It’s the circle of life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle of life
If you read that as it was sung by Ridge boys then you know you’ve had a good Ridge Centenary year to date!
This term we’ve had the pleasure of a number of incredible Centenary events; some new, some old favourites but all bigger and better than we’ve ever seen.
The highlight of our Centenary year was undoubtedly, Janet Fox’s Magnus Opus, ‘A Westcliff Story’. Against the backdrop of the historic Nicolson Hall façade, and on crystal clear and chilly Johannesburg evenings, the school in its entirety turned up for 5 evenings to watch this once-in-a-lifetime production.
The celebration of history, music and family continued at Founder’s Day. Fortunately, the chilly weather didn’t, and as usual, we celebrated the school’s birthday on a beautiful sunny day. The evening prior to Founders’ Day the Nicolson hall saw over 250 Ridge Old Boys celebrating a common bond forged at our rocky school on the cliff.
Earlier in the term, we hosted our first-ever, and hugely successful, Rugby Festival, and another celebration of our amazing moms for a Centenary Mother’s Celebration. If that wasn’t enough, The Right Stuff Action Day saw the whole Ridge Community devote Saturday to various community projects and initiatives. I for one would love to see this become an ‘old favourite’ event that we get to do each year. In keeping with our bigger and better Centenary approach, even our old favourite ‘Night Run’ was more neon and more epic than ever.
A big shout out to Ridgie, who has become a firm favourite with adults and children, and who we all eagerly wait for at every event. No Centenary event seems complete without performing Ridgie’s dance and hearing his music!
Please look out for our ‘Going Green in our homes’ article which has wonderful suggestions about what we can be doing in our households to do our part in saving the planet.
On a personal note, as we close off Term 2 and unbelievably look ahead to the last term of 2019, I feel privileged to be part of our circle.
As we approach the end of Term 2 it is good to be able to take a moment or two to reflect on what this Centenary year has brought our way thus far.
Before bringing to mind some of the more memorable 100 year birthday functions and activities that have punctuated the past seven months, it is important to confirm that, as much as we have made the most of embracing all that this very special year has offered up, we have also worked hard at maintaining a sense of normality and balance whilst endeavouring to honour our routine academic, extracurricular and co-curricular programmes.
Founders’ Day on Saturday 27 July proved to be a fitting climax to so much that during the past school term has kept the Centenary birthday spirit fully energized and alive in the hearts and minds of our Ridge boys. There was a wonderful warmth generated, as much by the birthday celebration as by the amazing weather that blessed our proceedings.
During the afternoon, I was posed the question as to which Centenary function/event, in my opinion, stands out above the rest. I kicked for touch with my reply by saying that it is really difficult to single out any one event above another as they each represented a particular piece of the puzzle that will have by year-end, fashioned for most of us an all-encompassing remembrance to hold on to.
I have mentioned to people on a few occasions that something that has really stood out for me as an underpinning factor throughout the year thus far is the spirit that has been generated as each activity, function or celebration has given way to the next. Coming out of a busy first term when we enjoyed the Centenary launch event on that beautiful Saturday morning in January and running through to what was the Gala Evening for parents, Old Boys and friends of The Ridge on the last Saturday in March, there was evident a wonderful sense of togetherness within The Ridge family. One that so many of us were drawn into and that gave rise to a sense of belonging that the first three months had brought home.
As the second term got underway, every effort was made to reignite both our ‘Living the Legacy’ theme and our focus on ‘Celebrating with a Purpose’. Whilst making sure to provide for a beautiful and tastefully planned Mothers’ Celebration Lunch, the month of May also provided ample opportunity for the boys to engage with the community as they added service minutes to their Right Stuff Passports. This outreach programme culminated in what proved to be the wonderfully engaging and enjoyable Right Stuff Action Day on 1 June which saw the entire Ridge family involved in a variety of community support projects.
June brought with it too, an opportunity to shift the celebration lens onto our sports and extramural programmes. Understanding that participating in games and outdoor activities can add much to a boy’s broader learning experience, we made every effort to give each lad a chance to participate in a winter sport that provided him with enjoyment, exercise, competition and being part of a Ridge School team.
The Ridge Rugby Festival served as a fitting finale to the month when we played host to twelve 1st XV teams. A mark of just how successful this event was can be gauged from the fact that a standard post-festival question that we have been fielding has been, so when will we be hosting the next one?
Returning from half-term the school shifted into A Westcliff Story mode. With every boy having had a part to play up on stage and with only a week to go before opening night, our regular academic routines and programmes had to give way to a demanding but very necessary hi-octane rehearsal schedule. All of which did the trick and set the stage for a truly memorable whole school Centenary play production.
A week later and we were hosting over 250 old boys for a very special Old Boys’ Dinner in our Nicolson Hall to be followed the next morning by all that our well attended and enthusiastically supported Centenary Founders’ Day brought our way.
As a final word, it needs to be said that all of the above, and indeed a good deal more, could not have been achieved had it not been for the selfless and dedicated work done by so many committed people. From Angie Chapman, Melissa Mussett and their Centenary Committee, Ijeoma Solarin and her PA representatives, and the many other mums’ committees that planned for and organized each memorable event, to our own catering, estate and housekeeping teams and our many teachers and admin folk who all have been so willing to go beyond the call of duty, the success of the 2019 Centenary year to date has been marked by a collective call to arms by so many.
The 3rd Term will provide some more of the same as far as the Right Stuff passports are concerned, our Care-to-Learn activities and encouraging the boys to ‘Live the Legacy’. Understandably though, there will not be as many functions as we focus attention on bringing the 2nd Semester academic programme to the expected high-level closure by the end of November. The ‘live’ term calendar will alert parents about what to look out for during the three months of the academic year still remaining.
