Our campus managers were overjoyed to open the doors to our Boutique Campuses this week and to welcome our new students into these unique learning spaces.
This week, we officially opened the doors to our Newlands, Cape Town, and Dunkeld, Johannesburg, Boutique Campuses.
Valenture Institute students arrived early for their first day on campus. Masks on, shields up, donning their grey Valenture Institute hoodies (even in the Cape Town heat!), they were dressed the part and ready to start the school year.
"Students were very eager to get started," says Kobus du Toit, our Newlands Campus Manager, and Senior Learning Coach.
"The first day was full of excitement and anxiety. Anxiety because we wanted everything to be perfect and you can never be sure if it will meet everyone's expectations. Exciting because some of these students were seeing the space and meeting other students for the first time in a long while since joining online-learning. There were lots of new friendships and connections formed during the onboarding activities!" says Bhongolwethu Sonti, our Dunkeld Campus Manager and Learning Coach.
It's definitely a new way of learning for these high school students. This blended learning environment sees students learn online alongside their locally-based and global classmates while they are able to attend a physical campus during the day.
Here they are able to socialise, collaborate and create with other students in their class. They also have access to beautiful facilities offered by the campus space and are assisted by on-site learning coaches and facilitators who guide them along their journey with us.
"We started the day with our first Valenture lei ceremony where students were called by name and given their lanyard and access card for the campus. This symbolised their official entrance and welcome into the campus. The access cards had different colours, representing the qualifications they were striving for. A typical school tradition upgraded for the 21st century!" says Kobus.
"Students then took a deep-dive into the school values where they shared their experiences and presented to the group which value they thought was most important.
"Most students felt that inclusivity was the most important.
"One of our Junior High students made a great remark by saying that 'impact' was the most important because it was what allowed you to live out all the other school values by taking action! She seemed quiet and timid at first, but then wowed us all with her deep and thoughtful reflections.
"I asked the students what they were curious to learn about in-line with our school value of 'humility'. One student shared that he is interested in the intersection of science and religion. Another student mentioned how passionate she was in learning about the taxation system so that we can transition to a sustainable society.
"Then, another moment that stood out from yesterday was a student who particularly struggled with sitting down all day. At the campus, we have a variety of different chairs and desks. We offered him a swivel chair and within 30 minutes he seemed more settled and comfortable.
"During breaks, our students love to play cards and connect in the multi-purpose space. They are teaching each other all sorts of card tricks!
"Our students are also very interested in gaming. They are in process of starting a gaming club with their peers on campus. Another group has started a role-playing group. They get together to play Dungeons and Dragons. It feels like an episode out of Stranger Things," says Kobus.