Dear The Ridge School Community,
There is so much about which we can all feel proud as we reflect on our school and its value in 2023.
We are absolutely committed to offering our boys an Academic Programme that is supporting 21st century realities, one that differentiates our boys, one that is devoted to innovation and rethinking and a curriculum that helps develop deep, wide and transformational thinking. Our Grades 6 and 7 (Literature, History and Philosophy) RidgeUp programme has been so successful that it will be stretched into being offered to younger grades next year. A further example of our investment in the above is the Master Classes learning experiences our boys will be offered, by a range of teachers, in Grades 4-7 in 2023. Our Project Based Learning approach has fed our boys in significant ways and we are excited about our moves towards a richer maker space, hands on learning experience in the future.
I am in awe of the range of opportunities and areas for growth made possible by our Sports codes and our Music teachers this year. The Ridge campus is enlivened daily, by a huge range of Sport and Cultural spaces. 2023 has witnessed so much development and joy in these areas and the resultantly wide impact must be noted.
2023 at The Ridge has witnessed a deepening of our mission to be a relationship-centred School for boys that prioritises growth and the fostering of individual strengths. I am thankful to all our Staff, our Boys, our Parent Body and our Board for the joy and the quality that has been our School this year.
We will continue striding into doing “nothing without joy” (Loris Malaguzzi) and striving for world class quality in all we offer our Ridge Boys.
By Frank Rumboll
TRIBUTE TO ANTON PRETORIUS BY DANIEL MCLACHLAN
Today, we bid farewell to a remarkable individual who has been integral to The Ridge family for nine years. Anton has been the embodiment of dedication, kindness, and passion throughout his tenure at The Ridge. His journey with us has been a unique blend of creative academic prowess, superhero inspiration, and a touch of Star Wars magic.
Anton is not just a colleague; he is a friend, a confidant, and a pillar of support. We have shared more than just professional experiences; we have weathered storms of personal hardships and celebrated moments of triumph together. Personally, some memorable moments have been watching many Springbok victories together at Anton’s house and an incredible Orange River trip with his son Jude many moons ago. Anton’s gentleness and kindness have been a source of comfort for many of us, and his unwavering commitment to the well-being of his colleagues is truly commendable.
Anton is far more than just a teacher; he is a fantastic father to his two sons, who have completed most of their primary school journeys at The Ridge. His commitment to family values is reflected in the love and care he extends to his children and to every student he has nurtured over the years.
If you have ever been lucky enough to receive one of Anton’s many Maths puzzles, you will know that his love for creative problem-solving goes beyond the classroom. His enthusiasm for challenging our minds is rivalled only by his passion for a good pun. And let us not forget his newfound interest in yoga – a skill that, I must say, is quite impressive, especially for someone who enjoys a good nap – I quote his youngest son Zach.
One of Anton’s superpowers lies on the golf course. Our many holiday rounds of golf and chipping sessions on the Hersov Field have been a source of rejuvenation and relaxation and have also provided a space for camaraderie and shared laughter. On these fairways, I’ve seen Anton’s sportsmanship and character shine, and his skill with a club is truly something to marvel at.
Anton’s contributions to The Ridge go into many different spheres of school life. He is a versatile teacher, having taught English, STEAM, Maths, and Digital Literacy for Grades 5, 6, and 7. He has served as the editor of our excellent school magazine, Horizons, and has made an impact as the driving force behind the success of our tennis programme while contributing to many other sporting codes. As Head of Nicolson House for many years, he has had to develop resilience and humility. Anton has truly impacted every corner of our school community during his time here.
As Anton embarks on a new adventure into another hemisphere, we cannot help but feel pride and sadness. King Edward’s School in the UK is gaining an outstanding educator to head their Maths department, who will be a beacon of inspiration, a mentor, and a friend. Anton, we wish you all the success and happiness on your new journey. May the Force be with you, and may your passion for teaching continue to ignite students’ minds wherever you go.
TRIBUTE TO Maresce Opperman BY AKHONA MTSHABE
As the year draws to a close, we find ourselves saying goodbye to not just a mentor, a mother, a colleague, and a role model, but to a beacon of inspiration, compassion, and wisdom. It is with great respect and deep affection that we honour Maresce as she embarks on a new chapter in her journey.
Maresce has been more than just a teacher; she has been a guiding force, a source of strength, and a pillar of support. Her dedication to education has been unwavering, and her impact on the lives she has touched is immeasurable. As a mentor, she has shaped the minds of countless students, instilling in them not only knowledge but also a passion for learning that will endure for a lifetime.
In her role as a mother, Maresce has shown us the true meaning of nurturing. She has created a classroom environment that feels like a second home, where every student is valued, heard, and loved. Her ability to connect with each individual on a personal level has created a sense of belonging that extends beyond the classroom walls.
As a colleague, Maresce has been the epitome of collaboration and camaraderie. Her willingness to share ideas, offer support, and celebrate the successes of others has created a positive and uplifting work environment. She has been the glue that binds us together, fostering a sense of unity and teamwork that has made our professional journey richer and more rewarding.
In the unique setting of an all-boys school, Maresce has stood out as a beacon of compassion and understanding. Her ability to connect with each student on a personal level has created an environment boys feel seen, heard, and valued. She has not just taught them subjects; she has taught them about life, empathy, and the importance of relationships.
As we bid farewell to Maresce, let us carry with us the invaluable lessons she has imparted, both academically and personally. Her dedication to each boy’s growth, her tireless efforts to make learning engaging, and her genuine care for each student have set a standard that will resonate with us forever.
As you embark on a new chapter, know that your legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of your students. May your path be filled with continued success, and may you find as much joy and fulfillment in your future endeavours as you have given to us during your time here.
Thank you for being an extraordinary mentor, a nurturing mother, an exceptional colleague, and a role model beyond compare.
Thank you, Maresce, for being more than a teacher— for being a source of inspiration. You will be deeply missed, and your impact will endure in the stories of the students whose lives you’ve touched.
To Maresce—with heartfelt thanks and best wishes for the future.
TRIBUTE TO CLAIRE LORD BY THE LIGHTHOUSE TEAM
Our Claire arrived here 6 years ago, this beautiful, fresh-faced girl with a pixie cut, vivacious energy and a worldly manner, having just travelled to India. As a Lighthouse team, Jan, Astrid and I immediately fell in love with your spirit, your dynamic nature and widespread interests. We all knew that you would fit right in…and so you did!
You and I did have a rocky start though to be fair, me coming back from maternity leave and you having occupied my office; but it wasn’t long before I realised that you are the type of person people want to be around, with warmth, grace and genuineness.
Over the years, there have been some highs and lows that we have faced as a Lighthouse team, but it has been such a pleasure to work alongside you, sharing ideas and collaborating, having many debriefing sessions about anything and everything, and watching you grow and develop and find your voice.
Learning support can be a really tough environment to work in sometimes, advocating for children that are neuro-diverse and many of whom have lost their spark, motivation and have developed a learned helplessness along the way; but you have always managed to find a way to connect, inspire and to build up the children that you work with…one Maths sum at a time. This job is anything but black and white, and we admire how you operate so effortlessly in the grey. Pushing the boundaries, tolerating the difficulties, while showing a keen flexibility and a willingness to seek that which is novel and innovative. You are always willing to get stuck in and lend a hand or a listening ear.
“Flow” is described as a state when you are immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. This is how best we can describe your time spent with your boys…guiding them, watching them develop, celebrating the wins (no matter how small) and connecting at every juncture, with lots of laughter to boot.
Claire always has about 50 tabs open at once. She is never short of an interest or hobby and always has something up her sleeve. She is a singer for her church choir, makes gorgeous leather products, is a gin taster and margarita maker extraordinaire, a foodie, a Pilates instructor, a fitness fanatic, and a Superbalist fundi (she opened my eyes to Superbalist and we all know that it’s now a closely fought race between Becs and I for the most deliveries)! She regularly belts out a tune, is our vitamin advisor…especially getting shook with Vitamin B, Ms Green fingers, and our daily ‘TikTok video/meme laugh of the day’ finder. Her and Melissa are also in regular contest with those Westcliff Stairs…although I might add I think Melissa has learnt her lesson from daring Claire to race to the top! You are also my personal gateway to Instagram. You are our beloved Soda Stream sales lady, our vegan café mocha creator, a captivating storyteller from your trips abroad and the Jamie Oliver of snacks. You were also Aggie’s daily reminder of where to park.
