The Ridge Reporter

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE NEW HEADMASTER

The Ridge School is pleased to announce that following a thoughtful and robust search process, Frank Rumboll has been appointed as Headmaster of The Ridge School, with effect from I January 2023.

Frank comes from a family of leading educators in South Africa. During his 29 year career, he has been widely recognised as an innovative teacher and Head at various schools who is devoted to serving children’s best interests. He has gained valuable experience at Kingsmead College, St Stithians Boys’ College, Crawford College (as a founding Staff member), Cedar House School and Curro Rivonia occupying several leadership roles, including Head of English, Academic Director, Principal and Executive Headmaster.

Frank is passionate about education, service and growing children who are global citizens. He is married to Deborah, and they are parents to Jaidan and Sarah, who are both pursuing postgraduate study at university and work as journalists, and Kim, a preparatory school teacher.

We are very excited to welcome Frank and his family to The Ridge Family, and look forward to introducing him to our community.

HERITAGE DAY CELEBRATIONS

We celebrated Heritage day by remembering the cultural heritage of the many cultures we have at The Ridge. The boys dressed up in anything representing their heritage or proudly South African. We started the day with SALT, where the boys discussed what they think Heritage day is and why it is important to acknowledge our heritage. This was followed by an entertaining assembly, with all the grades singing or performed something proudly South African. Then we ended off with a boerewors roll and koek-sister.

JP ART AUCTION

On World Rhino Day the Junior Prep Art Auction took place, the first of its kind! Thanks to a small group of dedicated moms and with the support of the teaching staff, we put together 4 beautiful and unique Grade artworks that each boy in the JP had contributed towards. We auctioned these off, and raised R67000 for Wild Trust, thanks to the incredible generosity of our JP parents. Roelie Kloppers, the CEO of Wild Trust was there on the night and they are so appreciative of our support and putting this towards the important work they do and the rhinos the school supports. A special and meaningful evening!

THE JOHANNESBURG MUSIC FESTIVAL

Every year our boys showcase their musical skills at a prestigious festival. 2022 was no different with boys showcasing their talents on the violin, piano and in singing.

The Johannesburg Music Festival has been in existence for decades and provides a wonderful opportunity for young musicians to perform and receive feedback on their musicianship and performance skills. The festival remained online this year, and the children watched their recorded performances over Zoom in July with live adjudication. Many of our boys received excellent feedback and two of our boys were invited to perform at the live Gala Concert on Sunday 18 September.

Luke Goldstein and Bradley Legg were presented with incredible accolades at the Gala event.
Bradley Legg who is taught by our very own Mrs Irene Morrick performed with aplomb and won the Eugenie Chopin Trophy  for the Most Promising Male singer of the Festival.

In the string section, Luke Goldstein was awarded the South African Suzuki Association Trophy 10 years and under (shared with Hiroyuki Numasawa) AND the Diana Neille Trophy for the Best Performance of a Violin Recital, which he also won in 2021.

Well done to all our budding musicians, we are very proud of you!

READING BREAKFAST

We celebrated Roald Dahl’s birthday with a wonderful Reading Breakfast.

Families joined us on the Hersov field for a picnic and reconnected over coffee, snacks and loads of books. Boys, staff and parents dressed up as their favourite Roald Dahl character. We celebrated literacy in a way that would have made Roald Dahl proud!

HOCKEY

On Saturday morning, our Grade 3s played their first hockey game of the season. It was a great morning filled with fun and friendly competition

TENNIS TOUR: SUN CITY

FIRST DAY BACK TERM 3

GRADE 4 CAMP: CAMP KONKA

GRADE 6 CAMP: GOLDEN GATE

GRADE 7 CAMP: LEPALALA WILDNESS SCHOOL

THE GRADE 6 BOYS VISITED HOPE SCHOOL

The Grade 6 boys spent some time at the Hope School reading to their Grade 1 – 3s. It was a lively morning and their laughter could be heard down the corridors. They spent priceless time together, forming friendships and nurturing their love for reading.

GRADE 6 BOYS SHOWING THE RIGHT STUFF

The Grade 6 boys did a collection for Princess Alice’s Adoption Home. In an effort to give back to their community, they collected items that Princess Alice had on their wish list. It was a wonderful opportunity for our boys to continue to make a difference in the lives of others.

ROBOTICS AT THE RIDGE

The Grade 4s were tasked with developing solutions to one of society’s current problems during their robotics lesson. The boys chose pollution as their problem and agreed that recycling was the solution. The robots were then programmed to collect recyclable trash or food.

SENIOR PREP AFRIKAANS BOEK BUDDIES

The SP boys were treated to an exciting Afrikaans Boek Buddies show in an effort to expose our boys to Afrikaans outside of the classroom and in an interactive manner. Redhead Productions put on the show, which featured popular Afrikaans songs. Not only were the boys encouraged to sing along to the songs, but they were also encouraged to learn Afrikaans words that appeared on the screen with English translations

SPRING WEEK IN GRADE 0

The Grade 0 boys have been learning all about Spring, Arbor week and the importance of trees. They got to explore our beautiful gardens and learned all about our gorgeous African flowers. They are looking after some Silkworms in their classrooms and feeding them delicious Mulberry leaves.

The Grade 0s have been busy with all sorts of beautiful art projects: Tree rubbing and leaf rubbing, making Spring blossoms out of tissue paper, decorating gorgeous vases, painting flowers using tennis balls as well as some fun bubble art.

GENERAL KNOWLEDGE INTER-SCHOOL QUIZ

The Ridge Quiz teams participated in a General Knowledge Inter-School Quiz, hosted by Kyalami Prep. It was Grade 5’s first time competing but they were not officially part of the competition. The boys did really well and did us proud, achieving 2nd place (Grade 6 team), 6th place (Grade 7 team) and an unofficial 8th place (Grade 5 team).

The teams were:

Grade 7Grade 6Grade 5
Kachi AmaonwuRyder BrooksLizo Makiwane
Neo SelibeDaniel du ToitThomas Faber
Sakhile ZondoLuke HartmannJamie Stein
Jonathan SchwegmanSpencer GilchristNkazi Mabota

DEBATING CLUB

Our debating team participated in the annual Gauteng Provincial Debating Competition at Cornwall Hill College. There were 48 schools in the competition which took place over 2 days and The Ridge, being the only prep school, broke 9th. Our team performed exceptionally well winning 4 out of 6 debates. The team consists of Finn Berman (Captain), Felix Jackson, Katleho Ramatsoso, Imran Budlender, Muhammad Casoojee and Oscar Berman who will all compete again this Sunday when the competition continues.

