Horizons Term 1 2020

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It’s tempting to use this editorial to cover the surreal and unprecedented circumstances of COVID-19 and its impact on the world, and more closer to home, our school. But a disclaimer… I am choosing instead to focus on the good old days instead.

The anticipation of the start of Term 1 at The Ridge was palpable when the staff returned after a long and wonderful December holiday. The previous year’s centenary celebrations were now a thing of the past and the staff were eager to start the first of the next 100 years at The Ridge!

AS Grade 5PI love the start of a school year and all the new things that brings with it: The excitement of my own two boys’ new classes and new teachers; a new class of boys (and parents) for me and a round of new faces to the Ridge team. This year saw a new Grade 5 teammate for Mr Seakamela and myself too, with Scott Mallen joining us and bringing a fresh new dynamic to the Grade 5 team! If you haven’t met Scott, and the other new staff, look out for their introductions in this edition of Horizons.

While we may have a few gaps in this edition, without camps and Lumo Dance and Soapbox Derby, and more. We still have a lot to offer you in this edition covering what started as a full 2020 with busy sporting, cultural, academic and Ridge family activities. Please take a moment to enjoy the wonderful photos of your boys and the write-up about each of their activities. If nothing else, it’s an opportunity for us to be grateful about the start to the year that we did have; the time we have together at home now, and to look forward to what’s to come in a new term.

Stay happy and stay safe.

Anton Pretorius

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Dear Parents,

My headmaster’s message comes to you all as part of Anton Pretorius’ regular and, as always, much anticipated end of term Horizons publication. A termly newsletter that has, understandably, been collated against the backdrop of the Novel Coronavirus pandemic. As such, it will essentially represent two distinct aspects of school this term: The Ridge before the measures taken to stop the spread of the virus and The Ridge after the early school closure and lockdown.

I’ve said on many occasions that the school during holiday time is never quite the same because of the very obvious fact that The Ridge Spirit, that is so beautifully captured by the boys, is missing. During the school holidays is one thing, during term time, when forced closure and lockdown is keeping them all at home, is something even more telling.

Being blessed, as I am, to live on The Ridge estate means that the access to the grounds is mine to enjoy each day. So the boys’ absence has been brought home to me even more markedly; a sadly profound reminder of all that the lockdown is challenging us with in our primary schooling context.

The other reality, though, and as the teachers have found out during the most enlightening online learning adventure, is that the little boy and young man spirit is still readily on tap, just somewhat at a distance.

For me, one of the highlights of the whole online teaching and learning experience that we have seen unfolding in recent days has been the way in which the boys have so willingly, naturally and with real energy, embraced it all. An enthusiasm that has been felt by the teachers not only in the way the lads have adapted to this cyber learning space, but also through their excitement to link up and share their experiences with each other.

It’s in this reaching across the enforced lockdown divide that the boys have shown their remarkable ability to adjust and their resourcefulness, as young Generation Z natives, to find interesting and new ways of sharing time with each other. The cyber playdates have been wonderful to hear about and reflect again on just how important it is for boys to be able to connect, to share stories, and to just ‘hang out’ together – albeit through artificial means.

But the reality is that, no matter how wide the WiFi bandwidth, how efficient the digital connectivity, and how imaginative the young minds will show themselves to be, nothing beats the real thing. Lockdown has reminded us that there is no substitute for person to person contact and the emotional empowering that comes from relational bonding. Parents would have enjoyed the positive side of this same coin.

My forty years as a teacher and educator of boys has encouraged me to find some important reflection opportunities during the past few days. Something that is very clear to me is the fact that at the heart of every successful school and place of learning is the underpinning power that healthy and happy relationships generate. This is nowhere more evident than when seen to be experienced each day in the lives of the boys themselves. A trusted and secure brotherhood that provides essential social and emotional security for every lad as he prepares to navigate the world beyond the cocoon of safety that a primary school like The Ridge can and does offer.

The first eight weeks of the term certainly provided ample evidence of just how strong these bonds of friendship are here at The Ridge for the majority of our lads. And it all comes so naturally. As they engage, socialize and participate in so many class, group and team activities each day their innate instinct to trust and believe in each other leads, as naturally, to the emergence of vital Right Stuff virtues that include, amongst so many others: respect, forgiveness, acceptance, kindness, compassion, empathy and love.

I look forward immensely to the time, hopefully not too far ahead, when our Ridge lads will return to their school, to this beautiful, sheltered harbour, and to an environment that will continue to work hard to develop and strengthen all that secure and trusted peer group relationships ought to be bringing their way.

In conclusion, it is appropriate to acknowledge and thank you, our parents, for all that each of you has done to facilitate the offsite/online learning that your boys have been engaging with. It has taken some pretty significant adjustments on the home front and in your respective schedules, and it has certainly been greatly appreciated by our teaching teams back here at The Ridge.

My sincere thanks to Anton Pretorius for all that he has worked so hard to bring together in yet another vibrant and boy-centred Horizons publication. My thanks too, to so many teachers for their respective interesting and colourful contributions.

I wish you all good health, fun-filled family times and God’s covering and Spirit-filled strength and courage at this time.

Richard Stanley

Headmaster

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Ashley Keene

Hi there, my name is Ashley Keene and I am honoured to be a part of this special Ridge Family. I am lucky enough to be one of the Grade 0 teachers and I am looking forward to all the learning, fun, and amazing adventures that will take place here at The Ridge.

70357I strongly believe that what we learnt growing up becomes a significant part of who we are today. I owe a lot of who I am to the amazing childhood I had growing up. I was born and raised in Johannesburg, surrounded by all my family and friends, I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I went to Kingsmead College from Grade 0 all the way to Matric and then completed a Post Matric course at Treverton College in Mooi River where I learnt hundreds of new skills and absolutely amazing things. I spent a year at the Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography allowing my creative juices to flow and then I moved to Jacaranda City where I got my Bachelor’s Degree in Education at The University of Pretoria.

The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can ever take what you have learnt away from you. I was encouraged from a very young age to be passionately curious and to never stop learning no matter what. Teaching is a lifelong process of learning and I think that’s why I love it so much.

“Teaching kids to count is what I am required to do, but teaching them what counts is what I am here to do.” – Bob Talbert

Kim Hansen

Nearing the end of my school years, I made a heartbreaking decision to postpone my studies in Education. Despite my longing to start studies in teaching, I knew there were paths I needed to follow in life which were going to make me a stronger, confident, and well-rounded teacher. I wanted to gain experiences outside of school, which I could one day share with the children in my class.

70356I first studied at Stellenbosch University, completing an Honors Degree in Goldsmithing and Jewellery Design. Patience, perseverance and absolute resilience were some of the skills I learnt; skills I have no doubt aid me within the classroom today.

I went on to start and build an online marketing company, for which I travelled Africa, visiting countries I never imagined I would. Here, I learnt to be brave, to be confident, and to trust in myself and my abilities. Again, I see myself using these in the classroom with my students and encourage them to see that they too can be brave and confident.

After years of experience outside of the classroom, I knew I was ready to turn my dream into my reality. I studied Foundation Phase and Early Childhood Development and moved from Cape Town to Johannesburg to join the incredible Ridge Family.

I strive to give each child my unconditional support and aim to build their self-confidence in academics as well as in themselves as individuals. The teaching and guidance of emotional and social intelligence are important in my classroom, equipping learners with skills for every facet in their life. I could not be more blessed than to work at The Ridge, and look forward to the magic here that lies ahead!

Scott Mallen

“Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens” – Jimi Hendrix

Eight years of cumulative marketing and educational experience and a year of Africa-wide travel has inspired me to use my skills to make an impact on the future of our continent’s children. I am an English Literature and Dramatic Studies graduate, with varied teaching experience in South Africa and the UK.

70359My lifelong love of reading English and Drama has driven me to explore the challenges and joys of sharing these disciplines with young minds. In my teaching career, a constant inspiration has been seeing students of different ages, cultures, and abilities leave the classroom with a keener understanding of the world through literature, sciences, and maths.

I believe that teaching should inspire the growth of autonomy and confidence in students, with the teacher as a guide. My creativity and work ethic aid me in contributing to the process of curriculum development across new methodologies. When not teaching, I am inspired from trips to the bush, reading books, and friends and family – including a ginger cat that adopted us two years ago.

The Ridge’s place in the vanguard of South African Preparatory schools is an environment which I am thoroughly enjoying. Furthermore, the exciting extra-curricular and sporting opportunities allow me to engage with the boys in a different yet equally important setting. I am looking forward to continuing to extend the boys’ minds and learning from each of them, in turn.

Naadirah Loonat

“The more that you read, the more things you will know, the more that you learn, the more places you will go”- Dr. Seuss

70358When I was in school, my Headmistress at the time said to us, “Girls, always remember that the world needs good teachers, because one day, who will teach your children.” These words stuck to me as I grew older and I began to realize the importance as well as the need for passionate, enthusiastic teachers.

I came from a school with exceptional teachers and their enthusiasm encouraged me to pursue a career in teaching. I have always had a passion for English, especially reading, which is why I first completed a BA degree in English. I always knew that I wanted to teach so after I completed my degree, I then did my PGCE.

The Ridge holds a special place in my heart as my brother is an old Ridge boy, so I have been coming to the Ridge from the age of 9! So to be back in this capacity is incredible.

I believe in learning for all and pride myself on being inclusive in my teaching. I will always aim to create a friendly, nurturing environment in my classroom for our young boys.

I look forward to my time at The Ridge School.

Leslie Elderkin

If there is one quote or statement describing my life-sentiment toward music, it would echo what had been expressed by Leonard Bernstein during a lecture held at Harvard University in 1973 – “I am a fanatic music lover. I can’t live one day without hearing music, playing it, studying it, or thinking about it.”

70355I was born in Mahikeng (then Mafeking) in the North West Province and completed my schooling at The International School of South Africa. Following this I had spent several years teaching while completing my studies, following which time I had relocated to Cape Town in order to continue both my musical and personal growth. Having come from a long line of educators, I feel I have always been aware of my life calling. Education is not only a calling, but a passion.

Following my appointment as Head of Instruments and Performing Arts at The Ridge School this year, it is certainly safe to say that my role serves as an enormous responsibility toward our boys and the greater musical community as a whole. With so much potential and a brilliant team of staff teaching within the Music Department, it provides the necessary incentive in order to ensure that music at The Ridge continues to develop and flourish.

I look forward to endlessly exciting and fulfilling opportunities at The Ridge School and to sharing my passion and love of music with you all.

Christina Mashobane

“A teacher affects eternity; she can never tell where her influence stops.”- Henry Adams

The first time I read that quote I was in high school and did not fully understand what it meant. Only after I became a teacher did I truly fathom what Henry Adams was trying to say. In my years of teaching practice, I have come to conclude that there are two main defining elements of teaching, namely voice and influence. A teacher is someone who speaks into the lives of others with a view to influencing their minds and hearts for the better.

nashobaneTeaching and learning involve a chain of influence in which voices link with one another across the eternity of time and space.  Upon reflecting on my own voice and what it whispers (and sometimes shouts!) to the learners I have before me, I am driven to a contemplation of my own history with teachers and the important vocation of educating young impressionable minds.

A teacher’s influence is life long and can be paid forward by what the student learns.  It can affect history and eternity.  Everyone who has made a contribution to humankind has acted from the influence of teachers at some point in their lives, and I am no exception.

During my studies at university, the late Dr. Marthinus Beukes spoke into my life and he made Afrikaans literature interesting and exciting. He always told me that there is an amazing world waiting for me in Afrikaans. I often think of him and how he challenged me to make a success of my studies.  He challenged me to rise to the occasion and to seek excellence.  He did me no favours and spurred me on to excellence. Upon reflection, I would like to think that learners hear my story and are inspired to work hard and apply themselves.

Teaching Afrikaans has allowed me to interact and meet people that I would not have met had I not become a teacher. It has taken me into spaces, many of them uncomfortable yet edifying. These experiences have played a pivotal role in my personal and professional growth. I look forward to continued growth at The Ridge.

