September 2007 saw the dawn of a new era. For the first time in the history of the Foundation, the search for potential high school scholarship recipients was ignited. A total of 360 applications were received and assessed- a number which has since inflated to an estimated 5 000 applications received in 2011. Three brave Foundation Talent (Anthony Farr, Stephanus de Kock and Dianne Thembe) conducted all the interviews in that initial campaign in 2007. How things have changed! The current campaign saw 30 Talent interview almost 200 Applicants.
In 2007, 11 Allan Gray Scholars, namely; Ada Bentsela, Nonkululeko Sibonyoni, Keneilwe Nkholi, Mbalenhle Ngobese (St. Cyprian’s), Tyron Sneewe, Lyle Timotheus, Karabo Tshehle, Lwazi Volsak (Selborne College), Sabelwa Matikinca, Aseza Matanzima and Kayla Miller (Collegiate) began their journey with the Foundation. For these pioneering Scholars it was a world of new school uniforms, a home away from home and a host of new challenges. Boy, were these young people up for it though!
The past four years have been filled with many highlights for this group of trail-blazing Scholars. From tackling the Breede River in the teeming rain in kayaks, to sleeping under the stars in the icy chill of a Hottentot’s Holland Mountain Range winter. Not only did our intrepid group of Scholars overcome these physical challenges, they also overcame numerous personal challenges. For this I salute these brave young people and thank them for the faith in and commitment to the Foundation.
I have no doubt that the future looks bright for this group of pioneering Scholars. I am also quietly (well, not so quietly after this is published!) confident that we will see a significant number of them around for a few years still, as the Fellowship looms.
Here’s to The Allan Gray Scholars, class of 2012!