CONGRATULATIONS TO KHANYISILE

We are so excited to share this news. Congratulations, Khanyisile Mthetwa on your outstanding awards at the 2022 SAMAs held at Sun City. In addition to winning Best Classical/ Instrumental album Khanyi also won the award for Best Newcomer of the Year! Simply amazing.

The Ridge Music Department has been busy this month. The incredible South African Jazz Musician, Marcus Wyatt, who is part of our team, was invited to conduct the Metropole Orkest in the Royal Albert Hall. Closer to home, the 2nd World Sound Concert held at the Joburg Theatre featured Irene Morrick’s compositions with Khanyi Mthetwa as well as a performance by our vocal coach Ziza Muftic.

We could not be more proud of our Music Department.

SAVE THE DATE

Click here to book tickets – ridge.allxs.co.za

THE RIDGE SCHOOL GOLF DAY

OLD BOYS CAPE TOWN REUNION

To RSVP please click: https://forms.gle/CbwEo2cJzCgadCa78

HORIZIONS TERM 2

The power of words 

Words are not simply sounds caused by our mouths shaping air passing through our larynx. Words have real power. This has been the basis of my teachings in the assemblies this term. The scripture I used to introduce and develop this theme was taken from Proverbs 18:21 – Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Words do more than convey information, they have an impact on people. Although our words do not have the power to manifest in physical forms, they certainly manifest in the emotions of the person who hears them. We have often unpacked with the boys the words that build up and the words that break down. Are they being filled with hate or love, bitterness or blessing, complaining or compliments, encouragement or destruction? Words are tools that can make life better. 

In conversations with the boys, they certainly have the sense that one kind word can change a person’s entire day. In reflecting on this, we further unpacked that our words come from an overflow of our heart. Our state of being, feelings and the condition of our hearts have more to do with our choice of words than our literary influences. 

Words, when put out there, can only be forgiven and not forgotten but they can also be treasured and life giving. Mother Theresa has been quoted as saying, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” Our impact can be endless if we choose our words wisely. 

After focusing on the power of words for the first part of the term, we developed it into how our words influence our actions. The expression ‘actions speak louder than words’  is thought to date far, far back. It essentially means that how people act is more telling than what they say. It is a saying often used when someone’s actions don’t match what they have said they would do, what they promised or how they claim to live their life. This results in their words, what they say – becoming weak, untrustworthy and worthless.

Confucius said, The superior person acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his actions.”

I implore us all to bring our words and actions into alignment, to bring life and hope, and to build up and not tear down.

By Wayne Naidoo

SIYA MAKINANA

Greetings to all

I am a student teacher who is qualified in Transportation Managament which I obtained at The University of Johannesburg. I have worked in corporate and realised my passion lies with the young ones.

I have been in the sports industry for six years and I was given an opportunity to work in schools like St John’s and St Stithian’s. I was also part of our Johannesburg Provincial hockey staff ( Southern Gauteng Hockey Association) as a coach for two years and the experience I gained has been exceptional.

I decided to join The Ridge Family for many reasons: such as the respect the boys display, the boys’ work ethic and the warmth the staff have shown. I would like to make a difference by growing and shaping the boys.

My experience at the school thus far has been great and I am excited to start playing my role in making a difference.

RELEBOHILE PHERANE

Hi, my name is Relebohile Pherane, but everyone calls me Lebo. I was born in Lesotho but grew up in Cape Town. In 2016 I decided to pay Joburg a visit and six years later I am still here and loving it. I am very passionate about education (Mathematics in particular) and sports…. yes, in that order.

I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Ocean & Atmosphere Science from the University of Cape Town. I completed my undergraduate degree in 2014 and thereafter I volunteered for an after-school programme called Year Beyond (YeBo). Basically, I was placed in a school from one of the disadvantaged communities in the Western Cape. I assisted the learners with their homework, assignments and reading. I was then recruited by Teach South Africa a year later to be their Mathematics Ambassador and I was placed in J.B. Matabane Secondary in Ivory Park, Tembisa where I taught Mathematics and Technology. I completed my Postgraduate Certificate in Education at UNISA in 2020.

I have been involved in some cool education projects in the last 6 years such as Columba CAP/Ngenhloso (Cognitive Acceleration Programme Through Mathematics). I have been in the education sector for over ten years now. I really enjoy working with and mentoring young people. After all, the future of our country rests upon their hands and it is our duty to equip them with the right tools.

I love nature and exploring our beautiful country. I love taking road trips with friends and family. I plan to explore every corner of South Africa and hopefully Africa in the near future. I love music (though I cannot sing to save my life) and I hope by the end of this year I have learnt to play the guitar that I got as a birthday present five years ago.

ANDREW SLAWSON

Hello everybody, I am Andrew, the new Finance Manager for The Ridge School. I have now been here for just short of four weeks and to see how a school operates from the “other side” has definitely been a revelation. I have been welcomed with open arms (this might have something to do with the fact that I pay the salaries) and I have been made to feel part of the family from day one. I attended the Founders Day ceremony for the first time, and it was inspiring to see the effort everybody, including the PA, went to to make this day the success that it was.

I have experience in the corporate world, having worked at ABSA, Nedbank and Naspers for many years in various finance related roles. I also have some SME experience having started my career at a small engineering, property and steel retailer group. I am a qualified Chartered Accountant and I have been working for over 30 years. As part of my giving back to the community, I am the treasurer for my Church, and I also audit the financial records of four other parishes in the Anglican diocese of Johannesburg.

I am originally from Pietermaritzburg but have been in Johannesburg for all of my working career. I live in the south of Johannesburg with my partner and our teenage son who is currently in Grade 11 at KES. I love visiting the Kruger National Park and go as often as my work and family commitments allow. In my spare time I like to read fiction novels for relaxation.

Your Ridge journey has come to an end, and we bid you farewell. May your future see you soaring to heights in the years to come.

 TRIBUTE TO NDILEKAN(THABI) DUMA BY MARTHA

We sometimes wonder why young people are being abandoned by their loved ones, especially their children, while they are still so young. But God said that everyone has a time to live. God’s word both creates and comforts us.

Thabi was a wise, intelligent, and very active lady who was very passionate about her work. For many years, she worked in the kitchen at The Ridge School.

She was my friend, my younger sister, and we worked hand in hand together, though she has now left us at a very young and beautiful age.

May her soul rest in peace.