I wish you all a relaxing, peaceful and uncomplicated August holiday time – assuming that you are fortunate enough to have some time off. For those who are journeying to distant shores, may you have safe passage to and from your destinations.
Warm regards and God’s blessings.
A Westcliff Story
‘A Westcliff Story’ has been spinning around in my head for almost two years! It was very difficult imagining what musical production could possibly do justice to this incredible school as it celebrates its 100th birthday. How does one, in under 2 hours, relate what has happened over the past 100 years, ‘here, there and everywhere’, with 510 boys from Grade 0 to Grade 7? The obvious solution was to present a musical ‘revue’ of some of the highlights, and some of the lowlights that have taken place during this time. It tells the story of a small school, a mining town, South Africa and indeed the world! The music I chose reflected the times, the eras, the emotions and the memories. I know everyone identified in some way with much of the music.
It has been hugely rewarding bringing this unique ‘story’ to life, and I believe every single boy ‘shone’ on the stage. They seemed to enjoy it more and more each performance, and the only negative remark I received was, “we loved the play so much, we don’t really want to go back into the classroom!” These boys are amazing and gave their all, showing energy, enthusiasm and passion. I am proud of each one of them! We played to full houses for almost a week, presenting 1 matinee and 5 evening performances. The audience adored and applauded these wonderful children every evening. How fortunate were we with the weather and little or no illness?!
Special thanks must go to all those people who assisted me in realising my vision for this production. The costumes were incredible, colourful and made the story ‘real’. Bridget Gerber is a costume genius! I am equally delighted with the magnificent sets and props created by Eugene Hammond, Johann Krynauw, and Karen Short. The visual presentation on the screens was a work of art all by itself. Jenny Herman and Danny Myburgh created a masterpiece which took us all on an extraordinary visual journey through the past 100 years.
Huge thanks must go to the co-directors, the technical team and the unsung heroes who all worked tirelessly behind the scenes. Thank you to the musicians for their unfailing and invaluable contribution. Thank you to Richard Stanley and The Ridge staff for their continued love, assistance and support. Finally, thank you to all the parents for their support, without whom this production of ‘A Westcliff Story’ could not have been possible.
Janet Fox van der Poel
Junior Prep Perspectives on the play
Although some of the Junior Prep boys have had the opportunity to perform on the stage in the Nicolson Hall, this was something special. A play that brought together boys, memories, music and history in an exciting and energetic way. And what an amazing end product!
The boys spent weeks ensuring their moves were correct, their songs were perfect and their timing was impeccable. This hard work certainly paid off and the 5 nights saw them rise to the occasion every time.
With all the time rehearsing, both boys and teachers could be heard singing the songs in the class and out at break (with the teachers having the added bonus of dreaming about the songs!). Just when we thought the boys had no more to give, their costumes were handed out and they found their second wind. Hair gel for the Grade 3s, gumboots and mining helmets for the Grade 1s and 2s, and suspenders and bowties together with dresses and beads for the Grade 0s gave renewed energy. It was wonderful to see how the boys delivered time and time again.
The boys spent lots of time being aware of how they looked and it amused many to be asked “Is my lipstick still there?” or “Must I put some more on ?” The Grade 0 boys were surprised by the sudden arrival of a number of girls to The Ridge, which was in fact the Grade 7 boys wearing wigs, high heels and dresses. As it turns out the question of “Do we have to wear dresses as well?” turned out to be the truth for some of the boys who were flappers. It was amazing to see how the lines from the play became everyday conversation. Nothing like asking a boy what he did on the weekend and his response “I went to a MARVELLOUS party!”
What wonderful moments were made through music and acting. Boys that are usually shy and reserved became confident young stars. Thank you to Mrs Fox van der Poel for the vision and love that ensured that each of the Junior Prep boys had time to shine!
Setting the Scene and Boy Proofing – Backstage Crew Perspectives
It is July, the middle of winter. Backstage a group of staff and some eager boys are narrowly avoiding running into each other in a mad haste. Props of various shapes and sizes are wheeled, carried, slid and manoeuvred on and off the stage to create the setting for each scene. It is with this level of detail and caution that all the props and backdrops are installed. A Westcliff Story is starting to take shape…
As rehearsals progress, more props are added and a serious case of boy-proofing is needed. The biggest headache for the backstage crew, is the Marvellous Party scene. Real glasses help to add dazzle, although we lose a few in the process and have to madly scramble in order to clear the broken bits. Magic wands from a party store are transformed into glittering cigarettes, adding to the nostalgia of the time. Five huge candelabras, each with five magnetic candles, have to be set up every performance and carried (gingerly, but quickly) onto the set. This is a balancing feat of note. Whenever we are setting up these candles, the sea of transfixed faces, waiting in the wings, light up with delight, as the magnetic wand brings life to each candle, making us feel like magicians.
The other scenes are somewhat easier to manage. A host of candles are handed out, taken back and handed out again, to create the angelic atmosphere of our Special Choir. Stacks of newspapers are hog-tied into boy-proof parcels for the newspaper sellers. The South African flags are a hot contender for most popular item, as boys scramble to get the biggest one first. The fake fire is being made, using cellophane, logs and fairy lights.
