Union High School

Termly Newsletter

6 December 2017

Dear Parents

The year has come to an end and it feels as if it has sped by in a whirlwind. I thank you for your continued support of our School and trust that you will enjoy having your children at home for the holiday. May you all enjoy a good rest over the festive season and return safely in the new year.

Congratulations to Mrs Nelia Read who has been appointed Head of Department at the School. She is thoroughly deserving of this promotion and will continue to add value to our school.

We were delighted to welcome Mrs Suzanne Marais and Mrs Elsabe Moos to our office team at the beginning of the fourth term. Mr Stephen Bezuidenhout joined the staff at the beginning of term 4 and will no doubt have an impact on his charges as he grows into his new role here.

Mr Steve Grewar leaves the profession at the end of the year. Mr Grewar has been back at the School since January of 2012, and has had a significant impact on the lives of our learners during his time here. He has done all of this while recovering from acute illness and has not ever moaned or lamented his position. We are indeed privileged to have had a man of his calibre and standing as a member of staff at our school. We wish him a long and happy retirement.

Mrs Wendy Venter has been a fixture at the School since January 1990 and we are saddened that this indefatigable and loyal member of staff has reached retirement. Mrs Venter is a special teacher, someone born to be a teacher, and latterly a sports administrator, who has committed herself to this school. Mrs Venter will be sorely missed.

Mrs Wynford leaves our School at the end of this year and we wish her well as she joins her family in the Western Cape.

I am pleased to report that all vacancies for 2017 have been filled. New appointments for 2018 are: Ms Vona van Rensburg – Afrikaans 1st Additional Language; Mr Floris Steenkamp has been appointed Junior Sports Administrator; and Mrs Maritza Burger has accepted the position of Debtors Clerk.

Mrs Jackie Bezuidenhout who has served as Debtors Clerk for a number of years has tendered her resignation. We thank her for her service and trust that she will find fulfilment in her new role.

Congratulations to Ms Jenny Street who passed The Basics of Creative Writing Course presented by the SA Writers College with distinction. We are very proud of her achievement.

On Tuesday, 10 October, the Class of 2017 were inducted into the Old Unionite Association, by the Headmaster and the Chairman of the OU Mr John Crankshaw. Mr Greig Rose-Innes, National Chairman, shared a few words of wisdom with the learners, and emphasized the importance of staying in touch with their alma mater. They all received their official Old Unionite Association membership card, after which they shared their last meal together.

The Grade 4 class of Union Preparatory School hosted an A to 10 Dinner to recognise those Grade 12 learners who have completed twelve years of schooling at the Union Schools. This year, seventeen Grade 12’s and their parents were welcomed at the Prep School and escorted inside by the Grade 4’s, after which all were entertained with song and dance. This was followed by a final walk across the Union fields, to the Tony Burrell Union, where they enjoyed a scrumptious meal. The A to 10 Dinner is one of the great traditions at Union, and always a very special occasion.

The Valedictory Service, a farewell to the Matric Class of 2017, was held on 13 October. In a fittingly dignified manner, the assembled learners, educators, parents and friends of the School enjoyed a programme which included tributes by Mr Sullivan and the Headmaster and a response from the Head Prefects, Ross Stanley and Timony Miller. The assembly enjoyed the Matrics singing their farewell song; I Was Here, as well as a slideshow of photographs and memories of their time at school. The assembly was followed by tea in the Tony Burrell Union before the Matrics walked off the school campus for the last time.

From 14-16 October, the 2017 prefect body attended a camp where they enjoyed the opportunity to get to know each other, develop their leadership skills and learned how to co-operate as a team. At the end of the camp they voted for the head prefects, who were announced at the annual Prizegiving on 20 October.

The Senior Prizegiving ceremony was held in the school hall on Friday 20 October and was a fitting tribute to the year that we have enjoyed and to the learners who have excelled during the year. Our guest of honour, Mrs Elaine Stanley, graciously presented the prizes to the learners while Governing Body Chairman, Mr Arland Stanley presented his annual report on the activities of the school. At this occasion Rebecca Langmead was announced as Headgirl, Cameron Muir as Headboy, and Kelly Rose-Innes as Deputy Headgirl and Matt Harpur as Deputy Headboy for 2018.

