Prize Giving Principal’s Address 2019 

BY Mrs K. Stear

Good morning. A special welcome to our Governing Body members, invited guests, parents, staff and, the girls of Riebeek College. Today, I get to brag about the school and report on our 2019 year.  I have to admit that, for the junior school, the expression, “It’s a jungle out there” has certainly been true because so much of our junior school calendar has focussed on the jungle and animal world and our juniors have fiercely stalked success and fun.   
Animals survive in the jungle by looking out for each other and staying with their herd.  This fits in with our school theme of the year which is WE ALL STAND TOGETHER.  The juniors have stood (and sat) and stayed awake and picnicked and danced and learned together.
The school year began on a high note when our matric results were announced. Our girls, and dedicated teaching staff, made us proud with a 100% pass rate. Our results were the highest in our circuit. The grade 4 to 7 learners also achieved a 100% pass rate proving that our girls are wise owls.
When the staff returned to school, we welcomed a new teacher, Mrs Mukamuri, an experienced grade 4 teacher. Mrs Mukamuri has brought a unique charm to the Riebeek staff and we are delighted that she chose to be a teacher rather than a nun! We also welcomed Mr Seale, our part time Sport Co-ordinator. Mr Seale has certainly made a difference in the world of sport at Riebeek.
January was a busy month with the annual prefects’ camp at Zuurberg, a Hawaiian Grade 4 welcome, a professional development for staff on Cultural Sensitivity, the announcement of the 2019 prefects and much more. I wish to thank the prefects, under the impressive leadership of Head Girl, Angela Miles, and deputy head girl, Rebecca Wilkinson. They have performed an excellent job.
February is the month of our famous Stay Awake. The theme was “A night in the jungle - # Hakuna Matata”. Our creative junior school teachers outdid themselves and certainly displayed a no worries. This loud and busy event remains the highlight of the junior calendar. Many of the grade 7 girls are sad that their days of Stay Awake have come to an end.
March saw us hold the mini-fun gala complete with the theme of Fun at the water hole - # Hakuna Matata. The mass participation of the girls proved the proverb “Cross the water in a crowd and the crocodile will not eat you.”
SGB elections followed.  We welcomed Mrs Twane Henman and Mrs Lisl Mac Gorman onto the SGB. I wish to thank all members of the SGB for the trust that you have in me, your commitment, wise words and the sound relationship we share.
Term 2 saw the Staff treated to a Staff Development at Assegaai Trials out in the wild. This was a positive team building experience. The SU camp was again held at Sumcay under the guiding care of Miss S du Preez, Miss Van der Westhuizen, now Mrs Jonas, and Mr de Beer. 
Winter put the focus on our sporting teams. Mr Seale and Mr Patel assisted with hockey coaching, Mrs Jack and Miss Delport coached our netball teams and Mr Phillips coached the chess players. Thank you to our teams, supporters and coaches. You have not seen enthusiasm until you witness the mini hockey parents supporting a match!  As for the girls, they are a bit like a herd of wildebeest migrating to the goalposts!
The Founder’s Day guest speaker was Dr Lisa Dondashe, Head Girl of the Class of 2009. She spoke to us about going on a road trip of life. Her road map became the inspiration for our 100 days smarter initiative in July.
In May the junior choir sang beautifully in a Choir evening held at College Hill. The U14 hockey team played in the Union High Hockey tournament in the June holidays and made Mr Jonas proud, accompanied by Miss Hattingh, with a great visit to the Valley of Desolation.
July saw us welcome Mr Maschaka in Miss Mintoor’s post. Mr Maschaka is a very competent drummer and musician and we look forward to his input in the musical scene. We also welcomed Mr Felkers on a part time basis as the new Choir Conductor. Mr Felkers came to us highly recommended by Miss Mintoor and I understand why after hearing the choir sing today. Also in July, there was a flutter of romance at the tennis courts when Mr Bowles proposed to Miss Hattingh. 
Riebeek’s first Family Day was held Day on Womens’ Day. This proved to be a delightful day where our Riebeek families came together and basked in the sunshine like dassies and enjoyed the fun fair, food and stalls on the Riebeek fields. A huge thank you to Mrs Viljoen and all the staff for their hard work. The Orientation afternoon for the new learners of 2020 was held in August and I thank Mrs Viljoen and Mrs Mukamuri for their efforts. Many juniors took part in the junior Oratory competition, Spellathon and the Grade 7 Market Day where there was a stampede for the tastiest treats.