As our Tik-Tok guru and always up for a trend, I do recall the time you gladly took on the challenge of roly-polying through the Lighthouse, with Jacs in absolute hysterics. Unable to speak and on the verge of the ugly laugh-cry, with Penny in the background thinking you had all lost the plot. The sound of that pure joy still reverberates in our minds.
As you are all well aware, Claire is also our queen of banter, always a moment away from a belly laugh that is infectious to others and that lifts people up. You also happen to be the Lighthouse birthday fairy, listening attentively and coming up with gift ideas that land perfectly every time.
As an extra feather in your cap, I might add that you were also always the winner of Daniel’s regular Maths challenges.
Claire is also one with nature, loving to share her office surrounds with our feathery friends the guineafowl. I recall many an occasion with me gazing out the window, delighting in the calls and longingly feeling as though we were in the bush, only to find Claire behind me…googling a myriad of guineafowl pie recipes. She just adores those black little jumpy spiders who share her office space and quickly became the Lighthouse cat whisperer, who despite her allergies and with tissue in hand, would regularly have Tigger, Tofu and Sushi on her lap or keyboard.
As a Lighthouse team we know that you always have our backs. You are honest, intentional, willing to be vulnerable, always up for a café mocha, as well as a hug, or a cry as the situation demands. Connection is at your core, and it is refreshing to see how you don’t take yourself too seriously. You are an amazing colleague and a valued friend. We love your zest for life and adventure, and your go-getter attitude. You exude an energy that allows those around you to thrive.
You once made a comment to me that you hope to be just like your mom one day, and while I don’t know your mom that well, I can safely say that those who meet you are all the better for it. You have no shortage of charm, poise, elegance, integrity and go old ‘gees’. I know your dad would be so proud!
How privileged APPS is to have you joining its ranks. We are encouraged that our future generation of girls will get to experience YOU, with your perfect balance of gentleness and fierceness.
We leave you with this quote:
“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars and see yourself running with them” – Marcus Aurelius
Love Zoe, Jane, Melissa, Loyiso, Retha and Candice
TRIBUTE TO ZOë VON KLEMPERER BY HOLLY FERRAR
Zoë’s Ridge journey at The Ridge School began as a parent to her three boys who attended The Ridge between 2009 and 2020. Zoë joined us as a member of staff in The Lighthouse in 2021. She is affectionately known to the boys as Mrs vK.
Zoë impacted the lives of many children during her time in The Lighthouse. She has worked in a one-on-one capacity, with small groups and in the classrooms to work with boys who needed support or intervention. I know that each boy who has been lucky enough to experience the ‘Zoë magic’ has benefited from their experience with her. She has a remarkable way of understanding exactly what a boy needs to learn and then systematically and consistently works to achieve the goal she has set for them in a fun and engaging way.
I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from Zoë. Her positive and proactive approach to helping boys reach their potential is admirable. She is constantly one step ahead and takes a personal interest in all the boys in her care.
I have no doubt that she will continue to make a positive impact in her new role. We wish her all the very best.
I will miss Zoë’s incredible kindness, her support, and her care for her work. I will also miss her beautiful roses and our friendship, which has meant so much to me.
Thank you, Zoë, for your dedication to The Ridge over the past three years. And all the very best of luck for the next part of your journey.
TRIBUTE TO PAT MBELE BY HANLIE GLANZ
Pat and I met years ago, loooong before she joined us at The Ridge, through quizzes and library meetings. To me it was like working with a friend when she started with us in 2019.
Pat, you are one of the gentlest, most kind-hearted people I know.
In a way, I’m glad you are not retiring from Ulwazi, because when you moved to the Grade 2 realm, I already had to say (kind of) goodbye to you. But now retirement calls, and I know that I will not be the only one to miss your light, because you graced so many people with it in all the parts you played: Librarian, Chess Maestro, Zulu teacher and this year, part of the Grade 2 team.
Aunty Pat, we love you and we’ll miss you. Keep us in your memories, as we will keep you in ours!
Pat’s Odyssey at The Ridge
In halls of learning, where boys aspire,
A gem named Pat did stoke the fire.
In 2019, she graced The Ridge,
A journey that now ends, a parting bridge.
In the Senior Library, her tale took flight,
A curator of knowledge, a beacon of light.
With wisdom vast, she shared the lore,
Igniting minds in that scholarly shore.
Zulu, the tongue, she taught with grace,
Opening windows to a diverse embrace.
Chess club’s maestro, strategy’s dance,
Under her guidance, intellect would enhance.
2023 brought change, a vibrant shift,
To the Grade Two’s realm, her heart did lift.
With kindness boundless, she shaped young minds,
In every lesson, her generosity shines.
A spirit sweet, like honey’s kiss,
Pat Mbele, an essence we’ll dearly miss.
Generous, kind, and ever so bright,
Her presence made The Ridge gleam with light.
Fun and games, her joyous decree,
With boys at play, she found her glee.
In every laughter, in each shared joy,
Her legacy lingers, like a cherished alloy.
As the sun sets on this chapter dear,
Retirement calls, whispers in her ear.
Yet, in our hearts, her legacy stays,
A tribute to Pat in heartfelt praise.
For every lesson, every chess move planned,
For every Zulu word, like grains of sand.
A teacher, a friend, in memories we’ll keep,
Pat Mbele, in gratitude, our hearts sweep.
Love, Hanlie Glanz
This year has been filled with exciting advancements aimed at enhancing our school’s learning experience. From refining our academic strategies to charting our course for the future, we have dedicated ourselves to creating an exceptional educational environment.
The isiZulu and Afrikaans departments have witnessed significant advancements under the guidance of Mrs Olivier and Mr Mtimkulu. They have revitalised language lessons by closely examining the existing programme and identifying areas for improvement. For example, the introduction of the study and enjoyment of poetry and focused enhancement of vocabulary and reading habits. Grade 7 work builds upon concepts from Grades 4-6 with greater detail, emphasising understanding over memorisation. Mrs Olivier actively engages with the boys, providing additional guidance and activities through platforms like Google Classroom. An Afrikaans assembly was held to further immerse the boys in the language, with a similar event planned for isiZulu. Mr Mtimkulu has also made significant changes in the isiZulu Department, concentrating on improving conversational proficiency. Diverse online games and resources are incorporated into lessons to make learning more engaging. For example, the Grade 5 boys had to create recipes in isiZulu and then present them to the class.
Efforts are being made to expand Discovery Based Learning through extending the Project Based Learning pedagogy into Grade 6 next year in STEAM and Social Sciences. English Master Classes and Hands-On-Future-Focus activities are planned for next year. Hands-On-Future-Focus will involve maker space activities where the boys will learn to build objects in a thoughtful, planned and creative manner. Encouraging Discovery- move up
Based Learning involves letting boys actively explore and uncover information and solutions independently. It fosters critical thinking by tackling real-world challenges through project based learning. Collaborative projects promote teamwork and communication, while hands-on fabrication methods provide experiential learning and reinforce theoretical knowledge. These methods also contribute to skill development, enhancing fine motor skills, spatial awareness, patience, attention to detail, and technical proficiency. Additionally, creating diverse objects cultivates a sense of ownership and pride, instilling a deeper connection to their work. Throughout the process, boys learn problem-solving skills such as identifying issues, analytical reasoning, decision-making, troubleshooting, planning, adaptability, and reflection. Most importantly, it promotes a sense of wonder and because boys enjoy it, it cultivates a love of learning.
The very exciting planned redesign of the OSIC building is expected to significantly enhance these pedagogical methods. The OSIC centre will contain a dedicated maker space; coding and robotics; a science laboratory and movable furniture which can be placed to enhance collaborative learning spaces for exploration, discussion (e.g. Socratic dialogue) and discovery based learning.
The RidgeUp programme, led by Mrs Debbie Rumboll, has been highly successful. The boys have thoroughly enjoyed these sessions which have enhanced their language proficiency, literary understanding, critical thinking, 21st Century competencies and confidence. Furthermore, it has exposed them to pedagogies and skills that will place them well ahead of their peers in High School and beyond. The programme is set to be extended to Grades 2-4 in the upcoming year.