The Primary Department Prizegiving was held on 20 November and our special guest, Mrs Ros Krige, graciously presented the prizes to the learners. I thank Mrs Cloete and all the Primary Department educators for their efforts in ensuring that the event was such a memorable occasion and congratulate all those who received appropriate recognition for their efforts throughout the year.

The fifth Top Level History Tour, where learners enjoyed an excursion to Westbrook Farm in the Camdeboo took place from 3-5 November. They enjoyed a hike to Onbedacht Farm, collected sheep and cattle on Grootvlei farm and experienced a moonlit swim on Langfontein Farm. Thank you to Mrs Rose-Innes who accompanied the class and arranged the trip.

The Ceremony took place on Friday 10 November and was once again a fitting tribute to those members of the armed forces who have died on duty since World War I. Reverend Oriel Alby led the devotions, while the Headmaster spoke about the significance of the day, and its relevance to the youth of today, that now, thankfully, a great many South Africans, have no personal experience of war, no way of knowing the anguish of enforced separation, or the greater grief of separations made permanent. Mr Charles Maasdorp played the Last Post and the Reveille while Mr Sparrius lowered and raised the national flag. Wreaths were laid by the Head Prefects and by Mr John Carnkshaw on behalf of the Old Unionite Association.

The Headmaster, accompanied by the Head Prefects, attended the Remembrance Day Ceremony at St James’ Church on Sunday 12 November and laid wreaths on behalf of the school.

The use of tablets is compulsory for all Grade 8-10 learners in 2018. No sim cards are allowed in tablets during school time. Tablet slingbags are available at UHS Clothing Shop. Please see the school web-site for tablet specifications.

An exciting addition to the annual school calendar is a Grade 8 Orientation Camp, which will take place from 18-19 January 2018. The camp will be conducted at the Camdeboo Outdoor Education Centre and will focus on welcoming learners into the high school, teamwork and personal growth.

At a time when many schools are reducing the number of subjects on offer, we are delighted to be introducing History as a school subject in the F.E.T. Phase in 2018.

We are very proud of our 24 pupils who took on the challenge, to practice hard and prepare themselves for their piano exams this year. The day of the exams was as usual marked by nervous faces and shaky hands, but they all completed it successfully!

The names and results of the ABRSM Grade Candidates (piano) are as follows:
• Grade 7: Faith McDonald – Distinction; Yu-Pei Rong – Merit; Rebecca Langmead – Merit; Jenna McNaughton – Pass
• Grade 6: Angelica Jankovich-Besan – Merit; Kiah Hoffman – Pass; Phoebe-Sue Adonis – Pass; Jade Shires – Pass
• Grade 4: Jamie Jaftha – Distinction; Hannah Watermeyer – Merit; Chloe Shires – Merit; Barbara McNaughton – Merit; Cole Reizenberg – Pass; Carmen Beaumont – Pass; Shayna Japhta – Pass
• Grade 3: Anna Pringle – Merit; Taylyn Miller – Pass; Caitrin Spence – Pass
• Grade 2: Jamie Rudlin – Pass; Ann-Noleen Koeberg – Pass; Caytah-Leigh Koeberg – Pass
• Grade 1: Lana Bouwer – Merit; Hilary Jacobs – Pass
• Prep Test: Vivian McEwan
The following students wrote the ABRSM Gr 5 Theory exams, and passed with excellent results.
• Grade 5: Yu-Pei Rong – 98%; Jade Shires – 78%; Phoebe-Sue Adonis – 78%
Kiah Hoffman played her Gr 3 Violin exam and passed with Merit.
Yu-Pei Rong, currently a grade 10 learner, started his formal music education towards the end of his Gr 7 year in 2014. His progress was as follows:
2015: Played Gr 2 – passed with Distinction
2016: Played Gr 5 – passed with Distinction
2017: Wrote Gr 5 theory – passed with 98%; Played Gr 7 – passed with Merit
Congratulations to Yu-Pei on his outstanding progress and results.
Congratulations to all of our music student on their excellent results!

