Last week’s College Prizegiving was a
particularly special one. I was thrilled to see so many Prep boys going
up to receive prizes, with many of them featuring in the top three in
their respective grades. Similarly, our Prep boys featured strongly in
the leadership positions for 2018: four out of eight Heads of House and a
number as Deputy Heads of House. Tim Sharples is Head of School and Okuhle Minyi Deputy Head of
School: Day Boys. Tim was Prep Head Boy and Okuhle
Chair of our Student Council in their Grade 7 year. It is wonderful to be
able to watch our Prep boys develop during their College years and
achieve success in a multitude of ways.
It is customary for
the incoming Head of School to make an acceptance speech which cannot be easy
given that he would not have had a great deal of time to prepare and it
is an important message for the boys for the coming year. Tim’s was a
humble and inspiring speech and two aspects of it really stood out for
me. First, he greeted the school in Xhosa, Afrikaans and English and the
second involved his late mother. Tim paid tribute to the support he had
received from his mother who died during his Grade 4 year. He reflected
how Mrs Siyengo, his early Xhosa teacher at the
Prep, had taught the boys to honour their mothers with a praise song to
mothers. He proceeded to sing it – an especially poignant moment of both
respect and complete honesty.
The outgoing Head of
School, Christian Rohrer, also a Prep boy, who as you know has been
treated for cancer throughout the year, delivered his final address.
Christian is now thankfully in remission and will sit his final
examinations over the next few weeks. He spoke openly of his journey over
the year, the challenges he had faced, his determination to maintain as
much normalcy in his Matric year as possible and the support he had
received. He too paid tribute to his parents and described how he felt he
had grown through a very harsh and taxing experience. His positive
attitude and commitment to make the most of his circumstances have
inspired College boys and they have really stood by him.
It was a very
special and moving experience: to see this level of self-reflection,
honesty in public and humility was both heart-warming and inspiring.