Duct tape is definitely a backstage teacher’s best friend: we use it to create banners that have to be carried on and off. We fix balustrades and jail sets and other props. Occasionally we even think of using it on the boys for our own sanity, as the excited noise of the performers threaten to get out of control. At certain moments, we have the luxury of observing the other shenanigans behind the scenes. Boys being wired for sound, complaining bitterly when the tape is ripped off in order to quickly wire up the next boy. Wigs being put on the wrong way around and boys strutting in high heels make for a few giggles.
This is our most recent play, celebrating one hundred years of history. Nostalgically we realise, that for a century before, other boys and staff have gone through similar scenarios. We are privileged to be part of a very special story… A Westcliff Story.
Nicci Kurz and Hanlie Glanz
The Ridge School Centenary Rugby Festival
2019 has been an incredible year for our school community with so many memorable and meaningful celebrations and milestones. What better way to celebrate a hundred years of sport than with a rugby festival! Rugby is entrenched in our blood and culture as South Africans, so it seemed very fitting for The Ridge to host its very first rugby festival, in this our centenary year.
The 27th of June saw our travelling teams arrive in Johannesburg. They were hosted very graciously and warmly at the Parktown Boys Boarding house. Selborne Preparatory and Woodridge College formed part of the Eastern Cape contingent and Clifton Durban and Highbury joined the Festival from KwaZulu-Natal. We were grateful that a very generous member of our parent body and Melville Douglas, a subsidiary of Standard Bank, allowed us to fully sponsor the participation of two development teams, namely, Kagiso Rugby Club and Alexandra Wolves Rugby Club.
The remainder of the teams from Johannesburg joined the festival on Friday the 28th of June. These schools were made up of St.Peter’s Boys Preparatory, St. David’s, St. Stithians, K.E.P.S. and St. John’s. All parents, boys and coaches were greeted early on Friday morning with the beautiful sounds of our marimbas and our ever-friendly “Ridgie”. We were lucky enough to have John Smit address the audience in the Opening Assembly. His speech was boy centred and his message was around the topic of ‘synergy’. He kept reminding the boys about how important their school days are, and that the lessons learnt while at school will shape them for their futures.
One of the objectives of the Rugby Festival was to create a much needed new school war cry. Mr Alex Parker weaved his magical music wand and created a beautiful new chant and war cry for The Ridge, which we hope will be heard being sung our boys in blue at many a gala, soccer match and athletics meeting for the next 100 years!
The Hope Field was the venue for all the matches for the 3-day festival. We could not have asked for a more incredible view over Northern Johannesburg. The gorgeous Jozi winter skies played ball for the entire weekend. The fixtures were structured so that each team played 1 game a day, and because it followed a ‘Festival’ format there was no winner or loser. Having this format showcased the #RidgeRightStuff sportsmanship and comradery. There was a mixture of games played, some barefoot and some with boots. On the opening day, the Grade 4 – 7 Ridge Boys walked to The Hope Field to watch The Ridge play Woodridge. It was a wonderful experience for the players and spectators.
I would like to extend a massive thank you to Sarah Heep, the marketing and events organizer at Glenshiel. St.John’s Ambulance very kindly allowed us to open the bottom section of Glenshiel, which was used as a Food and Beer Garden. The aloes were in full bloom in the gorgeous garden and visitors enjoyed sitting in the fresh air with a view across to the Hope Field.
The Friday night saw The Ridge host 481 people for a braai dinner at The Rose Pavilion. Feeding 244 very hungry 13-year olds was quite a sight to behold! All parents were welcome to join and that they did! The evening was incredibly well received by all.
The Saturday fixtures began at 9 a.m. and all games were tightly contested, highly competitive and well supported. At midday, we had a break in the games and an “opening ceremony” was conducted. Mr Stanley welcomed all and Josh Verster delivered a lovely address of welcome and thanks. All teams lined up on the Field and Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika was sung. We were very fortunate to have a fantastic flyover by 2 small aircraft, both very generously sponsored by Warwick Van Breda from LiftSA.
We welcomed 244 hungry, happy and tired boys to the Nicolson hall for a gala dinner on the Saturday Night. Nic Groom, former Lions Scrumhalf, was the guest speaker and the essence of his address was around the emotional issues of playing sport, rather than the core skills needed. His message was wonderfully delivered and the boys were very attentive.
The Sunday Fixtures started bright and early at 8 a.m. allowing travelling teams to return home after they had played. The Ridge concluded the last game at 1 p.m. against Highbury. As the final whistle blew on Sunday afternoon everyone welcomed a much needed half term break.
I would like to extend a huge thanks to my team made up of Judith Slettevold, Natalie Elliott, Debbie Thomas and Cindy Stoutjesdyk. These ladies worked tirelessly and stepped in wherever and whenever help was needed. Mandy Smith has been a stalwart with the ever-changing budget. Cheryl Sparks was such a pillar of strength and a wonderful sounding board for problems and ideas. The lovely Lerato, Thandeka, Edson and the rest of the catering team who handled the ‘no water in Westcliff’ for the majority of the weekend so professionally. The yummy sandwiches, samosas and scones went down a treat. Chris Perumal and his team for their continual support and guidance. Mr. Stanley for his encouraging, helpful and professional approach to all elements of the Festival. Mr. Kotwal for all his unwavering input from marketing, bunting, advertising and spell checks. To Kate Walters on putting a beautiful program together. Finally, to Mr Du Preez for all his hard work regarding transport logistics, fixtures and correspondence. Thank you to each staff and Ridge Family member who came to support. An incredible spirit and sense of community was felt over the weekend and we hold onto those memories as they take us into the next 100 years. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!