The Eco Club visited our local water treatment plant on Friday 27 October and learned from Gerrit Niemand how water from Nqweba Dam gets from the dam to our taps. They also understood that it is CRITICAL for EVERYONE to be WATER WISE, since only 3% of our dam water (dam levels now at
13%) is usable. When the dam water level drops to 10%, then our town will have to rely on borehole water and it is not known how much water these boreholes will yield.

This annual event took place on Wednesday 22 November and every class at the School participated in Eco activities ranging from visits to the Traffic Department, an outing to the Karoo Catch Fish Farm and

At Interschools this year, the School launched a Trolley-Dash fundraiser in partnership with Pick ‘n Pay. Three winners were drawn and the Grade 6 learner who raised the most funds, David Kinghorn, was rewarded with a helicopter flight for four people, sponsored by Fly Karoo. The three winners, Lauren Waddelow, Mr Norman Kroon and Anja Oelofsen and a very excited Grade 6G class and their parents, gathered at Pick ‘n Pay to take part in the trolley-dash. Positions were drawn, as there was a 1 minute, 2 minute and a 3 minute dash. With the encouragement of the grade 6 class, winners were running through the aisles of Pick ‘n Pay, filling their trolleys with whatever their heart desires. Mrs Waddelow of Pick ‘n Pay then also allowed Mrs Gerber, class teacher of the grade 6Gs, with the very excited encouragement of her class, to have a 30 second dash for an end-of-year class party. Refreshments were also offered to all who attended. What a fun-filled fundraiser this was for all involved. Thank you to thank Pick ‘n Pay and Fly Karoo for their generosity in sponsoring prizes.

On 14 October, 10 athletes participated in the prestigious Bestmed, Madibaz and Tams Superspar Schools Top Ten Athletics Meeting held in Cradock. Various schools as far afield as Upington and Paarl were represented. Our team was placed 30th out of 83 teams. The following learners received medals for outstanding performances: Iviwe Ndamane 2nd 800m, Thando Haarmans 2nd Long Jump and Sanja du Plessis 1st 800m. Although Soyama Mbobi did not receive a medal, he contributed the most points towards our total with 833 points for his 100 m and 764 points for the 200 m. He had stiff competition and finished 4th and 5th in the two events.

The 15th Interschools Athletics Meeting with our neighbours Hoёr Volkskool, was held on Wednesday, 25 October and Mr Dorfling of Volkskool dedicated this meeting to Mr Fanie Bezuidenhout. It was a hot and windy day, but that did not stop our team from taking part enthusiastically and breaking quite a few records. We earned 16 first places, 14 second places and 11 third places. First places were awarded to the following learners: Jenna McNaughton 800 m Girls U16; Ntsika Ngongoma 100 m and 200 m Boys U14; Junior Duba 100 m Boys U15; Matthew Carelse 800 m Boys U15; Rosslyn Sparks Discus Girls U17 and 800 m Girls U17; Sanja du Plessis 800 m and 1 500 m Girls U18; Iviwe Ndamane 800 m and 1 500 m Boys U17; Erin Mitchell High Jump Girls U14; Brett Amsterdam Long Jump Boys U15; Luke McNaughton Javelin Boys U16; Benito Vers 200 m Boys U15; Mack Rubidge High Jump Boys U15; Thando Haarmans Long Jump Boys U17.
The following athletes learners broke records: Sanja du Plessis 800 m Girls U18 2:44,65 minutes and 1 500 m Girls U18 5:50,66 minutes; Erin Mitchell High jump Girls U14 1,38 m; and Thando Haarmans Long Jump Boys U17 6,03 m. We extend our congratulations to all the participants, as well as the keen supporters who cheered them on so well.

