We’ve all seen the memes on social media during lockdown about nature healing, dolphins returning to the Venice Canal, a giant inflatable duck in the Thames and the ability to see the Burj Khalifa from great distances without the air pollution!
While these are some of the funniest jokes coming out of COVID-19, they do tell us something about disconnecting in order to connect again. Although, 2021 continues with social distancing in place, continued sanitizing and not-quite-back-to-normal-activities we have been able to connect more again after a long period of disconnection during the 2020 school year. And maybe that, has, like dolphins in the Venice Canal, made the connection even sweeter.
I was reminded of this so much more after the Soiree earlier this week and Zach’s Grade 5 ‘Witches Movie Night’. The Soiree was, like the old days, a family affair and it’s very special seeing videos posted again of boys singing and playing for parents. In my own house, there was much excitement at dressing up, buying sweets and packing blankets for a night-time school event. Special shout-out to the Grade 5 teachers for setting this up ahead of the April break.
In this edition of Horizons you’ll get to enjoy all the other moments of reconnection we have been able to have in the first term of 2021. Long may it last!
Sir Winston Churchill is credited with having said “Never let a good crisis go to waste” at a time in the mid-1940s as the world approached the end of WW ll.
I made use of his quote at the beginning of lockdown at around this time a year ago. Twelve months on, I thought it appropriate to look back in order to try and gauge just how successful we, as a school, have been in making good on all that this past year has brought our way and so not letting a good crisis go to waste. In doing so, to also touch on some of the lessons that were learnt and that have resulted in us doing things a little differently in the first few months of 2021.
There were the many obvious Covid-19 health and safety challenges that had to be faced and overcome; most of which required a new set of rules and behavioural norms. Apart from the obvious safety benefits, as we move into a second Covid-19 year, it has been interesting to observe how last year’s ‘conditioning’ has been more readily accepted by boys and members of staff alike. A level of resigned understanding that this is what it’s going to be like for the foreseeable future, which has, in turn, given rise to an ‘adopt and get on with it’ approach.
It needs to be said, however, that for all of us and the boys, in particular, to be living and learning under the present constraints is not sustainable. We do need to find alternative ways of facilitating Covid-safe school environments in which children can learn in relative comfort again, and free from the unnatural limitations and smothering effects that come with wearing masks.
Children are remarkably resilient and adaptable, and never more so than when, as this past year has brought to the fore, they have needed to adjust to a new set of school systems and structures. Your sons have been amazing. From lockdown and social isolation, online learning and related digital discoveries, to reconnecting with each other when back at school, in typical boy fashion, they have adapted remarkably well. At the same time they have had to realign to a whole new set of rules – some of which required of them a reining back of natural boyish impulses – that nonetheless have allowed them to demonstrate remarkable patience, self-discipline and resourcefulness.
There is no doubt that this past year has reminded us all again that peer relationships, in-person contact and finding comfort within a social setting are as important to us all as are the basic human needs of breathing, sleeping and eating. Schools are places where the human spirit comes alive for young people in critical ways that feed their souls, that secure emotional and social well-being and that protect an innate sense of belonging as they connect with each other.
In this context alone, these past two months of onsite togetherness, off the back of the experiences of last year, have strengthened even more our resolve to find safe ways of keeping our schools physically open – regulations allowing, of course. With safety protocols being carefully managed and adhered to in all areas of school life, levels of confidence to push back against the coronavirus have increased amongst members of staff and boys alike. A reality that has resulted in us feeling cautiously optimistic that the safety systems implemented last year, having being seen to work, can be trusted to the extent that they are now recognised as being part of our everyday lives here at The Ridge.
A very definite reconnecting with our Right Stuff motto these past two months has again rekindled that deep commitment to traditions and to features that are uniquely Ridge in nature. The ‘RS’ on the blazer pocket badge stands for so much more than simply Ridge School.
Having allowed the wearing of civvies at various stages last year, more as a safety measure than anything else – to begin with anyway – a few interesting lessons were learnt. The fact that all our boys are again in their Ridge uniforms, has reinforced a definite pride in their Ridge School badge. So much so, in fact, that we are noticing that this same semblance of pride is being harnessed and filtered into other areas of school life.
Some of this is being demonstrated in a noticeable improvement in, amongst other things, general cleanliness, pulling up of socks and tucking in of shirts; a greater number of boys thinking about litter and so making regular use of dustbins more often; and on the whole, a greater alertness with respect to belongings is being observed amongst many of our boys.
The impact of much that so disrupted and disturbed last year also brought to life for us a strong reminder that our values and traditions are, in the main, here to stay and that they are good, necessary and definitely worth holding on to. An important lesson learnt in this context was that, with so much of the year being spent apart and away from each other, the necessary school-based en masse reinforcing of so many of these important principles is seen to have been sorely missed. As the old adage goes, values are caught not taught, and the fact that the School’s direct influence was largely missing for much of last year removed, in this context, an important ‘playing partner’ for you mums and dads.
We are in the process of putting this to right by using this ‘physical togetherness’ to raise the profile of those many essential behaviours that are portrayed in good manners, right etiquette, kindness, gentleness, self-control and so on. A composite of recognised virtues and values, that are non-negotiable in my book, and that are deeply embedded in what we as a School, that purports and practices foundational learning, must continue to be committed to.
There are, of course, many challenges and hurdles that will need to be overcome in the weeks and months ahead as we continue to navigate through these uncertain times. The past year has taught us, above all, that the human spirit is remarkably resilient and adaptable and that our openness to new learning prepares us well for more of those unexpected ‘icebergs’ that will be lying ahead.
What we have realized, as well, is that when the going gets tough, stakeholders with given school communities ought to be finding ways of drawing on each other and, in so doing, harness the fellowship, sense of oneness and family togetherness that such belonging offers to us all.
I wish you all a refreshing and engaging April holiday and time for your families to celebrate in appropriate ways the many and myriad, magical, memory-making moments that will be coming your way.
God bless, please look after yourselves and stay safe.
My name is Jhulan Govan. I am so excited to have started my journey as a Grade 2 teacher at The Ridge. Having spent a term here I can safely say that I have found a place where I belong. Not only have I been welcomed with care, but the boys have already accepted me as one of their own.
Being a teacher has always been my true passion. After my high school career at Parktown High School for Girls, I studied Foundation Phase Education through The University of the Witwatersrand. During my first two years of teaching, I completed my Honours Degree in Early Childhood Education with a focus on Early Literacy, where I learnt many skills on how to develop good reading and writing skills in young children. Coming from a family where education is considered paramount, I have grown up with a love for learning and this is evident in my teaching. Five years later and the passion has not wavered! I aim to complete my Master’s degree within the next few years and keep learning as I teach.
I am a firm believer that a child can only develop in an environment where they feel comfortable, loved, and cared for. If anything, 2020 has taught us how true this sentiment is. My aim at The Ridge is to nurture a thirst for knowledge. In doing so, I hope to spark joy and grow the confidence of all the boys placed within my care as “A love for learning has a lot to do with learning that we are loved.”- Fred Rogers
I am overjoyed to be a part of the Ridge family and can’t wait to see what this year has in store for us all!
