrow, her self-confidence and academics have improved dramatically. Not only has she become an A student, but she will be going back into a mainstream school in 2016. She has received certificates of excellence in Science and Technology, Mathematics, English, and Zulu. “I am inspired by my late father; he always taught me that everything that I do, I do for myself and nobody else,” Mantsha says. Mantsha’s dream is to pursue a career in aviation as a Pilot. She now lives with her mother, her three sisters and niece.
The Richard Bernhard award was the brainchild of former chairman of the Sparrow Foundation in the United Kingdom. He has been a supporter, friend and great champion for Sparrow’s fight to give young South Africans access to education. “When I retired from chairing the Trustees, I wanted to recognise in a more permanent way the joy I had working with you (Sparrow Schools) and acknowledging the children’s huge efforts towards building a future for themselves,” explains Richard Bernhard.