My hope as a teacher is that I speak into the lives of my children in such a way that I influence them to see beyond the superficial and to practise kindness in all they do.

I hope they will remember how much their teachers cared for them and believed in them, even if they weren’t top of the class or made the first team. Hopefully the feeling of being seen and validated for purely being themselves will translate in all social interactions that become part of in their futures.

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Mandy Herold – Junior Prep

In her address to parents at the PTA AGM at the start of the year, Mandy Herold spoke of the importance of Social and Emotional Learning. Watch her speech below:

Nicholas Diana – Senior Prep

Overview of the Term 1

Although a quieter start to 2020, having said our farewells to an exciting and eventful Centenary year, Term 1 has been a successful period of discovery learning for Ridge boys. It was, however, an extremely busy period for the Grade 7s who were involved in  their college entry process. Nevertheless, the first part of the term saw a good balance of academic learning, social development and extra-murals. No day was the same and who would have it any other way?

This term we welcomed several new academic staff:

  • Christina Mashobane joined us as Head of Afrikaans, and brought with her new ideas and innovative ways of teaching and learning within her department.
  • Akhona Mtshabe has been a welcome addition to the isiZulu department. He has taken on the Grade 4 isiZulu as well as the Grade 4 Digital Literacy.
  • Naadhirah Loonat joined us as an English specialist in Grades 6 and 7. She has also taken on the teaching of STEAM in Grade 6.
  • Scott Mallen joined our Grade 5 team and has already found his feet within the grade, bringing new and creative methodologies to teaching Grade 5 boys.
  • Ashik Haripersadh also joined the academic staff in teaching Digital Literacy to our Grade 4 boys.

A word about Grade 7 College Applications

In terms of the Grade 7 Application Process, it has been another busy Grade 7 year of College applications. We await offers at the end of this term and at the beginning of Term 2. Many structures were put into place to assist the Grade 7 boys in the application process, including:

  • The writing of a CV to aid in the holistic overview of each individual boy which was sent to the respective colleges.
  • Broader scope for the college application process. In other words, more schools are ‘on the radar’ in terms of right fit for each boy.
  • High School Expo to educate parents around “right fit” schools for their sons.
  • Caroline de Pelet Abraham assisted with the interview process.
  • Candice Fletcher (School Psychologist) offered assistance to both boys and parents if the need arose.

In addition to this, a survey was sent to parents once the application process has taken place in order to get a sense of how to better the admission into colleges in the future.

Senior Primary 5 Year Academic Plan 

This term saw us starting ‘Year 1’ in our 5 Year curriculum development plan. For this, we have a specific focus on the following:

  • Specific themes for the school – The Ridge Way
  • More skills focused rather than content heavy
  • Cross curricular planning / teaching
  • 21st Century Skills focused
  • Upskilling in the area of Social and Emotional skills
  • Encompass the Hidden Curriculum within our teaching and learning
  • Focus on Character building

I believe we are in an exciting educational space, with a lot of new ideas, growth mindsets and continued progress taking place. We also need to remember that we are teaching boys in a technological age that continues to change daily, an era where society sends mixed messages that confuse and challenge our boys, parents and us on a daily basis. It is our calling, not our job, to make sure that we continue to nurture, to motivate, to build resilience and grit. Ultimately, we need to educate our boys about what it means to be a young man in the 21st Century.

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. – Benjamin Franklin

Nicholas Diana

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Music, Performing Arts and Choir

The first three months of 2020 have been very busy in the Performing Arts Studio. In keeping with our year theme of ‘Making a Difference’, we have looked at ways in which performers in the arts can make a difference to the environment. Some of our exciting performances have included ‘I was here’ (Beyoncé) with the Grade 5 boys, ‘Don’t kill the world’ (Boney M) with Grade 6, ‘Man in the mirror’ (Michael Jackson) with Grade 7 and a Water dance with Grade 4. The Grade 4 boys also used recycled materials as props in the Water dance as well as a Gumboot dance. For this, they made ankle rattles out of recycled bottle tops.

Our Junior Choir has learned two songs already, but unfortunately, were unable to perform these at an assembly. ‘Chiquita Banana’ is a colourful Caribbean song and ‘Hodu L’Adonai’ is in Hebrew. It means ‘Give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good and His mercy endures forever.’

The Senior Choir have also been hard at work and had their first performance at the Friday Assembly for Valentine’s Day, singing the poignant anthem ‘I Choose Love’. They also performed with St. Katharine’s and APPS at our Ash Wednesday service, singing three sacred choir anthems, namely ‘Modimo wa re rata’, ‘For the Beauty of the Earth’ and our favourite, ‘Above All’. The singing was heartfelt and our choir’s tone was especially beautiful that morning. It has been a joy to have directed the choirs. We look forward to even more exciting and wonderful choir performances as the year progresses.

Irene Morrick

Art and Creative Thinking

Building Relationships, and Embedding Creative and Critical Thinking

This year The Ridge has embarked more seriously on a larger cross-curricular approach to teaching and learning. It’s been a natural transition from our STEAM initiative, which, through projects, combines the disciplines of Science, Technology and Engineering (Design and Technology), Arts and Maths. Due largely to STEAM projects, our teachers have developed an understanding and appreciation that boys respond more positively with a real-life context to their learning. Content is understood and retained far better where there are links between learning areas- for one thing, repetition of a concept is done in many different forms, helping to embed the learning. Boys can see how different learning areas can complement each other. Using this cross-curricular model, we are also focusing more strongly on creative and critical thinking skills.

Art and History have combined in Grade 7. Boys began the year investigating their heroes and making a historical portrait piece. While learning about the treasures of Timbuktu, they also recreated the famous temple of Gene, using oxide, charcoal and gold leaf. Grade 5’s began their journey learning about the universe in their STEAM lessons, and were totally committed to the process of making a Space-scape. They did this by responding to pieces of music and making planets from their abstract paintings. Reading for Meaning has been a progression of our media lessons, where boys dive deeper into the material from other learning areas in order to improve their understanding as well as their research and analytical skills. The Grade 4’s created ankle rattles in Art for a dance performance piece. They also investigated water in both creative thinking class and music lessons.

Each day our boys have to switch from one teacher to another, from one subject to the next, and from one venue to another. A cross-curricular approach helps boys transition more easily between learning areas. As shared themes help to link the subjects, and teachers begin to speak the same language, our boys begin to develop a more holistic world view of how content and people are linked.

Nicci Kurz

Creativity Online

It’s five pm on a Thursday evening. The first week of online learning is almost over. I am finally done with designing the next batch of questions and projects to help enrich our boys’ homeschooling days. I have done this in two ways – through Art activities, using various video formats and presentation apps, as well as by posting Sticky Questions every couple of days – sticky questions are the ones that do not have a definitive answer, ones that can’t be googled. They are the questions which can be debated, ones that can change your mind many times, and help us to think more creatively and critically. (Please see below for some the insightful and interesting responses to the sticky questions that were posted.)

I sneak a peek at some of the submissions and postings which begin to trickle in, slightly apprehensive about what I might see and read. Letting go of the control one has in the classroom, where we are used to conducting the boys’ creative and learning process, is something new to me and many of our teachers here at The Ridge. We now have to inspire and infuse our boys with the love of learning, remotely! This has been an incredibly insightful time. Their ‘at home’ creations and insights have amazed, surprised and entertained me. The level of creativity has been truly wonderful. I have realised that there are some boys who work better in the classroom, relying on the chemistry and energy generated by a real-time face to face experience. There are also boys who enjoy being left to their own devices, the ones who surprise you with great responses to a topic because they are not distracted by the classroom atmosphere, ones who are not intimidated by the online classroom experience. And of course, there are those who, no matter what the circumstances, will always deliver and go above and beyond. However, one thing that they have all brought to this experience, is the in-classroom knowledge that they have acquired over their years at The Ridge, experiences which have informed and equipped them to deal with this next frontier of online homeschooling. When looking at their submissions, it is clear that the tools and techniques which have been taught and developed over the years have clearly been drawn upon to assist them when learning online and on their own. I’m sure the boys can hear me in their heads beating out the ‘’elements of art’’ or pushing them to be more self-critical, to ‘’steal like an artist’’ or to open their toolbox in their minds and use all that they have to creatively solve a problem. These boys are truly the thinkers of the 21st Century and beyond. I am filled with hope, pride and a sense of awe for what they might be able to achieve.

Nicci Kurz

Sticky Questions and Responses

 Grade 7 Question: Which Freedom is most important: Psychological Freedom, Economic Freedom, Physical Freedom?

  • “Psychological freedom because if your brain is free you can get through anything.”
  • “There is no freedom if you can’t walk your dogs on the road or in your neighbourhood.”
  • “Psychological freedom as it keeps you going that way you can always think ‘yes I can run the comrades’, ‘yes I can become I millionaire’, stuff like that.’’

Grade 7 Question: We often say that we should treat everyone the same. Is it ever unfair to treat people the same?

  • “So I think that different rules can apply to people who are ill than to people who are perfectly fine like you or me’’
  • “Yes, it is unfair to treat people the same.’’
  • “How can we expect that a person in a wheelchair can climb stairs. How can we expect a short person to reach stuff on the top shelf? We have to respect people’s disabilities and offer solutions on how they can overcome obstacles in their way.’’

 

Grade 6 Question: If you were always on holiday, would it still be a holiday?

  • “Yes, it would be.’’
  • “No, because a holiday is when you get a day off but if you have a day off forever it wouldn’t be a day off.’’

 

Grade 5 Question: Is it better to have a memory of a moment but no photograph, or a photograph but no memory of it?

  • “I think it’s better to have a memory of something and not a photograph because you know that it happened and it’s true to yourself. If you have a memory of something you can remember the sounds you heard and the feelings that you felt and the things that you saw and the taste on your tongue and the smell in the air.’’

Grade 5 Question: If you were bigger in size than your parents, who would be in charge?

  • “Me because I’d have more power in strength.’’
  • “Well I think just because we are big does not make us older and plus we still have homework and obviously they still know better than us, so I choose my parents.’’
  • “My Dad would still be in charge. Even though I’m bigger, he’d be wiser.’’

Women’s Day Reading Breakfast

On the 6th of March, we celebrated Strong Women in Literature, with our Reading Breakfast, in support of International Women’s Day (on the 8th March). The brief was to dress up as a strong female character or author, or a male character or author that supported strong women.

The boys really took up the challenge, dressing up as Amelia Earhart, Agatha Christie, Malala Yousafzai, Hermione Granger, Pippi Longstockings and many more. There were also some (very well thought through) male characters, ready to explain to anyone why they supported strong women. Well done to each and every one of you, who showed your support for strong women. It takes a strong man to stand up for something as important as this, in today’s society.

Hanlie Glanz

Kids’ Lit Quiz

On the 10th of February, twelve very excited (and well-read) boys, went off to St John’s, to fly the Ridge flag for the regional round of the International Kids’ Lit Quiz competition. We are only allowed to enter two teams (eight boys altogether) but took an extra team along for the experience. Our boys did us proud, coming 7th and 18th out of 37 teams. A special mention was made after the event, on the helpfulness of our reserve team, who helped collect answer sheets, and offered assistance where needed. Well done to Parkview Senior School on their win.

TEAM 1 TEAM 2 RESERVES
Vashiv Naidoo 7B Michael Jeong 7N Madimetja Tema 6M
Kabir Budlender 7N Connor v.d. Walt 6L Calvin Wagner 6L
Matthew Thomson 7N Joshua Heeger 6Ma Nyiko Mabunda 6L
Robert Steyn 7N William Boland 6L Ethan Stein 6L

Hanlie Glanz

Interschool General Knowledge Quiz

The Interschool General Knowledge Quiz is an ongoing event, with two to three quizzes per term. On the 12th of February, we joined a few schools at St David’s, to participate in the first Interschool General Knowledge Quiz competition. Because there are only four boys per team, and we had two boys extra, they cleverly worked out a rotational system, in which all boys got a chance to be a part of the team. We tied for 5th position, as well as 7th place out of 18 teams.