There has been a wide variety of professional development for staff this year. The implementation of PurpleZA as a staff professional development platform has yielded positive results, with The Ridge School ranking fourth nationwide during October. Two staff members were among the top ten educators nationally in October. This commitment to continual learning and development drives excellence within our classrooms, fostering a culture of innovation. Making use of professional development platforms like PurpleZA and our weekly professional development sessions has provided inspiration for creative teaching approaches, while allowing us to exchange ideas about our most impactful lessons. Continued focus on showcasing classroom implementation of learned concepts is planned for next year. Notably, several staff members have also completed their Google Level 1 and 2 qualifications.
Next year, the English Programme for Grades 4 and 5 will incorporate a “Reading for Meaning” initiative. This effort is supported by training sessions from the Lighthouse, aimed at improving reading skills in the Senior Primary. Similarly, the Junior Primary received professional development sessions from the Speech Therapists regarding the very successful Grade 0 Literacy Programme and the extension thereof to Grade 1 next year.
We endeavour to offer an upgraded Science Programme. For this reason, we are separating Earth Science in Grade 7 (which is the beginning of a new phase) into Geography and Natural Science. We will be combining some of our lessons for Grade 7 boys with the St Katharine’s girls which will involve co-teaching and curriculum planning. We hope that the new, upgraded OSIC centre will also serve as a space that will challenge the boys and create excitement around Science. In addition, Grade 7 students will embark on a more structured approach to Coding and IT skills next year, preparing them for a technologically advanced future.
Our aspiration to excel in boys’ education has driven us to establish a groundbreaking research centre. This facility will facilitate progress tracking, knowledge sharing, and learning from reliable sources, heralding a new era of educational excellence.
This year has been a period of growth, enjoyment, and trailblasing pursuits at The Ridge School. From refining Academic procedures, to planning for a promising future, our commitment to providing top-tier education remains unwavering.
Pictures: The Grade 5s designed, built and raced Mars Rovers in PBL as a subcategory of their overarching driving question:”How might we find a habitable planet and make adaptations to live on it?”
By Glynnis Moore
DEPUTY HEAD / SOCIAL JUSTICE /COMMUNITY BUILDING AND WELL-BEING
The Ridge School is courageously striding towards becoming more and more a community of understanding and belonging, a place where we are completely committed to ensuring that all who are part of our school are heard and seen. We can be proud of the climate we find ourselves in as we head towards the end of 2023. The attitude displayed by our boys, parents and staff is that of being committed to working together to ensure that our school remains an institution that offers premier, value-based education, firmly rooted in a commitment to justice.
The establishment of spaces in the form of committees, where dialogue can be shared, has created a culture of openness at our school. The scope of this spans from boys to members of staff. Our Students for Social Justice Committee has been instrumental in highlighting our boys’ experiences. We have moved from a culture of avoidance to one of curiosity and willingness to engage in ways that are age appropriate and relevant.
Several events marking special occasions and public holidays have been successfully held this year and we aim to make these more impactful in the years to come.
We hope to continue strengthening the relationships that exist between ourselves and schools we are in partnership with such as Salvazione, in ways that will be beneficial to us and them. In this way, we wish to ensure that Ridge Boys understand the world beyond the confines of that which they occupy.
I hope to drive this portfolio forward in 2024 with much enthusiasm and to ensure a broader distribution of themes and activities pertaining to Social Justice.
By Songezo Malangeni
HEAD OF JUNIOR PREP
2023 has been a year of rejuvenation in The Junior Prep. Identifying what works, rethinking what doesn’t and introducing exciting new initiatives. At the forefront of all of this, has been the boys, and the underlying question we always ask ourselves is ‘what is best for the boys in our care?’
The small cohort of 43 Grade 0 boys has provided an opportunity to rethink the best teaching and learning practices for 5 and 6-year-old boys. The low teacher child ratio has had a positive impact on their learning, and we have observed significant progress in their Literacy and Numeracy acquisition during the year. With the larger cohort joining our Grade 0 class in 2024, we are excited to be able to offer this again with the addition of a fourth class.
The reimagined Literacy Program in Grade 0 has been hugely successful. Together with our school Speech Therapists, the Grade 0 team have engaged the boys in a multisensory experience of language acquisition. The layered approach enables a variety of types of learners to engage and make meaning out of the lessons, and allows time for consolidation, reinforcement, and extension. This approach is being extended into Grade 1 in 2024.
The implementation of Project Based Learning and Rotation Stations in Grade 0-3 has been well received by the boys, their teachers, and parents. The skills taught alongside the curriculum will be invaluable for the boys’ future success. There is also a heightened sense of enjoyment and excitement around teaching and learning. During the Third Term, a spotlight on differentiation within the classroom has enabled teachers to re-evaluate how they reach the many different needs of the boys within their class.
Two of our teachers in Grades 2 and 3 have undergone Rave-O training in 2023. This programme aims to teach and support reading fluency. It goes beyond repeated reading practices to help students develop their automaticity and word knowledge. We provide Rave-O classes to our Grade 2 and 3 boys who require a different approach to learning to read.
During the Third Term, we have workshopped the Code of Conduct, age appropriately with the boys in Grade 0-3. We have discussed the expectations around behaviour, as well as the processes to follow if issues relating to bullying, racism or discrimination occur. This work will continue into 2024 with frequent reminders and workshopping of relevant topics. In Grades 0 and 1, our boys engaged in the Think Equal Program. The Think Equal programme directly addresses the problem of discriminatory mindsets that perpetuate racial, gender-based and religious stereotypes. It allows children to deconstruct the foundation of these mindsets and form inclusive, empathetic, and open mindsets. The boys have completed their second cycle of The Ridge boy Attributes Self-Assessment. We have been delighted with how much they have taken on board and the seriousness with which they reflect on their Novice, Apprentice or Master status. The Happy Chappie initiative in Grade 3 has been very popular amongst the boys and served its purpose with regards to getting the boys used to the process of reflecting, showing gratitude and being of service to others.
We go into 2024 with an excellent team of teaching staff. We say goodbye to Mrs Wendy Shultz who has taught in Grade 1 in a locum capacity. We are grateful to Mrs Shultz for so seamlessly resuming her Grade 1 post and for her care of the boys in her class. Miss Thea Shapiro will take over as a permanent appointment in 2024. Miss Kristy Kirkby will join us to teach the fourth Grade 0 class and Ms Cheryl Pleass will join us in Grade 0 in a Locum capacity while Mrs Webster takes maternity leave. We wish Mrs Webster all the very best as she begins the wonderful journey into motherhood.
I have absolutely loved my first year as the Head of the Junior Prep and am grateful to members of the Leadership Team, The Board, parents, boys, my family and the wonderful teachers and support staff in the Junior Prep for their support, guidance, and trust in me. I am looking forward to the years ahead and feel excited for what is still to come.
By Holly Ferrar
HEAD OF SENIOR PREP
If 2022 was a year of getting back on our feet after the Covid outbreak, then 2023 was certainly a year of “Striding” as we welcomed Mr Rumboll into The Ridge community as our new Headmaster. I am pleased to say that the school is in rude health and a school that we can all be proud of.
We have always prided ourselves on being a school that puts the learner at the centre of all that we do. We are a school where “Boys are Known and Grown” and we are proud of this history, and its values are at the core of who we are and the “Golden Thread” that binds us all. Whilst inclusivity and diversity are attributes that good schools strive to achieve, our belief is that we are an exceptional school, a school that intentionally strives to create environments whereby our learners feel a deep sense of belonging.
“The interactions among and across group members help to define the emotional climate, tone, or ethos of a place. In a culture of thinking, teachers’ interactions with students show a respect for and an interest in students’ thinking while nurturing their development as valued, competent individuals able to contribute effectively to the group.” This can only be achieved if our boys have a deep sense of belonging.
Academic excellence is something we strive for but a love for lifelong learning is our chief goal. We are once again pleased to announce that our students are highly sought after by the many colleges locally and abroad. This year we are proud to announce that no fewer than 14 scholarships were offered to our boys.
This year we introduced some new programmes to our academic offering. We had The Social Justice Committee, that aims to provide more of a voice to our learners and acts as the link between the community, school, and learners. The beauty of this committee is that it helps the boys to raise issues in an open structured environment. The boys themselves become the change agents of their environment, and already they have been able to make suggestions that are more aligned to the needs of the educational climate.
