introduction of reunion groups

BY Administrator

Introduction of Reunion Groups 2018
As we celebrate the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela, we are reminded of his words, about reunions: “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”
Though it is clear that the volume and beauty of our Old Girls have definitely not been altered since their school days, reunions offer us to chance to revisit this place that remains unchanged and so it is with great pride that we introduce our reunion groups.
The Class of 1968 celebrate their golden 50th reunion with 6 ladies in attendance.  Golden Girl Mrs Marilyn Dodd Woods is the reunion co-ordinator and no stranger to Riebeek stretching from Sub A to her retirement in 2016. Nelson Mandela’s statement that education is the most powerful tool to change the world certainly holds true for Mrs Woods  as she spent 44 years as a member of staff moulding education with her pearls, not pills as the girls misheard, of wisdom.  Head girl Ann Grotzinger Hargreaves in Cape Town sent us her best wishes.  This class first attended Riebeek at the premises where the Health Department is, and in Standard 4 they started attending school in this building.  Footage of the first days here can be viewed on Riebeek’s YouTube channel.  The teachers and pupils spent a weekend unpacking and getting the new building organised.  Apparently, the arrival of the lorry carrying the Science Lab equipment including dangerous chemicals over the untarred North Street and along the tracks created by trucks which would become Dunn Street was quite scary. Though this may start a hashtag movement, it needs to be said that school started at 8.15 and ended at 13.45. 
 The Class of 1978 celebrate their 40 year reunion with 18 ladies in attendance.  Head Girl Marlene Plumstead  Akitt is present with three reunion co-ordinators: Allison Pierce Watson, Janet Wilkinson and Linda Glegg van der Westhuyzen. 
Carol Fielding Schoultz joins us from Gauteng, Marlene Plumstead Akitt joins us from the Isle of Man and Judy Miller and Denise Woolerton from Australia.  These ladies remember strict Mrs Hutton and her German Shepherd dog, Wendy, and say that some of the girls attending the 2018 matric farewell would have been sent home before the function for wearing “terribly revealing” dresses if it was 1978 and Mrs Hutton was on duty. Imagine this group’s joy and perhaps jealousy last night, if you will, when the head girl could prove that she still fits into her matric farewell dress 40 years later!
The Class of 1983 celebrate their 35 year reunion with Beverley Molloy Boshoff as the reunion co-ordinator. There are 8 ladies in attendance.  Beverley remembers fondly the song “We are Riebeek”, a cheerleading song traditionally sung by the Riebeek girls, which starts with a whisper and builds in volume.  We would ask our girls to perform it for you and we know the louder part would be no problem, but the girls may struggle with the whisper part. So, instead our choir will perform other songs later. Joining us from this class is Debbie Murphy Bezuidenhout, mother of our Grade 7 teacher, Mrs T. Woods, and sister of Carole Murphy Dawson, who is attending her 30 year reunion today.
The Class of 1988 celebrate their 30 year reunion with Ingrid Lunow McFarlane,  as the head girl and the reunion co-ordinator.  Ingrid is mom to Sarah in Grade 8 and Lindsay, former deputy head girl, and a regular helper at our various events.  There are 18 ladies present.  Heike Hellman and her sister, Freika from the Class of 1986, join us from Germany and it remains a joy of Founder’s Days when these lively, loyal ladies fly in. To them, we say PROST!  Dr Debbie Collier Reed is an associate professor in the law facility of the University of Cape Town, the author of a textbook known well by law students in South Africa and a member of the prestigious team who investigated a national minimum wage. It may be for one of the above reasons that Debbie is unable to attend today after all, but we are happy that her mom is here. Debbie and Debra Tunbridge Esterhuizen, both daughters of Old Girls, join us from Cape Town.  Michelle Crouse McCauley is the wife of former Governing Body Chairman and co-opted member, Gordon, and mom to two Old Girls, and is the mother of the bride this weekend as Stephanie weds. Another star, having starred as Mary Poppins and an African Diva from Nigeria last week, is Sandra Myburgh Gerber  who travelled far to be here – all the way from Room 24, down that passage.  Sally Schimper Leach is is also from the Class of 1988, and she is mom of legendary Kristin Leach of the Class of 2013. 
The Class of 1993 celebrate their  25 year reunion with Mary-Anne Medley Lagan as head girl and reunion co-ordinator and 12 ladies in attendance. Though we often tell our Riebeek girls that they probably won’t marry the gentlemen they date at school, Mary-Ann proves us wrong as her Muir boyfriend became her husband, after all, after bonding on stage in the Grease production we are led to believe.  Mary-Anne is an English teacher at Woodridge. Kathleen Scott Hoy has bounced here from the squash courts and family business, Broketts Sports, a famous Uitenhage spot. Sue Ann Bray Groenewald joins us from Johannesburg.  The Class of 1993 remember fondly from their class the late Catherine Sunton and the late Mariette Gouws. Sam Cuyler joins us from travels around the world and then a teaching post at Muir College, around the corner. Also attending is the vibrant Candice Reynolds, daughter of estate manager, Mr Alan Reynolds.