On the 11th of March, two Ridge boys teams to Beaulieu Prep School on a mission to conquer the world. They were accompanied by Mrs Mbele, Mr Motsepe and Mrs Glanz, and driven all the way, by the patient Mr Senyatsi. We competed against 13 other teams, and celebrated with a win (Team 1) and a fifth place (Team 2). Well done boys, you did us proud!

In each of the competitions this year, our boys showed the “Right Stuff” by being polite, courteous and helpful to all. Thank you too, to the staff members and parents, who joined us at each competition, it was wonderful to have each of you as eager and enthusiastic supporters.

Teams for St David’s

Team 1 Team 2
Valentino Sartini-Kruger 7B Calvin Wagner 6L
Ethan Stein 6L Chris Herman 6Ma
Zhy Ravjee 6L Nyiko Mabunda 6L
Madimetja Tema 6M Adam Ball 6Ma
Adam Gardee 6L Adam Stoutjesdijk 6L

Teams for Beaulieu

Team 1 Team 2
Michael Jeong 7N Luke Holden 6L
William Boland 6L Josh Heeger 6Ma
Robert Steyn 7N Connor van der Walt 6L
Vashiv Naidoo7B Calvin Wagner 6L

Hanlie Glanz

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Junior Prep  Sport

Junior Prep sport in Term 1 is one of the term busiest in the academic year. The boys have a number of activities they have to participate in, both in the classroom and on the sport field. Swimming and cricket are the main sports offered to the Junior Prep boys. In swimming our focus is to get every boy, by the end of their Grade 2 year, to swim a full length of The Ridge pool and be comfortable to swim in a swimming pool without assistance.

Cricket has shown growth in the Junior Prep. There is always excitement amongst the boys when playing cricket, especially during the Parent and Son’s Saturday morning session. The Grade 0s have taken their opportunity to participate in sport and every boy is keen to be involved. We currently have the whole grade participating in afternoon sport and we are excited for the upcoming seasons.

During our Physical Education in Grade 0 and 1 lessons we have worked on gross motor skills and basic ball skills. In these lessons, as the coaches, we have learnt a lot about the boys and had chance to reflect and evaluate how we could structure future lessons.

Term 1 in Grade 2 is the most exciting grade to be in. For the first time the boys get to play matches against other schools. Unfortunately our match against St Peter’s was cut short by rain, but we are hopeful that in the coming term we are able to participate in matches with other schools.

Finally, despite our term being cut short by the abrupt closure, there have been many learning opportunities created in the time we have had together with the boys. I would like to thank all the parents for their support at matches as well as the Saturday morning Parents and Sons sessions.

We look forward to an even busier and exciting term next term!

Phumulani Mnculwane

Swimming

The swimming season was set to take on a different format this year. All the galas were scheduled to take place during the first term which meant there was to be a total of 9 galas for each team. However, it didn’t quite go according to plan. We managed to get 5 of the galas in before the weather and Covid-19 took their hold. Unfortunately, the B team only managed to swim 3 of their galas owing to lightning at their venues. The C team were definitely the ‘Team of the Year’ with 2 wins by the end of season. The A team were placed 3rd in most of their galas as, try as they might, they were unable to take St Benedict’s or St David’s who dominated the season. Our B team are to be commended on showing true Ridge spirit and held their own in their galas, becoming the victim of boys being on cricket tour, writing exams for their colleges or playing in waterpolo festivals.

Despite the Schools’ season being disrupted, the Interhouse Championship Gala went ahead without a hitch. There were many close fought, exciting individual races and Cheales led the whole way, that is, until the relays. However, the depth of Dunn’s crawl relay teams saw them claw their way back and they eventually took over the lead during the final races to earn themselves the title of ‘Interhouse Swimming Champions 2020’. Although the races went ahead without a hitch, as luck would have it, the lightning alarm went off during the last event, so the presentation of the trophies had to be postponed.

Thank you to all the coaches and swimmers for all their time and hard work throughout the season. Also, to all the parents who brought their sons in to school at the crack of dawn for training. As I sit and write this on Day 3 of Lockdown, those early morning training sessions, the time spent selecting teams and the military manoeuvre to get over 100 boys to different galas on a Friday afternoon don’t seem so bad after all!

Erica Kinnear

Climbing

Fayzan Adroos: Captain

I am honoured and grateful to be appointed as climbing captain for 2020. Climbing is an incredible sport. It uses muscles you never knew you had, including your brain!   As such, it is great exercise for your mind as much as for your body.

When you are scaling great heights, mapping the best route to the top, being anchored by someone on the ground (known as a belayer), you are literally placing your life in that person’s hands. This creates strong trust bonds between climbers.  I am excited, together with my fellow Grade 7 climbers, to lead the climbers. This is a great opportunity to get to know, understand and create friendships with every single boy that has chosen to take up the sport this year. We are always available to encourage and show new climbers the ropes!

My hope is that as Climbing captain (along with the Vice-captain), we remain humble and lead by example. Whether we are climbing for fun, training or participating in competitions, my wish for the Ridge climbers is that we all rise to our full potential and never give up.

Without a doubt, 2020 is going to be a memorable year. The world is facing a mammoth challenge at the moment and I will endeavour to encourage the discipline and patience that climbing teaches, as this will hold us in good stead in the coming months.

Climb on and be safe everyone!

Warwick Bradford: Vice-captain

Being vice-captain of Climbing at the Ridge School is a huge responsibility. Climbing is a dangerous sport. Together with Fayzan, we have to check that all the climbing equipment is accounted for and properly stored away. It is also our responsibility to check that the boys wear the right gear. I help the younger boys with techniques, fitness and safety. It is exciting to see that more and more boys are interested in climbing. This year, we have our biggest group of Grade 4 boys join climbing as a sport. When we are at competitions we often hear the Grade 4’s saying ‘’this is so fun, I love the challenge’’ and lots more. I cannot wait to get back to climbing and praying for our current situation to improve.

Canoeing

DMcLachlan canoeing during lockdown

IMG_0503We had another eventful term of canoeing. Our Ridge School Canoeing team have continued to be active participants the in Gauteng Schools League. The main events this term were the short course races held at the Florida Canoe Club and the Gauteng Sprint Champs at Victoria Lake in Germiston. These were exciting events for our new canoeing boys and gave them a taste for the competitive side of the sport. Their experience will stand them in good stead for events later in the season as they continue to develop their fitness and racing technique. Six of our boys also went on a trip to the Klip River in March to learn about various aspects of river safety and racing. Adrian von Klemperer and Viggo Price both performed exceptionally well whilst driving K2 boats through rapids and weir drops, and have now received their river proficiency certification, which will allow them to participate in official river races.

Daniel McLachlan

Waterpolo Tour to Knysna

Report back from Simon Musset

On Thursday the 6th February, 12 boys and 3 coaches boarded a flight to Knysna in the Western Cape to participate in the two day long Oakhill School Waterfront Chukka Waterpolo Festival.

Over the Friday and Saturday, The Ridge team played against various schools from all over the country. We did fantastically well and managed to win 7 of our 8 matches.

A highlight of the festival was that the games were played in seawater in the Knysna Waterfront Quays and not in a swimming pool. To get into the playing areas, boys had to jump off the harbour wall into the water. This was an exciting and new experience for all of us and we loved every second of it!

Other highlights included attending the Oakhill Valentines Dance, staying together at The Loerie Bed and Breakfast; good music on the tour bus; breakfast at the restaurant ‘34 Degrees South’ every morning; our trips to the beach; enjoying good sportsmanship; great competition and making many awesome memories.

Thank you to the coaches for safely chaperoning, coaching and putting up with us all. A big thank you as well to all the parents for their support and boys in the team for a great tour!

Basketball

Three years into the Basketball program at The Ridge and 2020 is looking fantastic. The Ridge school officially has 5 basketball teams: one Grade 5 team, two Grade 6 teams and two Grade 7 teams. Boys are understanding the true reason for Basketball’s intention: to improve on athleticism and stay physically fit! Basketball at The Ridge has proven to be highly successful over the last three years and some of our old boys have gone on to College and are playing A team Basketball at the likes of Michaelhouse, St Andrew’s, St John’s, St Alban’s and St David’s.

This shines as a bright beacon to the Ridge boys now, showing them that they are in a good Basketball program at this school. We are looking forward to attending a 2020 basketball tour in the 3rd term. This will give our upcoming young players a platform to compete before the 2021 season starts.

A massive thank you to the coaching staff and management for everything that’s been done to ensure that Basketball has been a success. Hopefully, soon we will see boys getting basketball scholarships.

Mbulelo Ntshingana

8

First Day of Term

The first day of the year is one that is always filled with excitement. Boys can’t wait to see their friends, connect with their teachers and just be back at this wonderful school. The Grade 0s also have their first day ‘Big School’ and one has to wonder whether the boys or parents end up being more emotional when saying goodbye to each other!

The Ridge Conscious Discipline Seminar

On Thursday 9 January, I hosted a workshop at The Ridge School for 170 educators from 14 different schools all over Gauteng. The main aim of the workshop was to help teachers set up their classrooms for optimal connection. My colleague, Esther Hecht, and I shared proven strategies to increase teacher effectiveness and academic performance while reducing discipline referrals. The attendees learned about practical ideas of how to cultivate a healthy, connected home/school culture that creates transformational change. The feedback from the workshop was very positive and I believe that it made a big difference to how the educators started the 2020 school year. All this theory and practice is from Conscious Disciplineâ.

I was introduced to Conscious Discipline in September 2017, when I first heard Dr Becky Bailey speak at a conference in Cape Town. I had a visceral response to her keynote presentation and I just knew this was something I needed to know more about. Fast forward two and a half years, two trips to the US for training, two to Cape Town and hours and hours of practice and implementation and I’m the first International Certified Instructor with Conscious Disciplineâ  in Africa. Conscious Discipline has wrapped words around what my heart was longing for and encompassed all that I know to be valuable when working with children. Discipline is traditionally synonymous with rewards and punishment, but if you look at the word discipline, it comes from the word disciple which means ‘to teach’. I believe that this Social Emotional Learning programme has transformational potential for children of all ages, schools, teachers, parents, communities and society in general.

Conscious Discipline is recognized as one of the top social-emotional programs available to both schools and parents. It teaches children how to regulate and manage emotions in order to make safe and healthy choices. But before we can optimally help children, we need to first focus on ourselves as adults. We need to be able to regulate ourselves and our own emotions before we can assist children with theirs. The main concern/problem with this is that we were never really taught how to do this and essentially, you can’t teach skills you don’t have. So this is about unlearning so we can relearn and ultimately, give our children the skills they need to be successful.

In our current world of the Covid19 Epidemic, the need for Safety, Connection and Problem Solving has never been more essential. If you want more information about Conscious Discipline, please contact me on mherold@ridgeschool.co.za or go to https://consciousdiscipline.com

Mandy Herold

IBSC Conference

A team of Ridge staff including Claire Lord, Faronaaz Patel, Scott Mallen, Carmin Groenewald and Shanitha Ramsurwaj, were privileged to attend the IBSC conference at St Andrew’s School in Bloemfontein. This was the first time the regional conference has been hosted in the Free State and we were treated to some outstanding Mangaung hospitality. It was a wonderful opportunity to share ideas and new platforms with teachers and leaders from boys’ schools around the country. There were several inspiring speakers as well as practical and pragmatic advice given by different schoolteachers in the breakaway sessions. The conference theme, ‘Restoring Hope’, reflects a common desire amongst schools to rebuild the spirit, that drew us together as teachers, to be rekindled.

Dr Sonia Lupien, the founder and director of the Centre for Studies on Human Stress, presented an inspirational study on the effects of stress on the human brain from infancy to adulthood and old age. Her studies have shown that children – as vulnerable as adults to stress – can produce high levels of stress hormones as early as age six. She maintains that every child that walks through our school’s doors, has different stressors. As teachers, we need to be equipped on how to firstly identify and then deal with these stressors. Similarly, another very important theme emerging from the lecture was the importance of parents and teachers to know their own stressors and manage their stress accordingly, as children of all ages will instinctively key into this. Her research in adults demonstrates stress can significantly impair memory performance as well as the effects of stress on the ageing brain. The IBSC Conference looked to address issues and paint a new narrative regarding gender, stress, toxic masculinity, and, very importantly, mental health. Around the world there are different issues that boys are grappling with on a daily basis. These issues include how we, as teachers, deal with and affirm students that are struggling with internal and external stressors. Also, do we offer spaces where boys are able to speak freely and safely about where they are at and not have any reprisal?