When I left school, I had a dream to become a writer. I studied journalism and I dreamt of being the next investigative journalist for the Mail and Guardian, or a fashion editor! I couldn’t decide. I took on many writing roles, from assistant editor, copywriter and public relations. I had so many wonderful and challenging experiences such as interviewing politicians, going on press trips to beautiful parts of our country, working under immense deadlines and meeting interesting people.
My passions and interests came to a halt and with much bravery, and a chat with my favourite high school teacher at St Teresa’s School, I enrolled in a PGCE in Early-Childhood and Foundation-Phase teaching. I am now completing an Honours in Special Needs Education. I believe that teachers should be life-long learners as education and generations of children are always changing. Henry Ford said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” There are so many things that I still want to learn so I guess I’ll be forever young!
My goal for Afrikaans in the Junior Primary is to strengthen the fundamental knowledge of the language by combining it with different learning methods such as movement, songs, literature, and writing. My favourite part about working with Junior Primary children is the joy that they find in little things, their sense of humour and the freedom of creativity when planning lessons and activities for them. It took a lot of courage to join a new school during these uncertain times, but I am very happy to be part of The Ridge family!
Hi there, my name is Khanyisile Mthetwa. I am so excited to join the music department as the Head of Woodwinds. I am very passionate about music and the role it plays in developing young minds and the healing effect it has on people.
I come to the Ridge after teaching at WITS university, St Katharine’s school for girls, St Mary’s Waverley and Auckland Park Preparatory school. I have also taught at several NGO projects in Soweto. I have two passions within the field of music: teaching and performing. On the performance side I have been the Principal flute of the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra since 2018. In 2019 I was the first African to be awarded the Myra Brown International Scholarship by the Flute Association of America. This led to a tour across the USA performing music by South African composers.
I feel very strongly about exposing the world and children to our own South African music and composers. I was born in Orlando West – Soweto and I am the 7th of 7 children. I happen to be the only one that followed music as a career path. I studied at the National school of the Arts, Pretoria University and Trinity College of London.
One thing I remember fondly about growing up in the township in the early 90’s was the electric atmosphere when Nelson Mandela was released from prison and him subsequently being the first democratically elected president. His house, which is now a Heritage Site, was two streets from my house and the spirit of Ubuntu, respecting your fellow human beings’ rights, was the theme that ruled the early years of my life and a value I still hold onto today.
Sonja Van Zyl
I always believe in ‘new seasons’ that come across one’s path. This was exactly how it happened for me when I saw the vacant music post at the Ridge School. I not only stepped into a warm and friendly environment, but I am also fortunate to teach the piano to 25 boys.
While teaching and working with pupils, I always strive to support each boy to build his self‐confidence in playing the piano and to help him to play according to his own ability.
Throughout my musical career, the quote by a well renowned pianist, Arthur Rubenstein, was my motto. He said, “Don’t tell me how talented you are. Tell me how hard you work.”
My journey in the music world started at the age of 5 while seeing the movie The Sound of Music. I came home and with one finger, I started to play the tune ‘Doh, a Dear…’, a song from the movie. My mom saw my interest in playing the piano, and thereafter I started taking lessons from my piano teacher, Mrs Katie van der Merwe from Kroonstad. Her influence, which stimulated my love for piano, was a lifelong one which I aim to always pay forward to my own students. Thus, it was not difficult to decide which career to follow, as music was always my passion, which is why I first completed a BMus degree in performance at the University of Pretoria. I then obtained the Unisa Performance Licentiate in Piano; the Unisa Accompanist’s Licentiate for Voice as well as the Unisa Ensemble Licentiate in Music, with distinction.
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to study the Master of Music (Performance) Degree through WITS University and subsequently obtained the Doctor Musicae Degree in Music Performance in 2020, through the University of the North West.
I consider myself as very blessed during my journey to both live my passion as an active collaborator and chamber musician, as well as being a piano teacher. I would like to conclude by saying: “Practice makes Perfect!”
Sonja van Zyl
Chris Perumal has been at The Ridge School for over 14 years, first as Catering Manager and then Facilities Manager, overseeing the upkeep of our beautiful estate from the magnificent grounds to the many buildings and residences. His demeanor is consistently friendly and helpful, and he sees to our many different and, sometimes annoying, demands and requests on a daily basis – never deviating from his friendly, helpful approach. I’m sure that one thing he won’t miss are the heavy highveld rain storms, as after each one he is inundated with countless calls about leaks. Chris has organized more leak repairs than anyone else I know!
A big part of Chris’s team, who were with him throughout the years, were Isaac, John and Levy and I know he has missed them immensely since they retired and thinks of them often as he heads towards his own retirement. I know he will also miss the many contractors and suppliers with whom he has forged strong relationships and they, in turn, will feel his absence. I’m sure he will often think of the voices and shouts of little boys at sporting events as he is always around to see that everything that needs to happen, happens – be it weekday afternoons or Saturday mornings.
The PA mums will also feel Chris’s absence, as they often fly into his office looking for all manner of things they need, sometimes at the very last minute. He has been instrumental in the organisation of countless PA events over the years, always calmly and with a smile.
Chris is a devout man of faith and is extremely sensitive and caring to all the staff he oversees, including maintenance, cleaning, gardening and security. They will miss him dearly as he leaves us to enjoy a well-deserved rest with his much-loved close-knit family. Chris is very much a family man and enjoys a wonderful life with his beloved wife Cookie, their three sons Craig, Claude and Carl, as well as his daughters in law, Megan and Charlene and, of course, the apple of his eye, his granddaughter Arielle – soon to be joined by a new addition to the Perumal family.
I know everyone joins me in thanking Chris for the many years of wonderful service in keeping our campus as magnificent as it is, and in wishing him all the very best for his future endeavors, with many more happy years ahead.
Chris, we will miss you!
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “Many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flowers in it.” Aggie, when we think of you, ideas of…’a zest for life, a love of nature, a passion for children and a commitment to do good’ all immediately spring to mind.
With your warmth, dedication and determination that have always been so effortlessly displayed in the Lighthouse, it is only natural to envisage your metaphor as one of a gardener. Good soil, as we know, provides the very basis for growth, much like the foundations that you work so hard to instil in your boys, that gives them the platform from which they can develop.
As with any good gardener, it is all about timing and effort. You tend to your learners, ignite wonder, inspire, plant seeds and make sure that knowledge showers over them, all the while creating the perfect conditions for their growth and development.
The care and compassion that you show the children you work with creates the optimal environment for bloom; and you carefully balance your support and nurturance, tending to them, yet also inspiring independence, so that they may choose their own course and find their own light and shine. You celebrate all change and progress, no matter how slow, from the bud to the frond to the beautiful blossom.
