HEADMASTER’S ADDRESS PRIZE GIVING DEC 2016
Good morning ladies and gentleman, invited guests, parents and boys of Maritzburg College. May I extend a special word of welcome to our Guest of Honour, Mr Tony Tavern-Turisan Old Collegian of 2006 who currently holds the position of Director of Communications in the Mayor’s Office in Johannesburg.
Thank you one and all for taking the time to celebrate the academic endeavours of our boys and also to Rev Delme Linscott for his message.
It is appropriate at this public occasion to thank the Chairman Mr Craig MacKenzie and members of the School Governing Body for their commitment and service to College over the past year. We are indeed fortunate to have such passionate group of people looking after the best interests of the boys and staff – it is greatly appreciated.
Furthermore, I also wish to thank the Trustees of the Maritzburg College and Old Boys’ Memorial Trust under the superb chairmanship of Mr Martin Hellberg, for their incredible financial generosity, which has enabled us to be one of the stellar campuses in the country with our magnificent facilities for boys and staff.
Generally the end of an academic year at a school brings much excitement with it, but there is a downside in terms of staff farewells.
Unfortunately at this time of the year we have to say farewell to staff members who are embarking on new chapters in their lives. It is at this point that I wish to acknowledge them and their contribution to College:
- Mrs Debbie Martin, 1987- 1990, 2001 to 2003 , 2004 to 2016, 2014 -2016 Deputy Head in Charge of Academics, English teacher, former Head of English almost 20 years of dedicated and committed service at College and more importantly to the boys that she taught – Mrs Martin always worked on the maxim of what is best for boys. She is leaving College to assume the role as Deputy Head of Pastoral Care at St Anne’s Diocesan College.
- Mrs Ann Houghting 1997 –2016 SAN sister retiring after 20 years in the hot seat of attending to all your boys’ aches and pains – Mrs Houghting is incredibly caring, considerate and passionate about her boys and meticulous in following through.
- Mr Andre Leroy OC– joined the staff in 2006 and Head Of Department for Admissions Public Relations Officer; Subject Head of Maths Lit; Master In Charge of Cricket; BE master for Housemaster of Calder House. He and Mrs Leroy and family are off to Uplands College to experience a different environment.
- Mrs Janine Jeary 2008 Accounting, EMS and Khanyisa outreach programme and FUNK choreography. She is leaving us to take up a position at St John’s DSG.
- Mrs Liz Leroy 2008 English, Speakers Circle joins her husband at Uplands College.
- Mrs Kim Storm 2012 – First Aid, teacher of Science and Maths is leaving us on promotion to St John’s DSG.
- Mr Bonwa Mbontsi Old Collegian 2013– Drama, English, FUNK – he is going to follow his dream in the world of the arts but will still be involved with FUNK – he is synonymous with the brilliant FUNK performances over the years
- Mrs Kelly Woods 2014 –teacher of Accounting, EMS is relocating overseas to follow her dream in Australia with her husband
- Mr Devon Van Der Merwe Old Collegian 2014 – Director of Hockey , EMS, Assistant HM, BE master, very successful 1st XI hockey coach – No 1 for the past three years is off to Hilton College as their 1st XI hockey coach.
- Mrs Nicola Pearman 2014 – a part time English teacher is relocating.
- Mr Caiden Laing Old Collegian 2016– English, History cricket and hockey coach plus BE master after a year into the world of hospitality.
We thank them for their contribution and wish them well for the future.
Despite the farewells, I am very happy to report that we are fully staffed from January 2016 with five Old Collegian’s returning to their alma mater, including two senior staff who that left in June this year.
Finally, I wish thank all members of EXCO and colleagues on the academic and administrative staff at College. I am uncertain whether parents and boys are fully aware of the huge sacrifices and commitments that our staff make on a daily basis to ensure what is best for the boys at the end of the day. The role of the teacher has become more complicated and onerous over the years and more and more responsibilities are being placed on their shoulders, and I am eternally grateful and indebted to them for what they do for your boys.
We are gathered here today to acknowledge the excellent results of a large number of our most competent academic boys.
I wish to raise two comments which focus on knowledge and learning.
The first comment focuses on an article written by Professor Veninga of the University of Minnesota.
‘We live in an incredible age in which new knowledge is produced daily. 85% of all scientists who have ever lived are alive today. The time interval between the realisation of an idea and its arrival in the market place is now the shortest in history, usually a few months. From the time of Christ’s birth to the middle of the 18th century, knowledge doubled. 150 years later it doubled again and then again in only 50 years. Today it doubles every three to four years.’
What is the significance of this?
This is an exciting era in which to live and in which to work. But for us and you to catch this excitement, we need to learn, grow and increase our knowledge.
We must be willing to learn; expand our frame of reference and discover new ways to utilise our talents in an ever changing world.
In the school environment, we need to urgently look at embracing and including the subject of entrepreneurship [the willingness to take risks and develop, organize and manage a business venture in a competitive global marketplace that is constantly evolving. Entrepreneurs are pioneers, innovators, leaders and inventors] and focussing on the skills that need to be developed:
1 COMMUNICATION SKILLS (LISTENING, SPEAKING AND WRITING)
2 ANALYTICAL AND RESEARCH SKILLS
4 INTERPERSONAL ABILITIES.
5 ABILITY TO MAKE DECISIONS AND SOLVE PROBLEMS.
6 ABILITY TO PLAN, ORGANISE AND PRIORITISE WORK.
7 ABILITY TO WEAR MULTIPLE HATS.
8 LEADERSHIP/MANAGEMENT SKILLS.
The responsibility lies with the us, the teachers, to guide the boys to focus their goals; prioritise their activities and discover new ideas which will ultimately transform our lives.
The second comment is about learning.
It is essential that we are continually learning and open to new ideas and that lifelong learning [i.e. on-going, voluntary, and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons] is taken as a given.
Count everything as a learning experience. Learn from your failures and ask yourself ‘What is it trying to teach me?’ The lessons are not always happy ones but they keep coming. Learn from your successes. Keep learning daily from your day at school, your teachers, mentors, coaches, friends and family.
Albert Einstein stated ‘Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning.’’
Congratulations to those of you receiving awards today - you have certainly seized your opportunities and have earned our admiration and respect.
To excel at school takes determination, commitment and a positive attitude.
You can feel justifiably proud!
Finally, may I wish you all a very happy and safe holiday, a peaceful Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
Pro Aris et focis