I trust you had a happy holiday with your children and that they are well rested for the next busy term. Once again the holidays were frenetic for some people and they were marked by some wonderful successes for many of our students.
Our Headgirl, Frances Carstens, captained the U18A girls Boland Hockey Team to victory at the inter-provincial hockey tournament. Meghan Johnstone also played in the team for Boland and contributed to their success. Frances was named player of the IPT tournament. Mr Pickering is congratulated on coaching this team and ensuring a win against Southern Gauteng in the final.
Franco Carstens was also successful as vice-captain of the U18A boys Boland Hockey Team. The twins, Frances and Franco, were also selected to play for South Africa U18A and they represented their country in the final week of the holiday against Australia. Sam Henderson played for South Africa’s U16B hockey side against Zimbabwe and Namibia. We are very proud of these students.
The History Tour, managed by Mr Ramsay and Mrs Tessendorf, was another successful event in the holidays and the students were complimented on their excellent behaviour and the positive manner in which they engaged with the various memorials and sites they visited.
During the holidays important upgrading and maintenance work took place at the College. Mr Matthee and the facilities staff worked very hard to ensure that these important upgrades happened. All the staff who worked so hard in the holidays are thanked for their sterling efforts. I am sure the students will enjoy making use of the new trail run and mountain bike track across the river. The Prep School has had a few improvements to the staff room, the traffic circle and to other important areas. In the Senior School the Consumer Studies kitchen has been revamped and the students will enjoy the new space. When possible new equipment will also be installed. Better places to store bags have been created and in due course there will be a few lockers for students who wish to rent them. Maintenance is of course an ongoing issue, especially on a campus of such generous proportions, and it is impossible to do all we have to do. Many of the changes in the Senior School have arisen from the excellent work being done by the SRC. The students who campaign for change do so in a way that could teach our politicians a thing or two. They campaign and they push for change effectively.
Thanks to the generosity of a Trek Group 3 parent, eight trees commemorating the 8 Trek groups of 2015 have been planted along the entrance driveway – the trees along the Trek walk mark not only the entrance to the College, but also mark the special departure and arrival of each year’s Trekkers. The Trek Walk is a symbolic and meaningful place at the College and we appreciate parents who entrench important aspects and traditions at our school as they leave a lasting and important legacy.
I often quote Daniel Pink, and other current philosophers, who insist that to cope well in the twenty-first century, young people (and probably all people) have to become adaptable and emotionally agile to manage the volatility, chaos, ambiguity and uncertainty in the world. As we hurtle further into the century, and feel the consequences of the changes that occurred globally during the few weeks we were away, the need for this type of agility is highlighted yet again. The world changed irrevocably once more. At the end of the term, Britain chose to exit the EU and by the start of the term we see a new Prime Minister in the UK. All these changes happened in less than a month and they do impact us whether we like it or not. In South Africa, and around the world, the debate about race is amplified, and racism is being exposed for its toxic consequences. Children’s lives are more complex than ever before and the conversations we need to have are ever more serious so that, paradoxically, the joyfulness and spontaneity intrinsic to life are not undermined. As a community we need to be more mindful of the difficulties, the variety of challenges that many people are encountering at present, and practise being the change necessary in our world. It is a time for “slow thinking”, rather than fast reductionist thinking to explain away the difficulties inherent in the changes we are all feeling. Fast thinking generates binary opposites and corollaries while the more difficult slow thinking asks us to think more deeply about the things we are experiencing. Fast thinking is quick and comfortable. It makes events easier to understand but it does not change thinking or advance understanding. Slow thinking takes time; it requires us to test and challenge some of our most comfortable thinking; it requires us sometimes to give up on long-held beliefs and easy ways of explaining the world and to embrace the challenge to our known paradigm. Thinking in this way is not easy. It is not quick thinking, yet we need to be agile – the world is indeed ambiguous, paradoxical and challenging.
There are many important and joyful events this term so please support them. We celebrate our community at them and they give us the opportunity to celebrate the goodness of life and the gift of youth. Encourage your children to be present physically and psychologically in their school space; they will be the better for the holism of the good that life has to offer if they engage and participate. Pops Concerts, sports days, PV Derby days, Founders’ Day, speaker forum days, practice times, club times, study times are all part of the steadiness we can offer and these aspects of school serve to counterbalance the ambiguity of the world in which we live.
Have a wonderful term.