A gymnast who flubs her landing after a flawless routine ends up scoring poorly and the audience only remembers the mistake. The ending of a book or movie has to be spot on or the audience resents the writer. In a car chase, the good guys need to triumph (after a few explosions).
At the end of the Centenary year, we ask ourselves, “Did we nail the landing?” “Did we get it spot on?” Did we have enough explosive moments?”
A resounding “Yes!”
After a significant year of seemingly endless celebrations, we can look back and agree that the magical Carol service with the sun setting on a perfect highveld summer’s evening on the ridge was the flawless, spot on, explosive ending that we needed. The entire school turned out for a festive celebration of Christmas carols and South African songs and music. The boys sang beautifully, the orchestra played skillfully and the readers spoke articulately. It was a perfect evening, much like this year has been.
The Ridge School, Centenary year, 2019, has been the most incredible year. There have been so many highlights it’s impossible to mention them all but when it starts with a big bird with his own song and dance, and airplanes flying low over the school, it was only ever going to be perfect.
What a year this has been. What a privilege it has been to part of this wonderful school this year.
Bow to the judges.
Here’s to The Ridge’s next 100 years!
By Anton Pretorius
Traditionally, my Headmaster’s contribution to this final Horizon’s publication of the year has been to touch on a few highlights and to do so in ways that serve to focus attention on the many people who have played a variety of different roles in the life of our school during the past eleven months. This having been our Centenary year, there is even more reason for doing so.
The dilemma is always where to start in a dynamic school environment that pulses with the energy, spirit and experiences that, in one way or another, are all generated by people. Once again though, the 100 year celebration offers a very obvious starting point for me.
Countless schools have enjoyed their respective Centenary celebrations over the year and so, in that context, it is nothing new. The reality is, of course, that every school is different and so the make-up and flavour of planned events and happenings will always be unique to the school in question and to its culture, ethos and history.
Three years ago, I had the very good fortune of convincing Angie Chapman to be our Centenary Commander-in-Chief and the one responsible for planning, preparing for and leading into our big year. No one could ever have imagined that Angie and her team would dream up a thanksgiving and remembrance celebration that touched on each and every facet of school life, provide opportunity to look back in ways that could honour the many who have gone before, and do it all in a manner that would wrap the school family in a sincerely felt embrace of warmth and unity of spirit.
On behalf of all, it is appropriate to thank Angie Chapman for the quite remarkable way in which she has stage-managed and led our Centenary celebrations. It has been a strategically well-thought through and methodically planned ‘labour of love’ exercise that only someone like Angie could have masterminded and overseen. To her dedicated deputy, Melissa Mussett, and the hard-working and committed Centenary team, our sincere thanks for never flinching, for believing in the master plan, and for staying the course. Congratulations to you all.
Needless-to-say there were many other parents who have given time, effort and energy in support of sub-committees, each of which has played its own part in adding significance and value to the 100 year celebration. Ijeoma Solarin and her PA mums likewise had a busy and engaging year both as PA reps and as they got alongside so many events and happenings in ways that helped with the smooth running of each event. Thank you to all concerned.
With any Ridge happening you can rest assured that our staff teams are never too far away from the action. As such and again on behalf of all, it is appropriate for me to thank the men and women who make up the whole staff complement for carrying the Centenary banner with pride and loyalty throughout what was, understandably, an extraordinarily busy additional programme for them all. From management, the teachers, admin staff and security personnel, to the kitchen, housekeeping and estate people, every effort was made by each one to help to make memories and to secure for our Ridge lads remembrances that will last a lifetime.
To James Clucas who, as Chairman of the Board, has been passionately committed to supporting and, in some cases, guiding aspects of the year’s programme, and our selfless governors and trustees, a special word of thanks for all that each person did to add a sense of authority and positive influence to it all.
Last, but clearly not least, I would offer a heartfelt word of thanks to our Ridge boys without whom, any form of celebration would have proved to have been just a meaningless and fruitless exercise. Well done, boys, on having heard the call to live the legacy, celebrate with purpose and to stand in the gap during a momentous year. To a greater or lesser extent, every boy reached out in his own way to embrace and enjoy all that was on offer.
2019 will prove to be, I’m sure, a year that will forever be held in the hearts and minds of each boy and something that, many moons down the road, they will look back on fondly and will talk about with a real sparkle in their eyes.
To The Ridge family as a whole, I wish you all peace, joy and love during the festive and Christmas season, and the most wonderfully relaxing and enjoyable holiday. Safe travels and God bless you all.
By Richard Stanley
The Chairman’s Report
It always amazes me how quickly this last term at our school seems to fly by. Here we are at the end of what has been an incredible year at The Ridge while our country struggles to recover from a decade of governance that has left our country’s finances in tatters and growth extremely hard to come by. I genuinely believe that President Ramaphosa can lead us back towards the high road that we so desperately seek, but I too am frustrated by the pace change is happening.
While we, as a school, are definitely influenced by what happens in South Africa we would argue that miraculously we have had a very different experience over these last few years. That does not for a second allow us to be complacent but rather is a constant reminder to us that if we stop trying to be get better at what we do then the slippery slide will set in and that will take time to recover from. We are fortunate to have a team of Governors and Staff that have so totally embraced this challenge and continue to strive to be better.
The one real shining light of how far our country has come was the Rugby World Cup victory a month ago. As you know one of our key strategies at this school is continually getting better at Transformation, Diversity and Inclusivity. While some people focus on the hard numbers, we believe that they are only a part of what we are trying to achieve. The message of Garth Japhet’s talk to us a few years ago about taking the time to understand the other person’s story sits top of mind for us. How well did Rassie Erasmus, Siya Kolisi and the entire squad do this. The clear message for me from the #strongertogether theme is exactly this. As Siya Kolisi said on accepting the Webb Ellis Trophy – If we understand each other’s story and are willing to work together as a team towards our selected goal then anything is possible. It is just the tonic we needed and here, at The Ridge, encouraged us further that we are on the right track but I assure you we fully understand that we have a long journey ahead of us. How exciting!
When it comes to delivering an impressive all round boy at the end of Grade 7, another of our top strategic priorities, according to our main feeder schools we continue to make good progress. Not only these boys from the senior prep but also the young chaps in the Junior prep will remember this Centenary year for the rest of their lives for all the right reasons.
- The community engagement initiatives have, yet again, taken a step up allowing us to have such a wonderful platform to build on next year and beyond.
- Janet and her team’s production of “The Westcliff Story” was an absolute highlight of 2019 for every person involved in our school.
- STEAM continues to go from strength to strength
- and the recent art exhibition was impressive, proving that our boys’ creative side is well engaged.
It reminds me of the art class when the teacher walked up to little boy to ask him what he was drawing. “I am drawing a picture of God, Mam”. “Well, that’s impossible” said the teacher “as nobody know what God looks like”
To which the boy replied
“Well, Mam, they will when I am finished.”
- On the sporting side we are proud that we offer 13 different sporting codes. We continue to work on sporting manuals for the major sports to strive for consistency in coaching output and style.
- We continue to try and Improve our communication with parents, especially around what is to be expected per age group.
- We are also trying to see how to maximise each of the various seasons which often seem all too short.
Most importantly from an academic perspective there has been a lot of work done by Nick Diana and his manco team in terms of strategically positioning the academic curriculum in an ever changing environment. Future-proofing the Ridge is a key strategic theme for next year. I get so excited when I chat with Richard, Nick and Itu, my successor, about the possibilities in this space for our school.
The last of our three main priorities is to have the school on a sound financial footing. I am most grateful to report that Gillian Dippenaar and her team are doing a superb job in this regard and that the finance committee, so brilliantly led by Phil Nel, are comfortable that the school is in very good shape. Of course having a full school is a great starting point in this regard.
You will be interested that over the last six years we have lost an average of 13 boys a year to emigration and semi-gration alone with the risk that this number moves higher if the prospects in our country do not start improving soon.
With this in mind and having studied at our attrition rate over the past years, we have decided to introduce a fourth Grade 0 class, each with 18 pupils in, for 2020 given the demand that we have. The firm commitment remains though that we will NOT have more than 22 boys in any class throughout the school, so for the period that we have more than 66 boys in that Grade we will continue to have a fourth class.
I also truly believe that the incredible success of our Centenary Year has played a big role in keeping this school in demand. Thank you so sincerely to Angie Chapman and her amazing team for the many hours of hard work and planning. You and your team should be so proud of what has transpired during the course of the year.
I must mention my thanks to the this impressive staff team, both academic and non-academic, that go out each and every working day to do the very best for the sake of our boys. Also to our team of Governors, with a special mention to those that have come to the end of their term, and the Trustees who have been such a pleasure to work with as they have been so constructive and positive with their contribution.
Richard Stanley – WOW! It is quite remarkable to witness you going about your trade! You have taught me an enormous amount. I have found working together an absolute pleasure and extremely rewarding. The job has been made so much easier due to the fact that we have been on the same page since day one as to what we want for our boys at this school, I will certainly miss our regular phone calls and school meeting. Thank you so much for all you do.
To our Grade seven boys. I think you guys should take a bow. You have grown into such impressive young men as you have learnt from your set backs and hardships, and stood together as a team. No better example of this is three different headmasters from opposition schools coming to congratulate you during a tough rugby season on your GRIT, attitude and team work. Well done!
I recently read a piece that resonated well with me and hopefully something that you Grade 7’s will take with you in your next chapter as you learn to fly. It is called 10 lessons I want to instill in my kids:
If you’re thankful, show it.
