Home Headmaster HM Newsletter: 18 June

Dear ParentsHM 2011

Given the enormous energy levels of teenage boys, their seemingly short concentration spans and ability to be easily distracted, it is quite astonishing to witness 554 boys sitting silently in the school Theatre listening attentively to their peers address them on the issues surrounding 16 June 1976. This is commonly referred to as the Soweto Riots which are now remembered and celebrated as Youth Day. It was a moving tribute to those youngsters who died on the day that signified the beginning of the end of the apartheid era,and reminded all of the rights that children have enshrined in our constitution.

It was 20 July 1916 and "Delville Wood had disintegrated into a shattered wasteland of shattered trees, charred and burning stumps, craters thick with mud and blood, and corpses, corpses everywhere. In places they were piled four deep. Worst of all was the lowing of the wounded. It sounded like the cattle ring at the spring fair..." Uys(1983) p 205. Seated at the Fleur-de-Lys Club at a commemorative dinner for the victims of the Battle of Delville Wood, organized by the History Department, I watch the grainy sepia toned video pictures flash on the screen depicting the carnage of the trench warfare that characterized World War 1. The memories of being a member of the Hilton History Tour at Delville Wood last year, and walking quietly amongst those trenches where death had reigned supreme, I am reminded of the Hiltonians, barely older than the boys present at the dinner, who had died in this War to end all Wars. Their names live forever on the walls in the entrance to the Memorial Hall.

To the dismay of our matric parents and boys, this coming weekend is the last of the Hilton-Michaelhouse winter sport days of a five year association that has slipped by with alarming speed. This traditional fixture is an awesome occasion to celebrate the friendships, camaraderie and uniqueness between these famous schools. The matches embrace commitment, pride and passion, but above all they reflect the values of sportsmanship, respect and honour on the field of play. After twelve years as the Rector of Michaelhouse, Guy Pearson and his wife Mareé, will also be bringing down the curtain of their 24th Hilton-Michaelhouse event before moving to Bishop's in Cape Town at the end of the year. On behalf of the entire Hilton community, I salute their contribution to Michaelhouse and wish them all of the best for this new challenge in their lives.

Prior to this event, and of greater importance for the Grade 10 and 11 boys and parents, is an opportunity to meet subject teachers and gain some insight into the boys' academic progress for the past six months. For some, this might be a tougher encounter than what lies in wait on Saturday!  This Parents Day for Grade 10 and 11 will take place from 12:30 - 15:00 in the Sports Centre.

We look forward to a massive expression of the "Black and White" on Saturday, and may good sense and behaviour be the order of the day.

Have an exciting week of anticipation!

G Thomson