Meet Miss Nieke Kotze, a passionate HASS (Humanities and Social Sciences) and English teacher with a compassionate heart for people in need.
Miss Kotze started at Swan Christian College in Term 2 2018. She teaches Years 8-10 and is currently on a mission to finish a 100km walk in less than 38 hours to raise awareness for health and hygiene education in poverty-stricken areas. Making a positive difference in people’s lives is one of the key motivations that drive her towards new and adventurous endeavours.
We have met with Miss Kotze to ask her a few questions about her background, her passions and her drive to have a positive influence on other people’s lives and circumstances.
We just said goodbye to our Year 12 graduates. What was your last year of school like?
I grew up in South Africa and came to Perth as a Year 12 student in 2010, when the Soccer World Cup was being held in South Africa. I went to Kingsway Christian College and completed Year 12 there. At Kingsway, I got elected into the Student Council and actually got the chance to meet Julia Gillard.
It’s a bit of a funny story! I was a House Captain back then and the name of the House was “Flynn”, so when I met Julia Gillard, I was wearing my House Captain badge, which said “Flynn”. Julia Gillard came into the room and greeted my saying “Hello Flynn.” [laughs] I just went with it and didn’t say anything.
After high school, I got a degree in Psychology and Criminology, and worked quite a lot with people who suffer from mental disorders. I worked for Lifeline and did a bit of social work, helping people in poverty and people who have needs that need to be met.
What are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about helping people. Coming from South Africa and being raised in a place of poverty and discrimination has led me to psychology and legal studies. It’s important to me to give a voice to those who do not have a voice. I also strive to be of moral support to people and be a moral role model.
I have taken part in a lot of fundraising activities and events in the past. In Year 12, I got sent to Indonesia to go on a missionary tour over there. I spent about two weeks there, in the rural areas of Indonesia. This experience inspired me to go on a missionary tour to Russia where we spent around three weeks in summer school camps and talked to the kids there. We weren’t really allowed to talk to them about Christianity, but we just gave them a helping hand because most of them came from a low social economic background.
Those two experiences were a fire-spark for all the fundraising work that followed afterwards and for my desire to help those in poverty and need. It doesn’t necessarily always include missionary or Christian work but just helping those that do need a helping hand. Since then, I have made a point of participating in World Vision’s 40-hour famine once a year, and I just signed up for Oxfam’s 100km fundraising walk that I am going to tackle with a group of friends.
How did that come about?
In the middle of the year, a couple of friends approached me asking if I wanted to do a walk with them, and I said, “Yes, sure.” I have taken part in quite a few running events since I first came to Perth, so I thought, why not!
I just signed up without reading through any of the fine detail and found out a week later that I had just signed up for a 100km walk. [laughs] The purpose behind it is to provide people with clean water and sanitary education. Every group of four has a fundraising goal, which all goes toward providing clean water and sanitary education.
100km! That sounds like hard work?
It is tough! When I finished my first half marathon, it was 21km that you get over and done with in an hour and a half. A 100km walk takes a little bit more time. Walking for 50km takes around 10-12 hours, so it’s a mental challenge, not just a physical challenge, but my team and I are persevering because there is a purpose behind it.
There is a goal that we want to reach. Our team is called the “Rocky Roaders” and we are four very good friends. We are in this together and we are all Christians, so we give each other moral and spiritual support.
So, it’s tough, but it’s good.
What else do you do for fun?
I’m a very sporty and adventurous type of person. We go camping quite a lot and hiking as well. During the holidays, I went down to Albany, climbed Bluff Knoll and a few smaller hills in that area. I play hockey, go for runs, hang out with friends, and I also like to paint. I’m interested in all sorts of design related activities, actually, including jewellery design.
We would like to extend a warm welcome to Miss Kotze and are looking forward to what she will achieve at Swan Christian College in the future, as she encourages and motivates students and staff with her positive and enthusiastic attitude.