If you love someone, tell them.
If you are wrong, fess up.
If you are confused, ask questions.
If you learn something, teach others.
If you are stuck, ask for help.
If you made a mistake, apologise.
If you trip, get back up.
If someone needs help, help them.
Finally If you see wrong, take a stance.
I must also acknowledge one of The Ridge’s most passionate old boys and supporters looking down at me with great pride. My Dad was the one who persuaded me to get involved with the school Trust all those years ago. I am eternally grateful that I followed his advice. After thirteen years of parenting here Jax and I are going to miss this amazing place terribly. Thank you for the most incredible, fulfilling journey we could ever have dreamt of.
Yabonga, Ube Nobusuke ubumnandi
Parent’s Association Report
The role of The Ridge Parents Association (PA) is to act as a go-between for parents, teachers and school staff. It usually compromises about 1 to 2 parents per class. Although fundraising is one major role, the PA plays other equally significant roles including:
- Representing parents in communication between teachers and school management at our monthly meetings
- Supporting class teachers
- Facilitating general school communication
- Managing social aspects of the class including Teachers’ birthday celebrations, and supporting class parents in times of need.
- Facilitating a sincere sense of belonging that reaches out to all Ridge Parents.
And that is for any normal year! This year was not normal, it was CENTENARY! And what an intense year to be on the PA. We’ve had:
Lumo Dance, Soap Box Derby, Gala Dinner, Cake sales, Action Day, Night Run, Soccer and Rugby festivals, Old Boys’ Dinner, Mother’s Day, Founders’ Day, Surprise Boys’ Day, Carols by Candlelight Picnic and Leavers’ Dinner. Yes, it has been a VERY full year indeed.
Each and every event was a great success thanks in no small part to the dedication and commitment by PA reps involved in each grade as well as the Centenary Organising Committee.
This year, funds raised were earmarked to be donated outwards to communities that we support. The bulk of the monies raised is of course going to Salvazione for their Junior Prep building project – in line with our Junior Prep building project. We are also adding to task money collected by the Junior Prep to help fund wheel-chair friendly swings for the children at The Hope School which we hope our boys can also enjoy with them.
A huge thank you to all 2019 PA reps, for a successful year. It may have been through either encouragement or coercion, the fact is, you all stepped up and it has been my honour to be the chair during this Centenary year with all of you here with me.
Thanks too to all the Execs for your support and willingness to engage with the PA.
To Centenary 2019, it has been a fantastic ride!
By Ijeoma Solarin
Junior Prep Report
I’m always amazed when compiling this end of year article, at the volume of activities and events that we pack into any given year. The growth and development that happens from January to December is exponential. Our precious time together is sprinkled with delights including dress up and theme days, outings and innings, concerts and galas, hands-on learning and discovery, extra murals, sports and music.
What a momentous year 2019 has been for our incredible school. The Grade 1, 2 and 3 boys and staff began our Centenary year in our beautiful new purpose-built home. There has been positive energy and calm that continually moves through the flexible learning spaces and our furniture that has been sublime! Happy boys, happy parents, happy staff!
Our teachers are our most valuable resource and with the knowledge that there has been a great focus recently, both in South Africa and Internationally – on teacher wellbeing, as a team, we have been more intentional about self-care, setting time aside to do reflection, gratitude, meditation and mindfulness.
Every day I feel honoured to be part of this incredible Ridge family. I am blessed to work with an amazing team of ladies and gents; all of whom have a passion for little boys and seeing them reach their full potential. They are totally professional in all they do and I am fortunate to be their leader. Nothing is ever too much trouble. They are miracle workers and certainly strive towards our goal of “Creating an inclusive, emotionally literate environment”. Our boys are a delight and we so enjoy the time we spend together. I not only think we have the best Junior Prep, I know we have the best school ever!
By Mandy Herold
Senior Prep Report
It’s difficult to sum up an entire academic year in a few paragraphs, but more importantly, a Centenary year that brought with it the significance of what it means to be The Ridge School in 2019.
We are constantly challenged as an academic institution to remain relevant, current and cutting edge. In other words, a competitive school that continues to push boundaries and challenge our boys in a variety of ways with a specific focus on 21st Century skills. However, amidst the academic realm that exists in all schools, there is something special that exudes from our school. Mrs Fox’s Circle of Life rings true as it seems we have come full circle over the course of one hundred years of educating young boys. Much of the landscape, technology and infrastructure has changed during this time and, right now, education needs to evolve too.
Arne Naess, the Norwegian philosopher and environmentalist, believes that we must “think like a mountain”. It is his belief that we must first recognize we are part of nature, and not separate from it if we are to avoid environmental catastrophe. I see this statement in three parts. The first being our connection and role within the environment as global citizens. We often miss the broader implications of our actions, only considering the immediate benefits to ourselves. To “think like a mountain”, means identifying with the wider environment and being aware of its role in our lives. The Lorax, a children’s book written by Dr. Seuss and first published in 1971 chronicles the plight of the environment and the Lorax is the titular character, who “speaks for the trees” and confronts the Once-ler, who causes environmental destruction. It is clear that even through children’s books, the role that we play in protecting our environment goes as far back as the early seventies.
The second point links to what we can do as a society to equip our boys with the necessary tools to “think like a mountain”. How do we model our school and our society to build character intrinsically that shapes habits and behaviours? At times, extrinsic motivation lends itself to grade levels, marks, awards and rankings. John Dewey, in his “Morals in Principle Education” speech in 1909 warned educators of the feeling of superiority over others is unduly appealed to, while timid children are depressed. They are judged with reference to their capacity to realise the same external standard. The weaker gradually lose their power and accept a position of inferiority. The strong learn to glory, not in their strength but in the fact that they are seen as stronger. In doing so, children are launched into an individualistic competition, where traditional systems are based upon the individuals’ ability to outwork and outthink their classmates. In his writings, Dewey predicts the effect of our broader reward system – work, college and future success on students as they move through the education system and become full members of society.
This raises concern in the year 2019, and as predicted by Dewey, there is a loss of moral power that arises from ‘nothing is worth doing in itself, but only as preparation for something else’. How many of us have lived a life that Dewey describes, products of the same educational system, always seeking an extrinsic goal? From experience and wisdom, however, the key to improved well-being is more time spent on the present in what Dewey would term, the ‘social’ in our lives. As we’ve all been tending to ourselves in school, at work and at home, we have lost the thread of what it means to be a society.
Finally, by thinking like a mountain aids us in realising that we are part of a bigger picture, a societal picture called the biosphere. By recognising this, we realise that we as a society have a responsibility to each other and all other living things. If we, as an institution that breaks the mould of the circle of life, and shifts the centre of gravity from self-absorption to a service that is social, we have achieved in our role as educators and parents in creating a society that will work together and find a common collective for all.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my academic team who continue to stretch the imagination, develop character and equip your son with skills to produce a growth mindset to future proof him for a world of uncertainty that awaits.
By Nick Diana
Centenary Committee Report
It seems unreal that this very special, much anticipated 2019 Centenary year is behind us. As in life, what has made this year extra special has been the people involved, and the strong sense of community created.
The planning for the Centenary Project started three years ago with the development of a strategy and monthly themed project plan. The Ridge boys were then tasked with developing a logo depicting everything that The Ridge means to them. We then started building teams of dedicated and hard-working parents, teachers and suppliers who all ensured that The Ridge Centenary was celebrated in an appropriately meaningful and mindful manner and that it would be a year we could all be proud of.
In Richard Stanley’s very first assembly of the year, he spoke to the boys about the theme for the year, “Living the Legacy”. He spoke about the fact that each one of us is a gift and that our responsibility this year would be to leave a legacy that we can be proud of in the school and our community. That would be both the boy’s gift to the school, and the school’s gift to our community. We therefore decided to “Celebrate with a Purpose” this Centenary year. We are very proud of what has been achieved for both our school community and our greater community.
In terms of our school community, the arrival of our Right Stuff champion and much loved Ridgie brought about renewed excitement and love for our school and all that it represents. We have no doubt that Ridgie will be encouraging our boys to continually “do the Right Stuff” well into the next 100 years!
Ridgie has been in the car park welcoming parents and boys back to school at the start of each new term and helped launch the hugely successful Right Stuff Passport in January where each boy has been encouraged to do at least 100 minutes of recorded good deeds and service in our community. We then got together as a community for our Centenary Community Parade which included the official opening of the Junior Prep block and a surprise aeronautical display by a very brave Ridge dad which provided much excitement to an already very special day.
Our first term celebrated the wonderful history of The Ridge and our boys have been treated to the most wonderful interactive displays in the hall foyer and around the school. The history of The Ridge has been brought alive for our boys again in this third term during “History week” where each class has unpacked a historical suitcase and taken on a trip back in time to experience The Ridge over the past 100 years.
Our official Centenary Celebration in March not only got the whole Ridge community together to unveil Marco Cianfanelli’s magnificent Centenary Sculpture, but we also achieved two significant objectives. Firstly, we managed to raise a whopping R1.5 million to build a new Junior primary facility at Salvazione School, and secondly, the Ridge community celebrated and danced the night away together very happy to wake up with sore feet and happy hearts.
