|LETTER FROM THE HEAD
The term has been busy with sports matches being played almost daily and practices for plays, debating, various ensembles and bands also taking place.
Besides the general lessons there have been other interesting events this term, not least the performance by the Main Street Singers from the Los Altos High School in California. They were superb and their beautiful voices nearly raised the roof in the Chapel. Their performance was polished and professional. The conductor thanked our students for being an attentive audience who could “clearly listen and think.” The students are commended on their behaviour and are complimented on being a gracious and an appropriately responsive audience.
I am sure you have all heard of Dario Trinchero’s remarkable successes in the AS International Cambridge Examinations. Dario was placed top in the country in Chemistry and top in the world for AS Mathematics. This is a wonderful achievement for many reasons and not just Dario alone. When South Africa is regularly decried for its poor Maths and Science skills and when the country is placed at the very bottom of the TIMMS and PISA rankings on academic performance in Maths and Science, it is comforting to know that there are pockets of excellence delivering a world class standard. So very well done to Dario and his Maths and Science AS class and teachers. Dario is also commended on the humility with which he has received these accolades.
Besides the obvious celebration of this achievement, something else was highlighted that made me think we have extraordinarily special young people in the College. When I announced Dario’s achievement to the collected school their reaction was spontaneous, enthusiastic and powerful. They spontaneously jumped to their feet and applauded in admiration and jubilation for Dario. It is hard to describe the feeling in the Chapel that morning but every parent should be proud of his or her child – there was an overwhelming and beautiful sense of all that is good about human nature.
I would like to thank all the parents who attended the Edgemead Sports Day on Saturday where all the First Teams succeeded in beating Edgemead; but not without a fair battle. In fact almost all the teams fared very well. There was a lovely spirit amongst spectators, supporters and team members.
When you watch your children play sport you send them a strong message that you are interested in them and their activities. While it is impossible to watch every match, if you have a good relationship with your child, showing your interest shows your love, without having to use any words. As mentioned in my first newsletter of the term, I will be focusing on various issues that were raised in the IQAA survey. 21% of students feel that their parents are not significantly involved in their extra-mural activities.
On another point in the IQAA evaluation, a significant number of students and some parents, indicated that students’ belongings are not safe at school. There is no doubt that from time to time things are indeed stolen by some or other miscreant, but this is far from common on this campus.
Far more problematic and disturbing are the Lost and Found bins which are overflowing with items often described as “stolen”. Lunch boxes, items of school clothing and even musical instruments lie abandoned on lawns and in corridors in vast numbers.
On account of the survey and in an attempt to alleviate the neglect of expensive belongings the Student Leaders have initiated an important programme. The students were shown a DVD about the homeless in Somerset West and how the Homeless Shelter is trying to help these people. Not all of them are criminals and many find themselves on the street because home is simply unbearable. While some turn to drugs and alcohol to find solace, others are trying to find a life. All of them are suffering and all of them are starving physically and emotionally.
There is something alarming about this stark contrast of life on the streets and our Lost and Found bins huffing with irresponsibility. It behoves all of us to try to be more responsible about the things we are blessed to have and at the same time to be conscious of those less fortunate.
And so to this end the Students Leaders have decided to sell the “lost property” back to students for a small fee. All proceeds this year will go to the Homeless Shelter in Somerset West. Each week the piles of clothing will be on display for students to retrieve, at a cost. Unmarked items will incur a steeper penalty and unclaimed items of school uniform will be given to the School Shop to resell. These profits will also go to Charity. At this stage we still have full bins and about ten large garbage bags full of lost items.
I hope this initiative will not only encourage students to be more responsible about their belongings but also provide an awareness of how fortunate many of us are to be warm and fed in winter, how grateful we ought to be for the love we are shown and the wonderful opportunities we all have.