VALEDICTORY ADDRESS – FRIDAY 21 OCTOBER 2016
We now come to the 2nd part of our proceedings this morning, THE VALEDICTORY CEREMONY. (For the Grade 4s, this is when we celebrate and say goodbye to our young ladies in matric.)
Today is one of those special moments in time, that will be an indelible memory with you forever.
The inimitable Whitney Houston’s famous song, “One moment in Time”, says;
“Each day I live,
I want to be,
A day to give,
The best of me,
I’m only one,
But not alone,
My finest day, is yet unknown,”
All you young ladies of the class of 2016, you are my ladies of great “potential”, “your finest day, is yet unknown.” Most of you have been waiting for 2436 days for this day to come and today marks the culmination of your journey over these past 9 years. Each one of you valedictorians will make the symbolic journey through the foyer, striking the Valedictory Bell to signal the ending of one stage of life and the beginning of another. As you bid your teachers farewell, there is a shared knowledge that your lives will be forever altered. Pause to capture the gravitas of the moment, for you will be moving away from the safety of these walls into the unknown “adult” world with all its promises of triumph and disaster. As you pause briefly, precariously pivoting on the edge of your future, remember us with a song in your heart.
The infamous Lady Gaga’s sings in“The Edge of Glory” :
“I’m on the edge of glory, and I’m hanging on a moment of truth
I’m on the edge of glory, and I’m hanging on a moment with you.”
That is exactly where you are now: caught in a moment – for the last time – on this stage – “hanging” out – in a way, “hanging on”. Yes, I do hope that you will be able to let go fearlessly, though not without a backward glance. Know that you are not alone. You are not alone now. As you sit down to write your finals we will be with you – and God will be by your side.
I am confident that you leave this school taking with you the best of what she, your alma mater, has to offer you. I am confident that in the years to come you will continue to draw on those values she held dear. I know that you will be responsible adults, and that you will make the most of the world of possibilities ahead of you, perhaps even now you are standing on “the edge of glory.” Asanda Msimang wrote in her matric profile that she would, “most likely become an African Lady Gaga.” I say, go for it, Asanda, why not?
Over and over again you have been reminded of how much I love music. For me life would be the poorer without a song to sing. I love all kinds of music, and lyrics have been particularly meaningful to me throughout my career as an teacher. Yes, music has always fed my soul. Sanelisiwe Jobela summed it up in a poem that she wrote in Grade 7:
Makes you dance
Makes stress go away
While I say Thank you for the music, the song I’m singing, to lyricists of the past and present, it behooves me to explore some of your writing when you were new, shiny, excited little Grade 4s:
You were asked to write about the most important life lesson you had learnt. Megan de Beer wrote: ”That I should appreciate what I get or I’ll lose it.”
On another occasion you were asked to complete the sentence, “Riebeek College is the best because…”
Siviwe Nongubo wrote, “it doesn ‘t have boys…” I wonder if she still feels the same way today.
Siviwe Hlonyane wrote, “I love the uniform and there is tuck—shop every day. They sell all kinds of pies.”
Shanice Pietersen wrote, “They treat everyone like they are special and they take us to PE to play hockey matches.” I agree, Shanice, we treat you so special because you are so special.
You had to then complete the phrase, “Love is…..”
Atina Zekandaba wrote, “When my mom makes tea for my daddy.”
Danelle Koraan wrote, “When my father makes my mother breakfast in bed.”
Well, it is quite clear that food and not music has a lot to do with love!
Lastly, you had to complete the following: “When I grow up I want to be…..”
Xolisa Mtengenya wrote, “Myself, because I think I am cool and strong!” As a matter of fact, Xolisa, that is our fervent hope for you: that you will be both cool and strong!
Nadene Chetty, wrote, “I Like Mrs Woods because she knows her stuff.” Nadene, I take that as a compliment and I sincerely hope that you haven‘t changed your mind.
Do you remember Katy Perry’s number one hit a few years ago, “Firework”? I dedicate the words to you.
“’Cause, baby, you’re a firework
Come on, show’em what you’re worth”
In Grade 7, as seniors of the Junior School and budding young lyricists, your insight and talent was already quite evident. Some examples of Form Poetry that you wrote have been well-documented in the magazine and I would like to read just a few of them to remind you of what you thought about School, Computers and Girls for example.
Learn so much
Enthusiastic about our work
wrote Natheera Sirkhotte
Here is another, called
Playing, searching, typing
Don’t get a virus
This one was written by Carmynn Collins
Like going shopping
Have Knowledge, like playing
Always making jokes
Thus wrote Leslynne Kayster who also says in her matric profile that her throwback memory is, “our Junior School welcoming committee for teachers in the morning”
A few other matric profiles mention some interesting memories:
Lakin Segal remembers “Mrs Metcalf shouting at me for breaking some leaves off the trees.”
Aphiwe Sango’s highlight was the “Grade 7 pizza party”
Zoe Esau will never forget “When I fell out of a tree during one of my High School Musical moments.” and
Vuyokazi Bashe harks back to “The obsession with love bubbles in Grade 4.”