In the very busy second term we celebrated the wonderful community at The Ridge and our greater community that surrounds our school. The Right Stuff Action Day at the start of Term 2 took this theme of celebrating with a purpose and ensured that each Ridge boy and his family gave of their most precious commodity, their time, to serve our community. All 512 boys and their families got their hands dirty (mostly very literally) cleaning out animal enclosures at the Zoo, planting succulents in the Wilds, making sleeping bags for the homeless, making sandwiches, the list goes on! In addition to the obvious benefit to the organisations that we supported that day, the spirit of Ridge community that it created was hugely heartwarming to experience.
We then celebrated all the Mother’s at The Ridge, both past and present at a beautifully organized lunch. We also acknowledged and celebrated our very special staff community at the Ridge and ensured that our boys remain grateful and respectful of the wonderful community that surrounds them.
The busy second term also celebrated the history and spirit of sportsmanship at The Ridge with a very special and beautifully organized 1st Team Rugby Festival over half term. This was hugely successful and enjoyed by parents and boys alike.
The wonderful school play “A Westcliff Story” was a wonderfully entertaining yet poignant celebration of not only the history of The Ridge but also that of our country as a whole. The energy and electrifying atmosphere of the final performance still elicits goosebumps! We cannot thank the marvellous Janet Fox enough for treating us to the story of the past 100 years at The Ridge.
The Ridge Old Boy community were invited to a very special dinner the night before Founders’ Day and enjoyed a delicious and entertaining evening of catching up and celebrating their old school days all the while supporting The Ridge Centenary Trust and specifically the school fee assistance programme.
The whole Ridge community then joined together on Hersov Field for a meaningful Founders’ Day Assembly before heading down to Rose Field to be treated to the Ndlovu Youth Choir on a gloriously sunny winter’s day! What a treat of a day for young and old alike.
This final, busy third term saw the boys being treated to a wonderful surprise day of fun on Monday 5 October when they were told they could take off their shoes and head to the fields for some good old fashioned fun with their teachers. It was so lovely to see boys being boys and the amazing sportsmanship of the teachers who agreed to be dunked in the ice-cold dunk tank!
The Centenary Celebrations then officially drew to a close at the Carols by Candlelight picnic held on Monday 25 November. A perfectly balmy night ensured that we were enjoying the best of the Ridge and each other and carols “under African skies”.
On behalf of the Centenary Committee, I would like to thank all of you for the hugely important role that you have played in the life of the school this year. Thank you for your enthusiasm and support, and for coming together at all the right moments creating the uniquely wonderful “Ridge Spirit”!
We would also like to thank Richard Stanley for the gift of his inspiring leadership, his encouragement of our boys to live the legacy, to celebrate with a purpose and have fun in the process, to be mindful of those less fortunate and to be meaningful in everything we do.
We can feel so proud of what has been achieved this year. The Ridge spirit and sense of strong community has never felt stronger and we thank you for this. In addition to this and the huge amount of time given and gifted to the school by our boys, teachers and parents, we have also raised over R2 million for Salvazione School. This is a legacy that will hopefully live on and touch lives for the next 100 years.
By Angie Chapman
Janet Fox van der Poel
Ode to Foxy
Twenty-seven years on and the time is nigh
For Janet van der Poel to say a final goodbye
But as she prepares to bid us all farewell and so-long
We all know that at The Ridge she’ll forever belong
To fully understand her true impact and legacy
One needs to travel back through some of her history
St Peter’s Prep were quick off the mark
When Parnel discovered her uniqueness and spark
Miss Ringrose, was the name by which she was known
A school where her passion for music was first shown and grown
The future Head of ISASA, whilst only a lad,
Readily admits to the fun in her care that he’d had
It wasn’t long before they were all standing in line
Looking to employ this sensational music find
As luck would have it, Saints made their move and won the day
Taking top honours as they convinced her to stay
Janet was warmly welcomed by the Stithians embrace
Taking on their music challenges with energy and pace
Well loved, accepted by all, being vivacious and funny
It was here that she was first labelled a Duracell Bunny
It was in ’94 that Wyborn, having moved up the hill
Made his play in a way that benefits The Ridge still
Mrs Fox, knowing a promising offer when she sees one
Jumped ship, came across and the deal was done
And the rest, as they say, is played out as history
Or, in Foxy’s case, more accurately, her story
Music at The Ridge would never be the same
As the Fox era dawned, in flair, fun and fullness of name
From relatively small beginnings with a piano and one flute
It wasn’t long before a true love for music began to take root
Janet’s infectious energy and warmth of embrace
Had little boys hearts pounding as if running a race
Her choirs of happy faces grew in leaps and bounds
Making magic with voices, songs and resonant sounds
And with instruments now brimming and staff fully tuned-in
There was no stopping this foxy lady with a cheeky grin
Given licence to dream and to fully expand
It wasn’t long before she had orchestra, strings and a full jazz band
More was to follow when a rock band surged
And shortly thereafter the African Marimbas emerged
But if that wasn’t enough, as if coming of age
There was still much to follow under lights and on stage
Out of Grease and The Lion King, which were simply stunning
Came Oliver and The Sound of Music, both likewise amazing
In addition, of course, are the tours with St Ks
From Cape Town to Durbs, myriad memories were made
Sharing the good news of music above the steps
With Clifton, Herschel and Western Province Prep
After twenty-seven years it would hardly be surprising
That she exudes a Ridge loyalty which is remarkably inspiring
From appropriate attire to observing The Ridge Way
She is intent and determined to have the last say
But when all is said and done her deeper claim to fame
Is the love that she has for her boys – name by name
Generations of lads who have been blessed by her passion
Enter the world with hearts full of music, love and appreciation
Centenary provided a fitting final curtain
With A Westcliff Story the best, of that we’re certain
A whole school play that wove a golden thread
Sharing a 100 year story – not much remained unsaid
And so, dear Janet, as you prepare to take your leave
Please understand, hold onto and truly believe
That your magic and legacy will never disappear
And will continue to bless this school for another 100 years!
By Richard Stanley
Cecilia started at The Ridge in 1998. She has a family of 3 children, a son and two daughters,
We are really going to miss you, Cecelia! Thank you for everything you have done for me and the Ridge Family. I hope you will enjoy every minute of your retirement. Retirement means that you finally have time to follow some of your own dreams. Go for it!
I wish that I could reverse your age but I know that is impossible. May this next phase of your life bring you all that you seek and more!
You will be missed but never forgotten!
By Martha Skhosana
John Mathongwane – what can I say? John joined the Ridge School in 1998. He previously worked at Blyvoorzicht Gold mine – Carltonville. He already had 14 years of experience working with electrics before he joined the Ridge.
John hails from Ventersdorp. He is married to Anna and they have 2 daughters and 1 son. His son Kearabetswe is studying Business Management at Richfield Business College and he is in his 3rd year of study. From observation, I have concluded that he is devoted to his family and constantly checks if they are okay, especially his son.
John and Isaac make a formidable team and together they have tackled many a maintenance job, constantly ensuring that the school is looking ‘ship-shape’.
You may not believe this, but John does have a sense of humour and I have seen him belly laugh until there were tears in his eyes to some random joke which Isaac (his partner in crime) will bring out from time to time.
John has indeed been an asset to the Ridge team and we wish him well as he enjoys his retirement with family and friends. However, knowing John, I am sure that he is already plotting his next move because he could never keep his hands still.
Go well, my friend, and God Bless.
By Chris Perumal
Euphane and I met when we were little girls. Her mother was our ballet teacher, and my sister and I went to her ballet school. I can still remember our ballet concerts vividly. In one ballet concert, Euphane was cast as ‘autumn’ in a flowing autumnal costume and I, a flower in a green tutu! We met up again many years later at an interview for a position at Pridwin. I was on the interviewing panel with Simon Weaver. I made a mental note!
When Diana von Preuschen retired from The Ridge, I immediately thought of Euphane. She was living and teaching in Grahamstown and would have to relocate. She did, and the rest is history. Euphane has been at The Ridge for 17 wonderful years, teaching woodwind, and directing the Wind Band and Senior Orchestra with distinction. We have had enormous fun over the years and have worked very well together. Her teaching is outstanding and the number of music scholarship winners she has taught bears testimony to this. There are not many teachers who are able to teach all the woodwind instruments at this level with such outstanding results. She can and she does. Her pupils are brilliantly taught! The majority of her pupils continue playing their instruments right through senior school, and their wind section is really a Ridge Old Boys club! The Senior Schools love her pupils!
Euphane has been on every music tour during her time at The Ridge, conducting the combined orchestra with St Katharine’s. They always perform to rave reviews and leave the audiences wanting more.
Euphane is actually a bassoonist and has over the years been part of the band in our major musical productions. She is a perfectionist and is always professional. Thank you for 19 outstanding and wonderful years with us. The Ridge is going to miss you hugely! Enjoy devoting more time to your beloved ballet.
By Janet Fox Van Der Poel
Izette has had an incredible journey at The Ridge. She started as a parent who then became a part-time and then full-time teacher at The Ridge. Izette’s time at this school goes back almost 13 years. Working as a junior prep teacher, Izette soon got the reputation of being an outstanding educator who understood the value of a strong academic foundation and worked with parents, staff and boys to prepare them.
After spending a few years in the Junior Prep, Izette moved to the Senior Prep as the Head of Afrikaans. During the last few years, Izette led the Afrikaans department by developing a curriculum and content that ultimately prepared our Grade 7 boys to be confident and well-equipped learners in high school. Her structured and organised classroom practices were not only beneficial for boys, they were also valued and appreciated by the parents. Izette has been teaching for over 30 years and with this she has brought incredible wisdom, experience and knowledge to the discussion.
