HM Newsletter: 7 May
It was late evening when a staff member arrived to chat and despite him being buoyed by a long weekend away, on enquiry there was a tinge of melancholy relating to that part of the weekend he had scattered his grandfather's ashes on the once family farm near Dundee. This had been a sombre occasion, but what had impacted him was the desolation of the once proud farmhouse and fields where his grandfather had sweated and toiled. In the short space of 25 years since his grandfather's retirement it lay ruined - of the physical appearance of farmhouse and crops there was now ...nothing.
All that remains of this once beautiful farm and proud grandfather are the values which are now passed down through the generations, especially those regarding relationships - the fun, laughter, tears, life lessons, quarrels and disagreements. The values are all there; they form the foundation of the family culture which binds them together and which, in turn, will be passed on to future generations further entrenching their culture. While my member of staff recounts the story, I am reminded that I will depart this planet with nothing of the wealth that I have accumulated and the only lasting memories will be the values that I have imparted to those with whom I have had contact. A sober and humbling thought.
On Saturday morning, the funeral of one of the most dignified ladies to serve the boys of Hilton College was held. She only had a smattering of education because of the apartheid era of Bantu Education, and yet for 37 years she impacted the lives of thousands of Hilton boys as the Library Assistant at Hilton. Aggie Nkosi left behind a legacy of service and values that few, if any, will surpass - her farewell service, held a few months back, bears testimony to that as boys queued in their hundreds to hug her and pass on their thanks and best wishes. She was an inspiration and exceptional role model to the Hilton family and leaves a legacy that stretches way beyond the gates of Hilton.
Hilton College flourishes and abounds on "whatsoever things are true, pure, noble and of good report". Thus what we perpetuate from generation to generation are our values of faith, responsibility, relationship, critical thinking, integrity and respect. Mike Procter, arguably our most talented cricketer, in his address to the well attended dinner for the 50 year reunion had this to say, "Hilton College taught me a lot of common sense and values that have stood me in good stead in my life and particularly as a cricket match referee in the most demanding of situation." In a sense he was highlighting the real value of a holistic Hilton education that underpins the stories related above.
Saturday night I arrived home, not in the best of moods - one goal and one point had equalled a double loss of both the rugby and hockey to Michaelhouse - enough said. Out of the darkness bounded my Jack Russell and Border Collie - no questions or grumpiness about why they had been left alone the entire day, why I had arrived home late, why Hilton had lost - simply unbridled and bouncing joy that I was home. The reminder was clear - I have a choice - be miserable or rebound and plan better for the next challenge. Dogs are the greatest motivational psychologists in the world! I rest easy in the knowledge that our boys had given of their best, they had been gracious and disciplined in defeat and that they will rebound with the passion and skill that has epitomized Hilton sport for one hundred and forty years.
The colourful chorus reaches a crescendo of "Hoorah, hoorah for the Pirate King!" as the Gilbert and Sullivan production of "The Pirates of Penzance" entertained and enthralled the audience with song and dance of the highest order. This combined musical of Hilton and The Wykeham Collegiate is an exceptional success and co-producers, Cal Bray and Patrick Harty, deserve a standing ovation in guiding the talented singers through a demanding and brilliant performance. "Bravo!"
The Estate and Conservancy looked splendid in its autumn shades of brown, faded yellow and gold as Wendy and I led a group of thirty visiting artists and family to the Boma on the banks of the Umgeni for Sunday lunch, rest and relaxation. En route we accidently crossed paths with Chairman of the Old Boys, Justin Platt, and his wife Gill who were entertaining a group of prospective families at Derek's. The feedback from all our guests was unanimous; "This is a most wonderful and amazing school!" Let us never forget that we are blessed beyond measure and always remember - we have a choice!
Have a great week.
Latest from Ghent in Belgiium where Ben Johnston is participating as a member of the South African School's Rowing Team is that out of 78 entrants his Quad Team came an exciting 7th while his Double Team ended a credible 14th against the majority of European countries attending the regatta.
Tim Drummond, who distinguished himself as a brilliant player and captain of our First Hockey Team, was a member of the victorious South African Mens' Hockey Team that qualified to attend the 2012 Olympic Games in London when they beat Japan by 2 goals to 1 in Japan yesterday.