Bella Wakeham, Yanie Ihlenfeldt and Ruby Stapelberg, all 13. Picture: Tivoli Wakeham
Bella Wakeham, Yanie Ihlenfeldt and Ruby Stapelberg, all 13. Picture: Tivoli Wakeham

Friends who started Grade 1 together vow to remain close through high school careers

By Zelda Venter Time of article published Jan 12, 2022

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Pretoria - In 2015, three best friends prepared to do Grade 1.

The Pretoria News took a picture of the excited little ones at the time. The then 6-year-olds, who have known each other since they were 5 months of age, were nervous and did not know what to expect at school.

Today the three, whose picture was taken at the same spot as all those years ago, are starting high school.

As they headed to Grade 1 all those years ago, the little ones were at a loss for words when asked about the long road ahead.

But today the young ladies have made a lot of friends along the way and they know that hard work will be the key to their success one day.

While Ruby and Bella are starting the new chapter in their academic life at Pro Arte Alphen Park school in Pretoria, Yanie is going to the nearby Afrikaans Meisies Hoërskool, east of the city.

Bella Wakeham, Yanie Ihlenfeldt and Ruby Stapelberg when they started Grade 1. Picture: File

Although the three best friends did not attend the same primary school over the years, they have stayed in close contact and vowed to remain friends throughout high school.

With a huge smile on her face, Yanie said she was scared but excited about going to her new high school. Her first day at school will not be too daunting, she said, as they have had orientation since this weekend.

The Grade 8 pupils, as part of the orientation, had a sleepover at the school’s hostel.

Yanie said although only six girls from her primary school were going to Affies she was not concerned.

“The girls (at her new school) seem friendly and we already have a WhatsApp group going,” she said.

She realises that a lot of hard work lies ahead, but she is looking forward to the challenge of mastering new subjects.

Bella, who is a talented dancer, will master this skill as she heads to Pro Arte. As dancing is one of her big loves, she said she is looking forward to dancing during school time, although she knows that academic work is also an important part of schooling.

She is, however, a bit apprehensive about mastering French – a new challenge she will have to face as part of the curriculum.

Fitting into all that is on offer at the school and still get good grades will also be a challenge, but one that she is sure she will be able to master, Bella said.

Ruby said while she is happy to also make new friends at high school, she is overjoyed to have Bella at her side. She, too, is a bit apprehensive about what the new school year at a high school will be like, but she is open to any challenge.

As a gifted artist, Ruby will mainly focus on her art skills, together with her academic work.

“I’m very excited that I will for the first time really learn the skills involved in art. I know that high school will have its challenges, but I’m ready to tackle anything that comes my way,” Ruby said.

The three friends agree that they have significantly matured since the day they faced their first school year.

Pretoria News

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