’Twas a few days after the end of the school year and all the girls and teachers had left Rustenburg Girls’ High School, when a little elf came out to investigate.
The elf thought not a creature was stirring; to her astonishment, there were many staff going about their business in the school buildings.
She tiptoed about the quieter buildings, saw an open door and paused to listen. Anita “Apple Pie” Marshall and Lynette “Lemon Meringue” Jacobs, the schools’ consumer studies teachers where earnestly brainstorming ideas, but I digress, let us start at the beginning.
After the consumer studies practical exams, two of the cleaning women, Gloria Mlozane and Ruth Kabinda, had come in to clean the laboratories and asked: “When are we going to bake?”
Our two intrepid teachers hatched a secret plan, under cover of darkness, quietly negotiated with the relevant authorities.
This was certainly not a case of when the cat is away, the mice play.
The cats knew exactly what was happening, keeping the secret extremely well.
The elf hurried away and wandered about the shadows, listening to talk in the buildings and around the grounds.
She, the little elf, knew the secret and could not wait for the morning to come.
The grounds and cleaning staff were all invited to come to the consumers’ studies lab on Tuesday morning.
Our intrepid little elf snuck in as dawn broke that morning and perched high up on a cupboard, hidden from sight, between cake tins.
Five of the Bon Appetit girls, the school’s catering club, willingly came in during a day of their holidays to help spoil the staff still at school.
The cleaning and ground staff were welcomed, given aprons, divided up into groups and given recipes that they would make.
As our little elf watched, they measured, mixed, blended, stirred, rolled and cut their biscuits.
The biscuits were put into the ovens, now all at the correct temperature.
Muffins and coffee were enjoyed while the magic of baking the biscuits occurred.
Our little elf was overwhelmed by the delicious smells emanating from the ovens; she nearly fell off her perch.
Too distract herself she wondered into the second lab, discovering that the intrepid teachers and Bon Appetit girls had made salads and lovely chicken pies.
The timer rang and all the warm, cooked biscuits were taken out of the oven and placed on cooling trays in the second lab.
Our elf was now so hungry, she was almost ready to make a dash for the hot biscuits, but knew better than to burn her fingers and mouth on hot biscuits.
While the biscuits were cooling, the two teachers and Bon Appetit girls served the estate manager, grounds, cleaning, finance, ICT, operations and marketing staff the delicious and unexpected lunch.
While lunch was being eaten, the girls and some human elves were putting the biscuits into boxes and placing lovely gift ribbons around them.
Each box had a Christmas sweet cane and a thank you message, as well as a little booklet of the recipes that had been made on the morning.
Our intrepid elf decided to ask a few questions. Ms Marshall said: “This was a fantastic experience. This is the best Christmas present you can get; to see the happiness and joy of the staff we invited. I got the best present, today, from amazing people.”
Ms Jacobs commented: “We are all blessed to have the wonderful grounds and cleaning staff we have.”
Our elf asked Allie Ibrahim what he thought: “Brilliant, really brilliant. I learnt a lot, I never knew how to mix. I baked for the first time and it was fun.”
Tiffany and Chloe, current Grade 11 pupils and members of Bon Appetit said: “It was nice to do something for those who do so much for all of us at school, to keep the school beautiful and clean. We really do appreciate all your hard work. We happily gave up a day holiday to help create this special day for you.”
Bon Appetit has made a small profit on all the events that they have done in the past few years and that profit paid for all the ingredients and lunch.
Rustenburg Girls’ High School wishes to thank each and every staff member, pupil, parent and alumna for their care and input into the school during 2017.
To our Christian families, we wish you a blessed and meaningful Christmas. A Happy Hanukkah to our Jewish families. We look forward to a peaceful, healthy and happy 2018.
Geila Wills is the public relations officer for Rustenburg Girls’ High School.