Sue Godding and Heidi Smith

Sue Godding and Heidi Smith

It all began sometime in 1998, when Sue Godding invited anyone interested in a unique English medium school for Hoedspruit to attend a meeting at Jackalberry Lodge.

About 50 parents came to the meeting and we all thrashed out ideas, education, funding, viability etc. This is where the seed was planted and where Heidi and Sue met each other for the first time. From then the hard work began, with many people helping along the way. Firstly they needed a concept document of what they wanted to achieve – Sue based the concept on an NGO that she and Kevin had set up in Zambia called the Community Based Conservation Fund, and this is where the idea of Nature Based Schooling was born.

 Today we have an amazing school, on the right piece of land with the right name and with successful business people steering the ship!

At first the number of helpers was great and enthusiasm high, but over time it dwindled and in the end Heidi and Sue were left driving the project. There were many ups and downs along the way, but somehow they managed to keep each other going and slowly chipped away at the mammoth task – from finding suitable premises to finding a name for the School.

As both Sue and Heidi were not involved in Education, they needed someone to endorse the education side of the whole project. This is where Jumbo Williams (our first headmaster) heard about the school concept and became involved – he brought confidence and credibility. Funding was one of the biggest issues and another piece of the puzzle fell into place – the shareholders of Jackalberry Lodge, namely  Allan Mansfield, Arnold Fair and Trevor Jordan, generously contributed to getting the school established.

Their contributions included providing the land and the much needed capital required to get such a school off the ground. Mr Mansfield and Mr Fair are still involved to this day as members of the school Trust. Southern Cross owes massive thanks to both of them for really making the whole dream a reality.

Southern Cross Aerial Shot