This conference also encouraged us to relook at the curriculum we are teaching. Is there work that we particularly need to do, particularly understanding our history regarding boys’ schools in South Africa. How do we as teachers create affirming spaces where everyone belongs? How many white teachers have an implicit basis that impacts the way we teach boys of colour? How many schools force boys to assimilate to a dominant culture rather than let them be themselves? Various lectures also touched on the digital life of boys as a huge part of who they are and how do we encourage our boys to be responsible citizens, not only in the way they represent themselves but in what they say to other people.

Can we redefine the role of boys’ schools in such a way that we are judged upon the graduates that leave our school? What kind of partner will he be one day? Are our boys going to be ethical businessmen? Are they going to see the need in the world and answer that need? Are they going to treat their fellow people with respect?

We considered and reflected about how boys schools should be leading the way in answering these questions. For example, when there is something that rises in the media about gender-based violence or the behaviour of men, boys’ schools should then step up and educate the world and, in turn, what it means to be a man of significance.

Considering this, we were encouraged as teachers to acknowledge each learner, to work towards identifying who they are and where they are in terms of themselves and in relation to the world. This conference encouraged us to continue restoring hope to a generation that are continuously faced with so much, and from so many overwhelming avenues – to help them to a space where they feel free to be successful in all they do. We learnt that our job as teachers is to provide safety, security and acknowledgement, to deliver life lessons in a way that speaks uniquely to each boy, to evoke responsibility, accountability and passion. This can all be done through loving what we do, through leaving positive impressions on every boy we encounter, and, most importantly, by restoring hope.

Faronaaz Patel

Care to Learn Day

The purpose of the Care-to-Learn initiative is to provide our learners with the opportunity to serve and be served by their peers from a different background. The day is set aside in the school calendar to provide learners with ample opportunity to interact, on a meaningful and deeper level, with learners from Salvazione Christian School in Brixton. This is done with the hope of cultivating friendships, breaking down prejudices, and to widen the boys’ worldview.

The Care-to-Learn day took place on 05 March 2020. It was a wonderful and meaningful exchange day between the learners. The activities for the Junior Prep were organised by the respective Grade Heads and their colleagues. These included playing on the jungle gyms, reading, sports on the Cheales field and many, many other fun-filled activities.

The Zulu Department organised the activities for the Grade 4s. These included traditional South African games that included hopscotch, skipping rope, diketo and mgusha. The children enjoyed these indigenous games a lot and took to them naturally as one would expect from children born and raised in Africa.

The Music Department and The Grade 5 teachers put together a program that included singing, beat creation, robotics and coding. This proved to be a hit with both the boys and girls as “music and technology is “the language of the young”.

The Grade 6s and 7s were hosted by Salvazione at their campus. The learners had to build a cardboard city. The beautiful cities that the learners came up with speak of their creativity and their ability to collaborate and come up with solutions that will be needed as we look forward to smart cities as spoken about by the government and our president in particular.

A huge thank you to the parents that sent through the cardboard boxes that were used on the day. All the material used were recyclable.

Moeketsi Motsepe

Lighthouse

“None of us, including me, ever do great things, but we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.” – Mother Theresa

It was with a great sense of pride and also some trepidation that I took over as Head of The Lighthouse at the start of what has turned out to be a life-changing year for all of us. It turns out that I needn’t have worried, because with the support of the amazing Lighthouse team it has been a wonderful year so far and we persevere and grow even whilst in the current, extremely challenging situation.

Claire Lord continues to surprise me with the way she manages to control her classes beautifully without ever having to raise her voice. Jacqui Haddow has joined our team seamlessly and she is forever learning and generously sharing her excellent ideas. Candice Fletcher keeps us all sane! She is such an important part of The Ridge community – touching lives daily and making an important contribution to the well-being of the boys, as well as the staff. Anne-Ri Brits, our quirky, kind and super smart speech therapist (who is always thinking and learning) teaches the boys, as well as the rest of us. She has been joined this year by Retha-Mari de Beer, who is gentle, kind and seems to never stop smiling. Angela Pietersen, our OT, works tirelessly to improve the skills needed by the boys to engage in learning, and also offers us valuable guidance. Jan Mallen has stayed on part-time and we are all grateful for this. She may be small in stature, but she has an enormous heart and holds a great number of boys, The Lighthouse team and many other staff members in her role as mentor. Last, but not least, Sean Coughlan and Jane Lamb remain an invaluable part of The Lighthouse team as external therapists.

As a school, we have the responsibility to accommodate the diverse learning needs of every Ridge boy, and The Lighthouse is part of ensuring this inclusivity. We aim to work closely as a cohesive team and we work collaboratively with the boys, their teachers and their families to ensure that their learning support needs are met in order that they may reach their full potential. In his book, “I still love you”, Michael Ungar (2014) describes 9 things which children need – structure, consequences, connections, many relationships, a powerful identity, a sense of control, a sense of belonging and purpose and finally, rights and responsibilities. These are the very things we aim to provide for the more than 100 boys in our care.  We endeavour to make learning accessible and fun.

We are also part of a community of learning support specialists. We attended the learning support cluster at Japari this term and it’s our privilege to learn alongside the teachers and therapists in other private Johannesburg schools.

The announcement of lockdown came as a shock to the Lighthouse team – we work so closely with the boys that it seemed impossible to offer learning support remotely, but it’s been a steep learning curve. However, with some creativity, intense work, lots of communication and sharing, we have proven resilient and continue to serve the Lighthouse boys. The boys themselves have been amazing – they have courageously embraced this new way of learning. I’m not sure what lies ahead, and I believe many lessons have been learned, but I feel at peace with the fact that a spirit of Ubuntu unites us as Lighthouse team and as a school; and that The Ridge will continue to be a place where ALL boys will learn to fly.

Agnes Jooste

Grade 0 Grandparents Tea

On Friday 13th March, 72 excited little boys made their way up to the Nicolson Hall, dodging rain puddles and thunder clouds, whilst carrying their musical instruments and wearing handmade binoculars. The Grannies and Grandads had arrived (some from overseas!) and taken their seats, and were about to embark on a Summer Safari! The boys entertained their special guests with songs they had prepared with Mrs Morrick during their weekly Music lessons. As the performance continued, the audience tapped their feet and sang along to familiar tunes.

After the concert the Grandparents were treated to a delicious spread in the dining hall, which had been organised and set-up by a team of Grade 0 mums and our wonderful kitchen staff. The Grade 0 boys headed down to the Parker Block to get ready to welcome their visitors into their classrooms and playground. The boys had spent many days preparing special gifts and artworks to share with their Grandparents. After what felt like hours of anticipation whilst the adults finished their nibbles and tea, the boys were finally able to show off their hard work and share the sweet anecdotes that they had recorded about their families.

Thank you to everyone who played a part in making this such a happy occasion. I have no doubt that this will be fondly remembered by both the boys and their Grandparents.

Sarah Behr

Robotics

With Robotics just introduced into the curriculum this year, it is quickly becoming an indispensable part of the boys’ lives. Boys are learning the thought process behind creating a program, basic programming functions and how they relate to robotic actions and reactions. The boys are motivated and enthusiastic and are able to incorporate creativity and fun simultaneously. They enjoy working in teams, making connections with each other, competing, and other times, just supporting each other.

Shanitha Ramsurwaj

Thomas van Onselen Grade 6

Robotics has been one of my favourite subjects this year! I am so enthusiastic about Robotics that I arrive early for the lesson. During this term, we’ve learnt to program the EV3 robots to move forward, backward, turn and spin around. We also learnt about the touch sensor and the ultrasonic sensor. I absolutely love working with a friend or a partner. When I am done with my testing of the robot, I offer help to other teams such as connecting the EV3 to the iPad and showing them where the code is. Competing with other teams makes it more fun, but not because it’s a race, because it is challenging and we all love a challenge.

Robotics Club

The following boys competed in the Inter-Schools Robotics League on March 10 at St Peter’s Girl’s Prep: Kabir Budlender, Vashiv Naidoo, Reza Salojee, Ethan Stein, Adam Gardee, Matthew Jennings, Nicholas Barberini, Muhammed Cassoojee, Sinalo Danisa and Finn Berman. I am proud of the boys; they persevered through the difficult challenges, communicated with other participants, and displayed the Right Stuff. Congratulations to Finn Berman for receiving the ‘Excellent Collaboration Award’.

Shanitha Ramsurwaj

Adam Gardee Grade 6

The Inter-Schools Robotics League competition is a wonderful adventure. At The Ridge we generally start with an early lunch, followed by a bus ride to the venue. Competing teams consist of a pair of learners from two different schools, so if you were in a team you would be with someone you don’t know. Sometimes you are paired with someone who is a bit clueless about robotics, but that is not all bad because it teaches you how to teach (teachers really do have a tough job!). It also means you need to have some resilience and grit and to try your best. Teams are given challenges that must be completed within a limited time. The challenges consist of obstacle courses for the robot to complete as well as modifying the robot to accomplish tasks, e.g. constructing a robotic arm. Teams are scored not only on technical merit but also on teamwork and collaboration. The Ridge always comes back with many prizes. I really enjoy participating in these events.

Tour de Maths

Problem-solving is an important life skill that we should be encouraged to develop and improve. Mathematics provides a great context to hone these skills and encounter different techniques to solve various problems. Tour de Maths is an interschool Mathematics competition that promotes problem-solving in a competitive yet fun environment.  Fourteen of our Grade 7s attended two Tour de Maths events at St. Stithians College this term. The first event took place on Thursday the 23rd of January and the second event was on Wednesday 4th March. In the first Tour de Maths event we were part of a much larger high school event and the primary schools in attendance were St. Stithians Boys’ Prep, St. Stithians Girls’ Prep and Redhill. In this first event, Michael van Heerden and Matthew Thomson achieved a very commendable 3rd place overall. In the second Tour de Maths event there were over 25 different schools in attendance with over 60 teams made up of 2 girls and 2 boys per team. Our boys represented The Ridge extremely well and two of our teams finished in the top 5.

Daniel McLachlan

Horizons Term 3 2019

 

editorial banner

IMG_8293A gymnast who flubs her landing after a flawless routine ends up scoring poorly and the audience only remembers the mistake. The ending of a book or movie has to be spot on or the audience resents the writer. In a car chase, the good guys need to triumph (after a few explosions).

At the end of the Centenary year, we ask ourselves, “Did we nail the landing?” “Did we get it spot on?” Did we have enough explosive moments?”

A resounding “Yes!”

After a significant year of seemingly endless celebrations, we can look back and agree that the magical Carol service with the sun setting on a perfect highveld summer’s evening on the ridge was the flawless, spot on, explosive ending that we needed. The entire school turned out for a festive celebration of Christmas carols and South African songs and music. The boys sang beautifully, the orchestra played skillfully and the readers spoke articulately. It was a perfect evening, much like this year has been.

The Ridge School, Centenary year, 2019, has been the most incredible year. There have been so many highlights it’s impossible to mention them all but when it starts with a big bird with his own song and dance, and airplanes flying low over the school, it was only ever going to be perfect.

What a year this has been. What a privilege it has been to part of this wonderful school this year.

Great landing.

Bow to the judges.

Exit right.

Here’s to The Ridge’s next 100 years!

By Anton Pretorius

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DSCF7827Dear Parents

Traditionally, my Headmaster’s contribution to this final Horizon’s publication of the year has been to touch on a few highlights and to do so in ways that serve to focus attention on the many people who have played a variety of different roles in the life of our school during the past eleven months. This having been our Centenary year, there is even more reason for doing so.

The dilemma is always where to start in a dynamic school environment that pulses with the energy, spirit and experiences that, in one way or another, are all generated by people. Once again though, the 100 year celebration offers a very obvious starting point for me.

