Union High School

Clubs and Societies

Art Club
Eco Club
Debating and Public Speaking
Chess Club
Performing Arts Club

Art Club
The Art Club came into existence in 2016 when a need to expose our learners to different forms of Art was identified. Any learner from Grade 6 to Grade 12 can join. The aim is to visit various artists in their studios so that learners can see how Art can be used as a way to generate an income, as way to relieve stress, or just as a hobby.

The Art Club visits various studios and galleries in the Eastern Cape during the year.

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Eco Club
The Eco Club was established by Primary School Educator, Jenny Street, at the beginning of 2013. Ms Street spent many years in the ‘wild’ where her passion for Nature Conservation and Environmental Education developed. This club is open to all serious young conservationists from Grades 5, 6 & 7. Meetings take place on alternate Tuesdays and Fridays. Members are expected to commit for a term at a time and there is a reward outing for loyal members who can boast a good attendance term record. The Eco Club was the springboard which gave birth to our school’s Eco-School Status.

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Debating and Public Speaking
This society meets four times per term and aims to provide a variety of interactive experiences relating to debating and public speaking in the hope that this will encourage quick thinking and innovative argument.

Public speaking competitions are held for each grade and this ensures that many learners get the opportunity to deliver speeches in front of an audience.

Annual Junior and Senior Speech Competitions are held and the winners are invited to participate in the Interschools' Speech Competition.

Grade 5 - 7 learners are also catered for and participate in a Junior School Annual Speech Competition.

Workshops are held to assist speakers in developing their skills.  Speech writing also forms part of the programme.

A committee is elected annually and these members assist the educator-in-charge with regard to planning and facilitating the programme.

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Chess Club
The Senior group (grades 8 - 12) meets once a week to practise their game and compete with one another. The top twelve players regularly take part in matches involving the Midland Schools. The chess ladder gives Union Players an incentive to improve their standard of chess. Players can attain team awards, half-colours and, if exceptional, colours, in chess.
During the year, the players take part in a knock-out competition for the Geoff Kingwill Floating Trophy which is awarded at the end of the year.

The Junior Chess group meets once a week to learn new skills, practice their game and compete against each other. A chess ladder is kept to show players where they are ranked. Friendly tournaments are played against neighbouring schools such as Cradock, Gill and Karel Theron. During the annual Interschools, two Junior Chess teams compete against Volkskool.

The players compete for the Harward Dixon Floating Trophy in an internal knock-out competition.This trophy is awarded at the Junior Prize Giving.

An informal chess practice takes place once a year at a restaurant in town as well as a movie night when a chess-related movie is screened.

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Performing Arts Club
Performing Arts Club has been running from 2016. This club is open for all learners in Grade 8 to Grade 12. They meet on a Monday evening and are exposed to various exercises in Drama, Song, Poetry and Dance enabling them to develop their talents and creativity. Run by Mr Jantjies and supported by Mrs Putter, talents can also be identified for the casting of the biannual Musicals.

The main event of the year is an Inter-house Cultural Evening which is held in Term 2. Both Daly and Arnott houses need to present a One-Act Play, a song item, poetry, monologues and a dance item.
Talents from this club are also showcased in other events through the year including the annual Eco Club Talent Show which takes place in Term 3 and the Formal Music Evening also in Term 3.

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The Interact club has strong support at school. Fostering a social conscience amonst the pupils, various fund raising events are held as well as community work done where needed.  All funds raised are donated to local charities.

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The South African Scout Association caters for youth and young adults from the ages of 7 through 30. It is split into three sections, Cubs, Scouts, and Rovers, with each section serving a different age group, and concentrating on different areas of personal development. It is also one of the largest youth organisations in the rural parts of South Africa and performs many community upliftment programmes in those areas.

The Graaff-Reinet Scout Troop was established in 1910 and continues to serve the Graaff-Reinet community and its young men with distinction under the guidance of Mr Bruce Maree. Scouts offer boys of Union High and beyond an organisation based on a solid foundation of clean living, honest work, unselfish citizenship and reverence for God. In all 108 years the Troop has only had a total of 14 Scout Leaders, probably one of the reasons for its stability in our society.

