Stephaans Breytenbach, winner of the ‘Kruinie Guts’ trophy, recently completed his school career at Curro Heuwelkruin. But why does this former Kruinie have so much guts? Despite being visually impaired, Stephaans still managed to matriculate from a mainstream school and plans to study journalism in the near future – he is a true inspiration and testament to how Curro supports and welcomes all learners.
Stephaans was just 18 months old when his parents realised that he can only see light, dark and movement. He has coloboma on both his eyes – meaning that certain tissue is missing from his eye structure. Unfortunately, this condition is not curable, but that did not stop Stephaans. He is a true miracle in that he can read and write! His parents did not want him to attend school too far from home and therefore decided to enrol him in a mainstream school from the start of his school career. Stephaans is very grateful to them for this decision because that is when his journey at Curro Heuwelkruin began.
Not being able to see on the board was indeed a challenge, but one that could be overcome. Stephaans’s parents appointed an assistant to help him in class, and he excelled. During his primary school years, he recited poetry and took part in choral verse while Grades 8 and 9 saw him participate in the Tong en Taal poetry evenings. He made sure he never missed out and regularly took part in school concerts and other events, including the annual Mosaic Concert. Stephaans also participated at house athletics competitions and even joined the rugby team for practice. Despite not being able to play in matches, he was named team manager from Grade 1 to Grade 9. Is there anything this young man cannot do?
In Grade 9 Stephaans did attend Prinshof School for the Visually Impaired to see if he could benefit from their offering, but after only three months he realised that his place was at Curro Heuwelkruin – among his friends and teachers. Stephaans is currently a student at Metamorpho, where he enrolled as a way of deciding what his next step will be, and for this proud Curro Heuwelkruin alumnus, the next step is to study journalism – seeing as he dreams of becoming a sports journalist.
‘I have always been hardworking and I don’t believe that the universe owes me anything; if I want something, I have to work for it’, says Stephaans. He is a true inspiration and an example that, with the Curro family there to help, there is no telling what you can achieve; even if you face difficulties.
We hope to share a lot more stories of learners who had barriers to overcome yet still completed their educational journeys at Curro. We are just as proud of them as we are of Stephaans.