Countless schools have enjoyed their respective Centenary celebrations over the year and so, in that context, it is nothing new. The reality is, of course, that every school is different and so the make-up and flavour of planned events and happenings will always be unique to the school in question and to its culture, ethos and history.

Three years ago, I had the very good fortune of convincing Angie Chapman to be our Centenary Commander-in-Chief and the one responsible for planning, preparing for and leading into our big year. No one could ever have imagined that Angie and her team would dream up a thanksgiving and remembrance celebration that touched on each and every facet of school life, provide opportunity to look back in ways that could honour the many who have gone before, and do it all in a manner that would wrap the school family in a sincerely felt embrace of warmth and unity of spirit.

On behalf of all, it is appropriate to thank Angie Chapman for the quite remarkable way in which she has stage-managed and led our Centenary celebrations. It has been a strategically well-thought through and methodically planned ‘labour of love’ exercise that only someone like Angie could have masterminded and overseen. To her dedicated deputy, Melissa Mussett, and the hard-working and committed Centenary team, our sincere thanks for never flinching, for believing in the master plan, and for staying the course. Congratulations to you all.

Needless-to-say there were many other parents who have given time, effort and energy in support of sub-committees, each of which has played its own part in adding significance and value to the 100 year celebration. Ijeoma Solarin and her PA mums likewise had a busy and engaging year both as PA reps and as they got alongside so many events and happenings in ways that helped with the smooth running of each event. Thank you to all concerned.

With any Ridge happening you can rest assured that our staff teams are never too far away from the action. As such and again on behalf of all, it is appropriate for me to thank the men and women who make up the whole staff complement for carrying the Centenary banner with pride and loyalty throughout what was, understandably, an extraordinarily busy additional programme for them all. From management, the teachers, admin staff and security personnel, to the kitchen, housekeeping and estate people, every effort was made by each one to help to make memories and to secure for our Ridge lads remembrances that will last a lifetime.

To James Clucas who, as Chairman of the Board, has been passionately committed to supporting and, in some cases, guiding aspects of the year’s programme, and our selfless governors and trustees, a special word of thanks for all that each person did to add a sense of authority and positive influence to it all.

Last, but clearly not least, I would offer a heartfelt word of thanks to our Ridge boys without whom, any form of celebration would have proved to have been just a meaningless and fruitless exercise. Well done, boys, on having heard the call to live the legacy, celebrate with purpose and to stand in the gap during a momentous year. To a greater or lesser extent, every boy reached out in his own way to embrace and enjoy all that was on offer.

2019 will prove to be, I’m sure, a year that will forever be held in the hearts and minds of each boy and something that, many moons down the road, they will look back on fondly and will talk about with a real sparkle in their eyes.

To The Ridge family as a whole, I wish you all peace, joy and love during the festive and Christmas season, and the most wonderfully relaxing and enjoyable holiday. Safe travels and God bless you all.

By Richard Stanley

Headmaster

 

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The Chairman’s Report

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It always amazes me how quickly this last term at our school seems to fly by. Here we are at the end of what has been an incredible year at The Ridge while our country struggles to recover from a decade of governance that has left our country’s finances in tatters and growth extremely hard to come by. I genuinely believe that President Ramaphosa can lead us back towards the high road that we so desperately seek, but I too am frustrated by the pace change is happening.

While we, as a school, are definitely influenced by what happens in South Africa we would argue that miraculously we have had a very different experience over these last few years. That does not for a second allow us to be complacent but rather is a constant reminder to us that if we stop trying to be get better at what we do then the slippery slide will set in and that will take time to recover from. We are fortunate to have a team of Governors and Staff that have so totally embraced this challenge and continue to strive to be better.

The one real shining light of how far our country has come was the Rugby World Cup victory a month ago. As you know one of our key strategies at this school is continually getting better at Transformation, Diversity and Inclusivity. While some people focus on the hard numbers, we believe that they are only a part of what we are trying to achieve. The message of Garth Japhet’s talk to us a few years ago about taking the time to understand the other person’s story sits top of mind for us. How well did Rassie Erasmus, Siya Kolisi and the entire squad do this. The clear message for me from the #strongertogether theme is exactly this. As Siya Kolisi said on accepting the Webb Ellis Trophy – If we understand each other’s story and are willing to work together as a team towards our selected goal then anything is possible.  It is just the tonic we needed and here, at The Ridge, encouraged us further that we are on the right track but I assure you we fully understand that we have a long journey ahead of us. How exciting!

When it comes to delivering an impressive all round boy at the end of Grade 7, another of our top strategic priorities, according to our main feeder schools we continue to make good progress. Not only these boys from the senior prep but also the young chaps in the Junior prep will remember this Centenary year for the rest of their lives for all the right reasons.

  • The community engagement initiatives have, yet again, taken a step up allowing us to have such a wonderful platform to build on next year and beyond.
  • Janet and her team’s production of “The Westcliff Story” was an absolute highlight of 2019 for every person involved in our school.
  • STEAM continues to go from strength to strength
  • and the recent art exhibition was impressive, proving that our boys’ creative side is well engaged.

It reminds me of the art class when the teacher walked up to little boy to ask him what he was drawing. “I am drawing a picture of God, Mam”. “Well, that’s impossible” said the teacher  “as nobody know what God looks like”

To which the boy replied

“Well, Mam, they will when I am finished.”

  • On the sporting side we are proud that we offer 13 different sporting codes. We continue to work on sporting manuals for the major sports to strive for consistency in coaching output and style.
  • We continue to try and Improve our communication with parents, especially around what is to be expected per age group.
  • We are also trying to see how to maximise each of the various seasons which often seem all too short.

Most importantly from an academic perspective there has been a lot of work done by Nick Diana and his manco team in terms of strategically positioning the academic curriculum in an ever changing environment. Future-proofing the Ridge is a key strategic theme for next year. I get so excited when I chat with Richard, Nick and Itu, my successor, about the possibilities in this space for our school.

The last of our three main priorities is to have the school on a sound financial footing. I am most grateful to report that Gillian Dippenaar and her team are doing a superb job in this regard and that the finance committee, so brilliantly led by Phil Nel, are comfortable that the school is in very good shape. Of course having a full school is a great starting point in this regard.

You will be interested that over the last six years we have lost an average of 13 boys a year to emigration and semi-gration alone with the risk that this number moves higher if the prospects in our country do not start improving soon.

With this in mind and having studied at our attrition rate over the past years, we have decided to introduce a fourth Grade 0 class, each with 18 pupils in, for 2020 given the demand that we have. The firm commitment remains though that we will NOT have more than 22 boys in any class throughout the school, so for the period that we have more than 66 boys in that Grade we will continue to have a fourth class.

I also truly believe that the incredible success of our Centenary Year has played a big role in keeping this school in demand. Thank you so sincerely to Angie Chapman and her amazing team for the many hours of hard work and planning. You and your team should be so proud of what has transpired during the course of the year.

I must mention my thanks to the this impressive staff team, both academic and non-academic, that go out each and every working day to do the very best for the sake of our boys. Also to our team of Governors, with a special mention to those that have come to the end of their term, and the Trustees who have been such a pleasure to work with as they have been so constructive and positive with their contribution.

Richard Stanley – WOW! It is quite remarkable to witness you going about your trade! You have taught me an enormous amount. I have found working together an absolute pleasure and extremely rewarding. The job has been made so much easier due to the fact that we have been on the same page since day one as to what we want for our boys at this school, I will certainly miss our regular phone calls and school meeting. Thank you so much for all you do.

To our Grade seven boys. I think you guys should take a bow. You have grown into such impressive young men as you have learnt from your set backs and hardships, and stood together as a team. No better example of this is three different headmasters from opposition schools coming to congratulate you during a tough rugby season on your GRIT, attitude and team work. Well done!

I recently read a piece that resonated well with me and hopefully something that you Grade 7’s will take with you in your next chapter as you learn to fly. It is called 10 lessons I want to instill in my kids:

If you’re thankful, show it.

If you love someone, tell them.

If you are wrong, fess up.

If you are confused, ask questions.

If you learn something, teach others.

If you are stuck, ask for help.

If you made a mistake, apologise.

If you trip, get back up.

If someone needs help, help them.

Finally If you see wrong, take a stance.

I must also acknowledge one of The Ridge’s most passionate old boys and supporters looking down at me with great pride. My Dad was the one who persuaded me to get involved with the school Trust all those years ago. I am eternally grateful that I followed his advice. After thirteen years of parenting here Jax and I are going to miss this amazing place terribly. Thank you for the most incredible, fulfilling journey we could ever have dreamt of.

Yabonga, Ube Nobusuke ubumnandi

Thank you

James Clucas

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Parent’s Association Report

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DSCF6955The role of The Ridge Parents Association (PA) is to act as a go-between for parents, teachers and school staff.  It usually compromises about 1 to 2 parents per class. Although fundraising is one major role, the PA plays other equally significant roles including:

 

  • Representing parents in communication between teachers and school management at our monthly meetings
  • Supporting class teachers
  • Facilitating general school communication
  • Managing social aspects of the class including Teachers’ birthday celebrations, and supporting class parents in times of need.
  • Facilitating a sincere sense of belonging that reaches out to all Ridge Parents.

And that is for any normal year! This year was not normal, it was CENTENARY! And what an intense year to be on the PA. We’ve had:

Lumo Dance, Soap Box Derby, Gala Dinner, Cake sales, Action Day, Night Run, Soccer and Rugby festivals, Old Boys’ Dinner, Mother’s Day, Founders’ Day, Surprise Boys’ Day, Carols by Candlelight Picnic and Leavers’ Dinner. Yes, it has been a VERY full year indeed.

Each and every event was a great success thanks in no small part to the dedication and commitment by PA reps involved in each grade as well as the Centenary Organising Committee.

This year, funds raised were earmarked to be donated outwards to communities that we support. The bulk of the monies raised is of course going to Salvazione for their Junior Prep building project – in line with our Junior Prep building project. We are also adding to task money collected by the Junior Prep to help fund wheel-chair friendly swings for the children at The Hope School which we hope our boys can also enjoy with them.

A huge thank you to all 2019 PA reps, for a successful year. It may have been through either encouragement or coercion, the fact is, you all stepped up and it has been my honour to be the chair during this Centenary year with all of you here with me.

Thanks too to all the Execs for your support and willingness to engage with the PA.

To Centenary 2019, it has been a fantastic ride!

By Ijeoma Solarin

 

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Junior Prep Report

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Herold FamilyI’m always amazed when compiling this end of year article, at the volume of activities and events that we pack into any given year. The growth and development that happens from January to December is exponential. Our precious time together is sprinkled with delights including dress up and theme days, outings and innings, concerts and galas, hands-on learning and discovery, extra murals, sports and music.

What a momentous year 2019 has been for our incredible school. The Grade 1, 2 and 3 boys and staff began our Centenary year in our beautiful new purpose-built home. There has been positive energy and calm that continually moves through the flexible learning spaces and our furniture that has been sublime! Happy boys, happy parents, happy staff!

Our teachers are our most valuable resource and with the knowledge that there has been a great focus recently, both in South Africa and Internationally – on teacher wellbeing, as a team, we have been more intentional about self-care, setting time aside to do reflection, gratitude, meditation and mindfulness.

Every day I feel honoured to be part of this incredible Ridge family. I am blessed to work with an amazing team of ladies and gents; all of whom have a passion for little boys and seeing them reach their full potential. They are totally professional in all they do and I am fortunate to be their leader. Nothing is ever too much trouble. They are miracle workers and certainly strive towards our goal of “Creating an inclusive, emotionally literate environment”. Our boys are a delight and we so enjoy the time we spend together. I not only think we have the best Junior Prep, I know we have the best school ever!

By Mandy Herold

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Senior Prep Report

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Diana NicholasIt’s difficult to sum up an entire academic year in a few paragraphs, but more importantly, a Centenary year that brought with it the significance of what it means to be The Ridge School in 2019.