The Class of 1998 celebrate their 20 year reunion with Head Girl, reunion co-ordinator, niece of Mrs Stevens (our Maths teacher), matric of the year 1998 and Associate Professor in the Information Technology of NMU,  Dr Kerry-Lynn Thomson Botha. Kerry-Lynn admits: The PhD was definitely easier than parenting a boy, 10 month old Tanner ! Plus, I’m done with my PhD – parenting is a lifelong commitment!  So many more adventures ahead!”  14 ladies are in attendance.  Tracey Thomson joins us from New Zealand.  Those who travelled from Cape Town ae: Robyn Jacobs, Chantel Jacobs, Nikki Wates (niece of Mrs Peltason and her weekend guest), and Pam Cuyler (accompanied by her sister Jennifer Cuyler Cohen of the Class of 2003). Twins Sadia and  Nadia Musa, and Vimisha Seetha, join us from Johannesburg. Caryn Evert Knott joins us from Muir College.
The Class of 2008 celebrate their 10 year reunion with 15 ladies in attendance, and we suspect that celebrate always takes on an extra meaning for our 10 year reunion groups.  Head Girl and reunion co-ordinator Robyn Wates joins us from the rural hospital (Zithulele Hospital) where she is the Responsible Pharmacist – it is a title Responsible not an adjective necessarily to describe Robyn. She said it is an extremely challenging but absolutely rewarding job.  Dr Boucher always spoke of a GAT (or hole) IN JOU OPVOEDING, and Robyn took this to heart and is based near the Hole in the Wall along the Wild Coast, while the rest of her class are just wild, without the coast.  Deputy Head Girl Jhene Meyer Nel is also with us today, having travelled from Pretoria to be with us and has a distinct legacy at Riebeek.  Once upon a time,in 2005, Mrs Terry van Vuuren Hattingh of the Class of 1977 delivered a budget presentation as a Governing Body member using a projector and powerpoint.   We had to have this NEW technology for Riebeek and for the drama show.  Intrepid Jhene convinced the local church to let us use theirs until the drama club could contribute to the costs of buying the school’s first projector.  But only Jhene really knew how to work with this NEW technology and so she became the only Riebeek girl to attend 4 grade 9 subject evenings.  Jhene, you will be relieved to know that some of us now know sort of how to operate projectors.  Mr Jonas, our Grade 6 teacher, is proud of his daughter here today. We remember Tegan and her dad performing Butterfly Kisses in the drama production.  It is also this class that threw an electric plug into an oven melting the element of the stove, played cricket in the computer lab and watched as now famous singer Rouchelle Hubsch, of Digby and the Lullaby fame, set her hair alight.  Also attending from this class is Carey Slater Schoonraad, daughter of the much loved former, late Governing Body Chairman, Henry, and Litha Stwayi, a junior attorney at the Centre for Child Law, a human rights lawyer focusing on children's rights. Diva of deportment badge, Duchess Siphosihle Sowazi could not join us from parliament, as a legal eagle of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development. 
In addition, the FAB FOUR ARE HERE. Mrs Lesley Young of the Class of 1977, Mrs Peltason and Mrs Potgieter, ALL Old Girls, and Mrs Natalie Stear ARE the Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society of Riebeek as their teaching of English shaped the paths of those they taught.  It has become a bit of a tradition for the FAB FOUR of English high school teachers to gather at Founder’s Day ceremonies.  Those of us addressing you from the podium fear they gather here to continue assessing our orals. In addition, Sally Watson Potgieter is of the Class of 1963 and celebrates a 55 year reunion, joined by Burleigh Lombard Tunbridge and Wendy Robinson Collier, both with daughters of the Class of 1988 both residing in Cape Town.  Burleigh’s daughter is attending from Cape Town for her 30th reunion.  Daphne Cuyler Momberg joins us from the Class of 1962.  Verna le Roux Barlow of the Class of 1963 and Elaine Smith Dullisear of the Class of 1947 (with her Fellowship Cup in her bag and celebrating her 71 year reunion).  There are also a number of additional Old Girls joining us today as unofficial reunion groups or as friends of the school, and we welcome them all too.

We started with a Nelson Mandela quote and so we end with some of his wise words from LONG WALK TO FREEDOM, a somewhat fitting tribute to matriculating after 12 long years of schooling:  ‘I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.’ 
We hope that our reunion groups view the distance they have come, steal a view of the glorious and nostalgic surrounds and that our Old Girls will linger long enough to enjoy this special 30th Founder’s Day 

 May 10, 2018
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