In South Africa a matric dance is the highlight of your school year. Traditionally we celebrated it once you have graduated from your final year of secondary education. A well-celebrated event, in which families often don’t mind paying for the expensive cost involved with the hiring of a car, attire and most importantly wanting to capture every moment, hiring a photographer, to record one of life’s greatest moments, your matric dance.

Did I attend Matric Dance?

I remember during my Matric year, I honestly was not looking forward to the crowd or the idea of having to dress up and be in the spotlight, thankfully my mom reminded me of the importance, of a matric dance as its an event that only comes once in your life. I made it my duty to remind my matric’s over the years to attend their matrice Dance.

Encouraging the Matrics

My 2021 matric class, despite their difficult academic year, made it their duty to prepare well for this big day. Often I would overhear the students in the lesson that they went and looked at material or they went for a dress or suit fitting. They all were excited for this big day.

Filled with happiness and sadness at the same time, because they will soon finish the academic year. Also because I have walked a long road with one of my students since grade 10 and have seen how hard she worked within the subject. She took care in her Afrikaans. Always ready to learn a new rule and apply it in her assessments. She made teaching fun and her interest and zeal for the subject rubbed off on the rest of the group which made the other students interested in the subject too.

Matric Dance Speeches Preperations

The school choose me the to do a speech for her at the dance, to highlight her journey at the school. Also wishing her well in the next chapter of her life. Despite being nervous about speaking , I was honoured to speak about her at the matric dance. I remember her asking me in lessons a few weeks before the dance, if I was okay, because she could pick up that I was stressed out, little did she know that I was asked to prepare and speak about her.

Learning from my Student 

Like a proud second parent to her at school I prepared the speech around what she likes most which is Korean culture. We always shared Korean series recommendations and often chats about common ones we’ve watch. She always checked in on me, at school and it taught me how much I have impacted her over the years, as she was always grateful for every lesson. I have learned a lot through her, that students are grateful for everything little thing I have taught them, this also inspired me to be even more bright in my teaching methodologies.

The Speech 

Weeks before the dance happened I counted the days down, and wrote and rewrote the speech twice. I wanted to make sure I celebrate her because  she worked hard in the subject. Also for being humble, and for always taking up the subject with much confidence. I remember the one day weeks before the big day, we had done creative writing exercises.

I have given her the challenge to only speak in Afrikaans in the lesson. It was as if she knew Afrikaans so well like she was born speaking it, thanks to her constant interest in 7de laan it has boosted most of her vocab over the years.

The weeks now became days before the dance, I was even more nervous, but kept breathing and practicing what I would say. I would have endless conversations with myself, reminding myself, that this is her big night and that I would have to overcome my social anxiety.

The Big Day 

The supplier called and told me that the suit I ordered would be late. This made me stress out because the matric dance was the next day.  Never the less I made a plan b and was able to make it to the matric dance, slightly later than the starting time. At the dance, I kept going out and going over my speech several times. Stressed out so much that I didn’t eat much that evening.

Proud moment 

I went up and stood in front of the projector, which displayed photos representing her school years since grade 10. I looked at my cue card once and decided that I would not use the cue- cards but spoke from my heart. Seven minutes had passed, and I addressed the crowd stressed out, she walk up to me after I spoke to give me a hug. I did not notice it was the end of the speech.

Celebrating my student 

Seeing her smile and seeing her reaction, hearing what I had to say about her, gave me a teachers moment, that this student has really come to the end of her chapter and that I was extremely proud of her and emotional at the same time!


These special moments of the matric dance have been captured in seconds and minutes by one of Johannesburg’s best photographers Shawn Brown. He was extremely observant of every speakers speech and captured the student’s reaction to the evening. And made it possible for the highlight moments to be captured and be remembered for eternity.

Special Thanks

Lastly, I would like to thank a friend of mine who went with me for the evening. She has really helped me and has been great moral support for me to overcome my fears during the evening, and helping me make the evening special for the student.

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