Miss Pat Thatcher

PRINCIPAL’S PRIZE GIVING SPEECH : October 2015

 

Mr Mtembu, invited guests, ladies & gentlemen and Dalians - a very warm welcome to our annual celebration of achievements.

Would everyone please close their eyes.  Now, without looking, point in the direction of North and hold it.  Open your eyes.  Isn’t it amazing how, even though we all believe we are pointing in the same direction, very often we are not.  Our goals may be different. 

We need to ask ourselves what it is that we as the Dale Junior family wish to achieve.  Is it to produce only winning sports’ teams?  Top academic awards?  Cultural prodigies?  After many hours of analysing our results, sleepless nights worrying about financial matters, parental involvement, staffing and facilities...  I could go on and on, I had to stop and ask myself - exactly what is it I want for our school.  I have come to realise that, above all else, my goal is to produce young men of integrity and respect.  Integrity, in its simplest form, can be explained as “doing the right thing - even when no-one is looking”.  Integrity stands for soundness of principle.  Character.  Uprightness.  Honesty.

In the years that I have been Principal, I have had many e-mails, phone calls and letters from various people and other schools that have come into contact with our boys.  Surprisingly, this correspondence has never once been about performance - no matter how high the score.  It has always been about character.  Mentioning only our boys’ manners, pride, respect and humility.  It is these qualities that set us aside and it is these qualities of which I am most proud.

So, as parents, educators and school communities, how do we teach our children to be young men of integrity?  It is through the examples we set.  Often we forget that our boys are watching us, learning from us, especially when we think they are not looking.  In order to grow men of integrity, we have to be a community of integrity displaying respect for all.  What an incredible responsibility.  I challenge us all to take this stand and work together to produce value-driven boys so that ultimately, we are all working towards the same goal.

All that being said, it would, however, be remiss of me not to mention our successes of 2015:

Our learners continue to thrive and grow through the vibrant clubs and cultural activities offered.  From Wildlife, Chess, Library, Computers, First Aid, SCA, Interest Club and Music to the many entertaining performances from the Drama Club.

Many hours are spent enriching and guiding our learners academically through various inter-school competitions, Conquesta, Olympiads, extra classes, the Oratory Contest, General Knowledge quizzes, road shows, excursions and technology.  All of these, and so many more, help keep us focused on achieving our academic goals.

We cannot detract from the fact that, for many of our learners, sport is their passion.  Our boys do us proud in all our sporting codes and wear the red and black with pride and passion.

Special mention must be made of the following achievers in their fields this year:

*           S. Geja was placed 1st in the district for the Department of Education in the Mental Maths Quiz and 5th in the Province.

*           The following learners made it into their respective Provincial teams:

            Chess:           L. Vutuza and S. Mkona who also received his Provincial colours..

            Swimming:    Top 10 Gala:                         D. Pharo; A. Lentz and M. Stemele

                                    Country Districts Team:      D. Francies; M. Monaghan;

                                                                                    M. Venter; M. Stevens; D. Rafols;

                                                                                    D. Pharo; M. Stemele; E. Grunewald and L. Vutuza

            Cricket:                                                           B. Nokhele

            Hockey:          U/13:                                       S. Mchunu

            Rugby:           U/13 Rugby   :                       S. Zweni and W. Boswell

                                    U/12 Rugby   :                       M. Zixesha; D. Pharo; L. Adam;

                                                                                    K. Bacela; A. Ntentile and J. Smith

A very special mention must be made of our U/12 A & B rugby teams who were unbeaten for 2015.  A huge accomplishment.

These activities, along with the hours spent teaching our learners values, exposing them to community needs and issues, talking with them, playing with them, laughing with them, create a school unlike any other with an ethos unlike any other.        

I would like to take this opportunity to draw your attention to my thanks in the programme to the many people who do so much for our school.  Mr Fortune will be speaking more about them later.  In order to keep the programme short, we have decided not to double up.

I must, however, express my heartfelt thanks to Mr Fortune, our new Chairman of the SGB, for his hard work, leadership and dedication.  It has been a privilege to work with you and the other members of our SGB.

Our hardworking PTA and parents who give tirelessly of themselves for no other reason than to serve.

My Deputy, Mrs McLean, and HOD’s, Mr Genade, Mr Esterhuizen, Mrs Farrer, Mrs Hogge and Mr Cloete for your patience, hard work and unwavering dedication.

The incredible Dale Junior staff, the heartbeat of Dale.  Our task is great but, what a pleasure to work, laugh and cry alongside you - a true family.

My final message is to our incredible boys.  This part of my speech was re-written this morning after I received an e-mail from my sister.  I am not sure if you all remember that last year my niece and nephew, Hayden and Emma from America, came to stay with me for two months.  They both attend a very modern progressive school in the USA. Last week Hayden shocked everyone by announcing that he wanted to go to al all boys Jesuit College High School, instead of the co-ed school he had already enrolled in.  I, of course, encouraged it.  This morning Hayden sent me a copy of his letter of application:

“When I was 11 years old, my mother took me to South Africa for 6 weeks.  When I arrived, she told me that I would be enrolled in an all boys’ boarding school named Dale Junior Boys’ College.  I was very apprehensive at first, but my aunt, who is the Principal of the school, assured me that I would love it.  We wore a red and black striped blazer with a white button up shirt, short grey pants and long grey socks with a red stripe at the top.  Our shoes had to be shone every morning before school. 

In 6 short weeks, I learned about respecting my elders and fellow man.  I discovered that I was part of a brotherhood and that my school mates, who I had only just met, would have my back, no matter what, just like I would have theirs.  I learned about rugby and cricket and I learned that you don’t have to even play the game to feel like you won.  Mostly, I learned that I wanted to go to a high school that would make me feel as proud to be a part of it.  I hope to now be considered to be a part of another great tradition.”

Dalians, never forget what we stand for, the impact we have on the people we meet and that ultimately we have the power to change the world!

Per Ardua Ad Astra!

Thank you!