Lee-Vaughn Jegels, 10, moved from Grade 3 to Grade 4 and her brother Vin-Chenzo Jegels, 12, moved from Grade 3 to Grade 5 because they tested way above the grade level. BRENDAN MAGAAR African News Agency (ANA)
Lee-Vaughn Jegels, 10, moved from Grade 3 to Grade 4 and her brother Vin-Chenzo Jegels, 12, moved from Grade 3 to Grade 5 because they tested way above the grade level. BRENDAN MAGAAR African News Agency (ANA)

Gifted children given a new start thanks to alert teacher

By Genevieve Serra Time of article published Jun 19, 2021

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Cape Town - Two siblings from Delft have been deemed gifted children and have risen above their circumstances.

Vin-Chenzo Jegels, 12, and his sister, Lee-Vaughn Jegels, 10 were classmates at Delft North Primary School this year.

Their journey began in Grade 3 at a school in Bishop Lavis where they were unfortunately asked to stay behind a grade due to non-attendance last year.

Vin-Chenzo’s start to his schooling left gaps in his progress after missing most of the time in class. In 2019, he was placed in Grade 2, at a school in Bishop Lavis, along with his sister.

The children failed Grade 3 last year, due to non-attendance. But following a competency test, it was found that they were academically gifted and their status on the system changed to progressed to the next grade.

When they were transferred from Delft North Primary to the Hauge Primary School this year, they were placed in the grades that correlate with their age. Vin-Chenzo was promoted to Grade 5, from Grade 3, while Lee-Vaughn was promoted from Grade 3 to Grade 4.

Their mother, Michelle Jegels, who is a single parent after their father died in 2016, was unable to pay their transport fees daily.

Jegels has two other children. “I could not afford to take them to school daily as we had to take two taxis and the social worker was called in and the teacher tried to assist us by paying towards the transport.

“But they said they had no choice but to keep the children back for the year.”

The family live in a backyard dwelling made out of vibracrete slabs and depend on Sassa grants.

Anita Loxton, a Grade 3 teacher at Delft North Primary, quickly noticed that the siblings were special.

At the start of the school year, Loxton carried out the general baseline assessments and noted she had bright students in her class and decided to investigate why they were only in Grade 3.

She immediately approached the principal asking for the children to undergo a diagnostic test, which would determine which grade they were suited for and would test their IQ.

“At the start of the year when I did the baseline assessment, they had full marks,” she said.

“I knew then I had something good here because that hardly ever happened.

“When I would do tests or do a Q and A, their hands would first be up in the class, they would immediately give the answers.

“The principal agreed they needed to be tested via a diagnostic test but said we first needed to see their first-term results, which were outstanding.”

Mom Michelle Jegels with Lee-Vaughn Jegels and Vin-Chenzo Jegels. BRENDAN MAGAAR African News Agency (ANA)

Loxton said the children passed the first term and the diagnostic test with flying colours and that she knew she had gifted children in her classroom who needed to grow and move on.

“A staff member from the Hague Primary school carried out the diagnostic assessment,” she said.

“The girl, Lee-Vaughn, could read books from Grade 8.

“I knew we had gifted children. It was fate that God had placed them into my class. We give God all the glory and praise, and now, Delft potential can be shown.”

“We cannot comment on what happened at the other school, we are just glad that the children were given this opportunity to move forward,” said Loxton.

Jegels said she was proud of her children who are always eager to learn something new.

“My son participates in school quiz programmes and they received several certificates for their work in Grade 2, so I am glad they have been recognised for their work,” she said.

“The teacher contacted me earlier this year that she wanted to have them tested and I gave my permission.”

Spokesperson for the Western Cape Education Department Bronagh Hammond confirmed the children had been moved to another school and that they had already been updated on the school system. She said the children had in fact passed, from Grade 3 to their respective grades.

“I can confirm that the male learner was in Grade 2 in 2019 and was promoted to Grade 4 in 2020 at his previous school. He is currently in Grade 5 at another school.

“The sister was in Grade 1 in 2018, Grade 2 in 2019 and Grade 3 in 2020. She is now in Grade 4.”

Hammond said she was unable to obtain the information regarding the assessments and the reasons behind the promotions and transfer.

Weekend Argus

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