Before the festivities took place on Rose and Cheales fields, we were privileged to attend our traditional Founders’ Day service on Hersov field. We were honoured to have Paul Edey as our guest speaker at this significant occasion. As we have become accustomed, we were regaled with fond anecdotes and special historical moments from the history of our school. His speech unquestionably captured the spirit we all feel in this centenary year.
My great pride of being a member of the Ridge community stems from our ability as a collective to give without reservation, be it our time, our talents, or paying it forward to those in our community that are in need. These are all the reasons we chose The Ridge School.
I am continuously reminded by the “good morning Ma’am” greetings from boys and the “sure let me rather show you where it is” offerings when lost; and how Ubuntu is practiced always in the everyday lives of Ridge boys, staff and families. So when it was mine and Lala Tuku’s turn to put together what my sons perceive as the most important day of our annual school calendar, Founders’ Day, it felt natural that we chose The Spirit of Ubuntu as a theme.
It was critical this year that we gave back to our Ridge family. This was the day that each and every one of us would never forget and I sincerely believe that unforgettable memories were created from the moment we stepped on the school grounds on Founders’ Day as we were welcomed by the fabulous sounds of the marimba band. The Hersov field was beautifully transformed into our Founders’ Day assembly arena: an immaculately organized assembly put together by the fabulous duo Angie Chapman and Mellissa Mussett. Our boys looked fantastic in their blues and the talent at our school is boundless as we watched the orchestra play.
I think it necessary to confess that I was clearly warned and given stern instructions that “Mom, if you take on Founders’ Day, you simply cannot mess up! Your (meaning theirs) street cred is on the line here!” With this warning drilled into me, it appeared the going was tough and we quickly got the tough going. Mr Stanley, Liz Wallis, Gillin Dippenaar, Cheryl Sparks, Doris, Mandy Herold, Zoe Zodumo backed us and got us going every day as we embarked on our pre-production right up to the implementation. What I loved most about being part of a great, committed and enthusiastic team of Ridge staff and parents is that there was hardly a time when the word ‘no’ was a part of any conversation in our planning and decision making. Dealing with JOC (the joint operations committee) in my work is my worst nightmare so I concede that knowing that Joe Kotwal was handling the JOC helped me sleep at night. The fabulous Chris Perumal, Chris Vester, Eric, Ntate John (40 years at The Ridge) and Ntate Jacob (the electrician experts), Ausi Martha and team, the fabulous stooges, Tafadzwa, Bruce and Akhona, Terrence (keeping us all safe) and all other important ground staff; their “yes we can attitude” that they exuded daily and on Founders’ Day reconfirmed that our boys are in great hands.
It truly is not possible to mention the entire committee that made Founders’ Day possible, it really did take a village, but I have to acknowledge our Chief Leader Ijeoma Solarin, who was very clear that “only the best will do!”. Megan Kaplan and the team of ticketing moms, Smeeta Devchand and Masetlogelo Masote (who was meant to have a rest year given she is a Grade 7 mom), Terri Lee Dix (who converted us all into environmental activists) bravely stepped up and took on positions that ensured the day ran efficiently and that all boys, friends, parents, visitors and suppliers were happy throughout the day. All parents stepped up, rolled up their sleeves for this day. The Grade 4, 5 and 6 parents took on the responsibility of ensuring our kids were safe and the brave teams of Grade 0, 1, 2 and 3 parents replenished the PTA coffers that might have been depleted by the event’s expenses by setting up and managing creative and bountiful stalls.
The highlights of the day for me was seeing our boys and friends having the time of their lives, indulging in a day filled with games, eats, drinks and music. I believe having the Ndlovu Youth choir, a team of such talented musicians on our stage who come from very challenging backgrounds, truly breathed life and gave meaning to our theme of The Spirit of Ubuntu. They shared their talent with much gusto and I doubt anyone who was in the audience could deny this fact. We wish them the best of luck for their next round at America’s Got Talent. Having our very own Ziza (voice and music teacher) with her Jazz band reminded me of the quality education our boys are exposed to.
Thank you to our sponsors Joel Chikapa Phiri for sponsoring the choir, The Lap and Cool Kids Cabs the toddler section; Sarah Carmichael and her team for sponsoring plants and deco; and Lee Anne Ferrer for locking down Lounge Around sponsorship.
Lala Tuku and I were privileged and honoured to work on this most important event, Founders’ Day 2019, celebrating 100 years of The Ridge School.
Old Boys’ Evening
In early 2016 I was tasked to begin working on the Old Boys database. We needed to consolidate three different databases, containing different fields of information into one workable platform. The reason was clear and explicit – contact as many Old Boys as possible and begin the groundwork to fill the Nicolson Hall for the Old Boys Centenary Reunion Dinner in 2019. What followed were many hours of tinkering and tweaking until the database looked like something we could use. My thanks to Darshan Mistry on all the work hours he put into getting it to a state of readiness. The fruits of our labour were enjoyed on 26 July 2019 when over 260 Old Boys and former Headmasters and staff arrived at The Ridge for the dinner.
The evening began with a tour led by the Grade 7s. Many of our Old Boys hadn’t been back to The Ridge since they departed, many over a decade ago and some for as long as 50 years.
Current boys, staff and parents are fully aware of the amazing changes to the campus but not our Old Boys. The Junior Prep building had them astounded as they could only recall chalkboards and wooden desk with ink wells and pencil grooves. The OSIC was the second stop of the tour and again their responses were that of amazement at the thought of programming robots and filming movies in front of a ‘green screen’.
