Awards speech from Kristina Miller, HAU Chair
In 2018, the Herschel Alumnae Union received 9 nominations for the Caroline Herschel Award. The selection committee reviewed each and every nomination thoroughly and although the decision was a difficult one, in the end, the overwhelming choice made was, Brendalyn Stempel.
Brendalyn matriculated from Herschel in 1959, after which she became a graduate of UCT in education in 1963. Brendalyn was a full-time teacher for 8 years and during her time taught at the Herschel Preparatory School. She has two children, Kerry and Glen-John.
When I was reading through Brendalyn’s journey and learning about her work, what struck me was how interesting and diverse her experiences have been. Her passions and professions have taken her all over the world, meeting people from all walks of life and getting to create wonderful projects and opportunities that benefit others far beyond what I think even she could have imagined.
My section in Breandalyn’s resume comes from her description of her early teaching experiences. She says “As long as I can remember, I have always wanted to help people in as many ways as possible. This, coupled with a love of children, made the decision to be a teacher very easy. Coming fresh from graduating from UCT, I was employed at Lansdowne Preparatory School which is in a very poor area, with children who were deprived in so many ways. My first class of 40 Grade Three’s contained compulsive truant players and age ranges of 7 to 12 years. This was definitely foddered for someone who wished to make life better for others! I loved them all and in my small way felt I did what I could to improve their lives, at least in the classroom and in interaction with their parents”
I read that passage again when writing this speech and what struck me was how that young teacher already had a desire to make the world a better place for people who needed it the most. As someone in the philanthropy space myself, I know the challenges and frustrations that come with this type of work, but Brendalyn just makes it seem so natural and organic. I am amazed by the broad spectrum reach of her work from Arts to Education, from helping children and people of all ages to creating safe spaces and beautiful smiles wherever she can.
- Brendalyn has also never forgotten her Herschel roots and has served as
- Chairperson of the Old Herschelian’s Association (now Herschel Alumnae Union) and
- Member of the Herschel Council
- And gratefully Providing Scholarships for Herschelians
Brendalyn, Mother of Kerry and Grandmother of Emma and Hannah, all Herschel Alumnae.
Brendalyn all I can say is that we are incredibly proud to call you one of our own and you truly emulate our motto Ad Dei Gloriam in all your actions.