A group of biathletes competed in the third EP Biathlon League event on Wednesday 18 October in Port Elizabeth. They recorded mixed results, with some improving on either their running time or their swimming time. Candice Russell was the only competitor to improve on her total points. The results were: U17 Girls: Jenna McNaughton 6th (1843), Amanda Brink 7th (1606); U19 Girls: Candice Russell 2nd (2033), Sanja du Plessis 5th (1821); U15 Boys: Corniel Vorster 3rd (962); U19 Boys: V C Beldon 2nd (1463), Ben Kroon 3rd (1361). Unfortunately Cameron Muir and Micela Loock withdrew due to illness.

The following were selected to represent Eastern Province in an Inter-provincial Meeting on 28 October in Port Elizabeth: Micela Loock EP ‘A’ – Girls U17, Jenna McNaughton EP ‘B’ – Girls U17, Candice Russell EP ‘A’ – Girls U19, Sanja du Plessis EP ‘B’ – Girls U19, Cameron Muir EP ‘A’ – Boys U19. The results were as follows: Girls U17: Jenna McNaughton 5th; Micela Loock 8th; Girls U19: Candice Russell 4th; Sanja du Plessis 7th; Boys U19: Cameron Muir 2nd.

During the school holidays, Union’s 1st XI cricket team attended the 50th Annual Cape Schools Cricket Week, which this year was hosted by Grey High School in Port Elizabeth. On the first day Union played Paul Roos Gymnasium in a time-cricket match. Paul Roos won the toss and elected to bat first, scoring 254 for 6 in their 65 overs. Matt Harpur took 3 wickets, Cowan Swartz 2 and Sinethemba Ndudula 1. When Union went in to bat, they played for a draw, but unfortunately got bowled out with one ball left. Paul Roos won the match. On Day 2, vs Dale College, Union won the toss, elected to bat first and scored 124 runs, with Luke McNaughton scoring a beautiful 52 runs off only 35 balls. When Dale went in to bat, Union limited them to 80 runs all out. Waylon du Plessis took 4 wickets, and Matt Harpur and Brett Amsterdam two each. Union won the match by 44 runs.

On Day 3, vs Queen’s College, again Union won the toss and elected to bat first and scored 202 runs all out. Matt Harpur scored 36 runs, Sinethemba Ndudula 35 and Bowen Langmead 30. Union bowled Queens out for 96 runs. Waylon du Plessis and Matt Harpur each took 4 wickets and Cowan Swartz took 2. On Day 4, vs St Andrews High School (Bloemfontein), St Andrews won the toss and batted first, scoring a total of 294 runs. Sinethemba Ndudula and Cowan Swartz took 3 wickets each and Matt Harpur took 2. Unfortunately the target was just too high for the Union boys and they were bowled out for 88. St Andrews won the match by 206 runs. We wish to congratulate the Union boys and their coach, Mr Hannes Lombard, on a successful Cape Schools.

Congratulations to the following cricketers who have been selected for the Karoo U17 Cricket Team: Waylon Du Plessis, Cowan Swartz (Vice-Captain), Trevor Moos, Luke McNaughton, Matt Harpur (Captain), Sinethemba Ndudula, Brett Amsterdam, Zusakhe Nywane.

The following players were selected to take part in the final cricket trials to select a Karoo U12 Team: Brent Hesselink, Cullen Marais, Shakir Kazi, Laython Karelse, and Jude Langmead. At these trials, all of the above players were selected to represent the team, which will participate in a cricket festival in Port Elizabeth from 1-3 December.

As part of the Goals for Cancer initiative with Huyndai and Caltex College Motors, a cheque of R10 000 was handed to representatives of the Graaff-Reinet Cancer Association. At every hockey match that Union’s 1st hockey team played during this season, each half began with a pink ball in play for a period of 5 minutes. For each goal that was scored during the 5 minutes, Huyndai and Caltex College Motors donated R100 to the Cancer Association. This year, that amount totalled R10 000. We wish to thank Huyndai and Caltex College Motors for partnering with our girls in such an important cause.

