During the past two weeks, the realization dawned on me, yet again, that teaching is not easy, and it never will be. At the moment, teachers are trying to strike a balance between ensuring that all our boys have covered the required work, while also managing academic assessment pressure and continuing with cultural and non-contact sporting activities under the new normal.
Every year, reminders pop up on social media about events in history. I apologise for using this in a newsletter again - but the message is so incredibly powerful. I can only hope that when we remember these brave deeds, that it can also inspire our young Graemians to make a difference in the world.
With so much going on in the world, we forget how the negative news stories and images impact one's mental health and resilience. This is why it is critical to check in with your feelings and make sure that you’re taking the time to build up your mental health.
With so much uncertainty about the present and the near future at the moment, I thought I would refer to the past in this week’s newsletter. Peter Breetzke and Ernie van Hille are furiously working on our book which covers the history of Graeme College over the last 150 years. How apt too, because they seemed to have been around for the entire duration of that history. They pop into the office occasionally, with interesting anecdotes and always have some great conversation points or quirky historical facts. I was intrigued to have a look at a book Peter dropped off recently, which had also been very recently completed. It is the WESSA organization's ‘Guide to the Natural and Cultural History of Grahamstown/ Makhanda’ which any resident of our area will find interesting. The book was edited by Roy Lubke and Irene de Moor and I look forward to learning more about our area while reading the book in the near future.
As I watched the boys run out to play in last weekend's s ports fixtures, I realized how lucky we are as a school and how important it is to show gratitude.
Without a doubt, the vast majority of our boys, staff, and parents have embraced the return to full-time education, as well as the continuation of extra-curricular activities.
We have all read the following anecdote on social media over the years and after it popped up again recently, I paid it a little more attention. Obviously the scenario is classroom based and that is the first thing that creates interest re: our educational environment. The message is, however, also about parenting and relationships. Relationships between teacher-learner, parent-child and obviously peer relationships. In the work environment we can also refer to relationships between colleagues.
As we reach the end of the first term I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to the administrative, support and teaching staff for all their hard work. Thank you for creating an environment that is safe and nurturing for the young men of Graeme College. It is by no means without its challenges, and often thankless, but the love and dedication that goes into every day is remarkable.
Traffic Concerns on Campus
A disturbing concern has been raised by a number of parents recently, with regards to traffic and safety on the campus during drop-off and pick -up times. Those concerns are primarily based around speeding vehicles and congestion. Our staff have been very concerned and have recently discussed this in depth again.
Over the Easter Weekend we received the tragic news that one of our sons, Olisa Vani, had passed away in a car accident. Olisa was a Grade 8 learner who joined us this year.
The death of a child is devastating, unthinkable and emotionally unfathomable. It is the worst experience a parent can endure. Unfortunately, words just can't say enough. As a school community, our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this difficult time and we pray that God will grant Olisa’s family the serenity and peace that they will need, to get through this painful loss.
In the last few weeks, our school community has been involved in the SGB elections which has now been completed. We received 9 nominations, which works out perfectly - as there are 9 vacancies on our SGB for parents. As a result those 9 parents are duly elected as per the Education Department guidelines. Congratulations again to: Steven Boy, Siyabonga Duba, Barend Lensley, Cameron McConnachie, Ellouise Muir, Natalie Ripley, Lunga Twaku, Etienne Walters and Kerryn Wiblin. In the few weeks leading up to the nomination process, our governors had spent a horrible number of hours at interviews, hearings and meetings. It made me think about the amount of extra time and effort our parents at Graeme put in to make this school so amazing. There are so many pressures associated with schools within South Africa, but if your community supports you like ours does, it seems to make dealing with those pressures so much easier.
© 2021, Graeme College.