Two high school learners to embark on a voyage on board the SA Agulhas II - News | Western Cape Education Department

Two high school learners to embark on a voyage on board the SA Agulhas II

17 June 2024

Statement by Bronagh Hammond, Director of Communication: Western Cape Education Department

Two Western Cape high school learners have been selected for the SEAmester programme and will be participating in an exciting research voyage on board the SA Agulhas II for 10 days during the June school holidays.

Aimee Stollie, a Grade 12 learner at Môrester Akademie, and Akhona Zondo, a Grade 12 learner at Simon’s Town High School, will join oceanographic, fisheries, biogeochemical and biological experts on the SA Agulhas II from 18 to 28 June 2024.

Western Cape Education Minister, David Maynier has congratulated the learners, saying, “We are delighted that two Western Cape learners will join the voyage, along with one of our award-winning officials. Their selection is an outstanding achievement, and we wish them a rewarding journey and safe return to our shores!”

The SEAmester programme is usually offered to postgraduate students. With the introduction of Marine Sciences as a school subject in Grades 10 to 12, the SEAmester team, led by Prof. Isabelle Ansorge from the University of Cape Town, has made available two spaces for high school learners.

SEAmester – South Africa’s Class Afloat combines traditional classroom lectures with hands-on ship-based deck activities, while providing students with an opportunity to support specialist scientists in recognised marine research activities.

Grade 11 and Grade 12 learners with a passion for marine sciences were invited to apply for this amazing opportunity. Applicants had to provide a written motivation covering their understanding of the importance of marine science research on vessels such as the SA Agulhas II. They also had to indicate what they hoped to gain from the experience.

The opportunity was specifically made available to learners taking Marine Sciences as a subject. This Further Education and Training (FET) subject has been offered at schools as from 2020. The FET curriculum planner for Marine Sciences, Dr Mariëtte Wheeler, will also be joining the learners on the research voyage. Dr Wheeler was selected as a Top Ten teacher in the World Best School prize, and is now employed in the department.

Dr Wheeler will make use of this opportunity to further plan this collaboration with SEAmester, along with Dr Courtney Puckree-Padua, a lecturer in the Department of Conservation and Marine Sciences, and Tahlia Henry, SEAmester Co-ordinator.

In her application, Akhona wrote that the prospect of embarking on the journey to expand her horizons, filled her with immense gratitude and excitement. “Not only would this opportunity propel me towards my dream of studying marine biology abroad, but it would also serve as the catalyst for initiating an awareness program within my community.”

Aimee said she intends to use this opportunity to its full potential and learn as much as possible. “I would share this knowledge with others and help spread information by informing people about the environment. As someone who is interested in engineering and marine biology this is a dream come true.”

Good luck to our voyagers – this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to explore and learn on one of our most prominent research ships!

Two high school learners to embark on a voyage on board the SA Agulhas II - Aimee Stollie.jpg

Aimee Stollie

Two high school learners to embark on a voyage on board the SA Agulhas II - Akhona Zondo.jpg

Akhona Zondo