The Ridge Up Programme has been another successful venture. This dynamic English Programme allows for enhanced language proficiency whilst garnering a love for the English language. I believe that this programme is one that will continue to go from strength to strength and aid in our boys’ critical thinking as they go through their educational journey at The Ridge.
Progressive we are, but there are certain traditions and occasions that bring us together more than most. The school’s Founders’ Day is one such event, with the cacophony of laughter and delicious smells permeating the schools’ passageways and fields. This is the red-letter day on the calendar, one that the entire community looks forward to. This year was no exception and it lived up to all the hype and more.
The PA committee plays an important role in fundraising and being a source of support for our school. These special individuals give so generously of their gifts, time, and passion and it comes through strongly in all that they do.
There were some slight tweaks this year with one such change being the Neon Run, which was held on the school premises for the first time. This helped in creating a more intimate family environment and marked a positive change to how things had been done previously.
We had our usual favourites such as the Lumo Dance, Cake Sales, an Art Auctions and the Soap Box Derby to name but a few of the events that this selfless team put together. To Sarah Carmicheal and her team, we are hugely grateful for your selfless work.
“The hidden-curriculum concept is based on the recognition that students absorb lessons in school that may or may not be part of the formal course of study—for example, how they should interact with peers, teachers, and other adults; how they should perceive different races, groups, or classes of people; or what ideas and behaviours are considered acceptable or unacceptable.”
One such formalised way that we encourage the hidden curriculum and bring it to life, is through our various tours and grade camps. This year was no different as the boys packed their sleeping bags and headed off to their various destinations around the country. The unintended consequences of these tours can not be underestimated and allows for the boys to grow their resilience and see their peers in a different environment and light.
Winning isn’t everything but our aim is to always put our best foot forward, compete always and win whenever possible. On the sporting front we competed admirably in most of our sporting codes and had some truly noteworthy results in others.
Some of the highlights came through during our Athletics season where two of our boys set new records at the Prestige Athletics meet. We are proud of the commitment and dedication shown by these boys, and we look forward to supporting them in the future. Another success story belongs to the Grade 5 water Polo team, who won the prestigious Willy Castle Festival. It was the first time in the school’s history that a Ridge side has won the competition. A positive indicator that this group of boys can achieve even greater heights in the years ahead..
Not to be outdone the Music Department was in full swing once again as we were treated to musical soirées, school productions, and a firm favourite, Linder Auditorium Choir Festivals. It is said that “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” And for that we are forever grateful to our Music Department and the massive role they play in our boys’ journey.
A noteworthy first this year was the introduction of the Leavers Camp. This camp was designed as a final get-together for our boys and offered them an opportunity for self-reflection on their journey at The Ridge. The camp was ultimately a huge success and I’m sure the first of many to come.
The Springbok motto as they headed to France to defend the William Webb Ellis Trophy was “Stronger Together.” My wish as you head off into the festive season is that we live with the spirit of Ubuntu and remember what can be achieved when we put aside our differences and work together.
As the year draws to a close, we reflect on another successful term of music. The boys have represented us well and shone in all the performances that were on offer.
Last term, we ended the school term with Founder’s Day, where our choirs and orchestras showcased their talents to the community. It was followed by some fabulous performances on the main stage at the Founder’s Day Festivities, where the Rock Band, Guitar Ensemble and Jazz Band pulled out all the stops in front of a tremendously appreciative crowd.
Term Three had hardly commenced before we hosted the highly successful choir festivals at the Linder Auditorium. The combined choirs are the magic that makes these festivals such special events and our boys most certainly rose to the occasion.
The Sound of Children is the festival for Junior primary choirs where the children are accompanied by an Orchestra and conducted by the renowned Mr Richard Cock. Our Junior Choir lads beguiled the audience with their renditions of “Candy Man” and “Mango Walk”.
The Combined Choirs Festival was another notable event, especially as our Grade 6 and 7 orchestra boys accompanied the combined choirs with such skill, confidence and aplomb.
The Jazz Band and Senior Orchestra were invited to perform at the St Mary’s Ensemble Festival again this year. Our boys gave an energetic performance and the evening culminated in all the schools performing together in a large combined orchestra – a special performance for many.
An exciting new event, added to the calendar this year, was a truly amazing collaboration between the Art and Music Departments for the Senior Primary Art Exhibition and Music Soirée. Our Guitar Ensemble showcased their hard work, and many of our individual students performed to a very supportive audience.
Our Grade 7s performed at their last senior Soirée earlier in the term, showing just how much they have grown over the past four years. The boys played with confidence and musicality and the evening was enjoyed by all.
The Junior choir was invited to perform at a remembrance service for CHOC. Their professionalism and etiquette were above reproach, and the boys gave a heart-felt performance. Ine of our choir mums donated the most beautiful mementos for the service, and the boys added a touch of beauty, with pink carnations in their blazer pockets
The final music event for the year was our traditional Carols by Candlelight Picnic on the Rose Field. Families enjoyed a special time together, singing favourite carols, while reflecting on the messages of peace and love. Our orchestra, Junior and Senior choirs added a special sparkle to thee evening. There was even a surprise performance by our staff choir at the end, singing “African Christmas”. It was a wonderful way to end off the year and celebrate Christmas together as a Ridge community.
It has been another bumper term of music, and the growth of our boys was celebrated in so many ways.
I wish you all a well-deserved holiday, filled with rest and important time spent with family.
By Carol Ackermann
A Season of Sporting Triumphs Unfolds at The Ridge School
As the Academic year draws to a close, The Ridge School takes pride in reflecting on a spectacular season of sporting achievements, highlighting the diverse talents and unwavering dedication of our boys. From Cricket to Water Polo, our students have excelled in various disciplines, showcasing the resilience and skill that define The Ridge sporting ethos.
Cricket: Tours Across the Country and Dominance at Camp Discovery
Under the banner of The Ridge School, the cricket team experienced a final term filled with excitement and success. The culmination brought about five different tours across the country, with one hosted at Camp Discovery. In a testament to our cricketing prowess, our boys pulled off three emphatic wins against tough rivals, securing their dominance on the pitch.
Basketball: Slam Dunking Success at the Kearsney Basketball Festival
Our Basketball team journeyed to KwaZulu-Natal to participate in the inaugural Kearsney Basketball Festival, leaving an indelible mark with their stellar performances. The festival provided a platform for our talented players to compete against formidable opponents, fostering a spirit of camaraderie and skill development on the court.
Rugby: Running Rugby Takes Center Stage
Rugby, a cornerstone of our sporting excellence, witnessed our teams embracing an exciting brand of running rugby. The dedication of our players and the strategic prowess of our coaches were evident on the field, culminating in a season marked by thrilling matches and impressive victories.
Hockey: A Compulsory Commitment to Excellence
This season, The Ridge School took a bold step by making Hockey compulsory for every single boy. The decision paid off as our Hockey teams delivered exceptional performances, demonstrating that commitment and passion can indeed elevate a sport to new heights.
Football: Showcasing Talent on Tour
The Football season took our senior players on an incredible tour to Camp Discovery and Penryn, where they had the opportunity to showcase their talents. Every single boy in the school participated, emphasising our commitment to inclusivity and the holistic development of our students through this beautiful game.
Athletics: Breaking Records and Making History
The Prestige Athletics event, co-hosted with St Stithians Boys Prep, provided a platform for our athletes to shine. Two Ridge boys etched their names in history by breaking records, exemplifying the spirit of competition and excellence that defines our school’s Athletics programme.
Cross Country: U9 Boys Triumph at Rietvlei
The Cross Country season concluded with a fantastic showing at Rietvlei. Notably, our U9 boys secured victory in their section, adding another feather to the cap of our successful running program.
Water Polo: Historic Win at Willy Castle Tournament
The Water Polo season concluded with our U11 team achieving a historic milestone by winning the prestigious Willy Castle tournament for the first time in school history. Their accomplishment is a testament to the dedication and teamwork instilled in our Water Polo Programme.
In conclusion, The Ridge School celebrates a season of triumphs and achievements across various sports. Our athletes have not only showcased their skills but have also embodied the values of teamwork, discipline, and sportsmanship. As we look back on this extraordinary season, we eagerly anticipate the continued success and growth of The Ridge School in the years to come.
