We have come to the end of the Grade 12 Trial Examination period and have completed the prescribed assessments for all the other grades. Next Friday (23 October) the third term reports will be handed out. The marks reflected in these reports should be used as a guide to assess academic progress so far.
We had such an amazing celebration of leadership on Thursday. Our new leadership team was inducted, in what was the first gathering/ assembly in the hall since March. Due to covid limitations, we could only invite the Grade 11 group, staff and parents. We were thrilled that Professor Tabensky was able to join us as the guest speaker. Prof Tabensky is part of the Graeme family, and his son, Noah, is currently the Head Monitor of the junior school. He is the founding director of the Allan Gray Centre for Leadership Ethics (AGLE), Department of Philosophy, Rhodes University. He is the author of Happiness: Personhood, Community, Purpose and of several articles and book chapters. He is currently working on a book on Albert Camus and Frantz Fanon, two philosophers that were thinking deeply about the Algerian War while it was happening.
The 2021 Leadership Body/Portfolio Heads of Graeme College were announced this week and we congratulate this fine group of young men as they assume their new leadership roles and responsibilities.
One of the biggest values that we keep talking to our learners about, is integrity. Just by typing that, I realise how many newsletters have used that topic as the weekly focus. There was a significant event a few days ago, which has grabbed many headlines around the world with regards to sportsmanship and integrity.
Mountains, like rivers ,have been among our richest nature-drawn metaphors for making sense of our human lives and values. I recently came across a blogger on the internet who used the analogy of climbing a mountain to describe a good teacher. I hope you find it as interesting as I did.
September in South Africa is a time where hopefully everybody reflects on their own heritage, but also of the heritage of others in South Africa. The one thing we have in common is that we are all African, and we share this country as our home, together. We can easily list all the things that are wrong in our developing nation, but invariably you will wake up angry and fall asleep anxious. We can focus on the negative, but then we can’t be surprised that we aren't ever really happy. We live in the most naturally stunning country in the world, with arguably the best lifestyle possible. But sadly, along with the other negative aspects, that probably isn't true for every South African. And as much as I want to believe that we live in an utopia, it is also very sobering to consider the plight of others who are less fortunate. With that in mind, it is even more important to celebrate our heritage and ask ourselves, what are we doing as individuals, to make our country a better place for everybody to live. I look at our young learners, who actually struggle to understand the concept of heritage. Most individuals try to celebrate their culture, beliefs and traditions. Maybe even more important than that though, is to be aware and also celebrate our massive diversity ‘in the wider context of a nation that belongs to all its people’.
Spring Day in South Africa is done and dusted, however, on September 22 the Spring Equinox occurs in the southern hemisphere, one of two times of the year when night and day are about the same length. The sun is crossing the equator (an imaginary line around the middle of the Earth), moving southward, and it is an equal distance from the North Pole and the South Pole.
It is an exciting time at Graeme with regards to learner leadership. I joined Messrs De Lacy, Xonxa and Swift at Rhodes for a course on 'Learner leadership', and they have continued to run with it. We have investigated our own leadership model along with our leadership education at Graeme. This has ended up with a completely new model, which was presented to the Grade 11s recently. In fact, today was the deadline for Grade 11s with regards to applying for Portfolio Leadership. I have tried to copy some of Mr De Lacy’s summary below, which looks absolutely amazing. I can't think of many more exciting and positive changes to have occurred at Graeme.
In 1948, Clive Staples Lewis, who wrote the series of children’s books set in Narnia, wrote an essay called: “On Living in an Atomic Age” If we look at the current circumstances the world finds itself in, this essay is seemingly applicable today as it was 70-plus years ago. His essay follows:
In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb.
“How are we to live in an atomic age?”
I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”
It is easy to get caught up in the negativity that has enveloped our society in 2020. So I am going to share one of those epic ‘feel-good’ stories, to remind us what society should be and what humanity is all about in a normal year. It is just a reminder that we aren’t the only species on the planet that cares. It is well documented that elephants mourn the loss of their own loved ones, but the story around Laurence Anthony’s passing in 2012, is a very unique and special one. A YouTube link to the story can be found at the bottom of this newsletter message.
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