The Headmaster’s Newsletter

Dear Parents                                                                                          

It’s shaping up to be another busy run-in to the end of the academic year here at The Ridge albeit with plenty of variations on many of the traditional functions and activities that one would normal expect or associate with time of the year. One way or the other it does promise to offer the boys, in particular, a memorable final few days of what will prove anyway to be a year never to be forgotten.

Staff News:

Our sincere and hearty congratulations to Carol Shutte who has married the love of her life, Thomas Ackermann. The wedding took place in stages during this unsettled year, but the happy couple were eventually officially pronounced husband and wife on Sunday, 25th October. Well done Mrs Ackermann.  

Parent Association News:

As we prepare to say farewell to 2020, there is a changing of the guard at leadership level on the PA. Ijeoma Solarin, who has been at the helm throughout this turbulent time, is standing down as chairlady. In the context of the unexpected, Ijeoma could never have imagined that, having led the PA through the amazing outpouring of energy, hype, spirit, and celebration that marked the Centenary year, she would be thrust into the 2020 maelstrom that could not have been more different. Nonetheless, and through it all, she has led by example, with foresight and energy, and is to be congratulated on having kept the PA moving in the right direction during this turbulent year, even against not insignificant odds.

On behalf of The Ridge School family, my sincere thanks to Ijeoma for a job so incredibly well done. Congratulations and thank you so much for all that you have done, Madam Chair.

Ijeoma will be handing over the chairlady reins to Bridget Gerber (son, Matt, in Grade 4).

Covid-19 Update:

Having been back at school since the 1st September it is good to be able to report that, as far as we know, boys, parents and staff remain healthy and free of the virus. Apart from a Grade 5 boy having to remain in quarantine for the mandatory ten days during the third week of term and the necessary precautionary protocols having been put in place with his class mates and in deep cleaning of the classrooms, we have had no other reported cases amongst our boys.

We have heard via the grapevine, however, that there have been a few parents who, having tested positive, have not reported this to anyone at the School. I would urge parents to please make contact with me personally if you test positive for Covid-19. All of us, members of staff and parents alike, owe it to our Ridge School community to act responsibly in such situations so that the necessary protocols can be put in place to continue to look after and protect everyone else within The Ridge family. With the coronavirus once again playing havoc in so many parts of the USA, the UK and in Europe, we simply cannot let our guard down.  

We continue to work with our boys here at school each day to keep communicating the importance of the wearing of masks, physical distancing, and sanitising or washing of hands. All of which remains challenging given that an increasing amount of ‘virus-fatigue’ has set in. As such, we ask that parents play their part in keeping the necessary health and safety messages alive at the home base.

Grade 7 boys showing their spirit, creativity and retailing skills:

During the month of October each year, the Grade 7 boys and their teachers host a series of Market Days at which the rest of The Ridge boys are invited to participate and to support what is a traditional Grade 7 EMS (Economic and Management Sciences) fund-raising drive.

Against the backdrop of the pandemic and the related health and safety considerations, the initial planning that Moeketsi Motsepe began some months ago, favoured an online market day which would have given the boys a chance to expand their online retail and shopping skills, but that would have seriously lacked the necessary atmosphere and little boy hype.  As it turned out, and given the more accommodating Level 1 restrictions, the Grade 7 staff team were able to once again work with their boys in planning and preparing for the much more spirited and convivial ‘live’ Market Days that took place each Wednesday morning during October.

With the weather playing along, Hersov Field providing a suitable fresh air venue, and with the assortment of stalls well spread to comply to physical distancing requirements, the Grade 7 lads got to work. With plenty of preparation having taken place at respective home bases, they were able to set up their tempting array of tantalizing treats, tricks and taste-bud enticing delights. The younger boys did not disappoint as they took to the task of spending their pocket money in a relatively controlled, but nonetheless sugar-charged frenzy. Some of the delicious offerings proved to be just as tempting for members of staff too.

The long and the short of another memorable Grade 7 Market Day experience for all, was that a significant amount of money has been raised. Funds that the senior lads and their parents will donate towards their leavers’ gift to the School and towards The Ridge’s support of the Save the Rhino Campaign. Well done to all concerned.

Grade 7 boys HM Leadership projects

Staying with our Grade 7 seniors, it has been my pleasure again to have been able to engage with, guide and learn from, so many of these fine young men as they took on this year’s Headmaster’s Leadership Project.

At the beginning of each year the senior lads are tasked with selecting, getting to grips with and delivering on four components that together make up the HMLP. The components, made up of Service, Development of Self, Physical Development and Organisational Skills, invite the boys to use their imaginations, their initiative and some resourcefulness to come up with activities and ideas that will stretch, enrich and, most of all, provide service opportunity for each of them.

Whilst, for obvious reasons, this year’s programme was always going to prove to be additionally challenging, given the many Covid-19 complications, many of the boys have done wonders within a variety of carefully chosen and well-researched areas.

For your interest, the following present as a brief overview of some of what the boys have got involved in and learnt from through their HMLP experiences:

Santa Shoe Box Collection:

It has been a joy to see so many Ridge boys arriving at school each morning with their Santa Shoe Box beautifully wrapped and ready to hand over to their class teachers for safe keeping.

Well done to so many lads who have taken this project on in caring and intimate ways in order to make sure that what will be handed over to the children of Salvazione and others will be gifts that have been chosen and put together by them personally.  

We would encourage mums and dads of older boys in particular, to allow your sons to take ownership of this project so that what is handed over to be distributed to the Salvazione children has their personal stamp of approval on it.

As we thank all Ridge families for their involvement in this very worthwhile act of giving, I would sincerely thank one Ridge family that has donated 101 beautifully put together Santa Shoe Boxes that will be shared amongst a wider community of children at this Christmas time.

Parental Burnout – Talk by Mandy Herold on Tues 10 Nov, 18:30-19:30

It’s been an EXTRAordinarily stressful year… let’s connect about the subject of Burnout.

“Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.”

Let’s spend some time talking about the difference between ‘Stressors’ and ‘Stress’, as well as practical ideas for how to manage the Stress Response Cycle. 

Please register on this link:

Blood bank gift:

A gentle reminder to you all to consider donating blood on Friday 13th November, please.  To book please click on the following link:

A Final Word:

We have enjoyed a number of virtual firsts throughout this past year and a few days ago an alert went out to parents that they could link-up to You Tube and tune in to our very first Ridge Soiree collection. I’m sure that parents of the participating lads acted on the prompt but many others might not have. Do yourselves a favour and find a few minutes at the end of a long day to unwind to the dulcet strains of Ridge boys, of varying ages, sharing their musical talents with you all. While doing so, remember that most of what you are hearing has been rehearsed and achieved at a distance. Congratulations to the boys involved and well done to Carol Ackermann and her Music Department team.

Warm regards, stay safe and God bless you all

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