The School hosted another very successful Golf Day on Saturday 28 October. The weather was perfect and a super day was enjoyed by all. The winners of this year's Golf Day were Mr M Erasmus and Mr M Visagie. A day such as this would not be possible without supporters and we are indebted to committed sponsors for their generous contribution in making the Golf Day a success: Bryan Bands Sports, Caltex College Motors, Chip ‘n Dip, Derek Light Attorneys, Gerber Botha and Gower, Hyundai, Jac Grobbelaar Photography, Miglio, Loock Safaris, Karoo Catch, Ken’s Radio, Midboard, The Old Unionite Association and Pick and Pay.

Over the past term, an internal 5-a-side hockey tournament took place at the School. Teams consisted of girls and boys, educators and learners, S.A. players and novices, but at the end of the day, fun was the name of the game! The final of the tournament was contested by the Duracell Team and the Thunderbirds. It was a tense match, with the Duracell team scoring first, followed by a quick goal from the Thunderbirds. And that was the run of the game, with Duracell leading by one goal for most of the match. Playing 15 minutes a side, and with 2 minutes to go, Thunderbirds were leading by two goals. However, this did not stop the Duracell team scoring another 2 quick goals, finishing the match on a 10-all draw. This resulted in a penalty shoot-out between the two teams, which ended with Duracell winning on a technical goal. This was a fun-filled tournament, with every player giving it their all to get the ball into the goal box. The competition was fierce, and the boys certainly did not stand back for the girls. Congratulations to Team Duracell, Matthew Broeksma, Matt Harpur (Captain), Micela Loock, Kelsey Minnaar, Jenna McNaughton, Luke McNaughton, Kaydn Retief and Jade Shires, for winning this one – you will certainly be challenged again next year!

Our top 6 girls and 4 boys participated in the Jocelyn Marais Invitation Tennis Tournament organised by Matchpoint Tennis on Friday and Saturday 3-4 November. The competition was incredibly strong, but all our players rose to the challenge and played very good tennis. Aron Erasmus was awarded the Jocelyn Marais Floating Trophy. It was a great experience and the players certainly benefitted from exposure to tennis of such a high standard. Mrs Grewar and Mrs Gerber thank our players for their exceptional sportsmanship. Well done to our fine young ambassadors.

The Primary Department held their Interhouse Swimming Gala on Tuesday 10 November. All learners were given the opportunity to participate and so earn points for their respective houses. Well done to Daly House who emerged as the winners.

Please be advised that the white 1st Team tracksuit top may be worn throughout the year regardless of the sport for which it has been earned. I trust that this will clarify the matter for concerned parents.

From January 2018, the School Clothing Shop will have modern banking facilities enabling parents to pay for their purchases with bank cards etc. Until now, the shop has been a cash-only facility. Please be advised that the School runs this facility as a service for parents, and as such it is run as a non-profit enterprise. The reason for this is to ensure the best possible uniform prices for parents. There will be times when suppliers let us down and certain items are unavailable to parents. This is often beyond our control, and I ask parents to be understanding of this. We are also unable to carry large amounts of stock as this would cause cash flow problems for further purchases. It is also difficult to publish both summer and winter pricelists on social platforms as these prices become outdated within a few months. However, we will make these available with a footnote reflecting the prices being subject to change.

The girls and staff at Herby Arnott House are sad to bid farewell to Margaret de Boer who has worked here for an astounding 30 years! According to hostel superintendent Martie Sullivan, Margaret has been a hard-working, diligent member of staff who seldom missed a day’s work. Margaret took great pride in preparing delicious meals for the girls and her knowledge of the intricacies of running a large kitchen is incredible. Margaret will be sorely missed because of her positive work ethic and helpfulness. The Herby Arnott girls presented Margaret with cake, gifts and flowers and formed a guard of honour for this special lady who has been an integral part in the lives of so many.

At the meeting held on 17 November the proposed budgets and fees for 2018 were accepted by all parents present. A detailed list of the fees is included in the finance letter.

I would like to thank Mrs Pringle and her team for another outstanding annual school magazine, the product of many hours of hard work throughout the year. I trust that you will enjoy reflecting on the year that our children have enjoyed as you page through this wonderful record of the events of 2017.

