Letter from the campus head

17 November 2017

Dear Parents and Staff

During one of the recent sessions with my SMILE group, I did what I often do and ran a quick “how are you today?” type of question to break the ice; “On a scale of 1-5, 1 being life sucks and 5 being it’s great to be alive, how do you feel today?” I was rather saddened to see that I got three 2’s and one 3 on this particular morning. (Usually its 5’s and 4’s) Upon further discussion the penny then dropped, it was all the Grade 6 and 7 pupils and it is exam season!

Less than a week later I was absolutely privileged to listen to one of our Grade 7 pupils who delivered a very thought provoking delivery on, “Perfection and Excellence”. This was at our recent Best Speakers’ Competition which is a bitter sweet irony right there whilst attempting to deliver the perfect speech! In a nut shell, this bright young lady challenged us on what we may lose in the process of chasing perfection, where often through focusing on others, our own journey of excellence is negatively affected. Well this young lady certainly did deliver an excellent speech, as did all our brave Preppies!

I read the following letter about three years ago and clean forgot about it until it was forwarded to me again by a colleague here at school. I am not sure if it is genuine but it is a letter from a Principal in Singapore and reads as follows:

Dear Parents

The exams of your children are to start soon. I know you are all really anxious for your child to do well. But, please do remember, amongst the students, who will be sitting for the exams, there is an artist, who doesn’t need to understand Maths. There is an entrepreneur, who doesn’t care about History or English literature. There’s a musician, whose Chemistry marks won’t matter. There’s a sportsperson, whose physical fitness is more important than Physics. If your child does get top marks, that’s great! But, if he or she doesn’t, please don’t take away their self-confidence and dignity from them. Tell them it’s OK, it’s just an exam! They are cut out for much bigger things in life. Tell them, no matter what they score, you love them and will not judge them. Please do this, and when you do, watch your children conquer the world. One exam or a low mark won’t take away their dreams and talent. And please, do not think that doctors and engineers are the only happy people in the world.

With Warm Regards,
The Principal.

Apologies to all our happy doctors and engineers out there – NOT my words! There is much we can take out of this, obviously an athlete always requires a sound concept of numeracy and a chemist a firm grasp of literacy, but the over-all point it is trying to make, I think, is important. A child’s worth is not solely dependent on their examination results. There also seems to be a myth that a child’s chances to get into their High School of choice is based solely on their examination results, in particular their Grade 6 year end results. As an educator who has had the good fortune of working in three provinces and spent some time witnessing and researching what happens in other countries, I really would like to right this wrong. Schools and in particular Independent High schools, are generally guarded about basing their acceptances for admissions or scholarships solely on a report card from a pupil’s Prep School. I will tell you why, one school’s A aggregate may be another school’s C standard or visa versa. That is why many schools both locally and abroad ignore common entrance examinations and use their own internal scholarship or entrance examinations to determine a pupils acceptance or not. The referral of the staff or Headmaster of the Prep School or the Prep School’s reputation seems to also carry weight. The pupil’s behaviour, sporting and cultural contribution as well as community service are also factors that are taken into consideration and finally, of course affordability is considered. Please do not get me wrong, academic results certainly are part of the process and I am by no means diminishing their value.

It is a national and international concern that education has become too standardised and too assessment driven and that we are losing sight of actual authentic learning. As the old saying goes, “Weighing the pig doesn’t make it any fatter!” So what are we trying to achieve by allowing pupils to write their current examinations here at St George’s? Primarily it is driven by what happens at high schools and it is our attempt to try and “break them in”, excuse my honesty, so they are prepared for what will inevitably follow. I am not convinced this is a strong enough reason? We also need to expose our children to a variety of assessments and questioning skills during a limited time-frame as one day they will work in pressured environments and deadlines need to be met. This sits slightly better with me. There are also particular techniques and coping strategies we can share with our boys and girls to assist them in preparing for examinations that I am sure would help them. Primarily the examination period at St George’s really is more focused on the actual process rather than the end result and that is our main objective in preparing our pupils, after all we are a Preparatory School.

So what letter would this Headmaster write to the parents? I will save that for another day, but for today, on behalf of all the Grade 6 and 7 pupils – “Just chill, Mom and Dad! We will be OK!”

Have a lovely weekend and please remember a brain needs air and a heart needs to be happy in order to be open to learning!

Kind regards
Alex Hall – Campus Head
Twitter – @AlexHallZA
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AlexHallZA
Linkedin – za.linkedin.com/in/alexhallza

What’s on for the rest of the year – (School Events & Sport Fixtures: 20 November – 6 December 2017)

The d6 Communicator is kept up to date with the daily fixtures

School Events

Pre-Preparatory Christmas Market – Friday 24 November 2017

Our Pre-Preparatory and Prep family and friends are invited to join us at the Pre-Prep for our Christmas Market on Friday 24 November from 16h00 to 19h00.

We will be having various stalls where you will be able to browse and do some Christmas shopping.

Families are to please bring a picnic basket and blanket which you can enjoy while shopping as the sun sets and your children play.

Family Fun Day – Saturday 25 November 2017

With Family Fun Day just around the corner we would like to provide our Prep and Pre-Prep families with the programme for the day:

For those that are testing their culinary skills in the Potjiekos Competition, you will be able to start your potjie from 10am. The School will provide the fire pit and the hot coals but you will need to bring along your own gazebo, pot, table and chairs as well as your own ingredients and utensils. Potjies will need to be ready by 2pm for judging.

The Tennis Tournament will run from 11am-2pm. This is a round-robin, mixed doubles event. Please remember to fill in the category you will be playing, social / serious – this entry form was emailed to parents a few weeks ago.

