Today’s newsletter has two distinct parts – the first is much easier and celebratory; the second part is equally important and I ask you to try to read to the end.
We are in the midst of exams for the seniors and Trek has begun – this special rite of passage for our Grade 9 students. To date four groups are safely on their way in spite of rain and wind at the start. I can assure you I have seen happy trekkers at their various sites and all is well so far. The Grade 10s inform me that they wish it was their turn all over again! (Please follow us on Facebook to view photographs of the daily departures.)
The Golf & Boules Day last week was very successful. The Boules was elegantly choreographed and the players certainly appeared inspired by the theme of a Mad Hatter’s Party. The spirit was wonderful and we are very grateful to Woolworths for their sponsorship of the food table and to the parents who worked hard to make the event a great afternoon of fun and spectacle. The Golf Day was equally successful and I would like to express my thanks to Mr Eduard du Plessis and his Committee for putting an outstanding event together. Benguela Cove was the main sponsor and we are very grateful to them and to the companies and parents who sponsored various aspects of the Golf Day. These events are impossible without your generosity. All proceeds will go towards the refurbishment of the Chapel and to the eventual panelling of the Chapel walls so that on the panels we can record each Matriculant’s name for posterity.
Our 1st Cricket XI triumphed for the third time this year over Paul Roos and won by a convincing 6 wickets. For details of the scores and individual triumphs please look at the sports results. The Water Polo teams are also presenting a strong front and early morning training is clearly paying off with much improved play from all teams.
At the beginning of the year the Somerset College Interact Club was launched and they have recently been awarded some accolades. The first President of Interact, Shannon Gebers, was awarded Gold (first) in the category ‘Interactor who made the most significant contribution to their club’. Speaking of Shannon’s achievement, the Rotarian looking after our club said, “This was so well deserved in view of all the hard work she put in and the amazing achievements made by the club in such a short time.” In the category for ‘Project which built the best relationship with the community’ Somerset College Interact was awarded a silver placement based on the relationship the Club built up with the Brak-en-Jan Crèche. These awards signal a very positive start to the Interact Club and I look forward to their continued progress under the guidance of Miss Engledow.
And for an important point in this newsletter. Schools are meant to be safe places for children and it is a daunting task for all of us who care for children. We can’t keep them so safe that they never grow and develop and there is a certain amount of risk inherent in life. Good parents will know that dealing with children and their individual needs is as daunting as it is wonderful. Good schools and good parents work hand-in-hand to build children up, even if at times that means admonishing them. Schools, because they are filled with people, are dynamic and not perfect spaces. Schools and the people in them – heads, teachers, parents, and children – make mistakes. I would like to think that when parents have been to see me, even if we have disagreed, we have tried to address the issues at hand. The Board and I take parental and student concerns very seriously. From time to time I receive anonymous letters which, by and large, I tend to ignore. It is too easy to say one is protecting the individual and so things are therefore anonymous. I have had fictitious names created on emails sent to me, usually telling me about the weekend misdemeanours of one or other of our children. I have to ignore these because anonymous letters are often sent with vicious intent to mar the name of another. These anonymous interruptions are like rumours and are best ignored.
Sometimes, though, parenting gets overwhelming and parents (and sometimes students) send anonymous letters in situations where they are actually seeking and needing advice and support. My staff and I cannot help if we do not know whom it is we need to help. If you have sent me letters recently, I urge you please to see me so that I can address the situation raised in your letters.
We are a community. Schools are places which have become vital meeting points and they play the role of the erstwhile village. We are here for each other and our children. We are here to evolve and to be better than the generation before. We are the proverbial village raising children and caring for one another. We are people with names, with joys and sorrows and good times and bad times and in-between times. Please let’s build our community, let’s make it safe where it can be safe, and let us support each other when things are overwhelming.