In Mrs Peltason’s English class as a short writing exercise some matrics wrote reflections on their schooling:
Khanyisa Gqubule observes rather regretfully, “I wish I brought lunch every day.”
Atina Zekandaba seems quite sure about now when she wrote, “I never attempted any mischief yet. Don’t know about next year!”
Nadine Chetty ruefully observes, “I should have listened to my mother when she told me to , “start now!”
Very wisely, I thought, Anathi Williams wrote, “If I was a negative person, right now, I’d be saying, I’d like to change everything about my life. But, I’m glad that it can’t happen, because everything happens for a reason – it’s either a lesson or a blessing. Besides, you only live once.”
You girls will be familiar with R. Kelly’s, popular song, “I Believe I Can Fly”. The words of the song I share with you now as a mantra:
“If I can see it, then I can do it
If I just believe it, there’s nothing to it
I believe I can fly
I believe I can touch the sky
I think about it every night and day
Spread my wings and fly away”
So beautiful class of 2016, you are worth so much more than you give yourselves credit for. May you all soar like eagles: Soar through your finals; put in the hours of study; remain dedicated; believe in yourselves and you will, I have no doubt, “fly and touch the sky.”
The following message, my very last matric class, in this, my final year as a teacher, I share with you. I say it as much for myself as I do for you:
Never regret a day in your life
Good days give happiness
Bad days give experience
Worst days give lessons
And best days give memories.”`
And now, girls, for the last time, let those words ring out and ring true: Once a Riebeek girl…
Our Mission statement
welcome to riebeek college
At Riebeek College, school life is exciting!
Tucked away in the Eastern Cape town of Uitenhage is the much acclaimed educational gem: Riebeek College Girls’ High School. Here, steeped in tradition, the busy bees of Riebeek, for the bee is our emblem, create a hive of activity. Girls ranging in ages from the enthusiastic grade 4s to our elegant matrics find themselves involved and committed.
Riebeek is equal to the best. A fee-paying school, with a boarding facility for weekly boarders, and a day-boarding package, Riebeek provides parents with a safe, supervised environment for their treasured daughters.
Racial and religious tolerance, compassion and charity are entrenched. The carefully designed Pocket Code of Conduct is underwritten by principles which are rooted in morality and spiritual fruitfulness. Riebeek nurtures and cares.
Riebeek is famed for its award-winning choir. Competing in the advanced category, they win golds at national choir competitions. In 2014, a group of our girls featured with Johnny Clegg on Top Billing, having won a national song and dance competition. In 2015, Riebeek featured in the top 25 schools in South Africa in the Fairlady survey. Professor Jansen in the national press praised the school in June 2015, and followed this up later by identifying Riebeek as a top SA school in terms of combining character building and academic excellence.
Many of the staff are Old Girls, proving the faith they have in the unique education offered by our Alma Mater. Led by the Riebeek girl who became a teacher at her school and then the much respected and dynamic principal, Mrs Marilyn (Dodd) Woods; the school continues to offer future generations what is truly best about the past while adapting to changing times. The Riebeek ladies walk in integrity with an attitude of gratitude while displaying a passion for tolerance, mental and physical energy and knowledge.
Our buzzing calendar exudes passion for play, compassion for charity, craze for cultural activities and a love of learning. Founded in 1877, this progressive school provides holistic education in a happy, safe and stimulating environment to ensure that every learner is equipped to face the challenges of a changing world. The school has convenient, caring boarding and aftercare facilities. As the first public school in South Africa to vote to open its doors to all races, the school appreciates the diversity of the Riebeek family. Matriculants are perfectly prepared to enter tertiary institutions with the skills and work ethic to succeed.
As an all-girls school with Grade 4 to 12 occupying the same building, we have the opportunity to mould, over a school career, ladies who can contribute positively to society: “To seek the good in others and always do our best”, as our school song indicates. Mrs Marilyn Woods, the first Old Girl to serve as headmistress, encourages each young lady in her care to live by the fruit of the spirit to reach her full potential. A peoples’ person with a love of children and education, Mrs Woods is a dynamic role model.
welcome grade 4s
good luck, grade 12s
Valedictory Address by the PrincipalOctober 23, 2016 | BY Mrs M. Woods
VALEDICTORY ADDRESS – FRIDAY 21 OCTOBER 2016
Headgirl Speech at ValedictoryOctober 23, 2016 | BY Siviwe Tole
Valedictory speech 2016
Good morning to our parents, members of staff and ladies of Riebeek College. It is an honour to be part of this crazy, naughty and authentic group of extraordinary young ladies, the class of 2016.
Our journey began many, many, many years ago when we were the first grade 4 class after Mrs Woods became principal and it is an honour to be her last matric class. Grade 4 was a year filled with excitement as we finally got to the ‘big school’. This was proved when we always made sure that we came to school early just to be first in line so that we could carry the teachers’ bags. We wanted to stay in their good books.