Three Generations of Hersovs at The Ridge School 1935 – 2016

Basil Hersov

Basil Hersov (b 1926)is currently the oldest living Ridge old boy. He turned 95 in August and in September he and Antoinette celebrated their 64th anniversary. From the Ridge (1935-1939), Basil went on to Michaelhouse in 1940. He wrote matric in 1943 and then did six months post-matric because he was too young to serve in the military. When he turned 18 in August 1944, he immediately joined the SAAF and trained as a pilot. He later joined the Airforce Reserve and flew with them until the late 1950s. After the war he went up to Cambridge University. He returned to SA on the death of his father in 1949. He spent his entire career in Anglo Vaal, the mining and industrial group that his father Bob had co-founded in 1933. As the last chairman and managing director from 1971 – 2000, he led the restructuring of the group in the late 90s whereafter he retired. He was for many years chairman of Barclays Bank/FNB and the SA Foundation. Aviation has been an enduring passion and he continued to fly as a private (qualified commercial) pilot until the late 2000s. He has been an Honorary Colonel in the SAAF for over 35 years. When asked about The Ridge in his time, Basil reminisced: “The only sport I did well at The Ridge was swimming – I got my colours and was made captain. We played soccer … cricket I disliked, because I was invariably playing silly mid-on or silly mid-off, and the batsman invariably drove the ball straight into my stomach. I was in a house called Botha and my brother Ronnie was in Rhodes. There was a pupil we called Mad Ritchie. He was always making guns and guillotines. When we were playing marbles, if you lost, you had to put your finger in his little guillotine and you had to get it out quickly, because it actually worked. He went on to become a very well-known gunsmith in SA.”  Basil also fondly recalled his years as a governor of The Ridge and then chairman of the board from 1976-83.

Rob Hersov

Basil’s brother Ronnie (b 1928)attended The Ridge (1936-1941) and he too went on to Michaelhouse. He moved to Portugal and then to the UK. He has lived in various European countries and now spends a large part of his time with his wife June in southern Spain. Ronnie’s son Charles (b 1963) spent two years at the Ridge (1970-1971) and then attended school in the UK. He now lives with his wife Deborah and their two sons Jago and Milo in southern Spain.

Basil’s elder son Rob (b 1960), attended The Ridge (1967-1973) and went on to Michaelhouse, completing A-Levels in 1978, followed by UCT, National Service in the army, a couple of years banking in NYC and then Harvard Business School. After an early corporate career in the US and Europe he launched a series of entrepreneurial ventures, whilst living in London with his first wife Kim and two sons Alexander and Luke. With several businesses well-established and after 31 years abroad, he returned to South Africa in 2017 and has since founded several more businesses. He lives in Cape Town with his second wife Kate and his two younger children Inara and Finn.

James Hersov

Basil’s younger son James (b 1964),followed the now well-established family tradition of attending The Ridge (1971-1977) and Michaelhouse. He then went on to Cambridge University, followed by two years of National Service in the SAAF. After co-founding a trading business in southern Africa he then joined Anglo Vaal and remains a NED of AVI. After a varied entrepreneurial career, as well as producing award-winning documentary films, he moved with his wife Elisabeth and their boys to the UK in 2017. He has since co-founded a financial advisory business and an innovative tech business and is chairman of the Lee R Berger Foundation for Exploration, supporting scientific discovery and research in Africa. James remembers, “acting as Second Baby Rabbit called Lucy in The Wind in the Willows; fighting battles with grass sods on the kopje during break whilst looking out for scorpions and snakes; sharing an Art Prize in Grade 2 with Beezy Bailey; Major Johnson barking orders on the sport fields; gentlemanly Mr Rose and the construction of the Rose Pavilion; and Mr Cheales’s larger than life personality, explosive temper and size 14 slipper.”

Jasper Hersov

James’s elder son, Jasper (b 2003), completed Grade 7 as the Dux at The Ridge (2009 – 2016) and went on to Eton College, where he is now in his final year. He was awarded an Oppidan Scholarship and this year has been selected to Sixth Form Select, a prestigious prefect body established in the 1830s, “when the twenty ablest boys at the top of the school were taught by the Head Master in his schoolroom.” One of the roles of Sixth Form Select is to make speeches to the school (a few of which are still conducted in Latin or Greek) and there are five performances a year. He is Keeper of the school’s Shackleton Society for Exploration and Editor of the school’s online Science website, EtonSTEM. Jasper plays tennis for the Open Team and still loves to perform on the piano whenever he has the opportunity. His fondest memories of The Ridge include “the excitement of Friday afternoon swimming galas; Mrs van der Poel’s enthusiasm on Senior Choir tours and at Music Soirees; and the inevitability of Cheales (his house) winning the house cup at the end of the year.”   

Max Hersov

James’s younger son Max (b 2006) left the Ridge at the end of Grade 4 (2012-2016). On arriving in the UK, he attended Lambrook Prep for two years, where he was put forward to write Eton College’s scholarship exams and won a King’s Scholarship. He is currently in his third year at Eton. Like his brother he obtained his Grade 8 in music and plays the clarinet in the school’s junior orchestra and senior concert band. He too loves tennis and represents the school team in his age group. In addition, he plays some sports specific to Eton, such as the Wall Game, Eton Fives and the Field Game. When asked what he remembers of The Ridge, Max replied: “The festive vibe of Founder’s Days; cricket matches on the Hope field (which were rather more glamourous than matches on the Hersov field); and playing in the Jazz Band.”

By Janet Fox

Wishing Old Boy, Ben Kok (2018) well as he departs on his trip to NASA in Houston, USA.

Congratulations to Old Boy, Kabir Budlender (2020) on winning the Speech of the Day prize at a recent isiZulu Oral Competition hosted by St Mary’s DSG in Pretoria.

Michael Van Heerden (LIV Fleming) has had a very busy year, achieving incredible honours and records in his junior swimming career. He managed to break six records at the Inter-House Swimming Gala in the first term followed by qualifying for the South African National Junior Championships and earning himself three firsts and three seconds.

On Thursday 12 May we welcomed Old Boys from as far back as 1951 to as recent as 2021 to our annual Johannesburg reunion. Thank you to our guest speaker, Doug Gain (1989) for his insight into independent schooling in Johannesburg and his passion for The Ridge School and for what it stands for.

Thank you, also to James Carmichael (1989), our Old Boys Chair and parent, for his excellent hosting skills and running, together with Doug, a rigorous and robust debate.

SENIOR PREP OVERVIEW

What is it that we want of our boys once their journey at The Ridge School is over? This is a question that we as educators often ask ourselves. We understand that giving our boys a sound educational base is a primary objective. I could spend hours talking about the various ways in which schools try to achieve these goals with each one claiming to offer the best, most sophisticated method of unlocking a child’s potential.