We are constantly challenged as an academic institution to remain relevant, current and cutting edge. In other words, a competitive school that continues to push boundaries and challenge our boys in a variety of ways with a specific focus on 21st Century skills. However, amidst the academic realm that exists in all schools, there is something special that exudes from our school. Mrs Fox’s Circle of Life rings true as it seems we have come full circle over the course of one hundred years of educating young boys. Much of the landscape, technology and infrastructure has changed during this time and, right now, education needs to evolve too.

Arne Naess, the Norwegian philosopher and environmentalist, believes that we must “think like a mountain”. It is his belief that we must first recognize we are part of nature, and not separate from it if we are to avoid environmental catastrophe. I see this statement in three parts. The first being our connection and role within the environment as global citizens. We often miss the broader implications of our actions, only considering the immediate benefits to ourselves. To “think like a mountain”, means identifying with the wider environment and being aware of its role in our lives. The Lorax, a children’s book written by Dr. Seuss and first published in 1971 chronicles the plight of the environment and the Lorax is the titular character, who “speaks for the trees” and confronts the Once-ler, who causes environmental destruction. It is clear that even through children’s books, the role that we play in protecting our environment goes as far back as the early seventies.

The second point links to what we can do as a society to equip our boys with the necessary tools to “think like a mountain”. How do we model our school and our society to build character intrinsically that shapes habits and behaviours? At times, extrinsic motivation lends itself to grade levels, marks, awards and rankings. John Dewey, in his “Morals in Principle Education” speech in 1909 warned educators of the feeling of superiority over others is unduly appealed to, while timid children are depressed. They are judged with reference to their capacity to realise the same external standard. The weaker gradually lose their power and accept a position of inferiority. The strong learn to glory, not in their strength but in the fact that they are seen as stronger. In doing so, children are launched into an individualistic competition, where traditional systems are based upon the individuals’ ability to outwork and outthink their classmates. In his writings, Dewey predicts the effect of our broader reward system – work, college and future success on students as they move through the education system and become full members of society.

This raises concern in the year 2019, and as predicted by Dewey, there is a loss of moral power that arises from ‘nothing is worth doing in itself, but only as preparation for something else’. How many of us have lived a life that Dewey describes, products of the same educational system, always seeking an extrinsic goal? From experience and wisdom, however, the key to improved well-being is more time spent on the present in what Dewey would term, the ‘social’ in our lives. As we’ve all been tending to ourselves in school, at work and at home, we have lost the thread of what it means to be a society.

Finally, by thinking like a mountain aids us in realising that we are part of a bigger picture, a societal picture called the biosphere. By recognising this, we realise that we as a society have a responsibility to each other and all other living things. If we, as an institution that breaks the mould of the circle of life, and shifts the centre of gravity from self-absorption to a service that is social, we have achieved in our role as educators and parents in creating a society that will work together and find a common collective for all.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my academic team who continue to stretch the imagination, develop character and equip your son with skills to produce a growth mindset to future proof him for a world of uncertainty that awaits.

By Nick Diana

 

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Centenary Committee Report

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PHOTO-2019-12-06-08-23-48

It seems unreal that this very special, much anticipated 2019 Centenary year is behind us. As in life, what has made this year extra special has been the people involved, and the strong sense of community created.

The planning for the Centenary Project started three years ago with the development of a strategy and monthly themed project plan. The Ridge boys were then tasked with developing a logo depicting everything that The Ridge means to them. We then started building teams of dedicated and hard-working parents, teachers and suppliers who all ensured that The Ridge Centenary was celebrated in an appropriately meaningful and mindful manner and that it would be a year we could all be proud of.

In Richard Stanley’s very first assembly of the year, he spoke to the boys about the theme for the year, “Living the Legacy”. He spoke about the fact that each one of us is a gift and that our responsibility this year would be to leave a legacy that we can be proud of in the school and our community. That would be both the boy’s gift to the school, and the school’s gift to our community. We therefore decided to “Celebrate with a Purpose” this Centenary year. We are very proud of what has been achieved for both our school community and our greater community.

In terms of our school community, the arrival of our Right Stuff champion and much loved Ridgie brought about renewed excitement and love for our school and all that it represents. We have no doubt that Ridgie will be encouraging our boys to continually “do the Right Stuff” well into the next 100 years!

Ridgie has been in the car park welcoming parents and boys back to school at the start of each new term and helped launch the hugely successful Right Stuff Passport in January where each boy has been encouraged to do at least 100 minutes of recorded good deeds and service in our community. We then got together as a community for our Centenary Community Parade which included the official opening of the Junior Prep block and a surprise aeronautical display by a very brave Ridge dad which provided much excitement to an already very special day.

Our first term celebrated the wonderful history of The Ridge and our boys have been treated to the most wonderful interactive displays in the hall foyer and around the school. The history of The Ridge has been brought alive for our boys again in this third term during “History week” where each class has unpacked a historical suitcase and taken on a trip back in time to experience The Ridge over the past 100 years.

Our official Centenary Celebration in March not only got the whole Ridge community together to unveil Marco Cianfanelli’s magnificent Centenary Sculpture, but we also achieved two significant objectives. Firstly, we managed to raise a whopping R1.5 million to build a new Junior primary facility at Salvazione School, and secondly, the Ridge community celebrated and danced the night away together very happy to wake up with sore feet and happy hearts.

In the very busy second term we celebrated the wonderful community at The Ridge and our greater community that surrounds our school. The Right Stuff Action Day at the start of Term 2 took this theme of celebrating with a purpose and ensured that each Ridge boy and his family gave of their most precious commodity, their time, to serve our community. All 512 boys and their families got their hands dirty (mostly very literally) cleaning out animal enclosures at the Zoo, planting succulents in the Wilds, making sleeping bags for the homeless, making sandwiches, the list goes on! In addition to the obvious benefit to the organisations that we supported that day, the spirit of Ridge community that it created was hugely heartwarming to experience.

We then celebrated all the Mother’s at The Ridge, both past and present at a beautifully organized lunch. We also acknowledged and celebrated our very special staff community at the Ridge and ensured that our boys remain grateful and respectful of the wonderful community that surrounds them.

The busy second term also celebrated the history and spirit of sportsmanship at The Ridge with a very special and beautifully organized 1st Team Rugby Festival over half term. This was hugely successful and enjoyed by parents and boys alike.

The wonderful school play “A Westcliff Story” was a wonderfully entertaining yet poignant celebration of not only the history of The Ridge but also that of our country as a whole. The energy and electrifying atmosphere of the final performance still elicits goosebumps! We cannot thank the marvellous Janet Fox enough for treating us to the story of the past 100 years at The Ridge.

The Ridge Old Boy community were invited to a very special dinner the night before Founders’ Day and enjoyed a delicious and entertaining evening of catching up and celebrating their old school days all the while supporting The Ridge Centenary Trust and specifically the school fee assistance programme.

The whole Ridge community then joined together on Hersov Field for a meaningful Founders’ Day Assembly before heading down to Rose Field to be treated to the Ndlovu Youth Choir on a gloriously sunny winter’s day! What a treat of a day for young and old alike.

This final, busy third term saw the boys being treated to a wonderful surprise day of fun on Monday 5 October when they were told they could take off their shoes and head to the fields for some good old fashioned fun with their teachers. It was so lovely to see boys being boys and the amazing sportsmanship of the teachers who agreed to be dunked in the ice-cold dunk tank!

The Centenary Celebrations then officially drew to a close at the Carols by Candlelight picnic held on Monday 25 November. A perfectly balmy night ensured that we were enjoying the best of the Ridge and each other and carols “under African skies”.

On behalf of the Centenary Committee, I would like to thank all of you for the hugely important role that you have played in the life of the school this year. Thank you for your enthusiasm and support, and for coming together at all the right moments creating the uniquely wonderful “Ridge Spirit”!

We would also like to thank Richard Stanley for the gift of his inspiring leadership, his encouragement of our boys to live the legacy, to celebrate with a purpose and have fun in the process, to be mindful of those less fortunate and to be meaningful in everything we do.

We can feel so proud of what has been achieved this year. The Ridge spirit and sense of strong community has never felt stronger and we thank you for this. In addition to this and the huge amount of time given and gifted to the school by our boys, teachers and parents, we have also raised over R2 million for Salvazione School.  This is a legacy that will hopefully live on and touch lives for the next 100 years.

By Angie Chapman

 

leaving staff tributes banner

Janet Fox van der Poel

Ode to Foxy

IMG-20191202-WA0014Twenty-seven years on and the time is nigh

For Janet van der Poel to say a final goodbye

But as she prepares to bid us all farewell and so-long

We all know that at The Ridge she’ll forever belong

To fully understand her true impact and legacy

One needs to travel back through some of her history

St Peter’s Prep were quick off the mark

When Parnel discovered her uniqueness and spark

Miss Ringrose, was the name by which she was known

A school where her passion for music was first shown and grown

The future Head of ISASA, whilst only a lad,

Readily admits to the fun in her care that he’d had

It wasn’t long before they were all standing in line

Looking to employ this sensational music find

As luck would have it, Saints made their move and won the day

Taking top honours as they convinced her to stay

Janet was warmly welcomed by the Stithians embrace

Taking on their music challenges with energy and pace

Well loved, accepted by all, being vivacious and funny

It was here that she was first labelled a Duracell Bunny

It was in ’94 that Wyborn, having moved up the hill

Made his play in a way that benefits The Ridge still

Mrs Fox, knowing a promising offer when she sees one

Jumped ship, came across and the deal was done

And the rest, as they say, is played out as history

Or, in Foxy’s case, more accurately, her story

Music at The Ridge would never be the same

As the Fox era dawned, in flair, fun and fullness of name

From relatively small beginnings with a piano and one flute

It wasn’t long before a true love for music began to take root

Janet’s infectious energy and warmth of embrace

Had little boys hearts pounding as if running a race

Her choirs of happy faces grew in leaps and bounds

Making magic with voices, songs and resonant sounds

And with instruments now brimming and staff fully tuned-in

There was no stopping this foxy lady with a cheeky grin

Given licence to dream and to fully expand

It wasn’t long before she had orchestra, strings and a full jazz band

More was to follow when a rock band surged

And shortly thereafter the African Marimbas emerged

But if that wasn’t enough, as if coming of age

There was still much to follow under lights and on stage

Out of Grease and The Lion King, which were simply stunning

Came Oliver and The Sound of Music, both likewise amazing

In addition, of course, are the tours with St Ks

From Cape Town to Durbs, myriad memories were made

Sharing the good news of music above the steps

With Clifton, Herschel and Western Province Prep

After twenty-seven years it would hardly be surprising

That she exudes a Ridge loyalty which is remarkably inspiring

From appropriate attire to observing The Ridge Way

She is intent and determined to have the last say

But when all is said and done her deeper claim to fame

Is the love that she has for her boys – name by name

Generations of lads who have been blessed by her passion

Enter the world with hearts full of music, love and appreciation

Centenary provided a fitting final curtain

With A Westcliff Story the best, of that we’re certain

A whole school play that wove a golden thread

Sharing a 100 year story – not much remained unsaid

And so, dear Janet, as you prepare to take your leave

Please understand, hold onto and truly believe

That your magic and legacy will never disappear

And will continue to bless this school for another 100 years!

By Richard Stanley

 

Cecelia Malapile

Malapile CeciliaCecilia started at The Ridge in 1998. She has a family of 3 children, a son and two daughters,

We are really going to miss you, Cecelia! Thank you for everything you have done for me and the Ridge Family. I hope you will enjoy every minute of your retirement. Retirement means that you finally have time to follow some of your own dreams. Go for it!

I wish that I could reverse your age but I know that is impossible. May this next phase of your life bring you all that you seek and more!

You will be missed but never forgotten!

By Martha Skhosana

 

Mathongwane John

John Mathongwane

John Mathongwane – what can I say? John joined the Ridge School in 1998. He previously worked at Blyvoorzicht Gold mine – Carltonville. He already had 14 years of experience working with electrics before he joined the Ridge.

