17 September 2015

Letter from the Head – 18 September 2015

Dear Parents

Although this term was short, it was a very busy one and your children deserve their holidays. The term began with the successful Pops Concert and that set the tone for a vibrant term with many successful cultural experiences and fun-filled sports events. The Matrics have survived their preliminary examinations and are, in the main, well set for their final examinations, of which some have already begun. Please bear them in your thoughts over the next few weeks as they focus on their final examinations. They are conducting themselves with maturity and creativity and I thank them for that and urge them to continue to be a fabulous group to the end.

We have new student leaders elect and together with the very special Grade 11 class, the community is going to have sound and positive leadership that will make the College even better. I look forward to their contribution.

The Grade 10s returned from the Cederberg Camp last week and I have been the fortunate recipient of positive comments from the public who were also at the campsite during their stay. In addition the teachers have sung their praises for being a united, respectful and fun-loving group who made their task a very pleasant one. I am particularly proud of the Grade 10 group for their behaviour at Cederberg.

There have been significant student successes this term in all fields of endeavour and I am very proud to see that Somerset College was one of the top performing schools in the English Olympiad this year. Three of our students have been offered full scholarships to Rhodes University. They are Manu Huyssen, Dario Trinchero and Andrew de Villiers, all of whom were placed in the top 50 students nationally. This is an exceptional achievement.

Based on the results of the UCT Mathematics Olympiad the following students, Annalie Swanepoel (Gr 8), Matthew Durie (Gr 9), Jacques Morris (Gr 9), Robert Harris (Gr 11) and Nicholas Trafford (Gr 12) were invited to take part in the UCT Mathematics challenge which was held in May. Eighty six students went through to the second round of the Harmony Gold Mathematics Olympiad. Sean Richardson (Gr 12), Nicholas Trafford (Gr 12), Dario Trinchero (Gr 11), Nicholas Williams (Gr 9) and Annelie Swanepoel (Gr 8) subsequently went through to the final round. This is the first time we have had so many students reach the finals.

We are very sad to be saying farewell to Ms Su Nightingale who has been an ebullient and positive Head of the English Department. She has contributed hugely to the College and has impacted on the lives of those she has taught in a very special way. Ms Nightingale will be sorely missed and I hope that in a few years time she will find her way back to the College as she is is a merchant of magic in the classroom. She is wished much happiness and success in her new ventures.

We have some very talented and exciting new staff members joining us next year and we will welcome them when they arrive. The English Department will carry Ms Nightingale’s classes in the fourth term.

The holiday may sadly see some students spending more time on social media. In spite of bringing in Emma Sadleir to speak to the students, many of the the younger students are still making bad judgement calls on social media. Please can you remind your children not to post nasty, libellous or irresponsible comments on social media. They must not share their passwords and if any of their devices are stolen, this must be reported and the device shut down. Unfortunately, we have had some horrible incidents of hacking. If students have not protected their passwords, they will be responsible for the posts that others make from their personal accounts. They must ensure that their privacy settings are set appropriately so that when they click on a post, it does not automatically share.

While social media has many positive aspects it is tricky and treacherous to navigate and great caution must be considered at all times. It is a burden and joy and I feel for our young people as they manage this space.

Please diarise the annual Awards Ceremony and Student Leader Induction which will take place at 19h00 on Thursday 15 October and the Matric Valedictory Service which will take place at 09h00 on Friday 16 October.

Have a wonderful holiday, enjoy the rugby, may your team play well, and travel safely.

Yours sincerely
Meg Fargher