I look around the country and the educational climate that we find ourselves in, and I am concerned. Whilst schools churn out impressive school results and puff out their chests at the number of scholarships achieved. It brings to mind the question of how we measure success.

On one hand, parents want to know that their child will be afforded the best opportunity to succeed and thrive in life and to that end, academic excellence is a strong driver. The process of learning should count more than the outcome, and how we measure growth, through encouraging a growth mindset should be the cornerstone of what we do as educators.

Academics will always play a critical role in what we do at The Ridge, and it should. We take this opportunity to celebrate the boys that achieved academic recognition and honours – two and three terms of an 80% and more average is no mean feat. We congratulate all our Scholarship winners and recognize that their discipline, focus and time on task have also reaped great rewards.

Private schools are becoming more diverse in their makeup, and this is a beautiful thing, but can we rely on our old model of how things were done to equip our boys of the skills they will need for the future. Creating cultures of thinking and inclusivity should be what all progressive schools strive to achieve, and these outcomes should go hand in hand with the vision and values of a school. We should be intentional in displaying empathy, resilience, respect, authenticity, and a sense of belonging to all who enter through our gates.

One of the many highlights of the semester was when The Ridge School hosted the premiere of the Mission Joy movie, featuring The Dalai Lama and the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu. This documentary was a celebration of the human spirit, the power of the “human touch” and how leading with kindness can spread joy.

Having last had a music tour in 2016, it was with great excitement that the school embarked on a tour de force to KwaZulu Natal. The boys played with passion and enthusiasm and fully embraced the opportunity to spread joy through their musical gifts. Our boys were well received whenever we performed and more importantly, our boys conducted themselves in a manner of which our community could feel proud.

The role that sports plays in our schools cannot be underestimated.  Besides learning and honing one’s skills in a particular sporting code, sport has the power to mould young men of character and integrity, and it instills accountability, discipline, and teamwork. Boys should be encouraged to play hard and fairly, giving their all for the team but once the final whistle blows, it should the enjoyment and love of participation that is remembered and not merely the end score.

To emphasise that very point, our first team rugby boys participated in the Independent Schools Rugby Festival hosted by Rondebosch in Cape Town. Though the results did not always go our way. the boys were congratulated on their style of play and grit by many of the other traditional rugby schools. What the boys remember are the sidesteps, mauls, and moves that finally worked and led to tries, not the huge hits received and final scores. What the boys remember are the bonds strengthened and new friends made and that is the beauty of sports.

The Great Debaters is a drama starring Denzel Washington based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas. In 1935, he inspired students to form the school’s first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship. Whilst we haven’t quite reached those lofty heights, the debating class of 2022 can be proud of putting The Ridge School firmly on the debating map.

Our Debating Team participated in a series of seven meets which culminated in the Antheneum Debating League, finals in which our boys earned first place in our category. Even more impressive is that we were the only junior school that managed to reach the finals and then win against high school students.

Some of the benefits of learning debating are improved critical thinking skills, articulation, greater empathy, and emotional control, these skills are sorely lacking in our world, and are vital in navigating the challenges we face today.

Hear ye hear ye!” after a lengthy absence, the Grade 7 school production is back. Scripts have been written, cast assembled and rehearsals are underway. An adaptation of Jack and the Beanstalk is what we can look forward to as we come back for the final Semester.

Drama and the Arts are one of the vehicles used to build creativity, improve confidence and encourage teamwork and collaboration and we look forward to these skills being put on display for what will surely be a memorable few nights of theatre.

What our robust school curriculum shows and tries to achieve is a teaching method in which complex real-world problems are used as the vehicle to promote student learning of concepts and principles.

The formalized introduction of Project Based Learning (PBL) helps to promote and reinforce the development of critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities, and communication once again. It also provides opportunities for working in groups, finding, and evaluating research materials whilst also reinforcing the joy of lifelong learning.

The school year never really feels whole without our Founder’s Day celebrations, and it rings true that absence truly does make the heart grow fonder. The Ridge Family came together after a two-year hiatus to celebrate the Founder’s Day celebrations in person on our grounds. The day proved to be a huge success where the community and loved ones could share in laughter, unwind, and enjoy the festivities. This day helps to remind us that it is our diversity that makes us stronger together.

As we reflect on what has been a Semester full of activity and learning, we should take this time to evaluate our past, live fully in the moment, and look to lead into the future with kindness. This should fill us all with hope and joy for what our future leaders can achieve.  

By Nico Seakamela

JUNIOR PREP OVERVIEW

 It’s hard to believe that part of Term 2 2021 was spent online, and now, just a year later, we have been able to re-introduce all the in-person academics, performing arts, sports and extra mural activities back into our daily lives.

Term 2 is traditionally a cold, long term and this year wasn’t made any more cheerful with the Stage 4, 5 & 6 load shedding. Thankfully, we live in Johannesburg where even when there is no power during the day, the sun is still shinning and warming the beautiful teaching spaces on The Ridge campus.

Here are some of my highlights from Term 2 2022:

JP ASSEMBLY

“I’m helpful, I’m brave, I’m kind” – These are our JP Assembly mantras and positive affirmations, these help us focus on how we want to show up and challenge any negative thoughts. When you repeat them often, and believe in them, they become our second nature.

Every Thursday morning, we come to the Nicolson Hall with our Junior Prep School family. This is a time of formalities and fun, notices and celebrations. Towards the end of every assembly, we take a few moments to say these 3 short phrases together:

I am helpful.

I am brave.

I am kind.

What we focus on, we get more of and what we offer to others, we strengths in ourselves.

A light-hearted moment in our assemblies is when we incorporate some dance or movement into the proceedings. We particularly enjoy DJ Raphi’s YouTube channel. DJ Raphi a Johannesburg-born beatboxer, dancer, DJ and recording artist currently based in Jerusalem, Israel. When I tagged DJ Raphi on the video below he said he was delighted to see the JP Ridge boys enjoying one of our favourites, ‘Follow the Leader’.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE – Parent workshop on 25th May

I had a meeting with a Junior Prep Mom in Term 1, and she was saying how truly isolating the pandemic had been for her and her family. She picks up most of the responsibilities of day-to-day parenting for her son and his younger brother. She is still getting to know the other Ridge families and so does not yet feel comfortable to ask for help with practical things like playdates, lifts or lunchboxes. She was the inspiration behind this parent talk. I opened the session with a welcome and opportunity for parents to introduce themselves to each other. Candice Fletcher then spoke about the after effects of the pandemic and then Mr Naidoo wrapped up with his dad’s perspective of having young children and how asking for help gives other an opportunity to ask for help too. The best moment of the session was when Mr Naidoo took off this shoe and sock and showed us how his daughters had painted his toenails pink and purple!

