05 January 2018 Photo Igno van Niekerk
Making a difference is Angela’s superpower
Dr Angela Stott-Vogt is passionate about making a difference wherever she goes.

As part of the Schools Partnership Project (SPP) based on our South Campus, Angela Stott-Vogt’s main work consists of mentoring science teachers in previously disadvantaged communities. As a passionate educator with an incredible eye for talent, it wasn’t long before her path crossed with those of the cream of learners. Several of these learners have all the odds stacked against them—poverty, lack of learning resources, unqualified or disinterested teachers. Yet, from the ashes of despair, Angela identifies phoenixes and makes them fly. 

When Angela starts sharing stories, there is no pretence or ego, but a clear sense of commitment, empathy, and passion are evident in every sentence.

“So, there’s this kid: Grade 8; dirt poor. Used to live with his mother, but she’s dead now—a desperate situation. But he loves science. He wants to buy a science kit from me. I asked him what he was willing to pay. He had R100. I told him that I would give it back to him if he worked through the Grade 10-12 books, which I then gave him. Within a few weeks he was back. I made him write the test I usually give teachers. They average about 60%. He got 90%. Next thing, he wants a chemistry kit. We got it sponsored. A comprehensive one. Worth more than R20 000. Then, by negotiating with a principal, we got him into a prestigious school. The other day he was in the school’s team for the Science Olympiad. They got into the final round. Then, a tiebreaker: A difficult question. Guess who knew the answer? Yes, he did. Won the competition for his school.”

Angela’s stories flow into one another. The same themes: Poverty and Potential. Creating opportunities. There are more children she is helping; each is a young scientist. There is a young boy who stays in a single-room house with his mom. The room is divided by sheets, which function as walls. In his ‘room’, he keeps a box of components and ‘science things’ he has collected from a rubbish dump nearby. When Angela assisted him in registering for a recent Science Expo, the boy needed string for his project. Angela smiles. “You know where he got it?” She pauses: “He used the string that was used to hang the sheets. There’s opportunity everywhere.”

And she is right, because everywhere she goes, Angela Stott-Vogt creates opportunities. Whether it be through science kits, expo participation, teacher mentorship, or learning opportunities—Angela’s superpower is making a difference.

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