Hosted by the Aquarium and De Beers Marine, the prestigious event celebrated the achievements of 54 graduates who successfully completed the Young Biologist course in September 2010. The Young Biologists will also have served an impressive combined total of 2 605 hours volunteer work at the Aquarium.
Young Biologist graduates with De Beers Marine Environmental Manager Lesley Roos, De Beers Marine Human Resources Manager Thandi Mabena and De Beers Marine General Manager Burger Greef.
For the first time, Two Oceans Aquarium Managing Director Dr Patrick Garratt presented a Directors Award to Young Biologist Juriaan Bester. Juriaan caught the director’s attention when he unknowingly engaged Dr Pat at the Microscope Exhibit during one of his volunteer shifts.
Dr Pat described Juriaan as one of the most passionate and dedicated Young Biologists he had ever met, and presented him with an autographed book by shark expert Chris Fallows. Juriaan’s parents will be applying for a bursary so that he can further his marine biology studies after school.
Three of the students who achieved “diamond” status. The average aggregate was a record 86%!
De Beers Marine Environmental Manager Lesley Roos and De Beers Marine General Manager Burger Greeff attended the Young Biologists graduation on Saturday, 26 March.
De Beers Marine is a long-standing partner of the Two Oceans Aquarium and the annual sponsor of the Young Biologist Course.
In his address, Burger encouraged the group of students to go on to pursue careers in the field of marine biology. He described De Beers’ encouragement to reach for diamonds (excellence), and described the gathered students as potential diamonds in their own right.
He enthused about the De Beers Marine/Two Oceans Aquarium relationship and committed to continued support of the Young Biologist Course.
Western Cape MEC for Education Donald Grant was the guest speaker at the graduation. Mr Grant congratulated the graduates, pointing out the powerful position that they now find themselves in: they can affect change and educate their peers.
With a history in the fishing industry, Donald described how he has gone from the hunter to the educator, and talked about the value of having that background. He went on to say that the Western Cape education crisis, and the levels of literacy and numeracy are ongoing concerns. A primary mandate of his department is to protect teaching time, but external learning opportunities such as the Aquarium’s Young Biologist Course would always be encouraged based on its structured objectives and format.
Juriaan Bester received the Young Biologists Course Directors Award. Here he is pictured with his family and Dr Patrick Garratt.