GRADE 0 & 1 – PARENTS AND SONS SPORT – 9th & 16th July

As a school, we are proud of the achievements we have had on the sports field over a number of years, and therefore we are always striving to keep improving our programme. We believe the success of the programme relies on continued support from both the boys and parents.

Our coaching staff focus on developing the necessary physical skills, as well as learning about the importance of good sportsmanship, like shaking hands after a match of parents vs boys!

My heart was bursting when I walked down to the field on a chilly morning in July to see the incredible turnout from the Grade 0 and 1 parents and sons.

SALT – Sharing and Learning Together – 10th June

 I really look forward to and enjoy these SALT sessions with the boys. During this SALT meeting, with a South African theme, we played a game of ‘Snakes & Ladders’ with different tasks and instructions.

Grade 7 boy: “What do you love about South Africa?”

Grade 1 boy: “Cape Town”

Grade 7 boy: “What do you not like about South Africa?”

Grade 1 boy: “Guineafowls!”

When I grow up, I want to me more like a child. I often say this, and I really mean it. No two days are the same when you work in a school. The boys are interesting and hilarious and honest and eager. They teach me more than I teach them and being with them fills my heart with joy.

By Mandy Herold

LIGHTHOUSE OVERVIEW

It takes a village … supporting boys with neurological developmental differences

“In a world like ours, accepting ourselves as neurodivergent is the hardest thing to do. It often feels futile, as if there are a thousand barriers standing in the way. We are taught, intentionally or unintentionally, to think that any form of disability is a bad thing. From teasing at school, gung-ho attitudes about our capability, media displays of inspiration porn, right down to lackluster classroom accommodations and social stereotyping, we are taught that disability is somehow not okay.” This is a sad, but real, account of the neurodivergent experience from a former Matric student of mine. In truth, the general perception that neurotypical people have of people with neurodiversity is complete and utter nonsense. The task of changing these perceptions in schools is challenging, but not insurmountable.

Research was undertaken in 2021 with the aim of understanding the interactions neurodivergent people experienced within the educational environment, and what barriers and enablers were present for neurodivergent inclusion and participation. Results from that study show that positive relationships are enablers to inclusion, and assumptions made by teachers based on labels, competence, stigma, or stereotypes are barriers. Positive relationships with teachers are forged:

  • when teachers listen and proactively respond to an Autistic student’s known needs, whether the needs are explicitly stated or otherwise communicated.
  • when teachers who are sensitive to the student’s needs, enable the student to blossom, which in turn leads to that student developing confidence to self-advocate.
  • when teachers avoid making assumptions, passing judgement or stereotype their students.
  • when teachers actively dismantle stigma associated with neurodiversity. 
  • when teachers foster two-way communication that includes self-advocacy 
  • in a robust way to ensure that an educational environment is inclusive for every individual.  
  • when teachers have a presumption of competence,  
  • When as well as dismissing the deficit-based assumption surrounding Autism, one can also foster inclusive educational environments and offer positive educational experiences for Autistic people.

My experience of inclusive education in three different countries and in a number of   different schools has shown that academic inclusion doesn’t always look the same, it varies depending on how inclusion is defined, and how much inclusion support is actually provided by schools – in some cases, none at all. Education should be inclusive and accommodating for all students wanting to go to school. Every educational setting is different in the way they approach inclusion of neurodivergent students, but it is essential to incorporate support for social and emotional wellbeing, behaviour, communication, and sensory needs.  

It is important to remember that our boys who have neurological developmental differences such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or are autistic/have autism do not engage in willful disobedience. Their behaviour is not determined by too much sugar or too much Minecraft, and symptoms are not “just a tantrum”, a character flaw, or down to poor parenting. Neurological differences won’t be cured by sports or discipline.

Children with neurological developmental differences experience a range of challenges at school. Sometimes these challenges stem from differing styles of communication and social differences that result in difficulties in relationships. Accumulating research and evidence indicates that neurodivergent children are more likely to be bullied at school. Neurological developmental differences do not equate to low ability or low intelligence. Without neurodivergent brains, it is unlikely that we would have explorers, entertainers, pioneers, innovators, entrepreneurs, athletes, musicians, computer engineers, and creatives. “There are neurodivergent people in EVERY walk of life and in EVERY profession, and learning how to engage positively with ALL people from a very young age is a life skill that we must all learn.”

By Penelope Meyer

SPORT OVERVIEW

This year was the first year that we have officially trialed a switch in winter sports to align with rugby with the Easter Festivals. We also introduced TAG rugby as an alternative to contact rugby which the boys really seemed to enjoy. Our rugby season as a whole was quite a tough one but our boys’ showed lots of grit and determination, especially against the larger Boys Prep Schools. The culmination of the season was the highly anticipated Independent Schools Rugby Festival hosted by Bishops for our 1st side. Our boys really did us proud during the three matches they played against WPPS, Woodridge and St Andrew’s. The boys really played awesome rugby and the victory on the last day was exactly what the boys deserved. The boys also experienced an awesome tour of Cape Town on their rest day; doing a harbor cruise, going up Table Mountain, an open top Red Bus tour of the city, local fish and chips in Hout Bay and finally some fun time on the beach. The boys also enjoyed a round of putt-putt in Sea Point and a trip to the Waterfront.

During the term we also had boys playing tennis, running cross country events, climbing in competitions and canoeing.

Our tennis boys are still currently playing fixtures which will end during the last week of term. They have had some stiff competition during the season but have punched well above their weight and produced some impressive results. The Ridge has also entered two teams to participate in the annual Sun City Tennis tournament during the August holidays. We are looking forward to this event and know our boys will do us proud.

Our cross-country boys performed well in the various events that were hosted and the season ended in an Inter-Schools events hosted by St John’s at Rietvlei Zoo Farm. This was a great event and our runners performed well and our teams finishing as follows out of the 8 participating schools:

  • Grade 3 – 5th
  • Grade 4 – 5th
  • Grade 5 – 7th
  • Grade 6 – 2nd
  • Grade 7 – 2nd 

Our climbers also performed well this season and we ended up having two boys selected to represent Gauteng at the Cape Town Nationals. Congratulations to both William McIlleron and Jack Heenan on being selected. A very special mention needs to go to Jack who finished 3rd in the Lead section for U12 boys. Both these boys can be extremely proud of their achievements and are commended for their time and dedication to the sport.

