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  • Writer's pictureRuth First Trust

A breath of French air (and inspiration)!

Carolyn Steyn, our Ruth First ambassador and Jeppe Girls Alumna was presented with the Chevalier de l'Ordre national du Mérite (Knight of the French National Order of Merit) in recognition of her services in promoting the French language, culture, and art, by the French Ambassador at his residence in Pretoria on 30 March 2022.

Sharing this proud moment with her were two of our Ruthie Matrics, who had this to say about the experience:

“Carolyn Steyn is a true representation of a charismatic role model. It's astonishing to hear the amount of charity work she's done over the years - very heart warming. She keeps proving to younger women that as long as you remain dedicated, determined, and persistent, you will always come out victorious.

The event was fancy so to say. Being surrounded by successful people who refuse to be mediocre truly encouraged me to strive for greatness and get out of my comfort zone. Congratulations Mrs Steyn. You have inspired me, so that I can confidently say ‘I can and I will...’ ” – Bessem Besong

“It was a huge honour to be present at Mrs Steyn's award ceremony. Her happiness and pride radiated in the way she confidently expressed her lifelong passion for the arts and France along with its influence on the arts.

The atmosphere was very lively and vibrant. I was nervous at first and quite terrified of what to expect yet as the ceremony progressed, it began to feel as though all my anxiety had been unnecessary. The guests and hosts were very welcoming and friendly. They gave advice on how to go about preparing for life after high school and high school itself.

It was so inspiring to witness the rewarding of such a huge role model to many young girls and such a kind heart whose actions and speak towards the remarkable nature of her character. It still shocks me to think that she once wore the uniform I wear today once upon a time and that she sat down in the very same classrooms I'm in today. It was empowering listening to her speak and like magic, I just felt the overwhelming urge to switch from the tired me, to a me that wants to work hard and do the best I can. Mrs Steyn has superpowers, I can guarantee. She was very welcoming and greeted us with smiles and expressed her gratitude for Jeppe Girls’ representatives being present. I enjoyed every second of the ceremony and I will forever value the honour of having been present.” – Maroushkha Maghoma

In her speech, Carolyn had these words of encouragement for our Ruthies and Jeppe students: “... young girls who have dreams of succeeding, of becoming someone in life... an event such as this occasion is evidence that anything is possible in this world if we follow our dreams and work hard, while being kind and generous to others.”

Congratulations to our ambassador: we bask in your reflected glory and are extremely proud of you!

Pictured from left to right: The French Ambassador, Aurélien Lechevallier, Bessem Besong, Carolyn Steyn, Khanyisile Mgidi and Maroushkha Maghoma pictured at the presentation.

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