As the young saplings grow and learn, you watch carefully, gently observing and guiding where you can and investing so much of yourself in the process, placing the relationship at the very core of your interactions, and truly embracing the notion that where there is love, good things will grow.
A fundamental role of every gardener that cannot be forgotten, is that of tackling weeds. Your bold convictions and willingness to be assertive and to tackle things head on in the best interests of your learners is admirable and speaks to your inner strength, confidence and your absolute dedication to those under your care.
A gardener knows all too well that not all plants flower at the same time or every season, but that all plants have an innate desire to want to grow and that all plants were meant to grow. There is a patience to you as you work with your boys, an honouring of their potential and a willingness to face hurdles and setbacks together. You make it your goal to identify each boy’s needs and requirements and work within their uniqueness, refining their ability, knowing all too well that some plants require grafting, transplanting, thinning or other support in order to bear the best fruit.
When the beautiful blossom has finally emerged, you marvel at it and are in awe of its innate strength and beauty, knowing that the roots of the plant will continue to hold it strong.
You always give it everything, you go the extra mile and you truly live by the mantra: “Children are likely to live up to what you believe in them.”
We have loved having you head up our team and wish you all the best in your new chapter.
Candice Fletcher, Claire Lord, Jacqui Haddow and Jane Lamb
Davina Gordon joined The Ridge Music Department in 2017 as a specialist violin teacher. She has been a wonderful team member, always willing to lend a hand. Her spunky attitude and great teaching skills have helped the boys grow into fine young musicians. Davina is a talented artist and great performer, who has made a name for herself as a well-known solo artist and orchestral musician. This made her a great asset as ensemble coach, showing boys music can be great fun and hip. When talent meets hard work, great things happen. Ms Gordon is leaving our music family and expanding her own and she expecting her first child due later this year. She will also be focussing more on her solo career which blossomed over the course of this past year. Some people are content with standing still, while others feed off new challenges. Davina is the latter, and during her time here, we have watched her learn and grow. She loves new challenges and experiences, and Davina’s passion will take her far in her career. We wish her good luck on her new journey.
William Nobela is a passionate young man with the world at his feet. He has grown as a teacher here at The Ridge, but now it’s time for William to run ahead and start his next chapter. William’s eagerness and passion makes him a wonderful addition to any department. He has studied with great artists, and if he was able to pass along even a little of his experience and knowledge to our eager young students, they have learned a great deal. He has been part of The Ridge Music Department since 2019 as cello teacher and ensemble coach, helping the boys become better musicians. We wish William best of luck with his future aspirations. His presence will be sorely missed.
Junior Prep Matters
In this time of unprecedented uncertainty, anxiety and trauma, there has never been a more appropriate time for us, as a school and educators, to partner with parents to look after the social and emotional needs of our children; and to create safe, connected and problem-solving environments.
Research tells us that in order for a Social Emotional Learning programme to be most effective, it needs to be embedded in the culture and fibre of daily life at school. Conscious Discipline is unique in its approach: Adult First, Child Second. The healthier our ability to handle our emotions, the more we can help children develop their self-regulation skills and emotional health.
I incorporate the following routines and rituals into my weekly lessons and assemblies with Grade 0-3 boys:
The Brain Smart Start is made up of 4 components:
1. The activity to unite as a School Family involves everyone doing something together. It builds connection, fosters a sense of safety and releases endorphins.
2. The activity to disengage stress involves deep breathing and stretching. It prepares the brain for cortical learning and turns off the stress response.
3. The activity to connect helps to maintain focused attention and the motivation to learn. It also releases oxytocin, which promotes connection and reduces aggression.
4. The activity to commit oneself to learning involves affirmations and positive thinking. It produces serotonin, teaches responsibility, promotes mindful attention and develops the prefrontal lobe.
The ‘Feeling Buddies’ help boys to identify and name what they are feeling in any given moment. There is a big difference between feeling an emotion and becoming it. When we ‘are’ an emotion, we react with no control over our thoughts, feelings or actions. Only when we feel and identify an emotion can we consciously choose to regulate our behaviour. I incorporate the ‘Feeling Buddies’, a programme that helps develop healthy Self-regulation skills, helping boys identify their feelings so they learn healthy, confident ways to respond to their emotional upset and understand that the feeling is temporary.
You will no doubt be familiar with the ‘Wish Well’ ritual. Wishing well is a practical and visual way to instantly calm ourselves and offer love and caring to others. It is a way for children to help others when there is no physically tangible way to offer their help. To wish well:
1. Put your hands over your heart.
2. Take a deep breath in.
3. Pause and picture something precious in your mind.
4. Breathe out while opening your arms and sending those precious, loving thoughts out to the person you are wishing well.
Our lessons end with a time of reflection through a ‘Guided meditation’. When we are triggered by upset, only the lower centres of our brain are accessible, limiting our skills to fight, flight, freeze or have emotional meltdowns. Active calming through belly breathing, slowly inhaling through the nose and longer exhaling through the mouth helps to cut off the fight/flight response and tell our brains that we are safe. Belly breathing and moving the diaphragm help to also stimulate the pre-frontal cortex, the thinking part of our brains and allows us to put a pause between stimulus and response. Our favourite guided mediation is from Dr Becky Bailey, Safe and Calm:
We are not thinking machines that feel, we are feeling machines that think.
António R. Damásio
Senior Prep Matters
Although it was an interesting start to 2021 with regards to our first two weeks being remote teaching and learning, Semester One A has been a successful period of discovery learning for Ridge boys and staff alike. It has also been an extremely busy period for our Grade 7 boys who are nearing the end of their college entry process. Nevertheless, we feel there has been a good balance of academic learning, social development and extra-murals. No day is the same and who would have it any other way?
We are fortunate enough, as a school, to have access to digital and technological hardware and software so that our boys were able to ‘kick start’ the year online. Having learnt from our experiences in 2020, I believe the boys, staff and parents were equipped and skilled enough to continue with the remote teaching and learning with a sense of fluidity and ease. As we gauge where to next, and perhaps with a ‘Third Wave’ on our doorstep, we will have measures in place to make sure that the teaching and learning continues, as well as focus specifically on the emotional and social well-being of the boys too.
There has been a lot of conversation and debate in multiple forums, both online and face-to-face, about schools adopting or already working in a 1:1 environment. While many of these conversations revert back to replacing teachers and what device is best, the real conversation begins with providing our boys with the best learning environment possible.
Our teachers have been compiling exemplary work and engaging the boys in a diverse manner. These experiences are not because of the iPad, but because we have given our expert teachers the opportunity to incorporate a device into their rich curriculum. Our teachers are not teaching to the iPad, nor are they teaching apps. They are teaching skills and assessing student learning in a more dynamic way. Many of our classrooms are flipped; project-based learning and assessments are being integrated more prevalently; and the boys are engaged in relevant, purposeful learning experiences.