Not only did Izette completely dedicate herself to the Afrikaans department, but she also immersed herself in the life of the school. She was a regular at the Grade 7 camp and fully integrated herself with the activities. She helped the boys build a fire, advised them on their shopping list for the ‘dollar a day’ activity and often did the lights out supervision at camp, all this with a touch of lipstick! Izette is not shy of hard work and her supportive and helpful nature is something that we all admire and are grateful for.
Izette has dedicated her 30-year career to educating young children, and the life of the staff, the school and the children became richer because of her involvement. It is incredibly sad, that you are leaving teaching, but know that you have left on a high, with being a wonderful educator and an encouraging team mate.
Dit was ‘n voorreg om saam met jou te werk en jou wonderlike vriendskap sal altyd waardeer word. Ek wens jou alles van die beste, met die nuwe en interessante uitdagings wat in jou toekoms voorlê.
By Urvasi Naidoo
Damian Stanton Pakkiri
After nine years at The Ridge School, Damian is leaving us to take on the new challenge of heading a school.
Having worked in and experienced the ethe (plural of ethos) of four outstanding private schools, Damian is more than ready for his new challenge.
During his time here, he completed a B Ed Honours (in Curriculum Development) and an M Ed (in Leadership and Management). He will be registering for his PhD shortly. This striving to improve and engage in lifelong learning is part and parcel of who Damian is.
Damian has contributed significantly to the life of The Ridge School. Under his leadership, Mathematics has continued to flourish and so many of our boys prove, year after year, what excellent young mathematicians they are. This kind of success does not happen by accident and all of us respect the work and achievements of Damian and his wonderful fellow Mathematics teachers. His department has done us all proud.
He has turned tennis around at the school, bringing a level of expertise to the coaching that further demonstrates his pursuit of excellence. Under his guidance, encouragement and coaching, his son Jayden has developed into a phenomenal young tennis player. (We shall be hearing more of Jayden in the future).
Damian is devoted to his family – Rubandhree, Jayden and Jordana. He is always there for them and he strives to be the best he can be for them.
Damian, thank you for being a wonderful and helpful colleague during your time at The Ridge. We all wish you great success with your headship. Enjoy it – Godspeed!
Seize the Day!
By Sean Coughlan
It is hard to put into words what Danél has achieved here at The Ridge. She came from the Eastern Cape with a formidable reputation. I think I gave her the position without even interviewing her. She took the brass department to a new level. Never before, in my teaching career had I ever heard such brilliant beginner brass pupils. Those little boys with their shiny instruments just played brilliantly from the beginning! My favourite pieces include “Movie Buster”, “Squadron 50” and the James Bond theme. The Trumpets always excite and energise any Soriee or music assembly. The ‘Last Post’ at Remembrance Day is performed brilliantly every year. During her time with us, Danél has achieved outstanding exam results and many music scholarships. The whole brass section of the wind and jazz band at St John’s College is almost totally made up of Ridge Old boys. The brass section is mainly Danél’s former pupils!
Whist Danél has been at The Ridge, she has married Etienne (also a musician) and given birth to her two beautiful children, Clarin and Lira.
Danél is incredibly organised, a brilliant and committed teacher, and outstanding musician. Over the years, apart from teaching brass, she has directed the Foundation Orchestra, taken junior hymn singing and taught piano. She is professional and an asset to any music department.
We wish her every success at St Katharine’s as she takes on a well-deserved full-time post. You will have the best time there! It is thanks to Danél that we have managed to entice Philip Cox to teach our brass pupils. Philip is a brilliant trumpeter and in high demand as a teacher and performer. We are very lucky! Our brass pupils continue to be in superb hands.
Thank you for 9 outstanding years!
By Janet Fox Van Der Poel
Jean-Louise and Alex Parker
It is very difficult to imagine The Ridge without Jean-Louise and Alex. Jean-Louise was Lizzie Rennie’s prodigy, and she arrived while Lizzie was still with us. She assisted where and when necessary and then in the most effortless and wonderful way, took the strings over when Lizzie and her family moved to Grahamstown. Jean-Louise is an incredibly talented and versatile musician. She plays not only the violin and viola but also the guitar. She and Alex are constantly in demand to play for all kinds of gigs. Jean-Louise is incredibly efficient, fair and hard-working. Her pupils are always brilliantly prepared for whatever is required.
Jean-Louise is one of those incredibly capable people who never makes a fuss. She just makes a plan. Her violin pupils play beautifully and usually do brilliantly, winning music scholarships as well as outstanding music exam results under her guidance. Her string ensemble is brilliant and she has brought in a formidable team (Daline and Davina) to assist with our violin ‘epidemic’, and who will continue the outstanding teaching of our violin pupils.
Enter Mr Alex Parker. Jean-Louise brought Alex to us, and together they have been an amazing duo. Alex is a fantastic all-round musician, a brilliant guitarist and bass player. Alex has taught many ‘wanna be’ rock stars, and has the most wonderful disposition and patience. He has even taught piano and ukulele when the need arose. He and Kevin Drummond direct the rock bands which are brilliant. Alex is calm and seldom has a bad word to say about anyone. He is one of those teachers who inspires and instills confidence in their pupils.
We were part of their wedding and have been blessed to have had both of them on our staff for a number of years. Music Tour time and they both are there! They have enhanced and made the tours even more fun and special, really involving themselves in every aspect of the tour, looking after the children and adding so much musically. How lucky have we been?
They will happily and willingly get involved in all our music events and play a key part in these, enhancing our huge productions, Founders’ Day, Christmas Services and every musical evening. They are both highly respected professionals and hugely valuable members of the music world.
We wish them both an amazing adventure and experience in Germany. They both have immense integrity and will add huge value in this exciting new venture. Their families will miss them and The Ridge won’t be quite the same without them! I am hugely grateful to them for postponing their departure to early next year. They stayed for me! You will be hugely missed in South Africa and especially here on our Westcliff Ridge.
By Janet Fox Van Der Poel
I first met Dickie when he was a school boy at Parktown Boys’. I, at the tender age of 23, was entrusted to teach his class Geography. How I was expected to educate Dickie and his peers is beyond me. Monday to Thursday was spent working and Fridays were our social learning days. Dickie enjoyed card games and tales of my university days (censored of course).
My second point of connection was as his cricket coach. As a child, Dickie was naturally intuitive and grasped social cues extremely quickly. This trait enabled him to relate easily to peers and staff alike. Dickie, will tell anyone who has an hour to spare over selection failures (in his opinion) made by a young and dynamic, upcoming, trophy-winning cricket coach. Dickie was in my U16A team in Grade 10, a year later I was asked to coach the 1st XI and when I posted my team I had omitted a hard-working off spinner, who rumour had it, could turn the ball square. I must have always been looking away during net sessions, or when umpiring matches because, to this day, I still haven’t seen one turn, if anything it goes the other way! Failing to pick Dickie is something I will never live down but at the same time I feel drove Dickie to work harder at his game.
From a young age, Dickie loved sport and felt at home in this domain, he is knowledgeable in almost all school sports and still today he actively participates in football, touch rugby, wake surfing and golf. His ability to relate to the boys he teaches and coaches translates into a healthy rapport and mutual respect. Richard’s relationship with parents further enhances his value offering as he is comfortable to express his opinion and concerns with them.
Dickie has served in the Phys Ed and Sports department for close on 10 years. He has coached almost all sports, gone on every tour at some stage and seen hundreds of boys grow and develop. Often on a Saturday he will send me a screen shot of his boys’ scorecard, this speaks to his love for them, his passion for the sport and need to share good news and special performances. He also sends me screenshots of domestic cricketers’ stats which I delete without opening as who actually still watches domestic cricket?!
Dickie has been an important person in my life over the past three years, he has made me laugh when I needed it, made me go out and be sociable when I just wanted to stay at home, he dragged me to the Vaal and taught me to wake surf because he just loves being a teacher. However, the most important gift he has given me was to help me regain the confidence I once had – talk about the student changing roles with the teacher. I will forever be grateful to you Richard Leaver and I am certain that many people here today have their own story of how you went out of your way to help them through a difficult time.
We won’t miss that you are “occasionally” late for class, or that you delegate your admin tasks to the stooges. We also won’t forget Dickie styles in goals as you ensure all the girls take note of your skills.
So to conclude on a serious note Richard, you make the people around you smile, you make them laugh and you ensure that when staff spend time with each other on a social level they’re never allowed to discuss work! I wish you the best, always.
By Joe Kotwal
Zanele Zuma (Mama Zuma)
I would firstly like to thank you so much for the love and guidance that you expressed to me. It has been a great pleasure to work with you and to be taught and nurtured by you into this teaching career.
Some say that teaching is a calling and not a career. Well, I believe that you had been called by God to this profession and the teaching experience you have had has been an exciting journey that was filled with joy and positivity. I would say, without a doubt, that you are a skilled woman who is passionate about grooming young lives and you have had a worthwhile impact on the lives of the youth in our country.
When I got to The Ridge as a young 18-year-old, I had fears, doubts and insecurities of being in this working environment and being entrusted with teaching responsibilities. I was not certain about whether I would manage, but you groomed me and showed me all the necessary skills and guidance to face future challenges with hope and determination. I must admit that you have been a mother who always stood by my side and exhibited wisdom to me.
