JESS AUERBACH JAHAJEEAH
I finished school knowing how to think for myself. That’s something Waldorf education teaches really well. I received academic scholarships and awards throughout my education, getting a Master’s degree as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and then a PhD at Stanford. I’m now an Associate Professor at the University of Cape
Town’s Graduate School of Business, and am also one of the top-ranked young scientists in South Africa, conducting research and teaching around the globe.
I began my Waldorf journey much later than my peers, after being at a school that was run like a military base. I’d
therefore spent most of my schooling career being just a number, in a uniform and confined to societal norms.
Needless to say, the teachers and the teachings at Roseway Waldorf were a complete 180 from what I was used to. In a short space of time, I flourished into a resilient adolescent who never gave up, never defined herself according to societal norms and thought outside the box with a holistic approach to life. I am now a well-rounded adult who still holds these qualities, thanks to my Waldorf education. It’s been 7 years since I matriculated, I have completed my BComm – Financial Management degree with distinction and I am now living my best life in Cape Town as an Investment Risk and Compliance Analyst for a successful investment management firm.
“I will always hold the teachings from Roseway Waldorf close to my heart as I continue to learn and grow in both a personal and
I attended Roseway Waldorf School from Class 9 to 13, and was part of the third class to matriculate from the school in 2004. It was pioneer days and there was much uncertainty about the future of the
school, but this, in some ways, brought us closer together and inspired us more. The feeling was that of being part of the little school that could. Although I was only at Roseway for high school, I spent my entire schooling in Waldorf schools. Then, as now, I consider this one of the most precious gifts I have received. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn in an environment where creativity, curiosity and self-expression are nurtured and encouraged, and to have had such a rich and varied education. Sharing this unique experience with classmates formed deep bonds
of friendship that will last a lifetime. After matriculating I studied journalism and English literature at
Rhodes University, graduating with a BA Honours in English Literature. Writing has been at the core of my career, which has spanned advertising, journalism and the arts. I think my Waldorf
education played a role in kindling a love of art and creativity, and approaching life through this prism. For the past five years I’ve worked as communications manager for the local office of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, which supports artistic exchange and collaboration projects
“An environment where creativity, curiosity and self-expression are
nurtured and encouraged“.
Roseway was a special place for me. I was part of the first class to graduate from the high school. We felt like pioneers, and we were all eager to see what the future held. I walked away from my Matric year with a Bachelor’s Pass and three A’s. I went on to study at UKZN, where I earned an undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Classical Studies and did my honors in Classics. After University I started a tours and events company with two friends and an incredible team of staff. We specialized in atypical tourism, shining a spotlight on Durban with our bespoke offerings and curated experiences and events. We offered inner city tours, graffiti tours, midnight bike rides through the city, and a variety of township tours. We held eight iterations of an art contest called Interpret Durban, which became the largest youth-focused art contest in the province. On the tours side, we managed to hold either the first or second place on TripAdvisor for our final seven years in business, won tourism awards and were selected to host a variety of VIP delegates to Durban including former presidents and dignitaries. In 2016, I sold my company and began working as the head of innovation for a company focused on redefining entrepreneurial development in townships. I was responsible for turning the imaginings and intentions of stakeholders into real-world, operational, and most importantly, community-invested realities. The project was
ambitious and beautiful, and under its umbrella, we managed to achieve a great deal before funding ran out. I spearheaded a business against crime venture that reduced crime in the area by over
80% and completely transformed the node into something vibrant. Today, I am in my fifth year at Energywise, a company that designs and manufactures LED lighting for commercial, industrial, and horticultural applications. This is the family business and its legacy is close to my heart. I am surrounded by people who are technically far more proficient than I am, but in the last few years, I have really learned to lean into my strengths – many of which I can attribute to my Waldorf education. I am a lateral thinker. I like getting involved in a variety of fields and I thrive on the idea of creating something and then executing it. I think my varied subjects at Waldorf, the constant opportunity to create and think outside the box and then deliver projects and ideas, from our grade 12 project to the main lesson books and so much more, contributed greatly towards the person I am today.
“I will forever be grateful to that little
school on the hill“.
I matriculated in 2013 and stepped out into the world so full of gratitude and enthusiasm and followed my dream of
wanting to work in the Equine Industry. I completed my course at The Natal Equine Rehabilitation Centre and I now work in the Kwa-Zulu Natal Racing Industry full time! Waldorf also helped me realise my vocal talents and I put
them to use during our stage performances and during our final Matric Dramatic Arts piece. I now also sing professionally on the weekends for Big Bear Entertainment and I get to travel Durban and I continue growing and learning about myself and my art on a daily basis. I married the man of my dreams in 2019 and he and our fur babies are about to make the great move to Australia where we will lay roots and continue to thrive together. I’ll never be able to thank the school and staff enough for nurturing me through some of the toughest times in my life and for also laughing with me and encouraging me duringthe best of times, too. You won’t find this beautiful family set up anywhere else. My years at Waldorf are still so fondly thought of and I’ll hold them dearly forever.
“I was able to finally thrive and
grow in the safe, warm
environment that Roseway
Waldorf offered me“.
Waldorf was something very special now that I look back on it. At the time, you don’t actually realize the impact it has on your life as you go forward into the world. I feel that the mindset I gained from Waldorf has helped me to get to where I am today. A few weeks after finishing my final Matric exam, I left to go to Australia on my own. I have a passion for music production and was accepted to study a diploma of Music Production at Tafe Queensland in Brisbane. During my studies I was offered work at one of Brisbane’s biggest Night Club “The Met” as an audio and lighting technician, which I’m still causally working at on weekends. I completed my diploma end of 2020. After realising I loved the country so much, I decided to immigrate to Australia via a permanent residency pathway which I’m still currently doing. I have had to study a skill which is in demand. There a few options, but the field I was most interested in was automotive mechanics. I found an institution where I could study the certifications I needed for my working visa which was a 2 year program. I completed a
Cert 3 in Light vehicle automotive mechanics in 2021 and a Cert 4
in automotive mechanical diagnosis end of 2022. Once I became a qualified automotive mechanic I found work at a
Dealership which i started working for beginning of this year (2023). Since I started working for them, in the service and repair department, they have invested so much in me which I have been so grateful for. They have placed me on the automotive brand “IsuzuUte”. I’m currently on their training program, where I go to Isuzu’s HQ every couple of weeks while I work full time at the dealership. Soon I will be a Master technician on Isuzu Ute! It’s been an interesting journey here, immigrating to Australia and having to tick all the boxes for the immigration department. Despite all of that, it has allowed me to be where I am as an a Automotive Technician, Isuzu Ute Silver technician and a Music Producer/ Audio Technician. I should be a permanent Resident of Australia in 2025.
“The mindset I gained from Waldorf
has helped me get to where I am