I believe we are in an exciting space, having learnt from what Covid-19 brought our way. What we have realised is that adaptability and flexibility are to remain current and at the forefront of what we do best – prepare our boys for a world that is ever-changing. It is our calling, not our job, to make sure that we continue to nurture, to motivate, to build resilience and grit. Ultimately, we need to educate our boys about what it means to be a young man in the 21st Century.
Having just finished Angela Duckworth’s ‘Grit’, the secret to outstanding achievement is not necessarily talent, but a passionate persistence. In other words, grit is passion and a sustained persistence applied to long-term achievement, and self-control in the pursuit of goals that take months, years or even decades. The time now, in the age of immediacy, is to equip our boys with the necessary skills, such as grit, to help them to understand that there are no shortcuts to excellence. It is about working on something you care so much about, something that you are passionate about, so much so that you’re willing to stay loyal to it… it’s doing what you love, but not just falling in love – staying in love.
“Our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quite another.”
– Angela Duckworth
Deputy Head: Academics
Head of Senior Prep
Parent Association Matters
By now, most of you will be familiar with my mantra for the PA this year – which is not to look at what we can’t do, but rather focus on what we can achieve. Since we have started this year under slightly different circumstances, our usual PA events have had to be put on the back burner for a while. We have had two PA meetings via ZOOM and hope to be able to have a meeting on-site and in-person soon.
One of our focuses this year is to ‘Pay it Forward’ to those less fortunate than ourselves. We hosted a very successful ‘Flip Flop Friday’, where boys raised over R10 000 for CHOC. This was an amazing effort and it was also fun for the boys to wear flip flops or takkies to school for the day. We hope to continue our association with CHOC and will be looking at planning a ‘Shave-a-thon’ during the course of Term 2.
The introduction of our ‘Care to Learn’ assembly on a Monday morning has been met with great enthusiasm and interest from our boys. They have engaged with speakers from Ditshego House of Laughter and from Bethany Home. In these Monday assemblies, boys have learnt how organizations such as these are helping and uplifting communities.
Nelson Mandela said, “We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference.” Our Ridge Boys have really got behind this idea and the Grade 4s and 5s collected an incredible assortment of second hand books, clothing and toys which were donated to Ditshego and Bethany Home respectively. Through this, each boy has made a huge difference to another child’s life.
Going forward in the Monday ‘Care to Learn’ assemblies, we look forward to welcoming speakers from ‘Surgeons for Little Lives’ and ‘Just Footprints’. We are hoping that our Grade 6 and 7 boys will show the same display of showing ‘The Right Stuff.’
We have also been able to contribute to several other charities. Unlabelled lost property, that was unclaimed, has been passed forward to ‘Let’s Work’, where school children will benefit from the stationery, canvas bags, school shoes and non-Ridge branded school clothing. We have donated an assortment of books, toys and clothing to Mvini pre-school, Yenzani Children’s Home, Hotel of Hope, and The Teddy Bear Clinic.
‘The Ridge Shopper Bag’ is another PA project that will begin soon. In conjunction with our eco-school policy, we hope to offer you a quality shopping bag printed with artwork from each grade. We have already received the most outstanding, creative artworks from our Junior Primary lads who have been hard at work creating these masterpieces.
We are also hugely excited to have been able to hold our first cake sale this year. It is important that, while still adhering to strict COVID protocols, the boys have had events such as this to look forward to!
In the coming months we hope that there will be many more opportunities for our boys to have fun, participate in events, raise their social awareness and to be the difference every day.
Lastly, I urge you to please engage with your PA representatives as it is important that we look for solutions when issues arise. I believe the best way to do this is to maintain clear and open lines of communication.
I wish you all a very blessed and relaxing April break, and we as the PA look forward to seeing what we can achieve in Term 2!
What a year 2021 has been so far! This year we have reinvigorated the Music Department and had even more lovely harmonies dancing through the department hallways. After a tricky year of online music tuition and no ensemble playing in 2020, this year has come with some blessings, even though we are still in the thick of the pandemic.
With online tuition last year, we overcame the boundaries of being kept apart by distance and were joined together through music when we created our Virtual Choir project, ‘I Am But A Small Voice’. This was debuted for the school’s online Founder’s Day Celebrations.
We have had a lot of new individual music enrolments into the department this year and we are very excited about what the future holds for these new musicians-in-the-making. Performing Arts was introduced as a new subject in our Department this term and includes many facets of the Performing Arts including Dance, Drama and Music. Mrs Irene Morrick has been an exceptional Music specialist in this subject area and this term her tuition has focused on the Dramatic Arts.
We usually get together with St. Katharine’s and Auckland Park Preparatory School for our Ash Wednesday service but, due to Covid-19 restrictions, we needed to present something a little bit different. So, some of the Music Department staff performed together for our Ash Wednesday service and presented a beautiful hymn called ‘Christ Be Our Light’ by Bernadette Farrell.
The Grade 7 Marimba band was also showcased at the Ash Wednesday service and serenaded the boys with great gusto.
We welcomed Khanyisile Mthetwa as our Head of Woodwinds and she has breathed life into this section of our department. We reintroduced the Concert Band onto campus and the boys have been rehearsing outside the Music Department on the amphitheatre steps. The String Ensemble, run by Mrs Daline Mitchley, have also continued their musical contributions, and performed as a combined orchestra, alongside the Concert band, for the Music Assembly.
The Music Assembly which was held on Friday 26th March culminated our Term 1 presentations and was an absolute success. The mist rolled in onto the Hersov field and the boys created a fabulous atmosphere as they showcased their musical talents. Each grade presented a Marimba band performance and, with their electric energy, they were enjoyed by all. The Senior Choir sang behind their newly acquired ‘Singing Masks’ and their song encouraged some fun audience participation. The combined orchestra roused the school as they performed ‘The Imperial March’ from Star Wars and presented the very significant ‘Ridge School Song’ with much enthusiasm and aplomb.
The Senior Soiree on the 29th March was hosted in the Nicolson Hall and we were blown away by the boys’ sharing of talents as we enjoyed a time of live music together as a Ridge family.
We give thanks to two staff members who leave us for new horizons in Term 2. Ms Davina Gordon has given of her talents as a Violin specialist both as a teacher and in the ensembles; and Mr William Nobela whose Cello skills were greatly appreciated in both the solo and ensemble spaces. We wish both you well and will miss having you as members of our Musical Team.
Despite the Covid-19 restrictions, this term has been a great start to 2021 and I commend all the boys and staff on their hard work and dedication to keeping the music alive while we navigate the idea of our ‘New Normal’.
What a strange time we live in. In the Senior Library, boys used to occupy every inch of bean-bags, couches, carpets and cushions, immersed in a world so different to theirs, expanding horizons and stimulating imaginations…
But fear not! They might not occupy the library seats anymore, but boys still read, thanks to our online reservation system. We have sent out an alert on the app as well as step-by-step instructions on how to reserve a book online. Reservations are pulled from the shelves each morning and delivered to the boys. When books are returned, they are quarantined for 10 days in a plastic box, before being sanitised, returned on the system and finally to our shelves, making them available for the next eager reader to reserve.