As I move forward, taking the baton into the future, I am reminded of the story of Elisha who was about to ride on the chariot of fire and bid farewell to his fellow colleague and friend. He gave Elijah a double portion of his Spirit and a mantle. Elijah was able to face the future with its challenges because of the confidence and strength he received from his senior. I am so thankful for the mantle of hope, confidence, grit and passion that you have given me and I am prepared to take the reigns and face the journey without fear.
Uhambe kahle Ndlovukazi yakwa Zuma. Nxamalala, Msholozi, Mafahleni, Nina baka Lugaju kaMatomela KaShisa, Mashingizela ashiye impi yakhe, Dwala elibushelelezi, Maphum’ephethe inyama ngala, amasi ngapha nobukhosi amasi ngapha nobukhosi phambili! iAfrika!
By Zibula Dladla
It has been a great pleasure working with a colleague like you. Now, you are off to your next big challenge. It sounds like an exciting opportunity for you, but I still can’t believe you are leaving.
I’m sad to see you go, because you’ve not only been a great co-worker but also a great mother and a friend. You have always been less of a colleague and more of friend; less of a boss and more of a leader.
You may have been overseeing me for only a few years, but your inspirational and motivational words of advice will push me to do my best for the rest of my life.
You have worked very hard at this school. You are one of the strongest women I have ever met. You never complain about anything. If there is one thing that I have learned from you is that do not stress about the things you cannot change.
As you move outside the cold walls of the office, we can’t wait to begin a warm friendship on the outside. Farewell.
By Thulisile Zulu
Winning the Comrades may have been your initial biggest feat
However, your time at The Ridge definitely has that beat!
Your adventure began when you took up your new role,
A time for reinvention and a new direction for your soul.
You may be small in stature, but you have the biggest heart
And in so many lives you have played a part.
A mentor and guide; motivational too
A mama bear approach in all that you do.
A sounding board for personal or professional needs
Driving us to be our best, you sow many seeds.
Your connection with the boys is unsurpassed
Your compassion and support for their families incredibly vast.
Your influence spans multiple spheres
Your value to children immense in their primary school years.
With so much on your plate
Sometimes a few minutes late,
Barefoot and bold you will always be
And asset in team meetings for others to see.
Coffee literally courses through your veins
Anyone who encounters you, from the experience gains.
A source of wisdom and encouragement
Willing to challenge the status quo and have some rules bent.
Feisty, fit and so young at heart
A valuable member of this team you will always be a part.
You’ve been in the old, the bold and the beautiful crew
You’re an inspiration in all that you do!
You’re only handing over the baton, this is not goodbye
Yours will remain the shoulder on which we laugh and cry.
By Candice Fletcher, Claire Lord and Agnes Jooste
It is only in the past few days that Astrid has made the decision to leave Johannesburg to start a new life in Cape Town. I must say I was very sad. Astrid arrived to assist us when Nicolie Smuts was on sick leave. In her own quiet way fitted perfectly into the department, and gave her very best. She assisted with class music, accompanying and piano teaching.
The following term she continued teaching piano to individual pupils, and has built up an amazing reputation as a wonderful teacher ever since.
Astrid is an exceptional musician and brilliant pianist. I have had the privilege of listening to her perform. Oh my word, and she is so humble! She is very talented but is also an example of what hard work is all about. Astrid can be found at any time of day, weekend or holiday sitting at the piano practising away! She has recently begun her Master’s degree in performance.
In the last short while, Astrid has decided to study at a Bible College in Cape Town, and so, sadly, she has decided to leave her life in Johannesburg. I am sure this new chapter will bring her much joy and fulfilment, and I know she will put everything she has into her studies.
Her pupils will miss her enormously as they absolutely love her. Her wonderful, but quiet disposition and has been a joy to work with. We wish you everything of the best Astrid. Go well, The Ridge will miss you!
By Janet Fox Van Der Poel
Zizi, Jama ka Sjadu, Mabetshe, Fakade, Mtikitiki.
Tebogo joined us 5 years ago, in 2015. Bright-eyed, ambitious and full of life. He came to us highly recommended from Masibambane College in the Vaal Triangle. He was recruited to the Realema Teacher Internship program in his matric year, 2014, and seconded to The Ridge to gain the required experience as he worked towards completing his undergraduate degree. He came to us with two others, one has since left and now it’s his turn to close this chapter of his career.
Five long years it has been, Bhuti, but how quickly they have passed. You’ve immersed yourself totally at the school and have been on a steep learning curve. You excelled in your academics, did extremely well on the sports field, and proved to be an effective educator. The boys you’ve interacted with have loved every moment that you spent with them. You were stern, yet fair. You treated each child as an individual and gave them your love and attention, even if for a fleeting moment. Your presentations at Monday or Friday assemblies were legendary and who could ever forget the June 16 commemoration assembly you gave earlier this year? Your enthusiasm at Care to Learn days was mythical!
You did it, sir, you did it. We are proud of who you have become under our stewardship, and can safely send you out into the ‘big’ world with the confidence that we’ve trained you well. Go well, bhuti omcane, enjoy your new adventure. Do not stagnate, commit to being a life-long learner and teacher. Change careers often, travel and explore the world. Change is bliss, embrace it. Aspire to inspire, for only then can you claim to have lived a purposeful life.
Thank you for loving our boys, for respecting your peers and for being beautifully you! You have been fabulous!
Zizi, nomana ndab’azithethwa intsuku ngentsuku! Bhengu, Nonyathi, Dlamini!
By Moeketsi Motsepe
Although Sioux has only been employed as an English teacher for the past year, she is not an unfamiliar face to The Ridge. Having been a teacher who has been working on and off at The Ridge for past few years and having her own sons as students at the school, Sioux fitted in at The Ridge seamlessly.
This year, Sioux easily integrated herself in her various roles. She enjoyed being a class teacher and encouraged and motivated her boys, whilst maintaining discipline, structure and routine. Sioux is incredibly supportive of the boys she teaches and is invested in their personal development and wellbeing. She has spent many hours engaging with parents, chatting with boys and working with various departments to ensure the boys’ very best interests are considered. Sioux encouraged boys to be independent and work to their full potential, a teacher who tries to bring the very best out of her boys.
As an English teacher, Sioux is passionate about teaching and made the subject engaging and approachable. With her impressive English knowledge, the boys were challenged, nurtured and guided in the subject. The boys in Sioux’s care not only got expert guidance in English but was respected and supported in all aspects of school. Sioux taught using drama and made the lessons interactive, therefore gaining the interest of the boys. Sioux also worked in the STEAM and EMS departments and her contributions were valued and appreciated.
Sioux has an amazing sense of humour and we have had many giggles and laughs over a cup of tea. Sioux has been an incredible support to the English department and the Grade 7 team, it was easy, effortless and a real team effort. Sioux certainly got stuck in the busy life at The Ridge and I would like to thank her sincerely for all that she has done. As she prepares to start her life in Mozambique, I wish her and her family lots of joy, happiness and good memories in the sun!
By Urvasi Naidoo
Rosalind came to The Ridge this year, resuming her teaching career after taking a break to care for her adorable pigeon pair, Emma and Harry. Ros has a welcoming and calm presence and the wide-open doors and peaceful music emanating from her classroom every morning are so inviting. Ros interacts with parents, colleagues and the little boys with great respect and humour and it is for these qualities that she has been so well-liked and appreciated this year.
Ros is always immaculate, stylish and professional in her approach. Her classroom is neat and tidy and she is one of the most organised people we know. She works quickly and efficiently almost as if she has a magic wand, everything in her kingdom is in its right place, except at the times when some of her mischievous charges have different ideas!
Ros introduced the Runner Bean game to our playground. This involves the boys walking around and stopping and responding to various commands. Jumping bean, runner bean, jelly bean, chilli bean and French bean to name a few. One can just imagine the hilarious interpretation of the actions. The boys will not forget this game and it has been great fun for the teachers watching too! Ros “has bean” a wonderful part of our Grade 0 team and an asset to the school. We are so pleased that she was part of our amazing Centenary year at The Ridge.
Ros, we are really sad to say goodbye, but know that your place is with your special family for now. Thank you for all you have contributed this year. We will miss you!
By Kathryn Rossouw, Rebecca Emmanuel Debbie Coetzer,
Nozipho Ndiweni and Masana Maringa
Music and Drama
The Ridge Centenary year has been an extraordinary year of joy and celebration. Music has played a prominent part in almost all of the yearlong celebrations. Our 100th year began with the Centenary launch in the car park in January, where our Centenary Medley was first performed. After a year of wonderful events, our special celebrations were brought to a close last week with our ‘Carols and Thanksgiving under and African Sky’.
Our year of celebrations have included musical events throughout the year, but highlights must include ‘A Westcliff Story’, Founders’ Day and our ‘Carols and Thanksgiving under an African Sky.
‘A Westcliff Story’ was our major whole school musical production which involved every boy in the school. It told the story of the last 100 years, The Ridge School, a mining town, our country and indeed the world, in song, dance, costume and words. We played to full audiences over 6 performances. It was a resounding musical and dramatic success and undoubtedly one of the key events of the year. The boys’ obvious enjoyment was tangible, as appreciative audiences were captivated and enthralled. Founders’ Day dawned less than two weeks later on a glorious sunny winter’s day on Hersov Field. The choirs, orchestra and bands were at their best. Our final musical performance was our ‘Carols and Thanksgiving under an African sky’, which once again involved all the boys from Grade 0 to Grade7. The annual Grade 0 end of year concert, Junior Prep Nativity Play and Senior School Carols Service were combined into one final Christmas Concert on Hersov field. All 512 Ridge boys were on display under an African sky to impart their Christmas and Thanksgiving message to a field, full of parents and friends. Who will forget the sight of all those beautiful children set against the elevation of The Nicolson Hall, as the sun was setting and the lights and tinsel started to twinkle? The singing was glorious, the orchestra wonderful and it was altogether a very fitting end to a spectacular Centenary year!