Abongile Magidimesi’s enthusiasm to answer questions in class in Grade 5 could not go unnoticed. This led to Miss Arthur ignoring her and often would ask the class if there “is there anyone else with an answer, besides Abo?” Grade 5 was also a year to dream big according to Danelle Basson. She had the Jonas Brothers at her 11th birthday party but no one believed her and so she wrote a letter to Mrs Vermaak.
Grade 6 was next on our incredible journey. It was a year filled with mischief and we were determined to be #different. Carmynn was known as the “Boardwalk Bunker” after she bunked school to go to the Boardwalk only to her surprise Mrs Woods was there too. Babalwa, Thembakazi, Siphosihle and Abongile pulled a prank on Miss Inggs by putting Vicks under their eyes so they could cry. Their multi-tasking of trying to blink off the pain and trying to look normal didn’t work as they were shouted for trying to be blind. But the ultimate highlight of that year was Langelihle’s overseas trip to Grahamstown.
Grade 7 was the year everyone looked forward to. We were the seniors of the junior school. We tried out new things by even forming a Grade 7 choir which included serious practices during breaks. Anesipho won’t forget the time she was chewing bubblegum in Mr Jonas’ class. He said, “My girl, you chewing like a cow in my class. Go spit it out!”
Although Mr Jonas didn’t teach me in grade 7, I didn’t leave a good first impression in grade 8. I remember Asanda and I were singing our hearts out during break but not knowing that the junior school were still busy with their exams. I’ll never forget that day. I don’t want to explain the whole story but feelings were hurt and it was an emotional moment, as it was so public. #Humiliation! Ever since then I’ve always tried to stay in his good books.
Tamara had entered Mrs Ellies’s maths class in grade 9 with a closed JC. In the lesson Mrs Ellie had left to make a few photocopies and Tamara saw this as an opportunity to devour her JC. Just as she threw her empty JC packet into the bin, Mrs Ellie has returned and caught her red-handed. Since then Tamara has never been seen eating a JC.
Grade 10 and grade 11 was no joke. We had to choose subjects. We saw a little less of our register classes. We had to adapt a more serious approach to life, well not all the time. This was proven when in grade 11 we decided to hide from Mrs Stevens in Mathematics. Carmynn had whispered “guys, shes coming” and within a fraction of a second Sanelisiwe Zitho said: “guys... I think she’s coming”. We told her that what Carmynn had just said. She was in disbelief as she swore to us that she believed it was her inside voice.
Throughout this year, I was blessed with experiences that taught me life lessons. I would first like to thank God for the strength that He has given me to overcome many obstacles along the way.
I’m also grateful for the love and support that I receive from my parents. You’ve sacrificed a lot because all you ever wanted was the best for me. I want you to know I love you and probably my first pay cheque will be owned by you. However, nothing can compare to how much you mean to me.
To Sane, Tirrell and Shanice and many others who made an impact in my life, thank you for just being you. You guys encouraged me whenever I was at my lowest, to break boundaries and to always strive for excellence. This year we’ve cried together, laughed together, ate together and we were forever in trouble for mostly not being in class. I love you guys.
To the class of 2016, today we officially say farewell to our school career. To everyone going into the finance field, always remember that Maths ‘isn’t a pick a number show’ and “keep it simple”, as Mrs Stevens would say. Let us keep making Miss Pot proud by furthering our education next year.
To the Staff of Riebeek College, The influence of a teacher can never be erased. To Mrs Gunter, we are truly honored to be your “last matric class”. We as a group have come so far. Let us not forget the life lessons that we’ve learnt. We have created so many friendships and memories that I know will last a lifetime. Like I said at our matric farewell, Riebeek has laid a strong foundation for us and it’s up to us as to how we want to build our future. Let us go out in to the big world with our heads held high. “In life, the things that go wrong are often the very things that lead to other things going right”
As outgoing Headgirl of 2016, I feel privileged that I was chosen as Head of Riebeek College and I shall never forget the trust that was bestowed on me and the fulfilling of my duties was done with great commitment and all the dedication I could possibly master. This would not have been possible without my partner in crime, Martez. You are truly an awesome friend and throughout this year you were both my left and right hand. You’re special, never forget that. I’d also like to thank the Prefect Body of 2016 for your hard work and support. I’ll never forget that our Monday prefects’ meetings would not be complete without an ice breaker or something sweet to eat. To our lovely Mrs Boscombe, Mrs Nel, Mrs Frost and Mrs Barnard, thank you for making the office my second home. You have always helped us where you could.
To Mrs Woods and Mrs Snyman our mothers at school, thank you for your guidance and support throughout the year and always reminding us that your doors are open. Mrs Woods, we hope you rock your retirement and that your doors will still be open.
To Ambesa Daniels and the Prefect Body of 2017, I wish you all the best of luck for the upcoming year. I know that you will be great leaders of the school because each and every one of you has the potential. May you have a fantastic year filled with success, memories and laughter. I don’t expect you to strive to follow in our footsteps but instead “go where there is no path and leave a trail.”
I pass over the Head girl’s book to Ambesa Daniels.