By Ryan Bezuidenhout
SALT is a valuable time for boys of different ages to connect. SALT, Sharing And Learning Together, is an opportunity where each boy has a chance to chat to and learn from others. The Grade 7 leader takes the boys from Grade 1 to Grade 6, under his wing guiding them on a variety of topics.
SALT is held twice a term on a Friday and is planned by various members of staff. The way in which the boys interact is genuine and meaningful. This creates a brotherhood that goes beyond just these sessions. It is a time to get to know each other better and create a safe environment.
There is a dedicated staff member for each group, facilitating the discussions and activity. Within these small group of 7 – 9 boys, the teachers really get to know the boys within their group. This is a special and unique time during the term that we can be grateful for the lessons we can learn from each other.
We look forward to developing these connections further next year!
By Di Wellard
GRADE 0 OVERVIEW
The Grade 0 boys have had an exciting and busy year in the Parker Block. The new little lads took no time at all to settle into their classes, find their feet and wear their Ridge uniform with pride. The Grade 0 teachers and class assistants have had such fun getting to know these special boys, watching them grow from strength to strength as the year progressed.
Some of the highlights of the year have included enjoying a delicious braai and boerie roll with the St Katharines’ girls for Heritage Day, riding around the Lawley Road carpark on their bicycles for Bike Day, celebrating 100 days of School dressed up in our finest outfits, performing in our Grade 0 Music concert, flower arranging for Spring Day, as well as enjoying a wonderful Pirate Picnic.
We have thoroughly enjoyed all the special moments with our Grade family members this year. Our moms were all treated to a Mother’s Day morning, where they were pampered with manicures, and had a chance to create some beautiful bracelets with their sons. The dads were invited to come in for a morning of building and creating, where they all had a chance to show off their woodwork skills and build boats with their sons for our Grade 0 Boat Race in The Ridge School pool. And let’s not forget when our Grandparents were invited to attend a special Grandparents’ concert and tea in our Grade 0 garden.
The Grade 0 boys learned all about Occupations in Term 3 and were visited by three very special groups of people. Our first visit was from the Parkview Police Department, whereby the Grade 0 boys got to learn all about how to become a police officer, what our police officers do on a daily basis and what it is like to ride in a police van. Our second visit was from the Fire department. All the boys got to spray the fire hose and they all learned how to put out fires, use firefighter equipment and stop, drop and roll. Our last visit was from a group of Paramedics. The boys all got to sit inside an ambulance, listen to the siren and ask the professionals some medical questions.
This year our Grade 0 boys were involved in two major community outreach projects. Our first was a collection drive for an Old Age Home for Mandela day and our second was our Santa Shoebox project. Each boy decorated a shoebox with Christmas stamps, glitter and special drawings. The parents kindly filled each box with the requested goodies to bring joy to the little people over the festive season.
All in all, it has been a wonderful 2023 and our Grade 0 boys are ready to make the journey up the stairs and discover the wonders of Grade 1.
By Ashley Webster
GRADE 1 OVERVIEW
Another exciting year in Grade 1 has come to an end. The boys experienced a more formal approach to learning and engaging with the Grade 1 Curriculum.
The boys enjoyed the camaraderie of working and learning together. Even though the focus was more on the ‘3 R’s’ (reading, writing and ‘rithmetic’ 😊), their days were filled with fun and laughter. The teachers always enjoy seeing the pride and sense of accomplishment on a boy’s face when he ‘cracks the code’ and realises that he can read!
Grade 1 learning extends across the curriculum and PE, Afrikaans, Zulu and Music lessons are attended with much enthusiasm. Coding lessons and Story Time in the Media Centre is a favourite past ttime for the boys. Aside from the afternoon PE Sport activities, many of our boys choose to participate in various extra-curricular activities (Drama, Homework Supervision, Pottery, Chess, Yoga and Tennis), making for a busy and exciting day.
The boys enjoy all the special events on the school calendar. Cake sales are a fan favourite followed by Founders’ Day and the Soap Box Derby. All events are attended enthusiastically with lots of ideas for their independent writing after the event.
There are three exciting outings in Grade 1. Garden World gave them a tractor ride, planting, playing and a delicious ice cream at the end of the trip. Croc City afforded them the opportunity to learn about reptiles, hold a baby croc and a huge python. They were fearless! A new venue we tried was the Mapatiza Mine. The boys learned all about the precious stones found in our country, went down a shallow mine and returned home with a few precious stones for themselves. The highlight was watching dirty rocks go into a tumbler for washing and come out all shiny and beautiful. Each boy learned what their birthstone was.
We ended the year on an exhausted but high note. Our Angels and Stars sparkled in the Nativity Play then swam their hearts out a week later in the Gala. A bittersweet farewell was said to their exiting Grade 7 SALT leaders. Now they are more than ready for the long December vacation.
By Tracy Beukes
GRADE 2 OVERVIEW
Grade 2 2023- a year to be remembered!
It has been the most exhilarating year in Grade 2! From a cultural, sporting and academic perspective, it has been action packed and full of adventure.
Term 1 started off with a bang as we began our extra Art programme. The boys challenged their fine motor skills with collage, decoupage, and beading. They also learnt how to use different mediums to create artwork. Then came the celebration of Shrove Tuesday. The boys enjoyed some pancakes on the terrace and themed activities about the significance and history of the day were done during the week. The theme of Patterning was explored through Project- Based Learning as well. For this, the boys had to have a closer look at the current design of our school bathrooms and come up with an exciting way to redesign them. The creativity and problem-solving skills displayed by the boys were so endearing. By far the most exciting experience for Term 1 was the outing on the Big Red Bus where they got to explore our beautiful city of Johannesburg. The boys displayed such good manners and many of them thanked the driver independently after the day trip.
We started discussing the cultures of people in South Africa and the food that they eat at the beginning of Term 2. Thanks to the organised and helpful mums of Grade 2, the boys had the opportunity to make and taste a variety of delicious South African treats. Some of these were koeksisters, mealie bread, boerewors, vetkoek and rooibos tea. This was by far the most interactive way to learn about the food of our beautiful and unique country. Ending the term off with our annual Founders’ Day was just the cherry on top!
Term 3 was the busiest term by far. Problem-solving was practically experienced during our outing to Honeydew Mazes this term. The boys were so pleased with themselves being amid nature and working their way through the maze. Literacy week was another learning opportunity for the boys. They got to watch shows by both Hooked on Books and On Cue Theatre. A new and exciting event in Grade 2 this year was the ‘talk of the town’ as the boys dressed up for a 3-course meal. This ‘Formal Friday’ is sure to become a tradition in Grade 2, keeping with the theme of ancient civilizations and the development of tools in Life Skills.
Throughout the year, the boys relished many of the school activities and events. One of the most well-received extracurriculars was the Junior Choir. There was an impressive cohort of boys who came to school early every Thursday morning to part-take in this enriching activity. Their talent and commitment was celebrated by the huge applause for their performance at the Linder Auditorium. Some of the other events which were exciting for the boys were the book character Reading Breakfast and the Roald Dahl Reading Breakfast. The Grade 2 Family picnic was also a wonderful event shared with their families at the school. Two absolute highlights for many of the boys were the Lumo Dance and the PA Night Run where they could wear their luminous clothing and accessories.
The sporting matches this year were played with ambition and enthusiasm. The boys gave their all during the sporting seasons and played with absolute passion. Their fighting spirit was a daily sight as the boys engaged in the football played at break time. Athletics Day was a great opportunity for the Grade 2 runners to show their potential too. They ran with everything they had and made us all very proud. This enthusiasm was mirrored in the Soapbox Derby. The boys ran for their house to win and were treated to an ice cream as a reward for their dedication. It has been so amazing to watch their sporting growth over the year! Of course, the triumphant celebration of the Springboks World Cup win was a great way to inspire the boys and instill a sense of pride in being a South African.
It has been such a stimulating year, filled with experiences, exploration, skills development and a whole lot of learning! The Rotary gifts, Nativity Play and the Carols by Candlelight were all a good reminder for the boys to have gratitude and reverence for all that they were blessed with in the past year.
We are so proud of all our boys and how much they have grown in character and size!
By Jhulan Govan
GRADE 3 OVERVIEW
We have had a phenomenal year and the boys had a fun learning experience. The boys participated in various dress-up days like Mr. Men, the Reading breakfast and Pirate Day. This is but to name just a few.