Our usual extensive cultural programme continued throughout our very busy year with outstanding performances and excellent results across the board. As is normally the case, every child is deliberately afforded the opportunity to shine culturally.
Our music department continues to boast a fine complement of 16 outstanding music teachers who offer exceptional tuition, and who are all fine musicians in their own rights. We sadly say goodbye to a number of them, but their replacements are all brilliant musicians and teachers. I would like to pay special tribute to Euphane Richardson, Danel Mecloen, Jean-Louise Parker, Alex Parker and Astrid Small and to thank them for many years of outstanding teaching, unfailing loyalty, and brilliant musicianship. They will be sorely missed.
Other cultural highlights have included, festivals and performances of both Junior and Senior Choirs and many of our ensembles. The Marimba Band, Senior Orchestra, String Ensemble, Concert and Jazz Bands have all participated in various outside festivals and at each performance they performed exceptionally well. Performances at other schools have included, St Mary’s, St John’s, St Katharine’s, Pridwin and several of our own festivals either at home or at the Linder Auditorium. Our marimba bands performed brilliantly at a “Partnership of Hope” fundraiser at Circa Art Gallery. A very worthwhile evening indeed.
Music assemblies and soirees are held each term to showcase our instrumentalists. We are delighted and proud of the high standard of our music and musicians. Our music exam results and Eisteddfod results bear testament to this.
My thanks go to these amazing Ridge boys and all the music staff for their commitment and hard work during this extraordinary Centenary year. I will miss them all.
And finally, a special tribute has to go to the Centenary Committee. They are incredible!
Janet Fox van der Poe
Carols and Thanksgiving Picnic
Our Carols and Thanksgiving Picnic under an African Sky was a truly special occasion, concluding The Ridge’s Centenary celebrations. Hundreds of parents, families and friends gathered on the Hersov Field with their picnic hampers and candles, to enjoy a very happy and meaningful time together.
Nativity play excerpts narrated by the Junior Prep boys, readings from the Lessons and choral pieces performed by classes, the Amtoti Choir, the Junior and Senior Choirs and the Senior Orchestra, made up a programme of Christmas music and thanksgiving.
As the sun set, all were treated to a dazzling visual display of Nativity characters, choirs and musicians, against a backdrop of twinkling lights. The glorious music we heard from the boys singing and playing instruments, rang up into the sky and across the field and beyond. This will never be forgotten.
The programme ended with the singing of The Centenary Medley and Ridgie’s surprise visit, which delighted the boys!
This was a wonderful evening of words and music of joy and praise, celebrated by all.
By Euphane Richardson
Art is an adventure that never ends. This idea really sums up the journey we have undertaken in Art in 2019, a journey culminating in The Ridge School Art Week, which took place towards the end of October. Given that it is The Ridge Schools 100th birthday, it was appropriate for our boys to make art which reminds us of days gone by. Birthdays also give one the opportunity to think about where we are going and what we would like to see and do in that emerging place called the “Future”.
The masterful French artist, Henri Matisse said, “Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent and independent, with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play.” This rang so true in this year’s Art Week, where each grade’s artworks were evidence of these attributes. Grade 0 to Grade 3 took playfulness to new heights with their colourful and imaginative artworks ranging from giant Protea flowers to sublime Jozi skylines. The Grade 4 group travelled back in time to the traditions of Netherlands Delftware pottery from the sixteenth century. Grade 5 boys journeyed to West Africa, emulating the Adinkra symbols of Ghana. The Grade 6 group loved their trip down memory lane, looking at toy cars from long ago, realising how different they were to the ones they race on their PlayStations today. The Grade 7 boys tinkered with one of the oldest forms of photography, Cyanotype, creating Ridge Botanicals and processing their own photographs.
Intellectual and philosophical journeys are a large part of the art adventure too. Apart from ‘doing’, boys need to be ‘thinking’ about their art-making and the stories which they wish to tell through their work. One of the creations which accomplished this very tangibly was the installation piece made by our Grade 7 group. ‘100 Shirts for 100 Years of Boys’ was a large scale, site-specific work which spanned the entire roof area of the Nicholson Hall. This was made from school shirts which were starched in order to freeze them in time. The boys moulded their shirts into different forms to express the many personalities, cultures, religions and interests of boys at The Ridge School over the past 100 years. While the boys all wear the same uniform, it is their individuality which is celebrated and which we seek to ‘know and to grow.’
The marketing guru Seth Godin said “Artists are people who make art. Art is not a gene or a specific talent … Art is the unique work of a human being, work that touches another… Art is who we are and what we do and what we need. Art isn’t a result; it’s a journey. The challenge of our time is to find a journey worthy of your heart and your soul.” The artistry of our boys witnessed in Art Week 2019 was testament to this.
By Nicci Kurz
Uhambo – In Memory of our isiZulu Journey
Grade 7 boys’ perspectives…
We are taking this opportunity to look at ‘UHAMBO’ (The Journey) which we have travelled in our learning of the isiZulu language at school over the last few years.
‘Kunye, kubili, kuthathu, kune, isithupha………..ishumi’ you would hear the Grade 1 walls echoing every time before we started our lesson, and wonder what tune the boys were singing. We were not singing, but learning to count in isiZulu from one to ten. Once a week we would visit the library for our reading lesson. We loved being in the library and ‘missing’ those formal lessons. We sat there, listened, but very little we would understand. Maam would ask us at the end of the story reading, did you understand? We would simply nod our heads, “Yes, Maam.”
Things started getting more complex in Grade 5 when Mama started teaching us the ‘popular’ verb tenses which, she said, formed the basis of our daily spoken language. I loved the idea of having the basic rules such as:
(i) Try and understand the sentence
(ii) Find the verb
(iii) Find the SA Link for subject agreement link
(iv) Establish the tense of the verb.
This was the easiest and the funniest way of learning the tenses in isiZulu. I also enjoyed class presentations, especially when we did dialogues. I remember at one stage, we were doing a dialogue on ‘Esitolo’, and my partner and I made a cash register out of a shoebox as well as paper money to put in. It was so much fun!
In Grade 6, Mama introduced us to the STOMPIE of isiZulu (Word Order) dubbed SPAVO. S = Subject; P = Possessive; A = Adjective; V = Verb; O = Object and any other word would follow after the object. This was really fascinating. She also taught us what she said was ZULU MATH (a formula, as you would have in Maths) For example, for the present tense short form the formula would be: S + SAlink + verb + word = Subject + Subject Agreement Link+ Verb + any word To show this in a sentence: Umfana udlala ibhola. S= Umfana; SA Link = u; + verb = dlala; + word = ibhola > Umfana udlala ibhola. Haa! It really is Zulu Math.
Back in the classroom in my final year, whilst reading our short storybook, I got an opportunity to ‘know’ SOWETO even though I had never set my foot there. We looked at how cosmopolitan it is. I never thought ‘umlungu’ (white person) would live in Soweto, but, of course it is a reality, there are ‘ABELUNGU’ living in Soweto. I really enjoyed the stories we read. Perhaps the most fascinating ones to me were ‘UMASHONISA’ (A Loan Shark) and AMASTOKVELS (Investment Groups). In the story ‘Umashonisa’, we got to understand how our brothers and sisters out there, especially those who are earning less, get exploited by ‘OMASHONISA (Loan Sharks)’. They resort to ‘Umashonisa’ when they run out of cash. The model is crafted such that when you pay back the capital, you pay it with ‘INKONYANE’, a Zulu word for CALF, meaning you pay back the ‘COW’ (the capital amount you loaned) and the ‘CALF’ (interest).
How important it was to read the story ‘AMASTOKVELs’ (Investment Groups) too, and how these help teach our communities some investment skills. They don’t only learn to invest their monies, but also do bulk buying for groceries, bigger items such as crockery, cutlery, linen and even cars! This also encourages those communities to support one another in times of need, e.g. in deaths, big events such as weddings and many others. You are never on your own out there. The spirit of ‘UBUNTU’ always prevails!
Our famous cultural event, ‘Fireside Tales’ will always be an event to remember. I loved it when we were rehearsing in the hall chanting those African traditional chants and slogans. I won’t forget one incident when my ‘ibheshu’ (traditional skirt for men) was about to fall as I was dancing. Actually, our shields, designed with the help of our Art teacher, Mrs Kurz, were made out of cardboard. Mine almost fell to pieces when the handles tore off. I still hear the sound of those Zulu chants and this will always be part of me. Each time I hear this echoing in my ears, I feel like dancing to the isiZulu rhythm.
A big thanks to Mrs Kurz, for the good collaboration we had with her Art department. From our outfits for cultural events, make-up, you name it she was there for us. As we, in Grade 7 wanted to put all these experiences together, we thought about ‘Uhambo’, the journey, the ‘footprints’ we would like to leave for our little brothers to see. Mrs Kurz, was so quick in helping us translate our thoughts into a big piece of art. Please do take time to go and view this beautiful piece of ‘Art’, a wall hanging symbolizing our ‘ISIZULU JOURNEY’. It hangs on the back wall of the auditorium.
SIYABONGA!!!!!!! ‘UNWELE OLUDE’! ‘LONG LIVE’!