We still managed to have one of Term 1 exciting events: World Book Day Reading Breakfast. However, due to Covid-19 restrictions, we had instead, a World Book Day Dress-Up, which kicked off in the morning with boys spreading out across the field, and reading their favourite book. What a brilliant way to start the day! We had some very innovative costumes, and boys certainly showed off their creativity!
Lastly, I recently asked some teachers to share their favourite books or series with us (Please see below). How many of these can you say that you have read?
|Teacher’s Name||Favourite Book Title/Series||Author||Favourite thing about the book/Why did you like the book?||Who would you recommend it to?|
|Richard Stanley||When Breath Becomes Air||Paul Kalanithi||Just such an inspiring and thought-provoking read. “Extraordinary … Remarkable … Luminous … Lyrical, intimate, insistent and profound. Paul Kalanithi had the mind of the polymath and the ear of a poet.: Daily Telegraph||A human drama and real life trauma and triumph. Suitable for boys Grade 6 and 7.|
|Mandy Herold||The Elephant Whisperer||Lawrence Anthony||How incredibly smart elephants are!||Grade 4-7|
|Nick Diana||Boy||Roald Dahl||Insight into what mischief you can get up to as a boy||Grade 5-7|
|Nico Seakamela||Angela’s Ashes||Frank McCourt||The feelings it evokes||Boys that enjoy period dramas|
|Anton Pretorius||The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy||Douglas Adams||Absolutely hilarious science fiction novel that combines quirky characters, clever plot and witty, entertaining dialogue. Can get surprisingly philosophical as well.||Boys and girls, 12 years old and older, looking for an easy to read sci-fi book that will leave you entertained and optimistic about life, the universe and everything.|
|Agnes Jooste||Charlotte’s Web||EB White||I loved the beautiful way it was written and the themes of friendship; loss and hope.||Everyone!|
|Agnes Jooste||The adventures of Huckleberry Finn||Mark Twain||I enjoyed the humour and the social commentary. I also enjoyed the themes of friendship, the evils of slavery and freedom.||Everyone!|
|Hanlie Glanz||Miss Peregine’s Peculiar Children||Ransom Riggs||I love the fact that Ransom uses actual old photographs to base his characters on. I love the suspense of every book, leaving you wanting to read the next book in the series, and the next one, and the next one…||Grade 6 (if you are brave) and up.|
|Diane Wellard||The Magic Faraway Tree||Enid Blyton||I love the amazing places you can visit in this book. It made my imagination dream of what kinds of places I could see as an adult. I am still looking for some of those lands – like The Land of Goodies||Grades 3 – 5 will enjoy this. If you enjoyed the Storey Treehouse stories this may be for you.|
|Urvasi Naidoo||Pride and Prejudice||Jane Austen||A book where the author is brave enough to challenge conventions, educates the reader and where characters are complex and not just one dimensional.||Grade 7 and older|
|Pat Mbele||Call It Courage||Armstrong Sperry||Brings to mind feelings of bravery, sadness, fear and courage. Love the ending how this boy conquered the sea and was declared a hero.||Grade 5 and 6|
|Bennie du Preez||Legacy||James Kerr||Values, tradition, courage, determination and pride||Gr 6 & 7|
|Sarah Behr||An Elephant in my Kitchen||Francoise Malby Anthony||The imagery makes you feel as though you’ve escaped to the bush.||Grade 4-7|
|Irene Morrick||Ludo and the Star Horse||Mary Stewart||For the exciting and adventurous journey that Ludo and his horse forge through the 12 Houses of the Zodiac.||11 years and older Boys who enjoy mythology and adventure|
|Khanyisile Mthetwa||The Queen and I||Sue Townsend||Laugh out loud Funny! First time I read it I couldn’t put it down and have read it again a few times..and I still think its hilarious||13yrs and older. It’s a political satire about the British Monarchy and what would happen if they suddenly had to be regular citizens .|
|Claire Lord||To Kill A Mockingbird||Harper Lee||Read it in school and again as an adult a few times. A lot to be learnt from it.||13+ and adults alike.|
|Tafadzwa Matariro||Holes||Louis Sachar||Read it back at school and again a couple of years ago. Beautiful story about Family, trust, friendship, kindness and their search for long lost treasure, very interesting read. Movie is also a great watch||13+ and adults.|
|Suzanne McLellan||The Book With No Pictures||B J Novak||Hilarious! The boys are obsessed with this book as it makes adults say silly things and make silly sounds.||Gr 0 to 3|
|Tessa MacMurray||The Diary of Adrian Mole||Sue Townsend||A rite of passage that will make you belly laugh.||12+|
|Carmin Groenewald||Danny Champion of the world.||Roald Dahl||The first time I read this book I found it quite interesting and I couldn’t put it down. Normally I’ll read chapter by chapter to the boys, but I had to finish it before them. I just loved the way the two main characters devised such a peculiar plan of action. It will make you smile.||Grade 3-5 If you are into Roald Dahl books, I do recommend this one.|
|Naadhirah Loonat||The Bluest Eye||Toni Morrisson||Beautifully sad and life changing.||Adults|
|Naadhirah Loonat||Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close||Jonathan Safran Foer||An interesting and unusual young boy goes on a journey to uncover the truth about his father. Very funny and emotional!||12+|
|Scott Mallen||The Red Pony||John Steinbeck||From the look of the cover and title, you’d think you’d be reading a happy little novella about a boy and his horse, but it’s so much more than that.||11-14 years|
|Cameron Eliot||Spud||John van der Ruit||An amusing read that that is relatable to boys in the life of a boarder in South African schools.||13+|
|Maresce Opperman||The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse.||Charlie Mackesy||An easy read with the most creative illustrations. It is a book filled with hope and positivity.||All ages|
|Tina Mashobane||New Kid||Jerry Craft||A graphic novel about being the new kid at school and the challenges that follow. Jordan is a 12-year old boy trying to navigate an unfamiliar and at times, hostile environment. He goes on a journey to find his own identity and voice.||10+, parents and teachers. Lots of lessons in this coming of age book. If you enjoy learning about human nature persevering despite hurdles placed on your path, then this book is for you.|
|Erika Kinnear||The Boys in the Boat||Daniel James Brown||Fascinating book full of historical facts, combined with the very moving, personal stories of the American rowing eight that went to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin||All Ages|
The aim of the Photography Club is to give Ridge boys the opportunity to share ideas, to discuss their mutual interest in photography in a social atmosphere and most importantly, to improve their photography. The Photography Club is a small interactive community of seriously enthusiastic and committed photographers, meeting weekly to learn new skills and share their work in an attempt to raise their standards of image making. In so doing, we aim to develop their interests, visions, imaginations and camera skills to levels of creative excellence that make their photographs outstanding and memorable. The boys all share a common interest and their experience levels range from amateurs through to experienced. They are devoted to learning more about digital photography and in doing so have captured some spectacular images. This term we spent most of our afternoons outside, photographing our beautiful school. Our weekly lessons were specially designed to teach our boys all about composition, aperture, shutter speed, focus, blur, macro photography, creativity, the rule of thirds and lighting.