Boys put their cooking skills to the test by making noodles for Chinese New Year and decorating Valentine’s Day cookies. They had good entertaining skills too and outdid themselves by hosting St Katherine’s School for Girls, for our Easter Breakfast.
The boys also experienced the Magaliesberg River, to test if our water was healthy enough by looking for certain types of insects. It was both a treat and an adventure. The Themes we chose this year were geared towards exploring different places and concepts and allowing boys to learn history and experience it first-hand. They loved The Ridge History Week and the visit to Holy Family College was one they will never forget. The boys participated in an interesting programme with our school’s archivist Mrs. J Herman, and literally stood in the shoes of pupils from the year 1920. They wrote with ink pens and wore pinafores and practised cursive handwriting. The boys had a whale of a time.
Term 3 has been an amazing highlight for the boys. Their first camp visit to Camp Discovery was a blast. The boys became independent overnight and enjoyed what the campsite had to offer.
Not to mention our Nativity Play. Wow! They were the main characters, and the singing and acting were sublime. Our year has been a successful one and we ended it off with a formal Thanksgiving Assembly. Each boy received a special certificate with The Ridge School prayer and photos reminding them of the special year we have had.
As our boys move to the Senior School, we wish them the very best for their journey ahead.
By Carmin Groenewald
GRADE 4 OVERVIEW
During this year, 2023, Grade 4 was a new adventure for many. It was an exciting time with a new teaching team that felt enthusiastic and energised by a fresh start. The boys themselves had been equally excited, ever since ordering their caps the year before.
The capping ceremony was one of significance as the boys were welcomed into the Senior Prep by their appointed Grade 7. It was the start of taking more responsibility, being independent and understanding one’s own strengths.
The introduction of new subjects, such as Social Science, Natural, Science, Life Orientation and Creative Arts saw the boys develop their curiosity about the World Around them and their place in it.
With these new subjects , and the more self-directed approach to learning through the more regular use of Ipads, the boys found their passion for learning. Challenging themselves during the Science Expo was a unique experience. They did extremely well in explaining their thinking, making valid connections to their personal lives.
Some of the highlights were the Senior Prep play where the boys performed extremely well, the Grade 4 camp and the Carols by Candlelight. It has been a wonderful year that showed the boys that they could overcome challenges when they showed grit and determination.
This was shown on the sports field as well. With the introduction of new optional sports such as Canoeing, Climbing and Water Polo, the Gr 4 boys found themselves busier than ever during the afternoons.
It has been a year of learning, laughing and brotherhood. Thank you to the boys who have been amazing from start to finish, always doing their best and stepping out of their comfort zones.
By Di Wellard
GRADE 5 OVERVIEW
Grade 5 Class of 2023: Enthusiastic, diligent, resolute and courageous. This year may have sped by, but it was filled with so many magical memories.
Together we explored Kensuke’s Kingdom and replicated it on Minecraft. We owned the stage with our heroic dance moves at the school play and created inspiring art with the Cardboard Project and the Pool Noodle. In English, we became poets and learnt to interpret the poems of others. Vegetable gardens were prepared, parachutes designed and tested, while trips to Egypt were planned on strict budgets in Project Based Learning. We were also privileged enough to experience snow, build snowmen and have snowball fights in July.
In September, we made hundreds of peanut butter sandwiches which provided much needed sustenance to the people who live on the streets of Rosebank and the surrounding areas.
Out on the Sports field, we experienced the value of teamwork and were quite successful on the Rugby and Soccer fields, victorious in the Water Polo pool and determined on the Cricket field. We enjoyed sport tours to KwaZulu Natal and Knysna., where we met incredible families and made good friends. The last quarter of this year will forever be engraved in our memories as we supported the Springboks and witnessed a country united by sport.
As the year wound down, we had the popcorn challenge in Mathematics which forced us to think outside the box and count 293 popcorn pieces for hours. As the curtain closed on 2023, we visited Bounce in Fourways and Happy Island. Sweet, sweet memories.
Grade Fives, you have poured your infectious energy, creativity and light into our classrooms and made each day a pleasure to be here. Now it is time for you to continue your journey as the inspiring individuals that you have grown to be. Unlock your potential and continue making excellent choices!
By Maresce Opperman
GRADE 6 OVERVIEW
Our Grade 6 year: A year of adventure, learning and building new friendships. This year has been like every other year, filled with valuable lessons, wonderful experiences and ensuring that lasting friendships have been forged. One highlight for our boys was our annual camp, where the boys immersed themselves in every activity that was on offer and made an indelible impact on those around them.
Our camp, which took place at the Blyde River Adventure Camp, provided opportunities for our boys to learn beyond the classroom walls. They discovered the importance of teamwork, problem-solving and just having fun with their friends. They triumphed together when they realised working as a team benefited them and created a sense of unity, all while they were having fun.
Sport played a significant role in shaping the Grade 6 experience, with the boys participating in Swimming, Water Polo, Basketball, Cricket, Rugby, and Hockey. They learned valuable life skills while on the various sports fields. The boys were encouraged to push their boundaries to show growth whether it was scoring a goal in Hockey or mastering a new skill on the Rugby field.
Amidst the Academic challenges, the boys shared laughter and fun while also playing their part in our Mandela Day activities. They had an opportunity to collect much needed items for the babies and toddlers at Princess Alice Adoption Home and spoiling the staff with some special treats. While spending time with the babies and toddlers, they also realised that any small act of kindness does make a difference.
The boys earned a wonderful Pizza Party for themselves as they worked collaboratively to ensure that their performance for our school play was a success. Their energy and enthusiasm were certainly noticeable.
Reflecting on this year, our Grade 6 boys have emerged as a group who have not only overcome some Academic challenges but have also been given opportunities to celebrate their victories. They have developed a sense of discipline and resilience as they take on their last year at The Ridge School.
By Deidre Leibrandt
GRADE 7 OVERVIEW
The Grade 7 year is special as it is the boys’ final chapter at prep school. We encourage the boys to make the most of their time in Grade 7 and enjoy being leaders of the school. Once the novelty of walking on the grass and having their own bathroom wears off, the boys have to work towards managing their personal goals and ambitions and ending their year with purpose.
It has been a busy year for the Grade 7s; from various tours to an SP production, the boys had to juggle a busy calendar of events and must be commended on their ability to manage their responsibilities maturely. The boys must be congratulated on their successful Market Day project, where they displayed their inventive and clever entrepreneurial skills. The money raised will go towards the traditional Grade 7 gift to the school. The Grade 7 boys were the first to experience the Leavers’ Reflection Celebration this year. This new event encouraged boys to consider their time at The Ridge and their journey ahead. It was an overnight camping experience, and the event ended with a kite-flying activity, which the parents and the boys enjoyed. We hope that this event is the start of a new tradition at The Ridge. Using the Headmaster’s Leadership Programme, they challenged themselves and worked toward developing personal skills and helping the community as well. The boys represented the school and themselves on many occasions without fault, and they showcased their talents both in and out of the classroom.
The class of 2023 is a special group of boys who value and respect their peers. The boys worked together to bring magic to the Grade 7 year, and they must be proud of their achievements. Every boy contributed to the success of the year.
By Urvasi Naidoo
The Ridge Art Studio has been a busy, messy, inquiring, and inspiring space in 2023. In addition to discovering new artists and techniques, art class is about imagination, solving problems, resilience, humility, respect and appreciation for diverse cultures, beliefs, and backgrounds.
We were able to celebrate the creativity and individuality of our Ridge boys in this year’s Senior Art Exhibition and Art Auction. These events gave boys a special platform to witness each other’s artistic achievements and the power of visual expression.
Art classes provide a space for innovation and creativity. There should not be a formula for producing art. Having the freedom to make mistakes, and seeing them as opportunities to create something new, is a guiding philosophy, which allows our boys the liberty to make the interesting creations they do. Some of these creations were auctioned to parents on a very successful September evening, while each boy had the opportunity to display his most successful individual piece at our Art Exhibitions. These occasions highlighted the power of art to our boys– the power to make change, to raise awareness and to better understand ourselves and others. In that light, 2023 has seen our young artists engaging meaningfully with their social and natural environments.