The Graaff-Reinet Scout Troop has presented 3 King Scout Badges, 5 Queen Scout Badges and since 1961, 74 Springbok Scout Badges.

Every four years a World Scout Jamboree is held in some part of the world. Some 35000 Scouts come together for this event. The last Jamboree was held in Japan in 2015 and two Scouts from our Troop attended this spectacular occasion.

The Graaff-Reinet Troop is recognised throughout South Africa for its calibre of Scouts that go out into the world. Many of our Scouts have attended the Patrol Leadership Courses held around South Africa and most of them have been invited back as staff on follow-up courses. Our Troop has had representation of Scouts at most of the International World Jamborees held every four years in some part of the world.

The Scout Troop meets on a Thursday evening from 18:30 - 20:30 at the Chookie Geard Scout Hall.

Cameron Muir is currently working towards achieving his Springbok Scout badge. During the December holidays he completed his construction project by building a tower big enough for a patrol of 8 to sleep in.
Corniel, Cameron and JJ - total survivors of the two
days - Cameron is holding the model which was
20 times smaller than the actual construction.
And look who climbed to the top!!
The mighty Bruce still climbs
up to the top of the projects.

Another great team-building project. Task: Pitch one of the Troop's 8-man canvas cottage tents upside down in the Scout Hall to include all guys, poles, etc - eventually took about 3 hours to complete! Scouts rated it a great programme and it was not as easy as one thinks - gravity is amazing when it comes to keeping the poles in position upside down!

Another notable achievement was celebrated at a function at the Scout Hall in Graaff-Reinet last Friday evening, when Cameron Muir was presented with his Springbok Award for Scouts. Cameron grew up scouting under the guidance of Bruce Maree. At a young age, he found solace in the natural world, and found his true self there. Strong and self-assured, Cameron is passionate about the outdoors and comes into his own in nature. He was also elected as Headboy at Union High where he displays true leadership skills beyond the school environment.

At the same ceremony, brothers Karl and David Venter and Jayden Swart were also invested into the Scout Troop.

There have been 74 scouts who have achieved the highest award of Springbok Scout over the years that scouting has been existent in Graaff-Reinet. In recent times Brian Kingwill, Brian and Stuart Welman, John Marais, James Moore, Rodney Naude, Kevin and Carl Watermeyer, Joe Kroon, Kayne Kingwill, Kobus Olivier , Leonard Kingwill, Kevin Prinsloo and Johan Vorster (to name a few), have achieved this prestigious accolade. Only 1% of all Scouts manage to put in the hours and dedication and become Springbok Scouts. To become a Springbok Scout, one has to undergo a rigorous series of challenges before the age of 18. Bear in mind that this is not a school activity, and has to happen over and above academic, cultural and sporting responsibilities at school. Some of the challenges include:
• Camping out in the wild for 30 or more days as a Scout.
• To build a 1:20 scale model of a proposed construction project needed in the community, and train and lead scouts in the building of the project.
• Lead the Patrol in planning, cooking and serving a 3-course hot, healthy meal to at least 6 people on an open fire, in camp, from raw ingredients.
• Plan and lead a hike of more than 30km and 2 nights over a route you have not covered before with a group of no less than 4 members. Select a theme as the focus of the hike and submit a written log for evaluation.
• Demonstrate organisational and leadership skills by planning, organising and conducting a camp for at least 2 patrols of at least 2 nights.
• Identify a need in the community and plan a solution and lead a patrol in meeting the need.
• Plan and conduct a ‘Scout’s Own’ church service.
• Attend 3 meetings of the Court of Honour and fully understand the execution of such a meeting.
• Have an understanding of the importance of mutual respect between people of different gender, race and culture.
• Give an oral presentation about the effect Scouting has had on your life.
• Enter into a Personal Growth Agreement with the Troop Leader.
• Attend a Panel Interview to confirm assimilation of all aspects of the Scout Programme and that the Promise and Law have been adopted as a way of life.

Martin du Bruyn, regional commissioner of Scouting in Cape Midlands presented Cameron with his Springbok Scout Award. It was a memorable moment when Cameron received his award before his parents Debbie and Devrin Muir.

The ceremony was followed by a hearty braai prepared by the Scouts in honour of these admirable men.

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