Please see a selection of amazing photographs that the boys took this term below.
We look forward to Term 2 and the opportunities that a crisp and clear Winter bring to the enthusiastic Photography Club boys.
The Debating Club is facilitated by the Coach Itu Academy (CIA), an organisation that specialises in coaching Debating and Critical Thinking, Public Speaking and Leadership.
The school’s Debating Club comprises of about 20 boys on each of the days that the boys have debating. We are proud to have boys in attendance from Monday to Friday, with Grades 5-7 having two days each.
The skills of Debating and Critical Thinking are two of the most important in 21st Century education, as it allows for learners to think beyond their prescribed learning material. Learners are taught to question everything at every level, so that their thinking skills are not only sharpened, but allow them to become thought-leading citizens. During Term 1, the main focus of the Debating Club was to teach the boys the different types of debate, types of motions, how to construct cases, how to structure arguments and how to break down an opponent’s arguments.
The boys were also taught policy-making skills and setting up criteria for normative topics. With this, they were given the opportunity to test their debating skills by exploring some of the following motions: This House would ban violent video games; This House would make extra-mural activities compulsory in all South African Schools; This House would ban beauty pageants; This House would ban prayer of all forms in all schools.
These topics, broad as they are, have allowed the boys to engage with issues that go far beyond just giving their opinions. They were able to notice micro-aggressions, become more empathetic and allow themselves to challenge their own thoughts and comfort zones.
On 27 March, the Grade 6 and 7 boys attended the SACEE Junior League, a league that comprises of Grade 8 and 9 learners. Matthew Jennings, Griffin Schroder, Leruo Chikapaphiri, Ikenna Solarin, Finn Berman, Felix Jackson, Katleho Ramatsoso, Lwazi Mabusa, Lafika Mabundla and Lithalethu Tuku represented The Ridge School in our very first competition. It was a wonderful learning experience. The day was extremely long and unplanned. The boys displayed true Ridge culture and came to the table in the most fabulous way. Even though the competition took place on an online platform, our boys showed resilience working from home yet still working excellently as part of a team.
The Ridge achieved a total of 4 out of 6 wins, with four of the boys scoring best speaker in their various rounds: Katleho Ramotsoso and Finn Berman in Round 1, Litha Tuku in Round 2 and Felix Jackson in Round 3. They faced St. Dunstan’s College, Fourways High, Cornwall Hill and Birchleigh High, among others. After each round, the coaches provided extensive feedback which the parents were then able to share with the boys and ensure the boys apply it in the next rounds. In Term 2, the SACEE League continues which we are eagerly anticipating.
It would be remiss of us to not acknowledge our wonderful Ridge parents who, as always, were there in support to keep the flag of our great school flying high.
Faronaaz Patel and Coach Itu
Mrs McLellan and Mr Mistry took on the Coding Club at the beginning of this year. We started the term with the decoding of secret detective messages that have been used through the ages and around the world. Once the boys had engaged their ‘coding’ minds, we asked them to do the coding project. The project was to first research a landmark or building, anywhere in the world, and to collect at least 10 facts. The second phase was to recreate this landmark/building using the Minecraft App. The third phase was to put this all together in a video and to upload to Google Classroom. One of the main points of this project was that they were in no way allowed to tell Mr Mistry or myself which landmark or building they were doing. Once this project is concluded, we will then have to watch the video, assess the whole project, guess the landmark/building and then choose the Top 4 projects.
All the coding boys have had fun, especially with the secrecy, planning, collaboration and using their coding skills to put it all together. Mr Mistry and I have had so many enjoyable moments watching the boys enjoy the challenges and are really looking forward to seeing what the boys have produced. Thank you to all the boys and the effort that they have put in.
Suzanne McLellan and Darshan Mistry
General Knowledge Quiz Club
Tuesday and Thursday afternoons have seen the dawn of The Ridge School’s very own Quiz Club. Grade 6 and 7 Quiz fans join me in the library and we play online quizzes, all competing for that all-important Number 1 spot. Unfortunately, our Inter-School Competitions have been put on hold due to Covid-19 restrictions, but when they are reintroduced, we will be VERY ready!
“Chess improves concentration, develops logical thinking, analytical skills, visualisation skills, decision-making skills, abstract thinking, planning skills and memory, amongst others.” Chess encourages and trains a player to concentrate as it is a game of strategy. It builds good sportsmanship in the players.
This term we have a lot of Grade 4 and 5 boys participate in online Chess tournaments without fail. Furthermore, a number of Grade 6 and 7 have also participated in these tournaments.
It is inspiring to see so many boys enjoying chess. The boys come to practise their skills every afternoon from Monday to Friday. Observing social distancing and sanitizing all the pieces and boards after every match played. Every Wednesday they played an online Chess Tournament which was enjoyed by many boys as they challenge other players from various schools around the country.
Currently, our boys cannot travel to play tournaments at other schools due to Covid-19 restrictions. Thank you to the IT Department who enabled our boys to continue practising, playing and challenging other schools through Online Chess Links such as Lichess.org.
Junior Prep Sport
A year ago, we were all talking about living in the ‘New Normal’ and facing the reality of not having sport at school for an extended period of time. Covid-19 has affected our lives in the past year and there are many lessons that have been learnt. Sport has been affected greatly throughout the whole world and it still continues to be affected a year later. At the Ridge School, boys have missed out on the opportunity to participate in sport, but we have managed to find creative ways to do physical activity at school and online.
The year started two weeks later than expected, but despite the delay, our boys were keen and ready to go from the start of February with Physical Education and after-school activities. Each grade has a few focus areas that need to be developed, in a nurturing manner, especially in the Foundation years. In Grade 0 and 1, during Physical Education lessons, the main focus is individual development of gross motor and swimming skills. Swimming is one of the most important life skills for all our boys and I have been impressed by the willingness of the boys to swim and improve their skills, despite the time constraints. During gross motor and physical skills lessons, boys have learnt basic skills like hopping, jumping, skipping, hitting, kicking, throwing and catching. These skills were implemented through fun interactive games that have not only fostered good skill development, but also enjoyment.
The Grade 2 and 3 boys have an hour-long Physical Education lesson, where the main focus in Term 1 is swimming. The boys have had the opportunity to work in smaller focus groups with two coaches assisting in the pool at all times. At the end of Grade 3, it is expected that each boy can swim comfortably across the Ridge School pool without any aid. The boys have shown the willingness to improve their stroke technique and swimming fitness.