Our canoeing boys trained every Friday in Term 1 and this paid off for three Ridge boys who went on to represent Gauteng at the SA Marathon Champs held in KZN this year. These three boys flew The Ridge flag extremely high and achieved the following results:

  • Boys U8 – Asher Wilson finished 1st
  • Boys U10 – Ben Carmichael finished 1st  Edward Carmichael finished 2nd

This was a fantastic achievement and we would like to congratulate these boys on the dedication and commitment they have  shown during the season.

As from half-term all our boys started playing compulsory football. At the time of writing this report, the boys had already played 4 fixtures and there have been some impressive results across the board. This year we will be taking the entire Gr 7 group on football tour with the A and B sides going to Nelspruit and the C and D sides going to Camp Discovery.

We have held hockey trials to select a side to represent The Ridge at the annual Prep Schools Hockey Festival hosted by Rondebosch this year. We wish the 13 boys selected all the best as they play some really tough opposition, who will be nearing the end of their season, whilst we are only starting ours. 

Lastly, I would like to thank all the coaches who have been involved in making this term’s sport run as smoothly as possible. To all the staff that have given up their time to go on tours or who are still going on tours, a very big thank you for the time you have given up to create memories that our Ridge boys will hopefully never forget. To the Estate and Catering staff who ensure that the fields are marked and maintained, and the tea, coffee and snacks are being served to parents and visiting schools I also need to say a huge thank you to our parents. It is wonderful to have you back on campus supporting your boys. Lets keep encouraging and cheering for our boys at every opportunity we get.

As we approach the final term, I wish all the Ridge staff and coaches a wonderful and deserved break and safe travels if you are going away or on tour. Return well rested for an exciting final term.

By Bennie Du Preez

INNOVATION FEEDBACK

Innovations this term included the introduction of: Philosophy for Children (P4C) in Grade 4, Project Based Learning (PBL)in Grade 5; Robotics and Coding in Grade 4; and Applied Drama in Grade 7.    

P4C encourages the development of reasonableness, practical wisdom and good judgement. It develops clarity of language, open-mindedness, and precision of language. In addition, It addresses central human concerns such as fairness, responsibility and truth. The four C’s of P4C thinking include: critical thinking, creative thinking, caring thinking and collaborative thinking. It teaches children to think more deeply and philosophically through a variety of activities based on questioning, collaborative enquiry and dialogue. 

Project Based Learning (PBL) in Grade 5 integrates the subjects: Geography, History, Design & Technology and Science. It is a learner centred approach that promotes skills such as critical thinking, communication, creativity, problem-solving, perseverance, collaboration, information literacy, and the integration of technology. It was wonderful to observe the boys’ excitement and enthusiasm for this approach. 

This term, our driving question was: What might we learn from Ancient Egypt that would help us to develop a better today? The boys began the engagement process by planning their own trip to Egypt where they were given a budget and parameters for the duration and nature of the trip. They then went on to explore the roles of various people during that time. They continued the exploration through the incorporation of design and technology aspects by creating, in groups of four, models of “A Day in the Life of Ancient Egypt”. Amongst other things, the models needed to include:  a pyramid, a River, a Shaduf, a sarcophagus, a crop; a Rosetta Stone, an Obelisk and artifacts of their own choice. Thereafter, they looked at lessons learned from the Ancient Egyptians that could assist us today, in order to answer the driving question. The project culminated in an Egyptian Evening where the boys showcased their learning to their parents.

Drama in Education (DIE) provides a stimulating context in which students are able to think and reason with reference to moral dilemmas. Drama has been known to have a positive effect on attitudes such as self-confidence, commitment, sensitivity and the desire to learn and develop understanding. It provides learners with the opportunity to absorb realities that differ from their own, to create, to perform and reflect upon that performance and to engage in emotional commitment within those realities.  It may be used as a means of educating through the immersion of participants within complex situations. The boys explored subjects such as: bullying, social scenarios which may arise in High School and how to respond to these and how to act when difficult or awkward situations arise.

In terms of teaching and learning, research was done into the relationship between curriculum and pedagogy and we have begun to implement alternative ways of teaching and learning. We are examining the ways in which assessment takes place by considering assessment for learning, assessment as learning and assessment of learning. The focus is to be on assessment on the process rather than of the final product only. We have explored ways in which to provide a personalised learning journey for each boy by taking into account the different learning needs of each boy. The aim is to offer more than a curriculum-based education so as to develop an individual’s sense of self and worth in their context. Learning should be fun, engaging, authentic and instil a sense of wonder, curiosity and a love of learning so that our boys can become lifelong learners. 

Ultimately, we would like to provide our boys with the knowledge, skills and habits of mind for a forward thinking, sound education that is personal and that supports our strategic vision within the school.

Caption for pictures:  Grade 5 boys working on their Egypt models.

By Glynnis Moore

ENVIROMENTAL OVERVIEW

The Second Term has seen The Ridge take on and participate in a variety of Environmental initiatives. We were lucky enough to have Mr Kevin Moore address the boys and staff at Assembly during World Environment Awareness Month in June to speak about his work in conservation at SANParks. He reiterated the importance of water conservation and taught us some interesting things about alternate water sources. They boys were intrigued and motivated to be more mindful of their own water consumption. 

The Grade 4 cohort studied the topic of water. They investigated the significance of water in our lives as well as the survival of all living things. The boys were asked to bring a 5-litre bottle of water to carry around for the day in honour of the many people who must travel several kilometres every day just to collect fresh water. The water was then collected by Ashraful Aid Organisation and delivered to the Eastern Cape, where it is desperately needed. 

The Grade 1’s took a trip to Random Harvest Nursery where they learnt about indigenous plants. They spent time in the soil learning about the many living organisms that contribute to making healthy, fertile soil in which plants can grow. The Grade 1’s also collected pine cones and made their own bird feeders which have attracted a variety of birdlife to school and home gardens. 

The Grade 2’s tended to their vegetable garden which has involved a lot of soil prep and weeding. They planted winter vegetables such as spinach and carrots as well as flat leaf parsley and cabbages. The birds have proved a challenge to the garden this winter and so the boy devised ways to protect their crops. In lessons the boys have learnt about the farm to table process that the food we buy goes through. This culminated in the boys making their own butter from scratch. A tiring and rewarding exercise. Mrs Coetzee came in to help the boys set up our own worm farm which will provide our vegetable garden and soil with excellent nutrients to see it into Spring. 

