Vasie Rajah is one of the longest-serving principals in the northern suburbs and also a well-known city sportsman. He bid a painful farewell to his entire school and teaching career on Wednesday 27 January.
Rajah marked his retirement by walking with some retired principals, teachers and former pupils from the spot where Baijoo and Maharaj School was situated to the school he is retiring from – Allandale Primary. Bijoo and Maharaj school is very significant to Vasie Rajah.
Vasie Rjah said that the Baijoo and Maharaj School held a special place in his life as the first school he ever taught at in the year 1978.
It is indeed remarkable as Vasie Rajah spent 13 years of his 38 years of service as a teacher and principal at Allandale Primary school, making him the longest-serving principal.
“Teaching is the most satisfying and fulfilling profession. Being in the classroom is the best feeling and nothing has ever made me happier.
Teaching is not a job, it is a vocation. I hope I was able to fulfill my obligation to the pupils and parents,” said Vasie Rajah.
The retired principal went down memory lane on how he initially registered to study mechanical engineering but later changed his mind and signed up for teaching instead.
It’s astounding that Vasie Rajah still remembers the names and surnames of all 36 pupils he taught in his first class at the Baijoo and Maharaj School.
“In fact, a few weeks ago I started looking through all the class registers to see how many current pupils’ parents I have taught. I counted about 120 pupils,” he laughed.
Vasie Rajah feels fulfilled as he said that retiring at the age of 60 after 38 years of teaching, he finally feels like he has completed his duty to the children.
Not even life threatening sickness could take Vasie Rajah away from his vocation. Even when his lungs collapsed and he was later diagnosed of lung cancer, he still persisted in teaching his pupils.
“There were days when I could not get out of bed but thinking of the children, I knew I had to be at school. I persevered for them,” he said.
Rajah, who specialised in physical education, said sport and sport development in youngsters has always been one of his many passions.
Rajah said he is dedicating his retired years to come to his family who have always been there for him giving him the freedom and support to do what he needed to do for his schools and pupils.
“I would never have survived all that I did without my wife Shamla and my family. If there is anyone with more strength than me, it is my wife,” he laughed, pointing out that he normally will not say that for all to hear.
Rajah plans to use his free time to visit Cuba after his retirement to enable him to see Che Guevara island which has always been a source of inspiration to him.