Afternoon sport is the opportunity to learn sport specific skills. This term, we have focused on cricket. In Grade 0, cricket is introduced for the first time to the boys. The three main cricketing skills, which are batting, bowling and fielding are developed. This has also allowed us, as coaches, to get to know our boys and grow their skills in a fun interactive way. Boys have enjoyed learning about the game and continue to gain more knowledge about cricket each and every session. In Grade 1 and 2, our afternoon cricket practice is about understanding the game in more depth by playing structured games where each boy has an opportunity to bat, bowl and field. This will allow each boy to make the transition to ‘hard ball cricket’ in the Senior Prep.
This has been a busy and enjoyable term on the sporting front and has allowed our boys to return to sport participation in a controlled manner. I would like to thank all the coaches for their dedication and commitment to coaching each boy and growing their love for sport. We looking forward to engaging with your boys on the sport field with the updated sports program in Term 2.
Senior Prep Sport
The start of 2021 has been quite frustrating from a sporting perspective as the lockdown restrictions and Department of Education restrictions have prevented schools from participating in inter-school sport for most of the term.
We have not been allowed to do any contact sport to date which meant that we could only offer cricket, swimming, tennis and water polo training. Basketball fixtures have been moved to Term 3, together with water polo and cricket.
There have been many changes during the course of this term and it’s been quite difficult to plan ahead and schedule fixtures and events. The continuous uncertainty of when and would be allowed has really challenged the patience of both the boys and staff.
Despite the restriction this term, our boys played internal cricket matches which were used as trials. Not only was this very good practice and exposure for the boys, it also allowed for a bit of healthy competition between the boys. However, they did become quite frustrated not being able to test their skills against other schools, except for a once off Saturday fixture against St. Stithians.
We were also very limited in terms of swimming any galas. Fortunately, we managed to swim our Inter-House Championship gala, but without spectators. In an interesting and forward thinking turn of events, we were able to live stream this event due to a generous donation by Mr Terlingen.
As we look to Term 2, the future is looking a little brighter, provided we don’t have any new changes from a COVID point of view. We will be starting football and tennis fixtures based on the latest gazetted regulations.
I want to extend a big thank you to all the coaches who have worked tirelessly to give of their best to the boys and to keep the boys as motivated as possible as well and injecting a sense of fun and enjoyment into their respective sport.
Bennie du Preez
The swimming season was set to take on a different format this year. Even though we still had our early morning training sessions, we waited with bated breath to hear if we could participate in any Inter-School Galas. This was unfortunately not on the cards and we focused our energy on the Inter-house Championship Gala. And what a tremendous gala it was! It went ahead without a hitch, albeit a bit different as we could not have any spectators. However, we did manage to live-stream the gala to our parents – a first for The Ridge. Our swimmers brought their ‘gees’ and we had some top-notch performers on the day.
There were many close fought, exciting individual races and Cheales and Dunn House battled it out neck and neck for most of the day, until the relays. The depth of Dunn’s crawl relay teams saw them claw their way back and they eventually took over the lead during the final races to earn themselves the title of ‘Inter-House Swimming Champions 2021’.
Thank you to all the parents who brought their sons in to school at the crack of dawn for training. Lastly, a massive thank you to all the coaches and swimmers for all their time and hard work throughout the season and in keeping the boys motivated and enthusiastic.
This term’s cricket season has been very frustrating as we were only allowed to play internal fixtures. This was initially great fun, but the novelty started wearing off by week five as the same boys were playing each other almost every week. There were, however, some very impressive performances during these internal fixtures and did help make team selections a little easier.
Connor van der Walt, our 2021 Cricket Captain, said that he really enjoyed the internal fixtures but that he was really looking forward to all the boys expressing themselves on the field against other schools. We are holding thumbs that we will get more opportunities in Term 3.
Even though we had planned several fixtures for the term, we were only able to play one Saturday fixture against St. Stithians on 20 March. This was something that the boys were really looking forward to, and it’s a pity we couldn’t play all our sides against them. As we look ahead, we will pick up cricket in Term 3 after the hockey season. Hopefully we can catch up quite a few fixtures then.
Bennie du Preez
It was fantastic to see the boys re-engage in climbing again this term. Their determination to improve on their efficiency, endurance, form and speed is commendable. Congratulations go out to the following boys who made the CR8 group (these are the City Rock advanced climbers) – Jude Pretorius, William McIlleron, Adam Preston, Mustafa Adroos, Owen Murfin, Jack Heenan, Thomas Naude and Zachary Pretorius. These boys worked hard on mastering their skill and technique, but they also had tons of fun in the process. Here’s what they had to say about their experience so far:
- Jude Pretorius: Not only is CR8 fun, but it is helping me progress in climbing ability and helping me get fitter. It has given me an opportunity to form closer bonds with my climbing team.
- William McIlleron: I am enjoying being part of the CR8. I challenge myself to boulder on the shorter walls with the bigger overhangs and to top rope or lead on the taller walls with the furthest reaches.
- Mustafa Adroos: CR8 is an exhilarating, new experience for me. I am always eager to go each week. When we enter the bright red gates at City Rock I am all set for the great heights of its walls and ready for the mental and physical challenges.
- Owen Murfin: I look forward to going to City Rock. We do cool climbing challenges with Coach Sonja and I feel inspired when I complete a challenge.
- Jack Heenan: I like being challenged and Coach Sonja pushes me to climb to greater heights at City Rock.
- Thomas Naude: I get excited and I feel proud when I finish a high-grade climb.
- Zachary Pretorius: I haven’t found it as hard as I thought it would be. It does give me a challenge but I still really like it because it’s fun being part of the group and with friends.
A huge number of Grade 4 boys showed interest in joining the climbing sport. Unfortunately, we were only able to cater for 16 boys as the coach to climber ratio had to be reduced to comply with Covid-19 regulations. These were some of the responses from the new climbers when asked, “Why are you interested in climbing?”
- Oliver Rousseau: I climb the walls and doors in my house. I decided to take up climbing at school because it is safer on the climbing walls!
- Jamie Cole-Morgan: I joined climbing because it makes me feel like I am on an adventure.
- Matteo De Gennaro: I have been waiting to do climbing since Grade 1 when I saw the climbing wall.
- Anathi Gantsho: The bigger boys told me that climbing builds muscles and I want to be strong.
- Sivuno Mxakwe: I want to overcome my fear of heights.
- Max Erasmus: My dad is a very good climber and I want to be just like him.
- Daluxolo Sithebe: I feel so alive when I do climbing.
- Danyaal Kola: I wanted to learn something new.
- Leo Rousseau: I saw pictures of people in magazines climbing huge mountains and it looked so much fun.
- Finn Osler: I joined climbing to exercise and strengthen my arms and fingers.
- Andrew Cole: I want to develop my upper body strength just like my dad.
We also had a few new Grade 7 boys join climbing this term. Here’s what they had to say:
- Calvin Wagner: I joined climbing because I saw the other boys having so much fun on the wall. Also, the coaches seem to have a real passion for their job.
- Viggo Price: I wanted to go outside of my comfort zone.