Junior Prep Library
What a way to start a new year … a special Centenary year at The Ridge School by moving into a new building and a new library!
The boys have loved the new space giving Mrs McLellan lots of advice on where the books should go and where the funky furniture should be placed. With worm holes, wavy shelves and bright coloured bean bags. I asked the boys what it feels like to be in this new space and one very imaginative answer was, “I feel like I’m on a ship! The shelves are like waves, the worm holes are like portholes and the bean bags are the hammocks to lie back and read in.”
Being part of the main building, the boys have loved the opportunity to just step in, have a chat, choose books more frequently and to just have a place to ‘chill’ and read.
In amongst all the excitement, we have had our wonderful Reading Breakfasts in Term 1 and Term 3 with a competition in this last one for the best homemade dress up for Roald Dahl Day. In the middle term, we celebrated a new Book Week. In that week, we had two authors visit, Refiloe Moahloli’s who wrote ‘Yes, Yanga!’ and Jann Weeratunga with her delightful, bright puppets; a visit from On Cue Theatre and various book-related activities. Other visitors have been Hooked on Books who still remain a firm favourite.
It has been very special to see how they have loved this new space with loads of new books added. The favourite books that have stood out this year have been, ‘The Book With No Pictures, Boys Who Dare To Be Different and the Storey Treehouse series’.
It has been a successful, fun-filled year in our new library and once again, thank you to everyone for their support.
By Suzanne McLellan
This was a year of change and growth in our Senior Library, of new systems falling into place, of saying goodbye to familiar faces (Mr Blose) and learning all about the new ones (Mrs Mbele).
Our usual Reading Breakfasts was spiced up with the addition of the Grade 7s selling breakfast treats, as practice for their entrepreneurship project. We also had a photo booth, complete with props.
We had our very first Book Week, and WOW, what a week! We had shows and cartoonists, authors and Old Boys, publishers and booksellers and (my favourite), a Book-Share, where the staff shared some of their favourite books with the boys. The Extreme Reading photo competition we had, was won by Ms Emmanuel’s class, who cheekily showed us that boys can read ANYWHERE!
Our year ended with a crazy stock-take, where so many of the books have to be recaptured because of issues between the old and the new system. To date we have scanned, re-entered data and re-catalogued almost 4000 books! But, fear not, we will be right and ready for the new year, encouraging young boys to become anything they wish, between the pages of our books.
By Hanlie Glanz
Basketball, now into its second season, seems to be growing from strength to strength. The boys enjoyed a number of local fixtures and the excitement when running out onto the court has been most pleasing to see.
Throughout the year, the team has participated in the St John’s Basketball tournament, Gauteng Prep School Basketball League and finished off the season with a first ever basketball tour to Cape Town. The tour hosted 4 teams from Johannesburg and 2 teams from Hout Bay. The competition was intense.
Our players were taken out of their comfort zone, playing on a newly discovered terrain. With rain washing out the first few days, the games were made even more special by being played on one day. When time is cut short and you want to get the most out of your players, leadership and team efforts really come to the fore. Players understood what was on the line and they did not hesitate to do their best, also encouraging each other to do the same. This particular vibe showed me the level of maturity these young boys possess.
This year has been very exciting for both the coaches and the boys. The sport will continue to grow and the boys will thrive in learning new skills and focus on fitness and enjoying themselves on the court. A special thank you to Mr Ntshingana for all he has done to develop basketball at The Ridge.
The 2019 cricket season was a really good one for The Ridge. In total, The Ridge boys played just over 100 matches, a really large total for a prep school. There were a number of tours that took place this year. The annual first team Prep Schools Festival was hosted by Kingswood and our team walked away from the festival without a loss. There was also the annual Clifton tour in February where we had 4 senior sides visit Clifton Durban and they sent 4 junior sides to us. This proved to be a very exciting and successful tour. Then there was also the in-bound Clifton and Cordwalles tour in October which proved to a very competitive tour for all the sides that participated.
As a school, we had five U9 teams, 4 U10 teams, 3 U11 teams and 5 Open sides playing this year which was most pleasing to see. From all these teams and the 103 matches we played, The Ridge managed to achieve a 55% win ratio across the board against all opposition.
A very big thank you to all the coaches and umpires who spent hours out on the field coaching our boys. Your dedication to keep the boys positive and motivated is really appreciated. We look forward to an exciting 2020 season.
Our 2019 hockey season was a competitive one where our boys showed a lot of grit on the astro. The Ridge put out 14 junior and 15 senior sides this year, and it was a very enjoyable season, which included all the bus rides to and from practices. With much planning and a few logistical challenges, we were able to ensure that every team practiced on an astro at least once a week and were able to play a fixture every week.
Our first side played in the annual Prep Schools Festival hosted by St Stithians this year. Our boys were very competitive during this festival and can be proud of what they achieved. They truly showed the ‘right stuff’.
This year saw one of our boys, Matt Eichweber, make the Southern Gauteng side; something that was last achieved in 2013.
A big thank you to all the staff and coaches who made this season such a fun, exciting and energetic one. The boys really enjoyed themselves.
2019 has been another happy year for the swimming teams. Once again, we were able to field 3 teams on a Friday afternoon which is a great feat for a school that has fewer numbers than many others. This year saw a change as the boys schools generally swam against each other, with the A and B league galas generally split into 2 venues and the C league gala hosted at 1 venue. The highlight, once again, was the Boys Prep Schools Gala which was unfortunately called off due to weather. At the time of being called off the A team were lying second while the B team were lying 3rd in their respective galas.
A big thank you must go to all swimmers for their commitment and dedication to the swimming this year. The early mornings are never easy but all the hard work did pay off.
The clear highlight of this term was the annual Tabloid gala, where Dunn House came out as winners.
To Ms Kinnear and her team, well done on a fantastic season. You can all be very proud of what the boys achieved this year.
Top Secret Ridge Birthday Party Day
On Monday 5 October, the boys were treated to a wonderful surprise day of fun. Boys took off their shoes, headed to the fields and participated in a variety of games and sports with their friends and teachers. Boys played table-tennis, tug of war, participated in carnival games, played on inflatable jumping castles, threw frisbees and so much more. They were treated to soft-serve ice-cream and then the highlight of the day – the dunking of Mr Stanley and Ms Herold!
Grade 7 Leavers’ Video
Ridge Golf Day
SALT (Sharing and Learning Together) is a vertical mentorship initiative structured in such a way as to form a ‘family’ unit from Grade 1 to 7. A group is comprised of a boy from each grade. The ‘family’ get together during designated meeting times. This year, the ‘family’ met three times a term. Each ‘family’ was co-ordinated and assisted by a teacher. SALT is an awesome leadership opportunity for our Grade 7s and is a way to improve and develop:
- Relationship building
- Life skills
- Celebrate successes
- Become a ‘go-to’ person: either the Leader or the Mentor teacher
- How to work hard
The programme is a platform for boys to engage and chat. Over and above spending quality ‘sharing and caring’ time together in respective groups, the focus has been on getting the boys involved in thinking through, planning and then actioning appropriate support projects. This initiative is fluid and some ‘families’ may connect more than others. There is no success or failure to be measured. It is meant to be fun and relaxing but some serious things have come out of it.
The teacher’s role is to help the leader of the ‘family’ (The Grade 7 boy) on how to run his ‘family’. Each meeting time the leader is provided material on what to do during each meeting. As was the case last year, each grade had the opportunity to provide the material for the leader which resulted in a range of diverse lessons coming out. The following was covered this year:
- Getting to know each other (Planned by Mr Verster)
The Grade 7 leaders collected their Grade 1 boy from the ‘Eagle’ and introduced themselves to their group and took down the names of each member as well as their birthday. Every boy bought a photo of himself which was stuck onto their group page. They chatted through their (and the mentor teacher’s) expectations of the group during the 2019 SALT sessions. They came up with 3 goals that they, as a group, would like to achieve from these sessions. For each goal, they had to also come up with a plan as to what is needed to achieve the goal.
- Snakes and Ladders – The Ridge Way (Grade 7)
The session was a lot of fun. Boys played the game of Snakes and Ladders, but where boys landed on certain blocks, they had to answer a question about themselves or that of the Ridge. It was a great way to launch into our Centenary!
- Literacy Legends (Grade 1)
Linked to the Reading Breakfast, boys discussed what the meaning of Literacy Legends was and what each boy had dressed up as. Each boy got to draw himself in character and stick it onto the group’s Bubble Map.
- Centenary Picnic – Getting to know our School Community (Grade 6)
As part of our Centenary celebration, we made every effort to get to know our school community better, especially those who serve and lead the boys every day. The boys had fun asking questions of their special guests in order to find out more about them. It all took place on the fields whilst enjoying a delicious picnic.
- Yoga Bingo (Grade 2)
With the SALT group members boys tried to do a variety of Yoga poses. Using the ‘BINGO’ concept, boys had to colour in 4 poses in a row. What made it interesting was that the group could colour in a pose once every member of the group had done it. Boys had to the see how many times they could get “YOGA” in the allocated time.
- The Women in our Lives (Grade 5)
This was a time to celebrate and appreciate the incredible women in our lives. Grade 7 boys used their iPads to show a short video about commercials depicting women in various roles. After the commercials, boys had a discussion regarding which advert struck a chord the most. The Grade 7 leader then asked each member of their group a few questions to answer about admiration and appreciation for women.