John hails from Ventersdorp. He is married to Anna and they have 2 daughters and 1 son. His son Kearabetswe is studying Business Management at Richfield Business College and he is in his 3rd year of study. From observation, I have concluded that he is devoted to his family and constantly checks if they are okay, especially his son.

John and Isaac make a formidable team and together they have tackled many a maintenance job, constantly ensuring that the school is looking ‘ship-shape’.

You may not believe this, but John does have a sense of humour and I have seen him belly laugh until there were tears in his eyes to some random joke which Isaac (his partner in crime) will bring out from time to time.

John has indeed been an asset to the Ridge team and we wish him well as he enjoys his retirement with family and friends. However, knowing John, I am sure that he is already plotting his next move because he could never keep his hands still.

Go well, my friend, and God Bless.

By Chris Perumal

 

Euphane Richardson

70098Euphane and I met when we were little girls. Her mother was our ballet teacher, and my sister and I went to her ballet school. I can still remember our ballet concerts vividly. In one ballet concert, Euphane was cast as ‘autumn’ in a flowing autumnal costume and I, a flower in a green tutu! We met up again many years later at an interview for a position at Pridwin. I was on the interviewing panel with Simon Weaver. I made a mental note!

When Diana von Preuschen retired from The Ridge, I immediately thought of Euphane. She was living and teaching in Grahamstown and would have to relocate. She did, and the rest is history. Euphane has been at The Ridge for 17 wonderful years, teaching woodwind, and directing the Wind Band and Senior Orchestra with distinction. We have had enormous fun over the years and have worked very well together. Her teaching is outstanding and the number of music scholarship winners she has taught bears testimony to this. There are not many teachers who are able to teach all the woodwind instruments at this level with such outstanding results. She can and she does. Her pupils are brilliantly taught! The majority of her pupils continue playing their instruments right through senior school, and their wind section is really a Ridge Old Boys club! The Senior Schools love her pupils!

Euphane has been on every music tour during her time at The Ridge, conducting the combined orchestra with St Katharine’s. They always perform to rave reviews and leave the audiences wanting more.

Euphane is actually a bassoonist and has over the years been part of the band in our major musical productions. She is a perfectionist and is always professional. Thank you for 19 outstanding and wonderful years with us. The Ridge is going to miss you hugely! Enjoy devoting more time to your beloved ballet.

By Janet Fox Van Der Poel

 

Izette Varty 

70142Izette has had an incredible journey at The Ridge. She started as a parent who then became a part-time and then full-time teacher at The Ridge. Izette’s time at this school goes back almost 13 years. Working as a junior prep teacher, Izette soon got the reputation of being an outstanding educator who understood the value of a strong academic foundation and worked with parents, staff and boys to prepare them.

 After spending a few years in the Junior Prep, Izette moved to the Senior Prep as the Head of Afrikaans. During the last few years, Izette led the Afrikaans department by developing a curriculum and content that ultimately prepared our Grade 7 boys to be confident and well-equipped learners in high school.  Her structured and organised classroom practices were not only beneficial for boys, they were also valued and appreciated by the parents. Izette has been teaching for over 30 years and with this she has brought incredible wisdom, experience and knowledge to the discussion.

 Not only did Izette completely dedicate herself to the Afrikaans department, but she also immersed herself in the life of the school. She was a regular at the Grade 7 camp and fully integrated herself with the activities. She helped the boys build a fire, advised them on their shopping list for the ‘dollar a day’ activity and often did the lights out supervision at camp, all this with a touch of lipstick! Izette is not shy of hard work and her supportive and helpful nature is something that we all admire and are grateful for.

 Izette has dedicated her 30-year career to educating young children, and the life of the staff, the school and the children became richer because of her involvement. It is incredibly sad, that you are leaving teaching, but know that you have left on a high, with being a wonderful educator and an encouraging team mate.

Dit was ‘n voorreg om saam met jou te werk en jou wonderlike vriendskap sal altyd waardeer word. Ek wens jou alles van die beste, met die nuwe en interessante uitdagings wat in jou toekoms voorlê.

By Urvasi Naidoo

 

Damian Stanton Pakkiri

70159After nine years at The Ridge School, Damian is leaving us to take on the new challenge of heading a school.

Having worked in and experienced the ethe (plural of ethos) of four outstanding private schools, Damian is more than ready for his new challenge.

During his time here, he completed a B Ed Honours (in Curriculum Development) and an M Ed (in Leadership and Management). He will be registering for his PhD shortly. This striving to improve and engage in lifelong learning is part and parcel of who Damian is.

Damian has contributed significantly to the life of The Ridge School. Under his leadership, Mathematics has continued to flourish and so many of our boys prove, year after year, what excellent young mathematicians they are. This kind of success does not happen by accident and all of us respect the work and achievements of Damian and his wonderful fellow Mathematics teachers. His department has done us all proud.

He has turned tennis around at the school, bringing a level of expertise to the coaching that further demonstrates his pursuit of excellence. Under his guidance, encouragement and coaching, his son Jayden has developed into a phenomenal young tennis player. (We shall be hearing more of Jayden in the future).

Damian is devoted to his family – Rubandhree, Jayden and Jordana. He is always there for them and he strives to be the best he can be for them.

Damian, thank you for being a wonderful and helpful colleague during your time at The Ridge. We all wish you great success with your headship. Enjoy it – Godspeed!

Seize the Day!

By Sean Coughlan

 

Danél Mecloen

Mecloen DanelIt is hard to put into words what Danél has achieved here at The Ridge. She came from the Eastern Cape with a formidable reputation. I think I gave her the position without even interviewing her. She took the brass department to a new level. Never before, in my teaching career had I ever heard such brilliant beginner brass pupils. Those little boys with their shiny instruments just played brilliantly from the beginning! My favourite pieces include “Movie Buster”, “Squadron 50” and the James Bond theme. The Trumpets always excite and energise any Soriee or music assembly. The ‘Last Post’ at Remembrance Day is performed brilliantly every year. During her time with us, Danél has achieved outstanding exam results and many music scholarships. The whole brass section of the wind and jazz band at St John’s College is almost totally made up of Ridge Old boys. The brass section is mainly Danél’s former pupils!

Whist Danél has been at The Ridge, she has married Etienne (also a musician) and given birth to her two beautiful children, Clarin and Lira.

Danél is incredibly organised, a brilliant and committed teacher, and outstanding musician. Over the years, apart from teaching brass, she has directed the Foundation Orchestra, taken junior hymn singing and taught piano. She is professional and an asset to any music department.

We wish her every success at St Katharine’s as she takes on a well-deserved full-time post. You will have the best time there! It is thanks to Danél that we have managed to entice Philip Cox to teach our brass pupils. Philip is a brilliant trumpeter and in high demand as a teacher and performer. We are very lucky! Our brass pupils continue to be in superb hands.

Thank you for 9 outstanding years!

By Janet Fox Van Der Poel

 

Jean-Louise and Alex Parker

70202It is very difficult to imagine The Ridge without Jean-Louise and Alex. Jean-Louise was Lizzie Rennie’s prodigy, and she arrived while Lizzie was still with us. She assisted where and when necessary and then in the most effortless and wonderful way, took the strings over when Lizzie and her family moved to Grahamstown. Jean-Louise is an incredibly talented and versatile musician. She plays not only the violin and viola but also the guitar. She and Alex are constantly in demand to play for all kinds of gigs. Jean-Louise is incredibly efficient, fair and hard-working. Her pupils are always brilliantly prepared for whatever is required.

Jean-Louise is one of those incredibly capable people who never makes a fuss. She just makes a plan. Her violin pupils play beautifully and usually do brilliantly, winning music scholarships as well as outstanding music exam results under her guidance. Her string ensemble is brilliant and she has brought in a formidable team (Daline and Davina) to assist with our violin ‘epidemic’, and who will continue the outstanding teaching of our violin pupils.

70201Enter Mr Alex Parker. Jean-Louise brought Alex to us, and together they have been an amazing duo. Alex is a fantastic all-round musician, a brilliant guitarist and bass player. Alex has taught many ‘wanna be’ rock stars, and has the most wonderful disposition and patience. He has even taught piano and ukulele when the need arose. He and Kevin Drummond direct the rock bands which are brilliant. Alex is calm and seldom has a bad word to say about anyone. He is one of those teachers who inspires and instills confidence in their pupils.

We were part of their wedding and have been blessed to have had both of them on our staff for a number of years. Music Tour time and they both are there! They have enhanced and made the tours even more fun and special, really involving themselves in every aspect of the tour, looking after the children and adding so much musically. How lucky have we been?

They will happily and willingly get involved in all our music events and play a key part in these, enhancing our huge productions, Founders’ Day, Christmas Services and every musical evening. They are both highly respected professionals and hugely valuable members of the music world.

We wish them both an amazing adventure and experience in Germany. They both have immense integrity and will add huge value in this exciting new venture. Their families will miss them and The Ridge won’t be quite the same without them! I am hugely grateful to them for postponing their departure to early next year. They stayed for me! You will be hugely missed in South Africa and especially here on our Westcliff Ridge.

By Janet Fox Van Der Poel

 

Richard Leaver

70192I first met Dickie when he was a school boy at Parktown Boys’. I, at the tender age of 23, was entrusted to teach his class Geography. How I was expected to educate Dickie and his peers is beyond me. Monday to Thursday was spent working and Fridays were our social learning days. Dickie enjoyed card games and tales of my university days (censored of course).

My second point of connection was as his cricket coach. As a child, Dickie was naturally intuitive and grasped social cues extremely quickly. This trait enabled him to relate easily to peers and staff alike. Dickie, will tell anyone who has an hour to spare over selection failures (in his opinion) made by a young and dynamic, upcoming, trophy-winning cricket coach. Dickie was in my U16A team in Grade 10, a year later I was asked to coach the 1st XI and when I posted my team I had omitted a hard-working off spinner, who rumour had it, could turn the ball square. I must have always been looking away during net sessions, or when umpiring matches because, to this day, I still haven’t seen one turn, if anything it goes the other way! Failing to pick Dickie is something I will never live down but at the same time I feel drove Dickie to work harder at his game.

From a young age, Dickie loved sport and felt at home in this domain, he is knowledgeable in almost all school sports and still today he actively participates in football, touch rugby, wake surfing and golf. His ability to relate to the boys he teaches and coaches translates into a healthy rapport and mutual respect. Richard’s relationship with parents further enhances his value offering as he is comfortable to express his opinion and concerns with them.

Dickie has served in the Phys Ed and Sports department for close on 10 years. He has coached almost all sports, gone on every tour at some stage and seen hundreds of boys grow and develop. Often on a Saturday he will send me a screen shot of his boys’ scorecard, this speaks to his love for them, his passion for the sport and need to share good news and special performances. He also sends me screenshots of domestic cricketers’ stats which I delete without opening as who actually still watches domestic cricket?!

Dickie has been an important person in my life over the past three years, he has made me laugh when I needed it, made me go out and be sociable when I just wanted to stay at home, he dragged me to the Vaal and taught me to wake surf because he just loves being a teacher. However, the most important gift he has given me was to help me regain the confidence I once had – talk about the student changing roles with the teacher. I will forever be grateful to you Richard Leaver and I am certain that many people here today have their own story of how you went out of your way to help them through a difficult time.

We won’t miss that you are “occasionally” late for class, or that you delegate your admin tasks to the stooges. We also won’t forget Dickie styles in goals as you ensure all the girls take note of your skills.

So to conclude on a serious note Richard, you make the people around you smile, you make them laugh and you ensure that when staff spend time with each other on a social level they’re never allowed to discuss work! I wish you the best, always.

By Joe Kotwal

 

Zanele Zuma (Mama Zuma)

70197I would firstly like to thank you so much for the love and guidance that you expressed to me. It has been a great pleasure to work with you and to be taught and nurtured by you into this teaching career.

Some say that teaching is a calling and not a career. Well, I believe that you had been called by God to this profession and the teaching experience you have had has been an exciting journey that was filled with joy and positivity. I would say, without a doubt, that you are a skilled woman who is passionate about grooming young lives and you have had a worthwhile impact on the lives of the youth in our country.