It was wonderful for the boys to get back out on the water this term after a difficult 2020 season due to the COVID lockdown. A total of 33 boys participated in canoeing and it was great to see a large interest from Grade 4, with 16 new boys joining the weekly sessions at Emmarentia Dam. For new canoeists, the first few sessions of the year always comprise of dam safety lessons, where the boys mainly learn how to recover after capsizing their boats. This is an ideal skill to learn in the hot summer sun, where a little swim after falling out your boat is considered quite a favourable and refreshing outcome for most boys! The advanced boys worked on their paddling technique under the expert eye of Attila Adrovicz, an Olympic silver medallist and the current high performance coach at the Dabulamanzi Canoe Club.
The only official race this term was the Gauteng Sprint Champs, which took place at Victoria Lake in Germiston on Saturday the 6th of March. The Ridge had 5 boys representing our school: Viggo Price, Matthew Samuels-Duvel, Calvin Wagner, Matthew Hume and Jack Heenan. All of them raced well in some difficult and windy conditions. A highlight of the event was seeing Jack Heenan finish 1st in the U12 100m race, which is an outstanding achievement.
This term also saw me host the 4th ‘Race the Boat’ fundraiser for Salvazione School as part of my final portage training for the Dusi Canoe Marathon during the Monday assembly on the 15th of March. The idea of the fundraiser is for the boys from Grade 4 to 7 to race against me whilst I carry a boat around the 2km cross country route. This year I was lucky to have Josh Hall’s dad (who was also doing the Dusi this year) as a running partner for the event. There were prizes awarded to the top 3 runners per grade, and small chocolate spot prizes were given to all the boys that were able to outrun us.
It was great to see canoeing slowly return to normal and we look forward to the exciting upcoming events in Term 3 later this year.
Grade 7 Induction
The Grade 7 Induction Assembly was a special assembly which honoured and recognised the senior boys of the school. It was held on an early February morning, and the beautiful summer weather brought a special energy to the Hersov Field.
This assembly has become a tradition at The Ridge and the boys were officially welcomed as the leaders of the school in the presence of the Senior Prep boys, staff and the Grade 7 parents. Dressed in their ‘summer blues’, the boys tied ‘The Rope’ and took the Grade 7 pledge, both symbolic of the role the boys hold at school.
The assembly signifies the start to what promises to be a wonderful year ahead for the boys. We encourage boys to embrace the year and look for opportunities that will extend and challenge them. As the seniors of the school, we wish them a year filled with fond memories, happiness and personal growth.
Grade 4 Capping Ceremony
The capping ceremony is a wonderful occasion that takes place at the beginning of the year to mark the Grade 4s graduation into the Senior Prep. The Grade 7 boys welcome them into the Senior Prep by presenting each Grade 4 boy with his Ridge cap. Not only are the Grade 4s excited by the opportunities that lie ahead for them, but also that they can wear their cap as a significant symbol in recognition of their graduation.
The 2021 capping ceremony had to take a slightly different format this year owing to the Covid-19 restrictions. The event was delayed by a couple of weeks to allow parents to attend. It took place outside on the Hersov field, instead of the Nicolson Hall, which turned out to be a perfect venue. The early morning blue skies and golden sunlight overhead added an energy and a brightness to the occasion. The tiered steps significantly placed the Grade 7 boys on a higher level as the leaders of the school, as well as ensuring a clear view for everyone. The event is not only enjoyed by the boys, but also by their parents as they watch their sons embark upon the next phase of their lives.
We look forward to the Grade 4 boys continuing to wear their cap with pride, and we wish them a happy and fulfilling journey through the Senior Prep.
It’s my last article as Head of The Lighthouse, because I will be starting a psychology internship at Redhill School in June. Whilst I am grateful for the opportunity to progress my career, there is so much that I’ll miss about The Ridge, so I’m taking the liberty to make this article a personal one. Thanks for indulging me!
It takes a village to raise a child, and I believe that The Ridge School, where boys are known and grown, is a special village, for which I’m grateful to have been a part. Like any village, The Ridge, and The Lighthouse, which serves around 15% of our boys and which I believe to be an increasingly important part of our school, can only function with the tireless efforts of so many people – often behind the scenes. I am thankful to everyone who has contributed to making my time here special. Without the collaboration of parents and teachers, effective and efficient learning support is virtually impossible. I am most thankful of all, though, to the amazing Lighthouse team and to the boys themselves.
When I think of a beacon, such as that which The Lighthouse metaphorically represents – a true safe haven for The Ridge boys who need additional support in some form- I’m reminded of Marianne Williamson’s words, famously quoted by the world’s beloved Nelson Mandela:
Our Greatest fear – Marianne Williamson
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?’
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Thank you so much to Jan, Claire, Jacqui, Candice, Anne-ri, Retha, Ang and Jane. These are the brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous individuals who allow the boys to shine, and who have unconsciously given me permission to shine during my brief time as Head.
At the start of the year I was able to present the new Ridge Learning Support and Inclusion Policy, which I sincerely hope everyone who is a part of the school will read and hold us accountable to. I am passionate about inclusion and am proud to have been part of a school that embraces diversity, equality and Ubuntu. At The Ridge, we recognise individual differences and aim to ensure access, active participation and academic as well as personal success for every boy, regardless of any barriers to learning.
Ridge boys, you have made me laugh every day. Continue to be curious, courageous, conscious and kind!
Keep shining, Ridge family! I’ll miss you all.
Tour de Maths
Tour de Maths is an inter-schools Mathematics Problem Solving Competition open to learners in both primary and high schools throughout the country. Since COVID restriction came into effect, these events have taken place online, and there have been three Monday evening challenges this term. The following Grade 7 boys have been participants this year: Zhy Ravjee, Adam Gardee, Matthew Jennings, William Boland, Nyiko Mabunda, Oliver Bouilliart, Connor van der Walt, Adam Stoutjesdyk, Calvin Wagner and Ethan Stein.
How it works: The boys meet me on our Tour de Maths Google Meet at 5pm and I then break them up into smaller teams (up to 4 boys per team). They work together to complete 20 questions via a Google Form, which range in difficulty (more marks means more difficult) according to the following system:
- Section A has ten 5 mark questions
- Section B has five 10 mark questions
- Section C has five 20 mark questions
The teams then have until 7:30pm to submit their final answers.
Below are some example questions from the event that took place on Monday 29th of March – please give them a try!
1. Six points are chosen on two parallel lines x and y, as follows: 4 points are on line x and two points are on line y. How many triangles with their vertices among the given points are there?
2. There are several necklaces in a safe deposit. All the necklaces have the same number of diamonds (at least two diamonds in each necklace). If the number of diamonds in the safe deposit would be known, then the number of the necklaces would also be certainly known. There are more than 200 and less than 300 diamonds in the safe. How many necklaces are there?
3. Thomas was born on his mother’s 20th birthday, and so they share birthdays. How many times will Thomas’s age be a divisor of his mother’s age if they both live long lives?
We look forward to the rest of the year, which will have four more legs of the competition.