Following the tour, pre-drinks were enjoyed in the Paul Channon Anniversary Quad as we waited for the arrival of the entire party. After our guests found their seats, Richard Stanley officially welcomed our guests of honour: four of the past twelve Headmasters – Paul Channon, Alan Wyborn, Grant Nupen and John Nicolson. This was followed by a speech by James Clucas (1981) and current Chairman of The Ridge School Board of Governors. Peter Langschmidt entertained the crowd with 5 auction items and Pete Henderson regaled memories from his time at The Ridge. The evening was a resounding success as Old Boys from as far back as 1939 to as recent as 2018 mingled and connected socially. The funds raised on the evening were in aid of The Ridge Trust Fee Assistance Programme.
By 1 a.m. the last of the group had left and a quick clean-up was required to ensure the hall and quad were presentable for Founders’ Day Tea. My thanks to the dedication and meticulous planning of Bonnie Smithers and Melissa Musset in presenting an amazing venue, delicious dinner and fully stocked bar. The evening was further supported by several other mums – Clare MacKenzie, Jackie Collier, Karina Van Heerden and Caroline Wyborn. Lastly, thank you to Sarah Carmichael for the décor and Jenny Herman for the table memorabilia.
Planning has already begun for the Cape Town Reunion taking place on 2 October for many Old Boys who were not able to make the trip up to Johannesburg. The 2020 UK reunion will take place, as usual, in early March at The RAF Club.
St Katharine’s Centenary Birthday Wishes
Address to The Ridge School from St Katharine’s on The Ridge Centenary
When we were wondering what to give you as a gift or what wishes to send you for your Centenary, boys, we looked closely at your Centenary badge and decided with Mr Stanley and your teachers to install the mosaic of your Centenary badge. To complete the mosaic we started to prepare the wording for the plaque to be installed next to the mosaic. We looked at the items on the badge, knowing that these were important to you: the book and school bag; the sports equipment; the musical instruments; the art and drama aspects and the thinking and learning icons.
However, our focus landed on the ‘heart hands’ at the bottom of the mosaic. From the hands, we wanted to place the spotlight on the people behind the items on the badge, the people in our schools. Therefore, we chose the following quote for the plaque: UMNTWANA UKHULISWA UMPHAKATHI.
This African Proverb means: It takes a whole village to raise a child. If we think of our schools as small villages and if we believe the message behind the proverb, then everyone here: all staff, all parents and each one of you boys and girls, play a part in each other’s lives and influence how you grow up. To illustrate this I want to share a short story with you called the Seven Wonders, which I have adapted from the internet (author unknown).
The Seven Wonders
Arjun was a 9-year-old boy from a small village in India. He had completed Grade 4 year in his village school and for Grade 5 he took up a place in a school to his nearby city. On his first day of school he was very excited to be part of his new class, despite his fellow classmates making fun of him being from a small village.
After few days the teacher gave her class a surprise test and asked the pupils to write down the Seven Wonders of the World, about which she had been teaching them. Everyone submitted answers quickly while Arjun was writing slowly, his teacher told him not to worry and just to write down whatever he knew. Finally, he submitted his answers.
The Teacher read everyone’s answers and many of the papers contained answers such as: The Great Wall of China, The Colosseum, The Great Pyramid of Giza, The Taj Mahal, The Hanging Gardens of Babylon and so on. The Teacher was happy with these answers and, at last, picked up Arjun’s answer paper and started reading.
“The 7 Wonders are – To be able to See, To be able to Hear, To be able to Feel, To Laugh, To Think, To be Kind and To Love!”.
The teacher was speechless. This little boy had reminded everyone that in his village everyone believed in the precious gifts that God has given us.
Our wish then for you (and ourselves) in your Centenary year, boys, is that we too can be reminded to appreciate these seven wonders and to remember the people in our schools, that make it all happen!
St Katharine’s Headmistress
#RightStuff Action Day 2019
This Centenary year, as full as it is, has provided some amazing moments to look back on! One such day which is a source of pride for Smeeta Devchand, myself and the rest of the Centenary Community Engagement subcommittee was The Ridge’s first ever #RightStuff Action Day on Saturday 1 June 2019.
#RightStuff Action Day, if you missed it, was about the whole school coming together – boys and their families, as well as staff and heading out en masse to show “The Right Stuff” by donating our time and efforts to make a difference, be of service and engaging with various NGO’s, NPO’s, and community organisations. It was truly about celebrating with a purpose.
After almost a year of approaching various organisations, building relationships and nailing down needs that could reasonably be met by prep school boys (there is only so much a 6-year-old can do…), the day finally came.
There were 16 organisations involved and over 1000 people mobilized. Suffice it to say, it was a mammoth undertaking and needed an army of “site managers”. Below is the feedback from each of those locations:
Delta Park (Managed by Angie Chapman): A very early start on a freezing winter morning didn’t dampen spirits here. Our volunteers managed the Parkrun for the morning including tasks such as setting up the course, marshalling the route, cheering the runners on, time keeping and handing out medals.
Hope School (Managed by Leigh Gain, Debbie Thomas and Sne Demeseb): A much deserving school on our doorstep needed help with painting classrooms and working on the gardens.
Salvazione (Managed by Sue Steyn and Sharon Maja): Our community school had a jumble sale which our volunteers set up and manned. We also helped to do a stock take of all the items in the classrooms – labelling, noting, recording every single chair, table, textbook.
Parkcare (Managed by Zola Makhubalo and Fehmida Johnson): The residents at Parkcare were treated to a Sportsday/Funday where our volunteers got to interact with them and play various exciting games. Our special Grade 0s also made the medals that were handed out to the residents.
Woodrock Animal Rescue (Managed by Thandi Hartmann): Animal loving volunteers were needed to paint the cattery and then had a chance to play with some furry friends.