The school campus undergoes constant maintenance and I thank Mr Donald Kingwill for the tremendous pride with which he fulfils his duties. Of late, however, we have experienced many random acts of senseless vandalism of our campus. Unfortunately this will result in the campus being closed in the evening and on weekends and holidays.

All parents should take note that teenagers are increasingly using cellphones for other than their intended purpose. The National Department of Education is becoming increasingly concerned by the anti-social material, particularly of a pornographic nature, some of which is particularly unsavoury and vicious, which learners are circulating. This is completely unacceptable to the school. Cellular phones are not permitted at school and we accept no responsibility for lost or stolen cellular phones. Phones must be handed in at the secretaries’ office for safe-keeping if they have to be brought to school. Any cellular phones found at school, whether being used or not, will be confiscated immediately.

In terms of the My School Card initiative, we are the top-earning school in the Eastern Cape and I thank our many parents who go to the trouble of supporting the school in this way. There is a link on the OUA website where any member of the public is able to download application forms to support the school via the My School Card project. Please do register in support of the school.

The school is able to communicate with parents via an internet-based communications tool known as School Communicator. You will need to get a CD from school (cost R10.00) or you will be able to download the necessary information from www.school-communicator.com/downloads. Apparently the download from the internet could take a while, so using the CD may be the easier option if you are near school. This will give you access to school news and general information on a regular basis.

Learners should not miss school unnecessarily. It is important that you provide the school with a note whenever your son/daughter is absent from school for whatever reason (medical or otherwise) in order to assist the school in monitoring unwarranted absenteeism. Remember also that should a scholar miss school for any reason whatsoever, the onus is upon the scholar to catch up work and to ensure that he/she is fully informed regarding what is or has been expected of him. The same applies should there be a need for your child to leave school early. Please note that no learner may leave school during the school day without having reported to the office. These requirements are to assist us in monitoring our scholars to ensure that they do not leave school without parents’ and the school’s knowledge. It would be appreciated if arrangements in this regard could be made in advance.

We have, in the past, had requests that the school swimming pool be available for recreational use during the holidays. Unfortunately this is not possible owing to legal and other ramifications. Note that the pool may only be used for training purposes by those who are members of the swimming clubs which make use of the pool.

Parents applying for school fee exemptions for 2018 will be required to make an appointment with the Headmaster and provide proof of income for both biological parents upon application. Application needs to be made on an annual basis. Applicants must return forms within seven days of receiving them and a decision will be made within thirty days of receiving all the relevant documentation. There is no exemption from hostel fees. Parents of hostel residents may not apply for school fee exemption.

Lockers are available to rent at R140 per year for the large ones and R100 per year for the small ones - payable to Mrs Marais in the office. It is the responsibility of the learner to inform the school, in writing, should they no longer require the use of the locker. Leaners must provide their own locks.

The Clothing Shop will be open for cash purchases on Monday 15 and Tuesday 16 January 2018, from 08.00 to 16:00. Normal hours are: Monday, Wednesday and Friday: 08:00 – 12:00. Please ensure that all clothing items are clearly marked with your child's name. All second hand clothing handed in to be sold must be clean. Mrs Shell has large quantities of lost, unmarked clothing in the office at the end of each term.

Monday 15 – Tuesday 16 January 2018: 08.00 – 16.00

Important dates: 11-13 January: UHS Cricket Festival
15 January: Term starts for teachers at 08:00
16 January: New Parents' Tea in the Tony Burrell Union at 11:00
Grade 5 Parents' Meeting 11.45 in Room 20
17 January: Term starts for Learners 07:05 – 13:30
19 January: Academic Awards Assembly in the School Hall at 07:05
22 January: Senior Sports Day
26 January: Founders’ Day Assembly 11.00, Biathlon, Colour Splash & Steak Evening
27 January: Founders’ Weekend Sport & Mother-Daughter Tea
29 January: Junior Sports Day - Track Events
30 January: Junior Sports Day – Field Events
12 February: Interhouse Gala at 18:00
28 March: School closes for Term 1

I thank you all most sincerely for your tremendous support this year and trust that you will have a blessed time with your children over the Festive Season.

Yours faithfully