For our families that just want to come along and relax, we will be lighting the braai fires at 12pm. This is a bring-and-braai so remember to pack your meat, salads and rolls. We will supply the plates and cutlery.

Our pre-schoolers will be able to enjoy the soft play from 11am-2pm, free of charge.

There will be a Tuckshop from 11am and Live rugby (South Africa vs Italy) in the Hall at 3pm.

We will not be running a bar at this event, but our parents are welcome to bring their own drinks. We are looking forward to a fun-filled relaxing afternoon with all our St George’s families.

Pre-Preparatory and Junior Preparatory Nativity Play – Tuesday 28 November 2017

The Pre- Preparatory and Junior Preparatory will be joining together this year for the Nativity. It will be held in the Jan Immelman Hall on Tuesday 28 November, commencing at 17h30.

The Grade 000 and 00 will be singing some Carols and Christmas songs. Thereafter Grade R, 1, 2 and 3 pupils will present the play: “The Whoops- A- Daisy Angel”.

Parents are invited to pack a picnic supper which will be enjoyed after the Nativity on the lawn outside the Jan Immelman Hall.

We look forward to seeing you all there and sharing some Christmas Cheer with you.

St George’s Carol Service – Wednesday 29 November 2017

As we celebrate Christmas, our Pre-Preparatory and Prep families are invited to join us for “Nine Lessons and Carols” being held on Wednesday 29 November from 18h00 in the Jan Immelman Hall.

The Junior and Senior Choir, String Orchestra and Flute Choir will be performing as part of the service.

School News

St George’s Preparatory and Pre-Preparatory Blood Drive

Thank you to the St George’s community for supporting our November Adopt-A-Month Blood Drive – your donations are helping to save lives!

Our SANBS Blood Bus drive held at school on Friday 10 November resulted in an amazing 33 donations! In addition donors have visited one of the Blood Centres to donate during the month of November.

We are halfway through our adopted month November and encourage donors to please support this worthy cause and help us reach our target of 50 units. At the moment SANBS is experiencing a big blood shortage and faced with this problem going into the festive season – SANBS is running a special gift promotion from 15 November 2017 – 15 December 2017. Below are places where one can go and donate blood.

Special Gift Promotion @ SANBS Power Bank Charger

PE Blood Donor Centre
PE Provincial Hospital Grounds
Tel: 041 391 8200
Mon – Fri 09:00-17:00 &
Sat 8:00-12:00

Walker Drive Donor Centre
Next to PEP & Crazy Store
Tel: 041 360 4161
Mon – Fri 09:30-18:00 &
Sat 08:00-14:00 & Sun 09:00-13:00

Uitenhage Donor Centre
2 Billson Street
Tel: 041 992 4844
ONLY Mon & Thu 10:00-18:00

Performances by our Pupils at the Family Fun Day, Carol Service and Grade 7 Leavers’ Dinner

This is a busy time for our Music Department with our Choir and Musicians playing at the following functions:

  • The Senior Band will perform at the Family Fun Day on Saturday 25 November from 14:00 until 14:30.
  • The Junior and Senior Choir, Senior String Orchestra and the Flute Choir will perform at the Carol Service on Wednesday 29 November.
  • Our Grade 7 musicians will be playing their last solo performances in front of their peers and parents at the Leavers’ Dinner on Friday 1 December.

It has been wonderful to see our young musicians and members of the Choir showcase their talents at various events throughout this year.

Grade 6 Leadership Camp 2017 – Adrenalin Addo – Wednesday 22 – Friday 24 November 2017

The Grade 6’s are off on a Leadership Camp taking place from Wednesday 22 November to Friday 24 November at the Adrenalin Addo Campsite. The purpose of this camp is to help get the Grade 6 group focused on their leadership role within the school in Grade 7. As such, the activities planned are aimed at facilitating this process. Some of the activities to look forward to will be: raft building, potjie competitions, citrus tour, zip lining, canoeing, team building activities and ice-breakers. These activities are run by qualified adventure team leaders and supervised by staff members. I am sure the Grade 6 pupils will have a lot of fun!

Cultural and Group Photographs Orders

A reminder that cultural photographs are now available to view by parents in Miss Seaman’s classroom (4G) before and after school. Orders are due by Tuesday 21 November 2017. The photographs are R35 each. The envelope must be clearly marked with your child’s full name, Grade and the Order Form and amount enclosed. Unfortunately no late orders can be accepted after the closing date.

A Peek around the Prep and Pre-Prep

The St George’s Senior Prep Sports Awards Ceremony was held on Monday 13 November. It was an evening where we had the opportunity to highlight the pupils’ sporting achievements and their hard work over this past year. We were privileged to have Mr Malibongwe Maketa, the Warriors cricket coach, as our guest speaker. Mr Maketa’s speech was truly inspiring to each and every one of us. We have recently heard Mr Maketa has been selected as the Protea’s assistant coach. Well done to all the sportsmen and sportswomen.

Tennis Championships Finals were played – well done to all the players who took part.

Our U13 lads got to meet Protea player David Miller

Grade 2’s working on their iMovie project on endangered animals

A variety of career paths have been chosen by our Grade 1’s!

Some of our candidates who took their Trinity Drama Exams

Thank you to our St George’s families for your awesome support of this project, for sponsoring an entire trailer load of Christmas presents/ shoeboxes to Kleinskool Primary.

Our boys at “Gentleman’s Club” learning how to work together to solve problems!

Our Grade 00 pupils (and some moms) had a blast at Animals in Wonderland!

The Grade R’s joined the Junior Prep at their Assembly

Our Grade R’s outing to the Donkin Reserve to learn more about “Our City”