Orando et Laborando - Headmaster's Newsletter (27 July)
The second half of the year has started well and, although it is hard to believe, our Matrics begin their Trial Examinations in just ten days’ time. Before these boys know it, they will be writing their Finals, and I have reminded them of how important these examinations are in the build up to their year-end examinations. I am sure that you all join me in wishing them well as they prepare for these important examinations.
During the past holiday, a number of our boys and staff were involved in various tours and tournaments and I thank, in particular, all those members of staff who gave up precious holiday time to take these tours. Apart from the two highly successful overseas tours (History tour to the USA and the cricket tour to the UK), our Jazz Band toured to Grahamstown, six of our boys were part of the KwaZulu-Natal Youth Orchestra tour to the Eastern Cape, two boys were involved in the KZN Midlands Youth Choir tour to Germany, and Nathan Julius attended a choral singer’s course at Eton College in the UK where he performed exceptionally well. Nathan was chosen, from stiff competition, as one of only four soloists to perform in a public concert. Following his performance, he was approached by the conductor of the Oxford University Choir to audition for this choir which is an outstanding achievement.
In addition to these tours, twenty six of our boys and Mr AC Blume were involved in various Inter-Provincial Sports Tournaments (Squash, Hockey and Rugby) and I am thrilled to report that, following these tournaments, two of our boys have earned National Selection. Our Head of School, Matt Dahl, who captained the KZN U18 Craven Week rugby team, has been selected to represent the South African Schools A rugby team and will be playing a number of international matches in August. Damon Wheals, who represented the KZN Inland U16A hockey team, has been selected for the South African Schools U16 High Performance Squad.
Toward the end of last term, two of our canoeists also performed exceptionally well and I congratulate them on their national selection. Jono Wing was selected for the South African senior sprint team, and he will be participating in the world championships in Milan, Italy, in August. Thomas Lovemore was selected for the South African canoeing team to compete in the World Marathon Championships in Hungary in September. These are outstanding achievements and we are extremely proud of all of these boys.
On Saturday, despite the cold and wet weather, we had a fantastic turn-out at our annual Grandparents’ Day. This was a wonderful occasion and I thank all of those grandparents who attended for making the effort to be here to support their grandsons. Unfortunately the 1st XI soccer match against Kearsney had to be abandoned mid-way through the game with the score level at 1 – 1, owing to a thunderstorm and the associated lightening danger warning. Gratefully, all of the other matches were completed and a good day was had by all.
On Sunday morning we woke up to icy conditions, with snow covering the Drakensberg mountains, but this did not detract from the success of the Preparatory Schools hockey festival which we hosted here. Twenty one schools attended this festival and it was a wonderful opportunity for us to showcase our school to these junior schoolboys and their parents. Well done to Mr Keith Fairweather and his team for organizing this very successful festival.
Over the weekend, our annual Grade 8-11 Art Exhibition entiltled “A Walk Through the Gallery” opened in the foyer of the Centenary Centre. This exhibition will remain on display until the 8th August and you are encouraged to visit this exhibition if you are at the school during this time.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of two important events taking place this term. Firstly, the Grade 8 - 10 Outdoor Leadership Exercise (OLE) and the Grade 11 Academic Tour which take place during the week preceding half-term (16th – 19th August). Parents of boys in Grades 8 – 10 should have received information about the relevant OLE outings and parents of boys in Grade 11 should have received information about the Academic tour to Johannesburg. Because of these outings, Half-term starts at 08:30 on the morning of Thursday 20th August. It is important to note, however, that the boys in Grades 8 – 10 will only be returning from their OLE venues during the late afternoon of Wednesday 19th August so you need to bear this in mind when making flight bookings.
The second reminder is about Speech Day on the last day of this term (Friday 25th September). All boys are expected to be at Speech Day which means that parents who wish to fly their sons home on this day should not book flights departing earlier than 15:00 from King Shaka International airport in Durban, or 13:30 from Oribi airport in Pietermaritzburg.
Please plan accordingly.
Thank you and have a good week ahead.
Orando et Laborando - Headmaster's Newsletter (22 June)
I begin by wishing all our dads a belated happy Father's Day for yesterday. I trust that you all had a wonderful day.
Saturday's fixtures against Michaelhouse brought our winter sports season to a close on a happy note and I thank you all for your loyal support during the season. I also take this opportunity to thank all of our coaches for their hard work. The matches on Saturday were, once again, very keenly contested with the spoils being shared almost exactly evenly between the two schools on both the rugby and the hockey fields. The success of our teams in the U16, U15 and U14 age group matches was very pleasing and is encouraging for the future. Well done to all of our players, especially our two 1st teams, who gave of their very best on the day.
I have had a number of parents ask me why the school did not do a 'spell' ahead of the 1st XV rugby match as usual on Saturday. There have also, I understand, been rumours that the school leadership had instructed the boys not to do a 'spell'. There is absolutely no truth in this rumour. In fact, I fully support this and, at their request, I authorized an extra war-cry practice session last week to help them to prepare for the 'spell'. I am informed by the Head of School and the war-cry leaders that they had taken a decision to add a touch of freshness by changing the normal order of events. They decided to sing 'O Boys of Hilton' at the beginning of the match, rather than at half-time, and to do the 'spell' at half-time. Unfortunately, when trying to set up the 'spell' during the first half of the 1st XV match, the boys were too engaged in watching the game and they kept moving their positions on the stands. This meant that the war-cry leaders were forced to re-set the 'spell' several times and this became extremely problematic. They lost confidence in their ability to pull the 'spell' off properly so they decided to cancel it rather than to go ahead and not do it perfectly. The war-cry leaders are, obviously, most apologetic but they had not foreseen the problem of boys changing their positions on the stands and the impact that this would have on their ability to perform the spell during half-time.
On Thursday last week, a team from the Council for Quality Assurance in Education, UMALUSI, carried out a full day site visit of the school. All Independent schools are required to be accredited by UMALUSI and this site visit was the final step in our extended process of applying for such accreditation. I thank Mr Bruce MacLachlan for the enormous effort he has made in order to prepare for, and coordinate, this application process.
Tonight, our musicians participate in a combined KZN Schools' Music Festival being held at the Durban City Hall and I wish them well.
As we approach the holidays, I would like to wish all those boys and staff who will be involved in the various tours, festivals and inter-provincial tournaments taking place during the holiday, everything of the best. I trust that they will really enjoy their respective activities and that they will represent Hilton College with pride.
I wish all of you a very happy holiday and remind you that you will be able to access your son's report via the parent portal from the morning of Wednesday 1 July.
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Fleur de Lys Magazine
The Fleur de Lys Magazine is a quarterly publication which sums up the important activities and news from the preceding term. It is available here in PDF format.