The Grade 5’s took over the organisation and running of the Clothes to Good drive. All members of the school community were encouraged to bring in green bags filled with clothes and materials that they no longer use. There are so many wonderful benefits of this organisation. The aspect of reducing, reusing and recycling is at the core of everything they do and the benefit of empowering women in their own small businesses makes it even more meaningful. Please visit https://clothestogood.com/ if you would like to learn more. 

As a school community continue to make Eco-Bricks which are collected at the Parker Block. The bricks are given over to Khensani’s Collection in Diepsloot where they are used to build classrooms. Every Eco-Brick is a triumph as it contains the small pieces of plastic that cause damage and destruction to our wildlife. Please keep them coming in! 

The school is committed to recycling our waste and reusing where we can. We have active compost heaps and we have reinstated our Bokashi Bins since the reopening of the school kitchen. Recyclable waste is collected by WholeEarth recycling once a week. We are always looking for more effective ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. 

By Holly Ferrar

GRADE 0 OVERVIEW

With winter around the corner and brand-new tracksuits ready to be donned, the Grade 0 boys entered into Term 2 with excitement and awe. One of the most wonderful privileges of being a Grade 0 teacher is the joy that comes with the simplest of new experiences through the eyes of 5-and 6-year-olds. 

Term 2 has been a hive of excitement for The Parker Block! It is quite possible that some of the most memorable days were the ones where parents offered to share their passions and occupations with our boys. This was a new project, and we are so grateful for how well it was received. The boys learned about a range of jobs from policewomen and lawyers to cookie bakers and doctors. A research scientist provided much fun and entertainment as the boys learned about sound waves, and witnessed real-time hypotheses being created. 

Another highlight of Term 2 was celebrating 100 Days of School. The significance of this celebration is to recognise 100 days of learning, whilst incorporating the understanding of the concept of the number 100. The boys began their week of celebrations by bringing in bags of 100 items in the hopes of a better understanding of how the number can be represented in many different ways. For example, a bag of 100 rice grains looks very different to 100 marshmallows. The boys then learned about making 10 groups of 10, as well as counting in 10s, in a practical and fun way. We concluded the week with a visit from Ridgie and Mr Naidoo and each boy received a certificate congratulating him on completing 100 days at The Ridge School.

We have enjoyed the reintroduction of Parent and Sons Sport, and what a happy sight it has been to see so many boys and their folks filling the Cheales field on Saturday mornings. The boys and their parents have braved frosty fields to home in on their soccer skills and get to know one another in a different environment. 

After the hype and excitement of Founder’s Day it was a downhill slide to the end of Term! We are so looking forward to welcoming the boys back to a warmer Third Term after a well-deserved holiday.

By Sarah Behr

GRADE 3 OVERVIEW

It has been an exciting term for the Grade 3 boys. Not only did they learn a lot about the world around them, but they developed an understanding of teamwork and sportsmanship.

The theme for the term was “The World around us”. This allowed the boys to find out more about animals that interested them and highlighted our role as humans in the world. With World Environment Day as well as World Oceans Day in June, we discussed how we can influence the environment in which we live. Learning about habitats, food chains, animal classifications and sustainability allowed the boys to deepen their understanding of the Animal Kingdom.

The theme culminated in a project where the boys were able to merge their creativity and animal knowledge. They made an Ocean Diorama that represented the habitat in which their chosen animal or animals lived. The boys then prepared a 2 minute speech on the chosen animal or animals. The standard was very high and the creativity shown in making their dioramas showed unique ideas. It was a huge success and the learning that took place was amazing to witness.

A wonderful addition to our timetable this term was that of Art. The boys worked on both theme related ideas as well as learnt more about famous artists. The boys developed their spatial skills and their understanding of colour. The term ended with a paper mache project making a model of the Earth, which developed their understanding of the continents.

The rugby and soccer seasons provided many opportunities to  develop the boys fitness levels and to work together in a variety of teams. The greatest lesson learnt was how to deal with disappointment and regroup as a team, developing resilience for the next game.

We look forward to the last term of 2022 and hope that the lessons learnt during Term 2, about how to look after each other , as well as the Mother Earth are with our boys for many years to come.

By Di Wellard

GRADE 4 OVERVIEW

The Grade 4s have had an extremely busy term and have enjoyed being fully involved in many aspects of school life, from the classroom to the sports field and Music department. They started the term with a project-based style of learning that incorporated many of their core subjects. First of all, the boys worked in pairs to design a zoo on Minecraft. The excitement and enthusiasm for this was immeasurable! They chose 4 animals, researched their habitats and designed each enclosure to incorporate all the necessary features required for their animal to survive in their habitat. The boys were then required to draw a map and create an poster advert for their zoo, as well as present a radio advert in Afrikaans and design an invitation in Zulu. Following on from this project, the boys learnt about how animals and plants have adapted to their environments and they each created a wonderfully entertaining presentation on Chatterpix, describing the adaptations of a selected animal.

After a long gap resulting from the Covid restrictions, we have been able to resume the Reading Programme where we ask parents to come in and read in small groups with the boys once a week. Both boys and parents are really enjoying this opportunity to read together and for the boys to develop their reading skills. 

The rugby season was a highlight for many, including some of those who weren’t so sure about the game at the beginning. We ran several ‘contact’ teams and a couple of ‘tag’ teams. It was great to see the improvement as the weeks progressed and the Grade 4s are to be complimented on some very promising results. We are now in the throes of an extremely busy football season having transferred their skills from their hands to their feet!

The choir boys had an opportunity to display their musical talents when they endeared themselves to the audience at the premier of ‘Mission Joy: Finding Happiness in Troubled Times’.

As our theme for ‘Environmental Awareness Month’ in June, the Grade 4s investigated the topic of water and the crisis hitting various corners of the earth. We learnt about the importance of water, studied the water cycle and carried a 5 litre bottle of water around for a day in appreciation of the millions of children in the world who do not have access to fresh water and have to travel many kilometres to fetch some. The water bottles were then donated to Ashraful Aid who transported them down to the Eastern Cape where the people are in dire need of fresh water.

The history of The Ridge was learnt by means of a ‘treasure hunt’, where the boys had to find sources of evidence around the school to gather information about the last 103 years. This was definitely an action-packed challenge which found Grade 4s racing around the premises in all directions!

We would like to acknowledge and offer hearty congratulations to Ben and Ed Carmichael who finished 1st and 2nd respectively in the South African U10 4km Canoe Championships, and to Antonio Isidro who has been selected to represent South Africa at the Tillotson T4 Nations Cup for Go Karting to be held in Spain in September. Well done, guys!