The Joburg Zoo (Managed by Jenny Herman): Clearly a very popular choice, the over 100 zoo allocations were snapped up within a few hours of being made available. Volunteers worked at various enclosures on tasks such as cleaning the crocodile dam, putting woodchips into the baboon enclosure, making screens with bamboo and weeding in the bird section, digging a sandpit for the wild dogs, and putting turf into bags in the kitchen section.
Zoo Lake (Managed by Melissa Mussett): The beautiful lake up the road from us needed our help to kick off the first phase of their Erosion Rehabilitation Campaign along the lake. Volunteers here had to be Grade 5 or over as there was a lot of manual labour such as digging, carrying and placing logs to be done along the lake. They were however spoiled with refreshments sponsored by Moyos!
The Wilds (Managed by Terri-Lee Dix): Just a few minutes away, this hidden gem of a nature reserve was a surprise to most who had never been. Volunteers here took part in an “Aloe Project” where lots of planting was done both into pots and on the Koppie. Lots of Spekboom was planted as they are famous for absorbing CO2 from the air and are seen as a possible climate change saviour.
SPCA Sandton and Kempton (Managed by Sam Bouilliart and Gail Van Onselen): Another animal lover’s choice where volunteers cleaned, tidied, washed, folded…but secretly mostly had fun with the animals.
The Johannesburg Children’s Home (Managed by Mase Masote): Located in Observatory, the oldest children’s home in Johannesburg, in an attempt to be as self-sufficient as possible, needed volunteers to help with extending their veggie garden. In addition, there were the mounds of clean laundry that needed to be sorted and some window cleaning to spruce things up a bit.
Fight with Insight (Managed by Susie Parker): Fight with insight located in Braamfontein is a boxing project that aims to create a safe space for inner city kids. The first part of the day saw our volunteers being taken on a run or walk through the inner city and then back to the gym for some conditioning and basic boxing lessons. The second part involved making sandwiches for the kids at the centre. Everyone got a chance to interact with and learn about those that use this special space.
Better SA/Making Sleeping bags (Managed by Lusanda Raphulu and Sacha Mathee): After a quick intro about making sleeping bags out of extra-large polythene bags, newspapers and tons of tape, 3 shifts of volunteers managed to reach the target of making 100 sleeping bags! These bags were delivered by our Grade 7 boys to the Immaculata Homeless Shelter in Rosebank.
Frances Vorwerg School (Managed by Shemila Merali): Located in the South of Joburg, FVS is a school that caters for children with disabilities. This project was managed at The Ridge and saw volunteers repacking bulk bought groceries (flour, oil, peanut butter etc.) into smaller containers. These are then packed into food parcels to be handed out to their learners.
Sandwich Making (Managed by Gouwe Shar and Naema Surtee): Volunteers were asked to bring a couple of loaves of bread and some filling. This was such a well-oiled machine that they ran out of bread very quickly and had to get some more. The first session had to make 300 cheese sandwiches to be delivered to Rays of Hope by 11am – challenge accepted and accomplished. The second set of volunteers made sandwiches for an organisation called Soul Provider who then delivered the sandwiches to Ebenezer House.
Knit-a-square (Managed by Debbie Coetzer, Liz Wallis, Kathryn Rossouw): Who knew knitting could be so appealing at a boy’s prep school! Volunteers got to either learn to knit or if already proficient, come armed ready to knit together. Volunteers knitted squares to be put together to make blankets. A few blankets have already been assembled and knitting continues wherever possible.
Princess Alice (Managed by Kate Farina): Another special place on our doorstep needed general help with tidying and cleaning and some general maintenance work – with the added bonus of getting to play with the cutest little babies!
SANBS: The blood service were keen to set up a station at school and although they did not get as many donors as they had originally anticipated, they were nevertheless happy with what they did get so much so they have asked to come back – please look out for this in the 3rd term!
All in all, it was most certainly a day for us as The Ridge community to look back on and be proud of and on behalf of the organizing committee, thank you all for being a part of it – it was really something special!
P.S: Following on from the success of #RightStuff Action Day, if anyone is interested in being part of a planning committee for next year, please don’t be shy, please get in touch!
The Ridge Mothers’ Celebration Lunch
The Ridge Mothers’ Lunch was held on Saturday the 8 June in celebration of our mums and all they do for our boys and the life of our school. Mums, both past and present, gathered in the Channon Anniversary Quad under sunny blue skies and enjoyed a wonderful day of entertainment and dining, alfresco style.
On arrival, our mums were utterly spoilt with a gift bag from Clarins and a delicious glass of champagne from Spier.
The quad was beautifully put together, with stylish food and beverage stations and tables adorned with gorgeous floral and fruit arrangements. Absolutely nothing was spared as Mela Events and Afresh Event and Design made sure the day was one fit for queens! The lunch that was laid out by both Exquisite Halal and Ginger Grape was outstanding, and the Grade 3 mothers showed off some of their baking skills – and resourcefulness in some cases – with a delicious spread for the dessert table.
Spier Wine Estate and Dry Dock took care of our beverage needs for the day and both were most generous in helping us raise money for Salvazione Christian School. To top it all, the mums were fabulously entertained by “The Muses”, “DJ Zero” and our very own Musa!
Thanks to or very generous sponsors, we were able to raffle off some great prizes and we made R33 935 for Salvazione School on the day.
A huge thank you to our Grade 3 parents who worked so hard to ensure it was a successful and memorable day!