When I got to The Ridge as a young 18-year-old, I had fears, doubts and insecurities of being in this working environment and being entrusted with teaching responsibilities. I was not certain about whether I would manage, but you groomed me and showed me all the necessary skills and guidance to face future challenges with hope and determination. I must admit that you have been a mother who always stood by my side and exhibited wisdom to me.

As I move forward, taking the baton into the future, I am reminded of the story of Elisha who was about to ride on the chariot of fire and bid farewell to his fellow colleague and friend. He gave Elijah a double portion of his Spirit and a mantle. Elijah was able to face the future with its challenges because of the confidence and strength he received from his senior. I am so thankful for the mantle of hope, confidence, grit and passion that you have given me and I am prepared to take the reigns and face the journey without fear.

Uhambe kahle Ndlovukazi yakwa Zuma. Nxamalala, Msholozi, Mafahleni, Nina baka Lugaju kaMatomela KaShisa, Mashingizela ashiye impi yakhe, Dwala elibushelelezi, Maphum’ephethe inyama ngala, amasi ngapha nobukhosi amasi ngapha nobukhosi phambili! iAfrika!

By Zibula Dladla

It has been a great pleasure working with a colleague like you. Now, you are off to your next big challenge. It sounds like an exciting opportunity for you, but I still can’t believe you are leaving.

I’m sad to see you go, because you’ve not only been a great co-worker but also a great mother and a friend. You have always been less of a colleague and more of friend; less of a boss and more of a leader.

You may have been overseeing me for only a few years, but your inspirational and motivational words of advice will push me to do my best for the rest of my life.

You have worked very hard at this school. You are one of the strongest women I have ever met. You never complain about anything. If there is one thing that I have learned from you is that do not stress about the things you cannot change.

As you move outside the cold walls of the office, we can’t wait to begin a warm friendship on the outside. Farewell.

By Thulisile Zulu

 

Jan Mallen

Mallen JanetWinning the Comrades may have been your initial biggest feat

However, your time at The Ridge definitely has that beat!

Your adventure began when you took up your new role,

A time for reinvention and a new direction for your soul.

 

You may be small in stature, but you have the biggest heart

And in so many lives you have played a part.

A mentor and guide; motivational too

A mama bear approach in all that you do.

A sounding board for personal or professional needs

Driving us to be our best, you sow many seeds.

Your connection with the boys is unsurpassed

Your compassion and support for their families incredibly vast.

Your influence spans multiple spheres

Your value to children immense in their primary school years.

With so much on your plate

Sometimes a few minutes late,

Barefoot and bold you will always be

And asset in team meetings for others to see.

Coffee literally courses through your veins

Anyone who encounters you, from the experience gains.

A source of wisdom and encouragement

Willing to challenge the status quo and have some rules bent.

Feisty, fit and so young at heart

A valuable member of this team you will always be a part.

You’ve been in the old, the bold and the beautiful crew

You’re an inspiration in all that you do!

You’re only handing over the baton, this is not goodbye

Yours will remain the shoulder on which we laugh and cry.

By Candice Fletcher, Claire Lord and Agnes Jooste

 

Astrid Small

Small AstridIt is only in the past few days that Astrid has made the decision to leave Johannesburg to start a new life in Cape Town. I must say I was very sad. Astrid arrived to assist us when Nicolie Smuts was on sick leave. In her own quiet way fitted perfectly into the department, and gave her very best. She assisted with class music, accompanying and piano teaching.

The following term she continued teaching piano to individual pupils, and has built up an amazing reputation as a wonderful teacher ever since.

Astrid is an exceptional musician and brilliant pianist. I have had the privilege of listening to her perform. Oh my word, and she is so humble! She is very talented but is also an example of what hard work is all about. Astrid can be found at any time of day, weekend or holiday sitting at the piano practising away! She has recently begun her Master’s degree in performance.

In the last short while, Astrid has decided to study at a Bible College in Cape Town, and so, sadly, she has decided to leave her life in Johannesburg. I am sure this new chapter will bring her much joy and fulfilment, and I know she will put everything she has into her studies.

Her pupils will miss her enormously as they absolutely love her. Her wonderful, but quiet disposition and has been a joy to work with. We wish you everything of the best Astrid. Go well, The Ridge will miss you!

By Janet Fox Van Der Poel

Tebogo Dlamini

Dlamini TebohoZizi, Jama ka Sjadu, Mabetshe, Fakade, Mtikitiki.

Tebogo joined us 5 years ago, in 2015. Bright-eyed, ambitious and full of life. He came to us highly recommended from Masibambane College in the Vaal Triangle. He was recruited to the Realema Teacher Internship program in his matric year, 2014, and seconded to The Ridge to gain the required experience as he worked towards completing his undergraduate degree. He came to us with two others, one has since left and now it’s his turn to close this chapter of his career.

Five long years it has been, Bhuti, but how quickly they have passed. You’ve immersed yourself totally at the school and have been on a steep learning curve. You excelled in your academics, did extremely well on the sports field, and proved to be an effective educator. The boys you’ve interacted with have loved every moment that you spent with them. You were stern, yet fair. You treated each child as an individual and gave them your love and attention, even if for a fleeting moment. Your presentations at Monday or Friday assemblies were legendary and who could ever forget the June 16 commemoration assembly you gave earlier this year? Your enthusiasm at Care to Learn days was mythical!

You did it, sir, you did it. We are proud of who you have become under our stewardship, and can safely send you out into the ‘big’ world with the confidence that we’ve trained you well. Go well, bhuti omcane, enjoy your new adventure. Do not stagnate, commit to being a life-long learner and teacher. Change careers often, travel and explore the world. Change is bliss, embrace it.  Aspire to inspire, for only then can you claim to have lived a purposeful life.

Thank you for loving our boys, for respecting your peers and for being beautifully you! You have been fabulous!

 Zizi, nomana ndab’azithethwa intsuku ngentsuku! Bhengu, Nonyathi, Dlamini!

By Moeketsi Motsepe

 

Sioux Hughes 

70305Although Sioux has only been employed as an English teacher for the past year, she is not an unfamiliar face to The Ridge. Having been a teacher who has been working on and off at The Ridge for past few years and having her own sons as students at the school, Sioux fitted in at The Ridge seamlessly.

 This year, Sioux easily integrated herself in her various roles. She enjoyed being a class teacher and encouraged and motivated her boys, whilst maintaining discipline, structure and routine. Sioux is incredibly supportive of the boys she teaches and is invested in their personal development and wellbeing. She has spent many hours engaging with parents, chatting with boys and working with various departments to ensure the boys’ very best interests are considered. Sioux encouraged boys to be independent and work to their full potential, a teacher who tries to bring the very best out of her boys.

 As an English teacher, Sioux is passionate about teaching and made the subject engaging and approachable. With her impressive English knowledge, the boys were challenged, nurtured and guided in the subject. The boys in Sioux’s care not only got expert guidance in English but was respected and supported in all aspects of school. Sioux taught using drama and made the lessons interactive, therefore gaining the interest of the boys. Sioux also worked in the STEAM and EMS departments and her contributions were valued and appreciated.

 Sioux has an amazing sense of humour and we have had many giggles and laughs over a cup of tea. Sioux has been an incredible support to the English department and the Grade 7 team, it was easy, effortless and a real team effort. Sioux certainly got stuck in the busy life at The Ridge and I would like to thank her sincerely for all that she has done. As she prepares to start her life in Mozambique, I wish her and her family lots of joy, happiness and good memories in the sun!

By Urvasi Naidoo

 

Rosalind Page

70326Rosalind came to The Ridge this year, resuming her teaching career after taking a break to care for her adorable pigeon pair, Emma and Harry. Ros has a welcoming and calm presence and the wide-open doors and peaceful music emanating from her classroom every morning are so inviting. Ros interacts with parents, colleagues and the little boys with great respect and humour and it is for these qualities that she has been so well-liked and appreciated this year.

Ros is always immaculate, stylish and professional in her approach. Her classroom is neat and tidy and she is one of the most organised people we know. She works quickly and efficiently almost as if she has a magic wand, everything in her kingdom is in its right place, except at the times when some of her mischievous charges have different ideas!

Ros introduced the Runner Bean game to our playground. This involves the boys walking around and stopping and responding to various commands. Jumping bean, runner bean, jelly bean, chilli bean and French bean to name a few. One can just imagine the hilarious interpretation of the actions. The boys will not forget this game and it has been great fun for the teachers watching too! Ros “has bean” a wonderful part of our Grade 0 team and an asset to the school. We are so pleased that she was part of our amazing Centenary year at The Ridge.

Ros, we are really sad to say goodbye, but know that your place is with your special family for now. Thank you for all you have contributed this year. We will miss you!

By Kathryn Rossouw, Rebecca Emmanuel Debbie Coetzer,

Nozipho Ndiweni and Masana Maringa

 

cultural banner

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Music and Drama

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The Ridge Centenary year has been an extraordinary year of joy and celebration. Music has played a prominent part in almost all of the yearlong celebrations. Our 100th year began with the Centenary launch in the car park in January, where our Centenary Medley was first performed. After a year of wonderful events, our special celebrations were brought to a close last week with our ‘Carols and Thanksgiving under and African Sky’.

Our year of celebrations have included musical events throughout the year, but highlights must include ‘A Westcliff Story’, Founders’ Day and our ‘Carols and Thanksgiving under an African Sky.

‘A Westcliff Story’ was our major whole school musical production which involved every boy in the school.  It told the story of the last 100 years, The Ridge School, a mining town, our country and indeed the world, in song, dance, costume and words.   We played to full audiences over 6 performances.  It was a resounding musical and dramatic success and undoubtedly one of the key events of the year. The boys’ obvious enjoyment was tangible, as appreciative audiences were captivated and enthralled. Founders’ Day dawned less than two weeks later on a glorious sunny winter’s day on Hersov Field. The choirs, orchestra and bands were at their best.  Our final musical performance was our ‘Carols and Thanksgiving under an African sky’, which once again involved all the boys from Grade 0 to Grade7.  The annual Grade 0 end of year concert, Junior Prep Nativity Play and Senior School Carols Service were combined into one final Christmas Concert on Hersov field.   All 512 Ridge boys were on display under an African sky to impart their Christmas and Thanksgiving message to a field, full of parents and friends. Who will forget the sight of all those beautiful children set against the elevation of The Nicolson Hall, as the sun was setting and the lights and tinsel started to twinkle?   The singing was glorious, the orchestra wonderful and it was altogether a very fitting end to a spectacular Centenary year!

 Our usual extensive cultural programme continued throughout our very busy year with outstanding performances and excellent results across the board. As is normally the case, every child is deliberately afforded the opportunity to shine culturally.

 Our music department continues to boast a fine complement of 16 outstanding music teachers who offer exceptional tuition, and who are all fine musicians in their own rights. We sadly say goodbye to a number of them, but their replacements are all brilliant musicians and teachers. I would like to pay special tribute to Euphane Richardson, Danel Mecloen, Jean-Louise Parker, Alex Parker and Astrid Small and to thank them for many years of outstanding teaching, unfailing loyalty, and brilliant musicianship. They will be sorely missed.

 Other cultural highlights have included, festivals and performances of both Junior and Senior Choirs and many of our ensembles. The Marimba Band, Senior Orchestra, String Ensemble, Concert and Jazz Bands have all participated in various outside festivals and at each performance they performed exceptionally well. Performances at other schools have included, St Mary’s, St John’s, St Katharine’s, Pridwin and several of our own festivals either at home or at the Linder Auditorium.  Our marimba bands performed brilliantly at a “Partnership of Hope” fundraiser at Circa Art Gallery. A very worthwhile evening indeed.

 Music assemblies and soirees are held each term to showcase our instrumentalists. We are delighted and proud of the high standard of our music and musicians. Our music exam results and Eisteddfod results bear testament to this.

 My thanks go to these amazing Ridge boys and all the music staff for their commitment and hard work during this extraordinary Centenary year. I will miss them all.

And finally, a special tribute has to go to the Centenary Committee.  They are incredible!

Janet Fox van der Poe

 

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Carols and Thanksgiving Picnic

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