Dear Parents, Guardians and Significant Others,
Welcome to the 2020 Student Leadership Team’s first Newsletter.
“Communication is key”. Besides being the mantra for the majority of my school sports teams, this aphorism was one of the key takeaways from my first meeting as Head of School. Being a student of history, I know this to be true. Almost without exception, great civilisations have risen and endured because they were based on a bedrock of sound ideologies that were effectively communicated to the most important contributors of that civilisation – the people.
One could say that the “people” of the “Hilton Civilisation” are constituted by three important groups: the staff, boys and you, as the interested parties back home. For the continued success of the school it is important that there is an effective symbiosis between these constitutes.
During our student/teacher brainstorming sessions, we came to the realisation that although there are ample communication opportunities between the boys and Hilton staff as well as between staff and parents, one key communication channel was being neglected and that is between boys and parents.
If your boys are anything like me, when we get home, answers about school are usually too brief and insufficient to satisfy whoever is asking the questions. We tend to see the situation as a cross-examination rather than as an attempt to learn about our lives at Hilton.
We hope that, going forward, this newsletter will serve as an opportunity for you to gain a broader insight into what happens behind the McKenzie Gates. We would like to see this platform grow and strengthen our communication channels and be a place of discourse and the sharing of ideas.
In a recent assembly I spoke to the school about the importance of the year 2020 to me and my fellow matriculants. It is not only the beginning of our leadership tenure and the beginning of our final year at Hilton but it is also the beginning of a new decade. Due to these compounding events, I like to think of 2020 as the beginning of an epoch, and in saying so I hope I do not come off too “dramatic.”
All epochs are characterised by a guiding vision. This vision is the “why statement”, the aspirational idea that underpins all the actions of a leadership group. Without it, leadership can fall victim to the comfortability of complacency. As a leadership team, we have worked very hard to develop our own vision. In line with our maxim of communication, I find it appropriate that in this first newsletter, I share it with you. It is as follows:
“In Striving to be the jewel of Africa, we ensure that Hilton is an institution open to all, with innovative academia, cultural diversity and world-class sportsmen. We redefine excellence in a way that transcends results and is rooted in producing men who think beyond themselves and chase the honour of virtue. Because results don't make Hilton, people make Hilton.”
It may appear long-winded, but it is a result of our team’s effort to craft a vision that is all-inclusive. We wanted an idea that was accessible for all aspects of the school – whether it be academics, sports, culture or character development. In doing so, we believe we are striving towards a Hilton that is inclusive of all boys.
However, a vision merely remains an idea if not rooted in practical steps to its realisation. Hence, as a team, we have developed practical goals that we believe will create an environment conducive to our vision. For example, we are promoting excellence in our dress code, providing forums for inter-grade interaction and organising regular fun on-campus activities.
We will strive to achieve as many of our goals as possible, not allowing the occasional untucked shirt, or similar, to deter us. I believe our team of committed young men in the leadership group will take our wonderful school to new heights.
An integral part of creating the Hilton enshrined in our vision statement is the buy-in of our boys. In my initial address to the school, I asked for student support. Already their response has been unbelievable. With their enthusiasm and camaraderie, I am confident that in 2020 we shall not only inch forward but soar towards our vision.
Warmest Hilton regards,
Hlumelo Notshe, Thabiso Dlamini and Leadership Team 2020