And so, as this busy term draws to a close, we are proud of all that the Grade 4s have achieved. They are a pleasure to teach, full of energy and enthusiasm, and they have certainly earned a restful, happy holiday. 

By Erica Kinnear

MUSIC OVERVIEW

Woo-hoo for Term 2!

After the incredibly successful Term 1, I wasn’t sure if we would be able to top it, but the boys defied all expectations to present another amazing selection of performances throughout Term 2.

We started off the Term by hosting the Ascension Day Service here at The Ridge, and it was an absolutely joyous celebration alongside the APPS and St Katharine’s girls. The school hosted the South African Première of the film Mission: Joy – a collaborative film about the friendship between the Dalai Lama and Bishop Desmond Tutu. What a privilege to be part of such a wonderful event, with an incredibly important message of togetherness. The Grade 5 Marimba band welcomed the guests and dignitaries upon arrival and the Junior Choir opened the evening’s formal proceedings with an energetic rendition of Give a Little Love by Ziggy Marley and The Melody Makers.

We hosted our second Ridge Ensemble Evening on Monday 6 June, and it was a very successful evening with performances by all our Marimba bands, the Senior Orchestra as well as début performances by the Senior Guitar Ensemble and the Jazz Band, under the direction of Marcus Wyatt. 

The Senior Choir participated in the Kingsmead Choir Festival, giving the boys an opportunity to showcase their well-rehearsed choral programme, alongside the choirs of De la Salle and Kingsmead. The boys did The Ridge proud and managed to deliver a high-quality performance after a long afternoon on the sports field.

This year’s Music Tour to KZN was a resounding success, with community concerts held at the Caister Lodge and Garden Grove retirement homes, as well as at Le Domaine retirement estate. We also presented school concerts at Kearsney College and Clifton, and to a wonderfully energetic audience at Highbury. The boys worked hard, performed exceptionally well, and had a number of fun activities to enjoy too. They represented the school adeptly and our hosts thoroughly enjoyed their polished performances.

This year marked our first Founder’s Day since the Centenary Celebrations in 2019. The Music Department showcased the Foundation Orchestra at the start of the formal service and then combined with the Senior Orchestra to officially kick off the proceedings with a South African flavour, performing a piece called Kwêla. The Junior Choir and Amtoti Choir were also featured here, as well as a combined item with the Senior Choir and Orchestra of Sisi ni Moja which means We are One, in Swahili. This was a wonderful, celebratory service with the whole school community in attendance.

The afternoon Founder’s Fun Day celebrations provided a stage for the Rock Band, Jazz Band and Staff bands to demonstrate how incredibly versatile our Music department is. Great fun was had by all!

Grade 2 and 3 Music Assembly provided an incredibly important platform for the Individual Music students to display their growing talents. Much improvement has been made since the Term 1 concert, and the boys are commended on their continued efforts in polishing their musical skills.

The term ended with a community engagement performance at the Salvation Army Eventide Home for the Aged, where the Junior Choir boys performed their whole repertoire and also brought treats and goodies to host a tea for the residents. A special thank you to all the moms who helped make this opportunity a possibility.

The Senior Soirée was an utterly joyful way to end the term on a musical note. I look forward to all the musical gems taking place in Term 3. See you at the next concert!

By Carol Ackermann

MUSIC TOUR KZN

FOUNDERS DAY

On Saturday 23 July we celebrated Founders’ Day and our 103rd birthday. The day kicked off with an assembly on Hersov field, as we enjoyed words of encouragement from Mr Reginald Lucky Seane, our guest speaker (Old Boy 1998). The festivities continued on Rose and Cheales late into the afternoon.

ART OVERVIEW

As we close off another term of Art, on the back of so many changes at The Ridge and in our broader context, it is good to step back and take stock of what it is we actually do with our boys in Art class. In the words of veteran Art Educator and publisher, Maryanne Kohl “Art is as natural as sunshine and as vital as nourishment”. The journey of an individual through art begins at The Ridge School in Grade 0. From Grade 0 through to Grade 3, boys are busy with the building blocks of artmaking. This is a time when exploring colour and representing objects begins. By Grade 3 they are using more complex ways of describing their world, and they begin to get to grips with the language of Art. By Grade 4 boys enter the Senior Prep art studio – the most spectacular art studio in the country! Here they start to use techniques with more confidence and awareness, and they are able to produce more original work. In Grade 5 they begin to grapple with how to use materials in unique ways in order to achieve their vision. By Grade 6 boys are able to understand that art is also about the idea, and they learn how to use it as a tool for communication, particularly through graphic art. The Grade 7s bring it all together in their projects, marrying their technical skills with their conceptual abilities, and their work never fails to impress.

No matter the age or the stage, our boys are not afraid to tackle whatever artistic challenge is thrown their way. In addition to learning about artists and techniques, art class is about using one’s imagination, solving problems along the way, patience, humility, respect for others, and appreciation for diverse cultures, beliefs and backgrounds. Boys also learn that their art making is not only about producing something amazing to look at, but that the lessons learnt can be applied to the world more broadly. In our fast-changing world where AI and IT are dominating, it is the things which make us uniquely human that machines can’t replace, which we have to develop and nurture, such as compassion, critical thinking and creativity.  Art classes at The Ridge make a substantial contribution to equipping our boys with these ‘softer’, but soon becoming ‘core’ skills. I have seen how, over their time in the studio, boys become more curious, how they develop their intellectual courage, how they explore, problem solve and collaborate, becoming more adaptable, resilient and committed! Many Ridge boys have returned to the studio to tell me about their Matric Art, or Fine Arts at university, or even how Art influenced technical subjects like engineering or sciences. 

Art classes are about giving boys a wonderful space for innovation and imagination. There should not be a formula for producing art. The American abstract sculptor, Louise Nevelson said “I think all great innovations are built on rejections.” Having the freedom to make mistakes, seeing them as opportunities to create something new, is one of my guiding philosophies, which gives boys the freedom to make the beautiful creations and interesting innovations they do. I am always so proud of their achievements, always surprised and always inspired by what they bring to their works of art.

By Nicci Kurz

NIGHT RUN

The PA Neon Night Run, back on the calendar after a couple of years, proved to be as popular as before with nearly 700 attendees. The golf course was alive with all things bright and bold as young and old tackled the 2km and 4km routes, both proving to be tougher than first thought. Congratulations to the PA, the event was a great success in bringing together The Ridge community to share in a fun and healthy evening out.