Introduction of Guest Speaker

BY Mrs M. Woods

It gives me great pleasure to introduce, Roslyn Thomson, from the class of 2006, as our guest speaker this morning.

At school, Roslyn was most definitely an all rounder, achieving academically and on the sports fields, particularly, hockey, where she represented Eastern Province and received her full hockey colours in matric.   She was a Junior and Senior School Prefect, Elton House Captain and at her final Prize Giving, was the recipient of many prestigious awards such as a trophy for the second highest marks in English, a trophy for bilingualism in English and Afrikaans, a trophy for creative writing, a trophy for an improved Hockey Player and other subject prizes and merit certificates. She completed Entrepreneurship as a seventh Matric subject in 2005, her Grade 11 year.   All her subjects were on the higher grade and she studied both English and Afrikaans as First Language which today is known as Home Language level.

Dr Boucher told me a story about when Roslyn was in matric studying Afrikaans First Language and she took her class on an excursion to the Knysna Forest.   They had a very informative guide who had grown up in that area.    During their walk through the forest, Roslyn saw a plant which had caught her attention and she asked the guide if he could identify it.   Unfortunately, he couldn’t.   He obviously took cognizance of Roslyn’s enquiry, as the next year when the girls visited the forest, the guide remembered the incident and told Dr Boucher that it was indeed a new species of plant that Roslyn had enquired about.   They had then named the plant, Roslyn.    So Roslyn, you can quite rightly feel honoured that there is a plant named after you in the Knysna Forest.     I think that you had better make a special effort to go there again and see how many “Roslyns” you can identify now!

Although I clearly remember Roslyn as a lively, bubbly, enthusiastic young lady who could be as naughty as ever, what is most clear in my memory of Roslyn, is her candid, yet polite enquiring mind and her delightful sense of humour.   She never missed an opportunity of chirping someone, in the classroom or on the sports field!   Linley Myburg, the head girl of 2006, at her eloquent Valedictory address, mentioned that Ros and Vuyo jumped into the swimming pool with their school clothes on, so that they would have something to tell their grandchildren!   I think that Roslyn has more than enough “entertaining” stories to tell her grandchildren one day.

Miss Knott, who is now Mrs Evert, a teacher at Muir College, is an ex-Riebeek girl, teacher and hockey coach and said the following about Roslyn:  “On the hockey field I remember a young, talented hockey player with attitude and a point to prove.   She had tremendous skill and a ‘never say die’ attitude.   She saw things as a challenge and not a stumbling block and was a true example to others.”

Roslyn says that after she matriculated at the end of matric, she spent the next six months on her mother’s couch, thinking about what to do with her life.    She kept herself busy by working odd jobs at Engen Garage and Fashionworld.   She then worked as a PA for an Engineering Company, during which time she studied Mechatronics part time at East Cape Midlands College.  

It was then that she received a response from the Air-Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS), that she had received a bursary for which she had applied.    ATNS oversees 100’s of thousands of aircraft take offs and landings every year.

Roslyn then started her journey to become an Air Traffic Controller. (ATC )

She spent the next 5 years at the Aviation Training Academy in Johannesburg, moving all over the country, graduating twice and becoming an ATC. (Air Traffic Controller).   At present she is based in East London and is also studying part time towards a Masters Degree in Business Economics, as the title she holds is regarded as a base degree for a number of Master courses.

I am sure that Roslyn will tell you more about the job description of an ATC, but as I didn’t know too much about the job, other than it is well-known for being a highly stressful one, I googled it!     My goodness me, Ros, what a responsible profession you have!   It is the most demanding job at any airport and you need to be able to operate under high pressure, have high concentration levels, be observant and it requires you to be logical and have outstanding planning skills.   Your responsibility for the en-route stage of the aircraft, using radar to track its exact position, keeping it safe in the airspace, providing the most efficient route, advising the pilot on the aircraft’s height and speed as they approach the airport, maintaining communication with the pilot via radio and issuing the pilot with instructions regarding navigation routes, telling the pilot when to take off and land as well as advising them on their cruising levels and having to cope with unexpected events and weather conditions as well as emergency situations is truly too much for me to imagine!   All I know, Ros, is that on my next flight, I would like to tell the pilots that I feel as if I am in safe hands, as an ex-Riebeek girl is telling them what to do !!!!

Roslyn is a mother to a 5year old little boy……………………and she tells me that motherhood is by far the hardest job ever, though the most rewarding.   Roslyn, I think we can all agree with you on that.   There is no manual for raising children.

We now look forward to listening to your address this morning and thank you for being so willing to be our guest speaker and also for being prepared to play hockey for the Old Girls’ team as well, joined by your sister, Robyn, who matriculated last year and whom I remember as a Smurf when the matrics held their 40 day celebration on the jumping castle!


 May 09, 2016
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