The Grade 7s collaborated to paint a series of early learning images for the Princess Alice Adoption home. This experience enriched our boys’ understanding of community outreach, and the role that art can play in broader society. Other projects have focused on contemporary South African Art against the context of our past.
Grade 6 boys were challenged throughout the year to deepen their journey into the art of communicating through image. They produced Pop Art paintings, paper tube mandalas, mysterious landscapes, and shape shifting photographs.
Our Grade 5s enjoyed their forays into the concept of flight. They did this by looking into deep space and painting undiscovered worlds. They designed 3D beetles frozen in flight and collaborated on large floating figures inspired by Henri Matisse.
The Grade 4s expanded their cultural and environmental awareness by drawing cultural houses, creating symmetrical Ndebele designs, and painting Karoo windmills. Art lessons spent in The Ridge gardens informed their Aloe paintings. All of this resulted in thoughtful discussions, which were supported by our Philosophy for Children (P4C) sessions.
I wish for our boys to share the sentiments of the late Hugh Masekela “I am a forward-looking person and live in the moment to build for the future.’’ At The Ridge we encourage boys to use creative thinking to build a platform for future problem solving. 2023 has been an incredibly productive year in the Art Studio, with positive challenges and opportunities for expression, experimentation, thinking and building.
By Nicci Kurz
When you look back at a year, different things mean different things to different people. Some people get excited because the new year brings a change, while other people might not want to say goodbye to this year for many reasons, but the golden thread that is consistent is that fact that we can’t go back, and we can’t re-do.
While, I say we can’t go back, we can always look back and remember what the year was, with its highs and lows but more importantly what have we learnt this year and what can we take away from 2023. A list could be drawn up of what marketing achieved from the High School Expo, The Ridge Golf Day, the Old Boys Reunions etc. but if we want to look at those, we can always look on Facebook. What I wanted to take away from this year (and to share with you) is a few lines from a poem called “Desiderata” by Max Ehrmann, “You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here” and “With all it’s sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.”
The first line “You are a child of the universe…… and you have a right to be here”, resonates with me. Regardless of who we are, we all have a right to be here and while I walk through the school that has seen many generations of boys, every single boy that has walked the corridors of The Ridge, has a right to be here. And the second line “With all it’s sham…..it is still a beautiful world”, with so much bad in the world right now, from wars, to load shedding, to uncertainty we still are part of a beautiful world. Sometimes we need to stop and look at the beauty that we have at The Ridge, from the gardens to the building, to the opportunities, the teachers, the boys laughter and you see “it is still a beautiful world”
Wishing Everyone “Happy Holidays”, and enjoy your time with friends and family.
By Jenni Carbonari
“Community is much more than belonging to something; it is about doing something together that makes belonging matter.” Brian Solis.
2023 has been the settling of our normal and the return to a slightly overpacked calendar!
We have hosted: Lumo Dance, Neon Night Run, six Cake Sales, Mothers’ Lunch, the Soap Box Derby, The Ridge School Golf Day, a Grade 6 and 7 Social, JP and SP Art Auction, Founders’ Day, and The Ridge School Carol Service, all facilitated by our Parents’ Association. These events have raised in excess of R500 000 that will be allocated according to our commitments to Salvazione, The Ridge School Family Fund and The Ridge School Infrastructure Projects.
In addition to these events, we have run a successful ‘Tops & Tags’ recycling programme which, assisted by a generous parent, will enable us to provide two paediatric wheelchairs to deserving recipients. It is heartening that we have had willing parents who have run and grown these most worthwhile initiatives with such success.
The PA has gifted all staff with birthday chocolates and thoughtful cards from the different Grades. We have been able to upgrade our previous airtime vouchers to airtime that renews monthly for the year. Through this generosity we have been able to deliver eleven times more than previously and in much tougher economic conditions; something for this community to be exceedingly proud of.
The unglamorous task of Lost Property has been ably and kindly managed with ‘show days’ and some behind the scenes coordination to return unlabelled items. Lost Property has also recently benefitted from an upgraded sorting area which will facilitate a more organised method for parents and boys to check for lost or misplaced items.
These events and activities encompass much of the exceptional spirit of this school. They speak to what we hold close to our hearts and what we aspire to be to one another as a community. We love the views, the trees, the people, the gardens, the buildings and so it is no surprise that this year saw us bringing the Neon Night Run home to The Ridge. There is much to be celebrated about a place that makes us feel at home.
All of the effort that is expended in organising these events is centred around a desire to enhance the opportunities for our community to participate in the sense of enjoyment and belonging. The measure of success of these events is much more, it is the measure of how much this community loves being together. The Ridge is a wonderful, caring community.
The year has seen us gather momentum under the energised leadership of our headmaster. The entire staff and support teams are the backbone of the school and this year we have seen that the impact of outstanding leadership by an individual can empower this team to greater heights. The growth in optimism and delivery of consistent progress has resulted in a commitment to new and exciting infrastructure projects and prospects. This will ensure that the school’s educational aspirations and leadership are mirrored in its built environment and improved facilities.
My sincere thanks goes out to the extraordinary people who step up and contribute to what has been our frenetic and enjoyable 2023 calendar! Likewise thank you to all of the enthusiastic attendees of all of the events and occasions; there is no greater enjoyment to be had than a good turnout of a great crowd.
By Sarah Carmichael
JUNIOR PREP SPORTS OVERVIEW
In 2023, the Junior Prep Sport Department achieved notable success, delivering an enjoyable and engaging experience in Physical Education for the boys. This accomplishment has effectively closed the gap from the previous year and ensured the active participation of all boys in a structured Sports Programme. The Physical Education curriculum has been designed to enhance motor and cognitive skills, physical fitness, as well as personal and social skills. Special emphasis has been given to honing skills such as balance, coordination, eye-hand coordination, and ball skills, with interactive games during lessons proving instrumental in practically advancing these abilities.
A substantial emphasis has been placed on Swimming for Grades 0-2. The boys have benefited from smaller ability groups during Swimming lessons, leading to heightened confidence and advancements in Swimming stroke technique, speed, and endurance. The commitment displayed by the boys has translated into ongoing improvement.
The Afternoon Sports Programme seeks to introduce a variety of sports, including Cricket, Tag Rugby, Soccer, and Hockey. Structured practices within this programme are tailored to deepen the boys’ understanding of each sport and foster a passion for diverse athletic activities. As an extension to the programme, Grade 2s could engage in matches against other schools in Cricket, Tag Rugby, and Soccer.
The boys are certainly deserving of commendation for their dedication to both the Physical Education and Afternoon Sporting Programmes. They have collectively and individually made significant strides in skill development, consistently expressing enthusiasm for each lesson. Gratitude is extended to all coaches in the Junior Sports Department for their pivotal role in coaching and contributing to the success of the Junior Sports Programme. Anticipation is high for an exhilarating year ahead, brimming with more opportunities for sports.
By Phumlani Mnculwane
Resting on a bookshelf in my home is a tall stack of The Ridge School Yearbooks, spanning 14 years. These well-thumbed magazines capture snippets of the busy school lives of countless boys, including my three sons. The magazines also chronicle the changing hairstyles and … um … fashions worn by school staff, who have been instrumental in the making of Ridge Boys.
In the 2014 Yearbook, Paul Channon, former Headmaster, mentions the conversion of the boarding house into a dedicated Learning Support space, called The Lighthouse. The Lighthouse is just one of the spaces in which learning is supported. The social interactions, both planned and incidental, that boys experience within and outside of their classrooms all support their learning.
At The Ridge, various tiers and forms of support are planned for, and adjusted, according to our students’ needs. The Lighthouse Team is responsible for providing therapy and learning support to individuals and small groups across the grades, co-teaching in some classrooms, too. We keep all those invested in the learning journey of each boy ‘in the loop’. This necessitates regular meetings with our multi-disciplinary team, parents, teachers, school leaders and, sometimes, external therapists. As boys progress through the grades, The Lighthouse ensures that boys’ support needs are shared with (and understood by) their teachers. These ‘handovers’, as we call them, are no small feat.
In the Lighthouse, we juggled a handover of another sort, this year. We bid farewell to Penny Meyer, whose wisdom and humility we sorely miss. In January, we will welcome Val Witt, to head up The Lighthouse – a place where boys are truly known.
