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Inge Brenzel

From small beginnings and hard work to four languages and international yachting, Inge Brenzel certainly has some interesting notches on her belt. She joined Curro Durbanville in Grade 4 – the same year that the first Curro school opened the doors of its first building.

Inge was part of a special group of learners who were the first to participate in activities that seem commonplace today. ‘I loved being part of the first drummie squad,’ she said. ‘We came in with a bang and just kept getting better!’ Above all, she enjoyed the athletics days. She participated in as many items as possible and even set some records in her matric year for the 100-m, 200-m and 400-m track items. She was also the girls’ athletics captain at interschools in the year they brought the trophy home.

She remembers being a popper during the school’s attempt at the Guinness World Record for the largest popcorn box, playing in foam sprayed by firefighters on the school grounds, camping by the Orange River and organising many fun activities as part of the RCL (representative council of learners).

Besides being proficient on the track, Inge attained good academic achievements. She tied for the trophy for the top achiever in Afrikaans second language and maintained a steady status as a top-5 achiever throughout her school career – a condition her parents set to ensure that her love for extramural activities (and having a weekend job) didn’t influence her academic potential negatively.

In a clear commendation to Curro teachers’ can-do attitude and the school-wide belief that every child counts, Inge tells how her music talents developed through the love and support of Mrs Maritz who was her music teacher from Grade 4 to Grade 12. ‘The school I attended before moving to Curro told me that I would never be able to play piano well, but Mrs Maritz helped me to believe in myself, to grasp my interests with both hands and to make my dreams a reality.’ She continued to win several eisteddfods and passed the Grade 6 Unisa examination for piano. ‘I still start playing a song spontaneously whenever I see a piano.’

When Inge was 16 years old, she joined the school’s exchange programme to Argentina for a year. It was here that she discovered her love for travelling and international cultures. After matriculating she obtained a Diploma in Somatology from Isa Carstens Academy and pursued her love for international waters by working as a stewardess on luxury yachts for six years. She is currently studying her fourth language, French – as she now lives in Antibes, France – and plans to move to Canada once she is done.

‘Juggling all my extramural and academic activities within the supportive environment of my parents’ home enabled me to adjust to life as an independent adult easily,’ she said. She learned how to organise, prioritise, balance several responsibilities and take a step back when getting overwhelmed.

Work hard and make your career choice wisely – don’t just follow the latest trend,’ she said. She further advices learners to get a weekend or holiday job as soon as possible. ‘My weekend jobs helped to prepare me for the tough work environment and I was able to get a job much faster because I already had work experience.’

‘You can do anything you set your mind to. Life is about balance; you should do what makes you happy after you’ve done what is necessary.