All classes from grade 4 to 7 took part in the Night in the Jungle Concert and amazed us with their spectacular performances. We were fortunate to have the Queen Bee Mama Woods, past principal, return to the hive to help us with the choreography of the show.
In September, the juniors celebrated Spring Day with a picnic organised by Miss Johnson, and a talk by Atlas on self defense.
Sadly Mrs Denise Nel left us at the end of the third term after 18 years as the principal’s secretary.  She has moved to George and we wish her great happiness as she embarks on this new, exciting phase of her life.
October is an exhausting but exciting month.  We hold three big events, Senior Prize Giving followed by Valedictory followed by Junior Prize Giving. These are then followed by the exam venues being setup.  This is when we are most aware of our dedicated support team of grounds staff and kitchen staff. Thank you, Mr David Niven and the team.  The Administrative Staff and Mr Reynolds make the efficient management of the school possible and I thank them for their immense contributions.
The Grade 5 classes went on an excursion to Elands River nursery and came back with Rosemary plants to bring nature to their homes. We will also make our final donation to the SPCA and thank the SPCA committee and Mrs Skeates for the huge funds raised towards animals in need. The Grade 7s had a 2 day camp at Van Stadens with fireside chats and adventures on the river
At the end of the year, we will be saying goodbye to a few treasured members of staff. Mrs Janet Skeates will be retiring after 39 dedicated years of service to Riebeek. Mrs Skeates, an Old Girl of the Class of 1977, has been the backbone of Grade 4 for many years. Mr Reynolds, our Estate Manager will also be retiring after 18 years of service. We wish them both everything of the best and we hope they will enjoy a happy retirement. In the high school, we bid farewell to Miss Barnard and Miss Meyers.
This whirlwind tour of our year can leave you in no doubt that we have had a busybee year. It is a bit like the song A Circle of Life as we come full circle to almost the start of a new year: As the song from The Lion King reminds us:
There's more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
There's far too much to take in here
More to find than can ever be found
But the sun rolling high through the sapphire sky
Keeps great and small on the endless round
It's the circle of life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
'Til we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle
The circle of life
None of this circle of life would be possible without all the role players. Our many successes happen because of teachers, the SGB, parents and learners. We know that those who come up on stage have been supported by a great team. Girls, it is important for you to thank all those who have supported you.
I would like to thank the teachers for their hard work and dedication. This group of unique individuals each brings something special to their classes as they nurture and develop the young in their care. They are good at being nocturnal creatures because they often have to work late at night.  Thank you Miss Hattingh, Mr Jonas, Miss Arthur and Mrs Mukamuri for carrying the responsibility of being Grade Heads. I wish to thank the dynamic School Management Team, Mrs Gerber, Mrs Mapoma, Mrs Viljoen, Mrs Nel and Mrs Snyman. I would like to commend Mrs Viljoen, the HOD of the junior school, for her contribution to the running of the junior school. Mrs Snyman and I might be a bit like like Timon and Pumbaa, the meerkat and the warthog, from The Lion King and her steady support is much appreciated.
I encourage you girls to be like a tortoise. When a tortoise needs to move, it has to stick its neck out. There are going to be times when you need to stick your neck out. There will be challenges and instead of hiding in your shell, you have to go out and meet them. What impresses me about our juniors is their willingness to stick their necks out to try new things.
At present I feel like Mama Bear seeing her cubs grow and learn and I am filled with pride. I look forward to a 2020 filled with more success, more transformation, more tradition, more innovation, more good news, more pride and more of the fun that makes this school a great kingdom and place to be.

 October 19, 2019
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more of 2019
Mrs K. Stear

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