Going Green at home
Going green in our households – and particularly cutting out single-use plastic – can happen even if it’s just a few sustainable changes at a time. In our fast-paced lives, zero waste shopping is not always an easy option. It requires conscious choices and sourcing of ‘green’ products. We can’t always get it all right, but introducing a few sustainable changes at a time will go a long way to reducing your impact on the world. To help you get going (if you haven’t already) here are a few ideas of places to shop both in-store and online.
Happy Milk https://www.happymilk.co.za/
Happy Milk delivers milk in our suburbs packaged in reusable glass bottles. The milk is fresh, pasteurised and R15/litre with delivery included. The bottles are collected and sterilised so it really is a no waste way of having milk. Fresh Earth in Emmarentia (https://www.freshearth.co.za/) also sell Happy Milk as well as milk in Consol glass bottles.
The Refillery in Cedar Square Fourways https://therefillery.co.za/
The Refillery is an exciting, new planet-friendly grocer also offering a stylish, convenient, plastic free, ‘weigh-and-pay’ shopping experience that helps you to stock and re-stock your pantry with the highest quality, ethically-sourced products without all that wasteful packaging normally associated with a trip to the grocery store. What’s great about the refillery is that they also deliver (packaging your items in brown paper bags which are labelled with the contents) and if your order is over R500 your delivery is free. They sell bees wrap as an alternative to cling wrap to cover containers as well as compostable poop bags. Should you really be getting in the swing of going green they also have a toothbrush powder sold in a glass bottle (to be used with your bamboo toothbrush of course!).
The SEK Collective – Zero Waste Store https://thesekcollective.wixsite.com/zerowaste
The SEK Collective – Zero Waste Store (7 Mackay Avenue, Blairgowrie, Randburg) offers a wide variety of whole foods, cleaning and body care products in bulk, making everyday essentials available without the unnecessary packaging. You simply fill your own containers (you weigh them first) with as much of what you want and pay for it by weight. Storage of these items at home using consol glass jars with the chalk label is a great option as you can label the bottle. There are plenty of glass storage containers from the Consol glass shop in Woodmead.
Faithful to Nature https://www.faithful-to-nature.co.za/
Faithful to Nature is based in Cape-Town but delivers (delivery free for orders over R400). They have a large range of waste-free lifestyle products and they also have a number of interesting articles about going green on their website. They stock sandwich wraps, recycled aluminium foil as well as paper sandwich bags.
Our very own neighbourhood Tyrone Fruiterer is working towards going green. Manny has been researching methods and the shop now has biodegradable black and clear bags in stock as well as biodegradable straws and shopping bags. An exciting development in the butchery is the replacement of the absorbent meat pad (that you find underneath the chickens etc.) with one that is biodegradable.
Green home https://greenhome.co.za/
Green Home have several branches around the country and they specialise in biodegradable food packaging. They pride themselves on being completely plastic-free and use the most sustainable products they can find. Another food packaging option is Enviro Mall (https://enviromall.co.za/) which our school kitchen uses for their biodegradable takeaway containers.
Sustainable.co.za is an online eco store with numerous areas of greening such as energy efficiency, water power, solar power as well as greening the home products. They also sell certified compostable and biodegradable PLA clingwrap.
We would love to hear your tips on going green in the home. Please email your tips to Holly Ferrer at email@example.com
2019 proven to be another fun and successful Cross Country season at The Ridge. The season kicked off during the first week of the second term when our annual Interhouse Cross Country took place. There was a lot of sweat and a few tears, but in the end, all the Ridge boys from Grade 3 through to Grade 7 crossed the finish line after giving their utmost for their house.
The top 20 runners from each age group were then selected for the school team, which participated in InterSchool races over the following six weeks. Our school team went from strength to strength throughout the season, especially our junior runners, who were inspired and motivated on a weekly basis by our team captain Tom Clucas and his hard-working vice-captain Rory Steyn.
A special mention needs to be given to the following boys who achieved Top 10 finishes at an InterSchool race this year: Nick Goeller, Maddon Elliot, Samuel Harwarden, Ethan Burrell, Finn Berman, Ethan Millar, Ikenna Solarin, Connor van der Walt, Matthew Thomas, Thomas Clucas, Joshua Verster and Ross Rovelli.
At The Ridge, we are extremely lucky to be able to train in the tranquil and steep terrain of Westcliff. Our early morning time trial training sessions on a Tuesday are a special event, and there can’t be a more beautiful spot to stretch and watch the sunrise than the Hope School field. The time trial itself takes place at the bottom of the Westcliff stairs with a 2 lap (2,4km) loop around Crescent Drive and Wexford Avenue. The times of all the boys are recorded on a weekly basis in order to track their progress during the season and to motivate them to try and improve on their own individual times. On the final time trial of season, Tom Clucas beat the course record, held by last year’s captain, Oliver Healy, by one second. Tom’s determination and never-say-die attitude has definitely made its mark during our special centenary year, and hopefully this type of spirit will continue to be represented by our Ridge boys in the next century of The Ridge and beyond.
Our tennis team has gone from strength to strength and we have become a major force in the local school tennis scene. There are 3 senior teams and one junior team which competed in the inter-school tennis league during Term 2. Our boys showed great competitiveness, sportsmanship and professionalism. I am proud to mention that our school was victorious in many of these fixtures, which is an outstanding achievement. Tennis is a life-long sport and has certainly grown in popularity at The Ridge where we have a large number of boys playing the sport. The annual Ridge Junior and Senior Tennis Championships will take place in Term 3 and we are promised some good competitive tennis from our boys.
