Learning to make a difference has been the vision of Fish Hoek High School for almost seven decades. Over the years, the school has pioneered many aspects of education, including an outstanding leadership development programme. 

Cirrus means high-flying clouds but is also Fish Hoek High School’s leadership development programme. The programme has been running for over 30 years, where learners are educated, challenged, nurtured and encouraged.

This Youth Month, we reflect on the Cirrus Programme, aimed at developing leaders within the school community. This programme cultivates leadership skills and encourages experiential learning and collaboration over six months for Grade 11s as a prerequisite to standing for the Student Representative Council (SRC) in Matric. 

The learners meet weekly on a Monday, are exposed to various portfolios, including leadership techniques, managing school events, and individual growth, as well as driving community projects. 

Two of the current Cirrus participants, Phindile Miya and Kendra Pastor recently shared some of their experiences:


Why did you join the Cirrus programme? 

 It was an opportunity to get involved and expose myself to new things. I am a quiet, shy person but enjoy working with others; but I tend to avoid experiences where I have to engage with others. I wanted to challenge myself to improve my social and communication skills and get to work with other people. 

How has Cirrus prepared/inspired you for the future?

The programme taught me to manage time, work with others, and speak confidently in public. These skills are valuable even after high school.

What do you enjoy most about Cirrus? 

Cirrus allows me to communicate with others and express my thoughts and feelings without judgement. It also provides a better understanding of what is meant by leadership. Every session educates and allows you to get to know people around you and share ideas freely. It teaches essential skills and techniques to look at problems differently. Problem-solving is one of the most essential skills to have as a growing individual.

Please share more about the service aspect of Cirrus.

Being part of Cirrus helps in pursuing personal independence, aspirations, beliefs and how everyone views the world. It made me realise and understand that leadership starts with leading your own life and encouraging greatness in others, that it is more than just a formal position of authority. 

What do you see as the biggest problem facing youth leaders today?

The main challenges are youth leaders’ lack of confidence and fear of failure. They feel like they have to know everything and are afraid to ask for help because they think it is a weakness when it is not. Some youth leaders do not understand leadership and confuse it with dictatorship. 

Who has been the most influential person in your life?

My late grandmother was a mother and father in my life. She brought out the best in me and taught me many lessons that made me who I am today. She always told me that “perseverance prevails when all else fails” and that “champions get up, even when they can’t”. My grandmother taught me to work hard. She taught me to always do what makes me happy and prioritise myself. To be kind and to always help others in any way I can. 

What is your advice for the next generation of leaders for effective leadership?

The next generation should always ensure their reason for doing something is passion. Do something because you want to, not because you have to. Set achievable goals and seek knowledge, always listen to others with an open mind and learn from mistakes. Last, to be nice to others and build community with peers.


Why did you join Cirrus? 

I joined the Cirrus programme to learn new skills to help me after high school. It is an opportunity to grow, experience new things, and work on teamwork and leadership skills. 

What activities are you involved in and how has Cirrus inspired you? 

I’m involved with the school’s catering club and part of a dance team outside school. Cirrus has prepared me for the future by encouraging me to work on teamwork, communication and listening skills.

What do you enjoy most about Cirrus? 

I enjoy Cirrus’s activities and class discussions, listening to everyone’s opinions and exchanging ideas. I appreciate that we do fun activities together while having more serious conversations and learning from one another. 

Please share more about the service aspect of Cirrus. 

Cirrus encourages participants to do a particular amount of monthly service hours. It is about giving back and helping. The Cirrus Programme has taught me that people have their skills when it comes to being a leader, and when you put a group of leaders together, their talents complement one another, working as a team to achieve a desired goal.