Sparrow 30 Years: We sit down with founder, Jackie Gallagher

Sparrow 30 Years: We sit down with founder, Jackie Gallagher

In August this year, Sparrow Schools celebrated 30 years of educational excellence. Initially a Saturday School with only four learners, Sparrow is proud of what has been achieved over the past three decades, and excited about what is still to come.

Sparrow’s founder, Jackie Gallagher, is a force of nature in her own right, and has seen Sparrow blossom into the bastion it is today. She kindly answered a few questions, and shared her vision for the future of Sparrow Schools.

1. What were your hopes for Sparrow when you founded the school, and do you think you’ve achieved these aspirations?

When I started the Saturday School, my main aim and hope was to assist children to have access to quality education – I wanted to build a bridge out of the old apartheid system of schooling into an education system that would meet the needs of the neglected child. I feel that my aspirations have been met in ways I never dreamed possible.

2. What are your hopes for the future for Sparrow Schools?

That we would continue to meet the educational needs of the neglected child.

3. What has been the greatest moment you’ve experienced at Sparrow over the past 30 years?

Without a doubt, meeting Nelson Mandela when he visited Sparrow Schools – I was blown away by the greatness and humbleness of him.

4. Are there any learners that stand out in your memory, and why?

So many, and all in different ways. From the child who has achieved on the sports field, to the child who has learnt to read and, of course, all our FET candidates that were previously unemployed who are now employed. However, I must mention Natacia Luthuli, who studied Early Childhood Development, and her incredible passion and enthusiasm for education. She is opening up her second ECD centre in 2020 in Cosmos City – she inspires me!

5. What is the best advice you’d give to Sparrow learners when they embark on their own life journeys after school?

Do the best you can, grab hold of every opportunity given to you, and strive to achieve.

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