Our team participated in the 2019 junior climbing competitions held by Gauteng Climbing. Overall, the boys participated in 3 top rope competitions and 3 bouldering competitions. The boys pushed the boundaries as they endeavoured to improve on their previous performance in each of the disciplines. While doing so they displayed oodles of the Right Stuff.
A special congratulations to Alexander Hutton who was selected to participate in Nationals. He came second in lead (by half a point), second in speed and third in boulder. Overall, he came first in Gauteng and second in South Africa in his age group. Wow, what an achievement. We are so proud of him.
Grade 6 climber, Fayzan Adroos his journey:
Why would I want to spend so much time hanging off a wall? One reason, it’s my passion. I think that it’s an amazing feeling. Hanging at a height, from a wall, builds resilience and perseverance, as the thought of crashing to the ground forces me to believe in myself and ensure that I succeed. I just keep trying and never giving up, this enables me to keep learning. With time, I have built confidence and developed skill. Climbing is also great as I have built many amazing friendships. When you get to the top of that wall, it is an incredible feeling of achievement. You feel empowered and as though you could do anything you put your mind to. This is why I love climbing.
Nine new boys have joined the climbing team this year. When asked what inspired them to join, these were some of their responses:
Mustafa Adroos: I enjoy climbing because I find it challenging and exciting. I also chose to do climbing because my brother Fayzan inspires me. He is committed and he is now quite good at it. I also love the gear!
Adam Preston: We often go to the mountains for holidays and I am hoping that one day I will be able to climb one.
William Macilleron: It is great to do a sport where you do not need to run and exercise hard.
William Wadman: When I was 7, my mum and I climbed up steep rocks in the Drakensberg on the mountain behind my grandparent’s cottage. I found it thrilling and exciting, so I joined climbing to learn new skills. I am hoping that next time I am at the mountains, I can climb challenging slopes.
Ismail Tayob: Our jungle gym was fitted with climbing grips and so I am just trying to advance my skills in climbing.
Sakhile Zondo: I just wanted to try something new, and I am enjoying it.
Westcliff Eagles, a Basketball Club based on our home turf with 95% of the Ridge boys, participated in a thrilling U12 Winter Basketball League hosted by the Maverick Club located in Wanderers.
Unfortunately, our boys struggled against older competition in Leagues like the Junior NBA which is Under 15, Dominican Tournament, AISJ Tournament just to name a few. As a former NBA player Ray Allen said “Losing is important to kids… I love to see when they lose because it makes them want to fight harder, it makes them want to try, it makes them want to practice”
The tournament provided them with peer competition. The hunger, the drive, the fight was shown at all times. Teamwork, trust and role-playing is needed as players are required to carry the team above and beyond. We Hustled, We Fought, We Gave it All, an important lesson our Ridge boys will keep and use as a guide in future contests.
Left standing: Coach Mbulelo Ntshingana, Tapiwa Chikwavo, Thabo Mngumezulu, Joshua Barasa and Kimon Christodoulou
Left seating: Zukolwethu Dongwana, Kemka Amaonwu, Felix Jackson, Callum Van Binsbergin, Leo Bruinders and Reza Creamer
Humans are possibly the only species that can comprehend events of the past and envision changes for the future and our boys at The Ridge School showcased these ideas in the 2019 Science Expo.
We incorporated 100 years of development in Science and Technology for the Grade 4s and Grade 7s as we celebrated our centenary year. The boys displayed their creativity, their unique take on what makes Science relevant for them, as well as evoking curiosity about the world we live in. This was done by using real-life issues and applying the knowledge and skills that they gained in the classroom to find solutions and improve designs.
Some of the thought-provoking projects included; using DNA to create customised medication; developing and improving modes of transport; reducing our carbon footprints; travelling to outer space to discover colonies; and what makes our bodies healthy and function properly.
Those who visited the expo were in awe of what the boys had created. And in the words of Mr. Richard Stanley: “It connects the old and the new, how we learn and carry on the legacy from the old.”
As we continue to celebrate the hundredth birthday of this special school, may we continue to build and evoke curiosity to learn and explore.
The Lighthouse continues to reflect the image portrayed in the name. Our multidisciplinary team provide a platform for the sharing of specialised educational knowledge, skills and resources. Our focus is always on the child first and building on his strengths rather than the challenges and vulnerabilities in his learning.
Our team work very closely together sharing innovative ideas, thoughts and concerns. In order to sustain this team cohesion, trust and open lines of communication are essential.
Our goal is threefold, to enable staff to develop a more holistic view of the boys whilst catering for their specific academic needs through individual therapy as well as consolidating their skills and extending their confidence. Most importantly, it allows optimal opportunity for pupil-centred communication between teachers, therapists and parents. This links the Lighthouse with the school’s teaching and learning environment on a daily basis.
We have continued to work on co-teaching activities within the classroom as well as working with the designated groups for English and Mathematics in the Lighthouse.
The purpose and nature of assessment is always a key area of discussion particularly with the heightened levels of anxiety within our society. Key Questions are what forms of assessment are necessary, how often they should be implemented and which processes should be employed. We are often reminded that the root word for assessment is assidere which literally means to ‘sit beside’. Assessment is not a spreadsheet or a list of marks – it’s a conversation! As Robert Meehan stated “the most valuable resource that all teachers have is each other. Without collaboration, our growth is limited to our perspectives”.
On a personal level, we are privileged with the Ridge support to attend various courses, grow our experience and knowledge as well as sharing thoughts and ideas with other schools at the Learning Support Cluster Groups.
Jan Mallen, Agnes Jooste, Claire Lord and Candice Fletcher