I take the opportunity early each morning to get some outdoor exercise that could loosely be described as my ‘campus walk’. Whilst the purpose is for me to enjoy these beautiful surroundings and to get in a good few steps in before the workday begins, such timeout on the estate also allows for some important meditation moments, and a connecting with God and nature.
Since the boys returned on 1 February, our pool enclosure has come alive to the early sounds of our swimming and water polo boys enjoying their own form of exercise. My walk takes me past this buzzing, whirlpool of excitement each morning of the week. Apart from the fact that the boys (many as young as nine years of age) are getting up well before the sunrise having cajoled their mum or dad to get them to school by 06.10, what has impressed me in recent days is the fact that even the changing seasons and the colder water doesn’t seem to dissuade them too much. This says as much about the power and persuasion of the peer group and boys feeling the instinctive urge to belong, as it does about these dedicated young lads being determined to play their parts as members of the swimming and /or water polo squads.
With the boys having been back at school for a good few weeks now, we as educators, are delighted to see this same ‘fellowship through belonging’ playing out in a number of different areas within their daily lives. Whether it’s taking their place in what is now recognised to be respective home classroom spaces, finding their friendship groups to hang out with at break time, or connecting with each other within the afternoon club and sports activities settings, it has been so good to see boys thriving in each other’s company again. A heartening confirmation that the boys are beginning to awaken once more to that healthy spirit of brotherhood that so defines much that is so natural within an all boys’ school environment like The Ridge and that sadly lay dormant for far too long last year.
2nd March Board Meeting:
The School governors and members of the Exco team met for formal online session to enjoy an engaging and worthwhile time together last Tuesday. As always there was much to discuss and debate but, needless-to-say, top of the agenda was the appointment of the new headmaster. I am pleased to be able to share with parents that an announcement from the Chairman, Itumeleng Kgaboesele, is imminent.
In addition, a good deal of time was spent discussing the Action Response Plan that has been drawn up following the Strategic Review that was conducted towards the end of last year. We have identified 8 Key Imperatives that will be the central pillars upon which The Ridge’s revised educational offering and service will rest.
Parents are advised that an overview document is being drafted with the express purpose of bringing all of you up to speed with the process, the findings and the way forward. The Chairman and I are looking forward being able to share this with you all within the next few weeks. In addition, time will be found at which we will be able to host a few Parent Forum Meetings that will allow for a formal introduction of the new headmaster and that, in addition, will help us to elucidate on what is being put in place to bring to life these 8 Key Imperatives.
The recent shift to Level 1 ought to provide for the easing of restrictions that will serve to benefit us here at The Ridge in the days ahead.
- Larger gatherings are permitted;
- Indoor gatherings may not exceed 50% of venue capacity up to a maximum of 100 people;
- Outdoor gatherings may not exceed 50% of venue capacity up to a maximum of 250 people;
- Health protocols must be observed at gatherings, including the wearing of masks and maintaining of a physical distance of at least 1.5 metres between people.
- Our coaches and boys are champing at the bit in anticipation of us being permitted to reconnect with the inter-school sports programme. Unfortunately, we remain bound by the GDE’s Level 1 Gazetted regulations from October 2020 that stipulate that only non-contact inter-school sport fixtures will be allowed, whilst following strict Covid-19 protocols. In the interests of safety and staying within the law, all Gauteng Independent Boys Schools have agreed to wait for the revised Level 1 Gazette which ought to be gazetted within a few weeks.
- We have, however, implored ISASA to represent us at the GDE level in order to hasten what we believe ought to be a relaxing in some of the regulations that will allow inter-school sport to begin again but without compromising in any way the ‘safety first’ responsibilities that we are compelled to honour.
A Final Word:
I came across a few fine exemplars of the following two quotes during this past weekend and thought that several qualify for some broader sharing in the light of so much in our social conditioning and rhetoric that, I believe, requires important realignment:
Empathy and Compassion are signs of strength not of weakness …
Jacinda Ardern – Prime Minister of New Zealand
Beautiful People are everywhere:
The link below captures random act of kindness.
This thoughtful delivery man will no doubt have saved the owner of the house both time and possible injury.
There seems to be so much on social media and, indeed, news media at large in our modern-day culture that almost intentionally seeks to disturb, to threaten and to cause disruption or pain. Let’s make it our intention and our purpose to be part of a healing culture that purposefully aims to restore and uplift, and to demonstrate kindness and compassion. As importantly, let’s make every effort as parents to bring to life the strength of this resolve in ways that will empower and inspire our children and so encourage them to follow our example.
God bless and warm regards