By Zoë von Klemperer
The year started off with a bang! In the first term there was a record number of 11 boys volunteering to assist in the Senior Library (or Media Centre, as the old plaque proclaimed the space). These boys added such value to the library space by labelling books, covering books, shelving books and helping boys find their next exciting read. Their most important job came when we decided to rename our exciting space. They came up with a list of names and after a vote by the staff, Ulwazi was born. Ulwazi means “Knowledge and Wisdom” – the perfect name for a space that nurtures young readers to learn, explore and imagine when they go on mystical journeys through the books on our shelves.
We had three very exciting events in collaboration with the JP Library this year: Our two Reading Breakfasts, celebrating World Book Day in March, and Roald Dahl Day in September and then of course our much-anticipated Literacy Week in July.
The Reading Breakfasts were a fabulous mix of book sales, creative costumes and family picnics. Literacy Week was filled literary events, carefully chosen to inspire boys to read. We had authors talking to the boys, pyjama-dress-up-day, book shows and theatre productions, book sales and of course, the very exciting Inter-School Quiz Final which saw Rose House as the winners.
This year ends with our bi-annual stocktake. Some of the Ulwazi Assistants have been invaluable, helping us scan and reshelve the almost 13 000 books. Mrs Glanz’s mum, Heléne Lombard, affectionately known as Nonna to her grandchildren, came out of retirement and spent days in the textbook-cupboard (Our own Nonna in the Cupboard!) to sort out the text books and stocktake them as well.
To end off, after listening to other school librarians express concern about reading in their schools, I would like to share some statistics about library usage in Ulwazi.
|Number of books taken out (excl. Textbooks)|
We are very blessed to have our boys excited about reading. Ulwazi is a hive of activity during every free minute of the day. This just proves that books and boys can go hand-in-hand. Thank you to all the staff who encourage this enthusiasm in our boys. Without you, my job would be a lot harder!
To my fabulous 2023 Assistants: Avu, Brunello, David, Jamie Berridge, Jamie Grantham, Nick, Oscar, Pranav, Imran, James, and Thor… I will miss you. Thank you for all you have done to help me in Ulwazi. My door is always open for you. Pop in to say hello!
I look forward to another year filled with imagination, excitement, enthusiasm and giggles shared, in Ulwazi.
Wishing everyone a blessed 2024!
By Hanlie Glanz
JUNIOR PREP LIBRARY OVERVIEW
2023 has welcomed all the children from Grade 0 to Grade 3 to the exciting world of the Junior Prep Library. It is a safe space for the young children to explore the magic of literature and gain knowledge.
The shelves are filled with picture books, story series, sports books, factual/educational gems and many more. From tales of talking animals to fascinating journeys through history, there is a book for every young reader’s taste. Each book is carefully sourced to capture their attention and look forward to the next time they can choose a book. Some of the favourite books this year have been:
The Storey Treehouse Series
100 facts (various subjects)
If anyone is looking for lovely books to buy for presents, look at:
Nizrana Farook (adventure stories set in Sri Lanka). Recommended for 8 to 9 year olds.
A local author by the name of K. A. Mulenga. (age 6 to 7). Various titles.
The two libraries have also had the pleasure of various events during the year. The Junior Prep love the Reading Breakfast in the First and Third Term. Being able to dress up, have picnics with their families and the buying of books. In the Winter Term, we celebrated Literacy Week with Hooked on Books, had On Cue Theatre performing “Around The World in 80 Days” and various author visits. Look out for the exciting events for next year.
The Junior Prep Library is not just a treasure trove of books but is also a dynamic learning space. The General Knowledge Quiz is always a firm favourite whether done in the Library, up and down the outside stairs or just for general discussions.
Another successful year of the boys using their imagination, gaining knowledge … inviting the children to explore, discover and embrace the incredible world of books! I would like to thank everyone of you, the parents, and the children for all your support this year. Thank you and have a safe and peaceful holiday.
By Suzanne McLellan
This term we picked up from where we left off in Term 2 and got the boys to start using their devices for topics linked to our lessons. The boys enjoyed Quizlet a lot and found it fun, very interactive, and helpful in their understanding of the various topics.
In Grade 4 the boys had to create their own birthday invitation and got the opportunity to present it to the entire group. They found this activity enjoyable and had lots of fun engaging with one another. Below are a few images taken from the slides received.
In Grade 5 the focus was on the topic ekhishini(in the kitchen)The boys had lots of fun learning about different utensils and appliances found in the kitchen. They had to write a recipe in Zulu and record a video of themselves preparing their favorite dish. Below are just a few examples of what they did.
In Grade 6 the boys had fun creating an invitation to the school play “Amakhosi wama Greek.” Below are a few examples.
I am looking forward to interacting with our boys and school community to develop our IsiZulu Department and to use the language freely around the school premises. I am very confident that in the coming years our boys will develop the sense of pride to have a conversation in IsiZulu. We will be introducing IsiZulu clubs after school and the actual days will be communicated in due course.
By Mojalefa Mtimkulu
GRADE 1-3 NATIVITY PLAY
Soapbox Derby has been the perfect way to start the half-term celebrations!
View , Sunshine , Fun , Ice cream
Thank you to the Ridge PA for giving their time and resources to make this day so much fun for so many!
The Afrikaans Department faced some challenges during the year but will end on a strong note. There was so much enjoyment with speeches taking place, reading in groups and at home, to build up confidence to speak and love the language.
Grade 7 learners had to step up and share suggestions with one another about their written work. They had the opportunity to work in groups with both classes combined. I challenged them with some basic Afrikaans instructions…raak aan jou tone, etc. …a fun but silly way to build a relationship with the class and to bring back prior knowledge. The boys had opportunities to show off their skills during Afrikaans Kahoot challenges. Oh boy, did they enjoy it.
Building vocabulary is an important skill which all grades are part of. These skills help the learners to connect with all they do. From talking, reading and all the way to expressing themselves.
Grade 6 learners had the opportunity to speak about wild animals and how they feel about their Grade 7 year coming up.
The Grade 5s are energetic, loud and always eager to put on a show. They could perform a role play in class by quickly adding a wig, a tummy or a dress…I’m not completely sure where they even got it from.
Grade 4s should be commended on their workbooks and their manners in class. They enjoyed learning about each other’s pets and other wild animals.
The Foundation Phase learners enjoyed learning new vocabulary and then using it outside the classroom. They get excited when the teacher reads to them and go through the meanings of the words. They are always having fun while learning.
The Afrikaans Department had the most wonderful opportunity of sharing our knowledge, language and skills with the rest of the school. Some boys acted out a poem, others spoke about the world around us and then there were boys who shared their beautiful pets with us. We supported the Bokke at the end of the Assembly and shared wonderful “gees” as The Ridge. It was such an honour. Some parents came to support us, and we checked their Afrikaans knowledge…Impressive!
By Cindy Olivier
Few activities combine athleticism, strategy, and camaraderie as well as Tennis. At The Ridge our boys are not only sharpening their minds but also honing their skills on the tennis court.
Tennis is more than just a game. It is a discipline that teaches invaluable life lessons and fosters a spirit of healthy competition. Aside from the physical benefits, tennis teaches qualities like sportsmanship, resilience, and strategic thinking. And importantly, the friendships developed on the court last a lifetime.
Term 2 is the traditional start of Tennis season amongst the preparatory schools in Johannesburg. Our boys were extremely eager to get going with their Tennis fixtures and there was a lot of jostling for positions on the Tennis ladder. Despite many of our results narrowly not going our way, the boys showed incredible grit and determination, and above all, true Ridge spirit.
Our super competitive yearly Tennis championship was held towards the end of Term 2, with the Open Boys’ title going to our 2023 Tennis Captain, Iain Thomson, and the U11 title going to Jack McCollum.
Then during the August Holidays, we sent two senior teams to the prestigious Sun City Tennis festival. This tour is always the highlight of the Tennis calendar with boys playing against schools from all over the country, at the incredible Sun City venue. The tour got off to an exciting start with our 2023 Tennis Vice-Captain, Saahil Vassan, generously providing our boys with personalised kit for the tournament. The multiple trips to Valley of the Waves were a hit as well as the opportunity to meet peers from different schools. Good competitive Tennis was played on the courts, followed by good fun off the courts and we look forward to another amazing tour again next August.
By Anton Pretorius