- Our Heritage (Grade 3)
Boys discussed their heritage and answered questions about where their parents were from, the language they spoke at home and their religion. From there it was discussed why each of these were important for us as a country regardless of what language or religion we are.
- Farewell Friends (Grade 4)
The last session of 2019 was a celebration of gratitude and goodwill from the group to the Grade 7 leader. Sweets, chips and cooldrink were brought from home and a party was enjoyed by all.
Many thanks to the wonderful staff that we have here at The Ridge for coming up with such thought-provoking ideas for our sessions together. To the Grade 7 leaders, you have done a wonderful job in leading your respective SALT groups. We wish you all of the very best as you venture out into the various Colleges.
By Chris Verster
Boys that showed an interest in robotics had the opportunity to join on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. The boys first studied basic movements of the EV3 robot. They were then taught how to attach and use various sensors and motors to navigate through predesigned obstacle challenges. The challenges required them to work in pairs and they had to collaborate very effectively to solve each challenge as a team.
From a boy’s perspective: Lelo Mofokeng
“At first, when robotics was introduced to the school, I was not very interested but I decided I would try it. It was challenging. I collaborated with other amazing boys. They were very nice to me and we worked well together. Working with Nicky Barberini – my very good friend – made robotics even more fun. Our teacher was a delight. She was patient and kind. She always gave us challenges that were difficult, but not impossible. She is a great teacher to have and we are still learning a lot from her.”
World Robotics Olympiad
The Ridge participated in the WRO (World Robotics Olympiad) challenge for the first time on 26 July 2019. Vashiv Naidoo, Kabir Budlender, Reza Saloojie and Matthew Jennings represented the Ridge at the challenge. The theme this year was Smart cities: Smart Passenger Transport. The mission was to build a robot that could act as a real autonomous, self-driving taxi that takes passengers from a starting position to a target area. The boys collaborated with each other within their teams and although they were anxious at times, they proved to be unstoppable. I am proud of the boys. They persevered through the difficult tasks that the challenge threw at them. Even when faced with adversity they maintained true sportsmanship by acknowledging the efforts of other competing teams. Competition aside, the boys displayed oodles of the Right Stuff.
From a boy’s perspective: Kabir Budlender
“We had to code our robots to do specific challenges on a special mat designed for the competition. We had to create an autonomous taxi that could drive and pick up passengers, pass through charging stations and drop off passengers. This required a lot of training and commitment as a lot of this was new to us. We worked for almost a month trying to determine how we could do the challenge. It required a lot of problem-solving, which was key to our success. It was a lot of fun. I cannot wait for next year’s challenge.”
The boys also participated in the inter-schools robotics league at St Peter’s Girls Prep. They competed against eight other schools ranging from Grade 4 to Grade 9. All students had to do the same challenges. I am so proud of Sinalo Danisa, Grade 4, who produced the highest score, and Adam Gardee for scooping the best team name award.
From a boy’s perspective: Reza Saloojee
“The robotics club is one of the highlights of my week. We appreciate the energetic Mrs Ram who dedicates her free time to teach us. We work hard but have lots of fun preparing for competitions. We often have our own competitions and the winning team always gets chocolates. We did very well at the last competition held at St Peter’s school.”
By Shanitha Ramsurwaj
Junior Prep Coding and IT
Having done Coding with the boys over the past few years, it is lovely to watch all these budding Coders! The buzz words for coding this year were ‘Creativity into Coding’.
To start off each year, boys do not necessarily need to use technology in order to learn about coding. They have a better understanding of the practical side and have loads of fun in making a sandwich with Mrs McLellan who is ‘an alien from another planet’, or just lots of fun doing the good, old game of Hopscotch. The boys also love navigating their friends through the maze to get to the end.
In addition to the practical tasks, the Grade 0s learn the basics of coding by using various Apps and the ‘Code-a-pillar’ Robots. The Grade 1s are then put onto more challenging Apps such as Scratch Junior and have the use of the Robot Mice. The Grade 2s have used advanced Apps such as Hopscotch and have learnt to write their own code for basic iPad games. This has also included a project on Stop Motion which was subsequently turned into a movie.
This was important to present the skills that make 21st Century adults successful in aspects such as Communication, Collaboration, Critical thinking and Creativity. The earlier that young children learn the languages of coding, the better it will be for them and their future.
By Suzanne McLellan
Senior Prep Coding
The Coding Club has now been running for four years at The Ridge. There were over 30 boys from Grade 5 to Grade 7 that participated in this extramural activity this year. The boys spent their time developing their computer programming skills through platforms such as code.org and codeclub.org. The final project for the year was to develop an arcade game for the annual Ridge Arcade Day using the Scratch platform. There was stiff competition for the most popular arcade game, voted for by the Senior Prep boys, and the top 3 games for 2019 were as follows:
- Space Raid – by Connor van der Walt and Chris Herman
- Superstick Bros. – by Kemka Amaonwu
- Ninja Parkour – by Ben Wyborn
Click on the links above to try your hand and these original arcade game creations made by our Ridge boys. If clicking on the link does not work, please copy and paste the link into your browser.
A number of the Coding Club boys also spent three mornings during their August holidays helping the Grade 7s at Salvazione with their coding skills. This was a very enjoyable morning for all, and definitely an initiative that the Coding Club would like to expand on in the years ahead.
Why join Coding Club?
I strongly support the constructivist learning theories where boys generate real understanding of concepts through applied project-based learning rather than traditional “chalk and talk” instruction. In particular, with an abstract subject like Maths, it is wonderful to have applications like Scratch to demonstrate some of the fundamental principles of Maths in a practical context.
Furthermore, project-based learning really develops a positive mindset amongst boys in that they can see hard work and persistence actually resulting in tangible products and goals being achieved. I have always been extremely pleased by the level of enjoyment and satisfaction felt by the boys whilst using Scratch to create a game. In reality, Maths underlies most computer games and having the boys create their own games using Scratch as a tool encouraged them to better understand the related maths concepts, which was a significant byproduct of them having fun.
By Mr McLachlan
As we kicked off the Centenary year here at the Ridge, we were mindful of our carbon footprint and what it means to respect the environment. Our year-long Eco-Bricking project has created awareness amongst the school community of how we can repurpose plastic waste and the horrifying reality of how much plastic we actually use in our daily routines. Boys, parents, siblings, staff and friends all got on board this project and we currently have over 1000 eco-bricks. A portion of these will be handed over to Salvazione Christian School in the coming weeks. They will be used as part of the building project that is currently underway at the school.
Our three adopted Ridge Rhino’s continue to flourish on the Somkhanda Game Reserve in Kwa-Zulu Natal. Regular updates inform us that Maletsatsi has a calf and Mpilo is enjoying getting to know her little sister. Akitundo is turning into quite the ladies’ man and keeps the other bulls at an arm’s length! Our continued fundraising and monetary donations towards this incredible project are so important in protecting our endangered Rhinos. During the first term representatives from Veterans4wildlife came to talk to the boys about their work in protecting the species. The boys were fascinated by what a ‘military’ operation it is and how so many men and women put their lives on the line on a daily basis for this cause.
The biggest environmental feat this year must be Founders’ Day. It was markedly different from previous years as the green stamp of approval passed every vendor and the running of the day itself. A huge thank you must go to the vendors and Founders’ Day committee for being open to the changes that needed to take place. Thank you also to Terri-Lee Dix who was the driving force behind the implementation of this and for helping the community to understand why this shift is so important.
Early on in the year we were approached by Monique Levieux and Caro Tapson of Seedling Stokvel, a company which specialises in providing seasonal seedling trays to home gardeners. Monique and Cara, with the help of Patrick, who also has a hand in the company, rebuilt our Junior Prep vegetable garden from scratch. Using mostly recycled materials and donations from parents the new raised beds and pathways are quite spectacular. The Junior Prep boys got to watch and assist the process of the build and the Grade Twos’ were part of the planting of both winter and spring trays. It has and will continue to be such a valuable learning experience for them. Perhaps the most exciting result so far has been the huge quantities of lettuce that we were able to supply to the kitchen for school lunch salads. Special thanks must go to this team for their hard work and commitment to overseeing the process and to Pollett and his amazing team of gardeners who continue to make sure that it is well watered.
We have partnered with The Refillery, a planet-friendly grocer based in Fourways to help and encourage our Ridge community to make the shift towards a plastic-free way of life. While we acknowledge that this is not a quick process, we have to begin somewhere. Dom and Sam, owners of this amazing shop, have been to school to chat with the teaching staff about how they can start to make the shift themselves. As ‘influencers’ of the children we teach, we need to be leading the way forward. The Refillery has set up an online shopping site where all members of the Ridge community can shop at a discounted rate. Goods are delivered, plastic-free, to the school once a week. We hope to grow our relationship with this dynamic duo in the months and years ahead. If you haven’t visited their store yet, it is well worth the drive and the website is oh so easy to navigate.
Looking forward into 2020 and beyond we have come to the realisation that it is no longer an obligation or kind gesture to be mindful of our environmental impact but rather our absolute responsibility. When I first met Dom he said, “It is not a case of one or two people in a community doing it perfectly but rather a whole community doing it imperfectly that is going to make a difference.”
I was lucky enough to sit down with Candice Stevens of Wilderness Foundation Africa (and Grade 1 parent) recently. She is a mind of information on biodiversity and the opportunities available to us right here at the Ridge. I hope that in the year ahead we will continue to broaden our understanding of the environment and all commit, in some way, to caring for it. Watch this space!
By Holly Ferrar