Brandon Jackson, the political officer based at the US Consulate in Johannesburg, visited the Willow Crescent High as part of the Black History Month program.
The presentation gave students who do not normally interact with visiting Americans a chance to learn about the history of African- Americans, their roots, culture and the civil rights movement activities.
The interaction also involved motivating students to aspire towards a better future as they come from a community that has social problems such as high unemployment, crime and exposure to drugs.
The visit was also featured in the Eldorado Urban News. Here is the article:
American diplomat visits pupils
Maxine Becket | Eldorado Urban News
‘One common challenge I noticed was the issues of criminality and drugs.’
Brandon Jackson, a political officer from the American government has been visiting schools in Eldorado Park in an attempt to understand the challenges faced by residents.
He spent time with pupils at Milnerton Primary School, Eldorado Park Senior Secondary School and Willow Crescent High School.
“One common challenge I noticed was the issues of criminality and drug use.
“There are many roadblocks to the pupils achieving their dreams,” Jackson said.
He encouraged pupils by sharing his journey to success and informed them on programmes, scholarships and fellowships offered by the American government.
“I want to highlight resources and programmes that are available to pupils of Eldorado Park because the future leaders of South Africa are in Eldorado Park,” Jackson said.
Jackson reports the challenges to offices in Washington, America.
When speaking to pupils at Eldorado Park Senior Secondary School, he told them that they have it within them to achieve greatness. “Obama grew up in a place like this.
“You all are great, do you understand that you are great?” Jackson told pupils.
He said that he got a sense that pupils don’t know how to deal with pressure and challenges.
“I was changed by one person who told me I can do anything and I want the same for the pupils,” Jackson said.
He encouraged pupils to be driven and determined because that is what would separate them from others.
Jackson told pupils that they would fail but they shouldn’t equate failing to being a failure.
“I encourage you not to fail but if you do fail, know that you aren’t a failure,” he told pupils at Willow Crescent Secondary School.
He advised them to now their strengths and weaknesses, to apply for everything and lead by example.
Jackson made pupils aware of resources the American government has available for them, he also sponsored the school with books.
“We are here to help in everyway possible with the limited resources we have,” he said.
Pupils have been keeping in contact with Jackson since his visit, enquiring on how they can apply and be sent to America.
“I don’t think we sent someone from Eldorado Park to America before.
“I am glad we went to Eldorado Park,” Jackson said.