Head Girl Address Valedictory 2021

BY Wade-Lee Muller

15 OCTOBER 2021
Ever since Grade 4, I have always admired the remarkable speeches presented on this special occasion. A speech that captures unique 9-year journeys. That is why today I am truly grateful and honoured to have the opportunity to welcome you all to the Valedictory service of 2021.
It is said that “the greatest part of a road trip isn’t arriving at your destination.
It’s all the wild stuff that happens along the way.” Class of 2021 we have arrived at our destination: the end of our school career. The journey has definitely been a wild, yet a worthwhile experience. So allow me to take you on a trip down memory lane making a stop at each grade. Sit back and put on your seatbelts, because we’re in for a crazy ride.
Grade 4 was the year we explored the Riebeek grounds with our fully-loaded school bags, freshly polished school shoes, and of course, the ankle-length skirts. The trips to the tuckshop were traveled with pure joy, excitement, and plenty of cash for chocolate, ice cream, and the favourite wiki naks. However, at the same time of our explorations, we still could not wait to be just like the ‘big girls’ in Matric...if only we knew our time would arrive so soon. I still recall Mrs Skeates reading to us each morning and always leaving a hand-drawn smiley face on our work. When we had some free time in Mrs Viljoen’s class, everyone wanted a turn to play with her hair or give her a shoulder massage. Grade 4 was a time of great dreams and aspirations for the future class of 2021. According to our Grade 4 profiles, Mihle Mafongosi said she would be a future mayor, Asavela Sikwebu stated she would become the ‘first lady President of South Africa’ while Tamlyn Whitebooi dreamt to become a television doctor and Anganathi Songwiqi wished to become famous and be a rich mom.
Then we traveled to Grade 5. Here we had two advancements to our trip...Number 1: Our classrooms had aircons and number 2: we were even closer to the tuckshop! This was also the year of the famous and quite competitive business of loom band making. Sarah Bagley was the best in the game with her loom band kit that contained a variety of bands and tools. However, a major disruption to our trip was the pigeon invasions. One incident even caused Mrs Woods to hide underneath her desk whereas Miss Arthur was quite relaxed and tried to keep us calm. An important part of Grade 5 was our consistency in practicing our timetables each day. But how we practiced it every day? Well, simply because we wanted to fill in our star charts with stickers.
The next  part of the journey was quite fast paced to say the least. From the 10 second cutting and pasting in Miss Johnson’s class to the sprints to the quad to play hand tennis were iconic. But the most unforgettable incident-hands down-has to be when Jessica Sellick decided to eat her cocoa pops in class. And when Miss Johnson became aware of this sneaky snack she announced that “sharing is caring” and started distributing the cocoa pops to everyone in the class.
Grade 7 was an eventful adventure. An adventure that required us not to walk on the grass as instructed by Mr Jonas. Mr Jonas also warned us with his infamous statement, “my girl, don’t make your problem my problem.” So as the senior girls of the junior school we now felt a sense of independence. Yet, the minute we were left alone with work to do...someone, somehow broke a window. No one quite knows the full story about how Tamlin, Simone, Michal, Elihle, and Michelle broke Mrs Chrysostomou’s class window with a hockey stick. Sadly Elihle was not in Mrs Chrysostmous' class to defend herself and the rest blamed her for the incident. Mrs C knew they were all involved though. Today I can officially confirm that Elihle holds no grudge and forgives her fellow friends. 
Before entering through the senior doors, we ended our junior years on a high note with our special dance performances to Radio Ga Ga, Uptown Funk, and The way you make me feel at the junior school concert.  Thank you to Erinn Ketteldas, our very own Bruno Mars and Jaymee Swanepoel for nailing those Michael Jackson moves.
Grade 8 we welcomed many new passengers to our senior school ventures. One learner in particular, who we thought was too short for grade 8, was Luthandolwakhe Storm aka known as just Storm. We all thought that little Storm was a Grade 4 when she arrived in Grade 8. Soon we realised she was actually part of our big family. And now, though she’s still short, Storm has the biggest personality and most contagious laugh.
Now, from grade 9, the journey seemed to go a bit “ to the left to the left,” because I think most of us would still remember the maths end of year paper that left us all scarred. I’m still in search of the fence that had to be measured though. Anyway... We knew our marks were going to be “dangerously low.”
On the other hand, like every road, our Grade 10 journey had a few twists and turns…and it turned out that not all things we could “simplify further.” Our important subject choices would now help direct us into our future endeavours. And less “staring into space” could take place, because as Mr Calitz always warned “If you stare into space, space will stare back at you, and you will become space.” In an unprepared speech Megan Clingen had to speak on how “cats are clean and dogs are not.” I wish I witnessed how that went down! And Oyama Tube is still waiting for the Grade 10 Geography outing to happen. But as the end of the road nears, the Geo girls have learned so much from Mrs Bean and truly appreciate her enthusiastic spirit she brings to each lesson.
Then in Grade 11, we travelled a road no Grade 11 learner had travelled before. This is when the Pandemic hit last year. Our concerns were not about long nails, short skirts nor piercings anymore…but more so cautious about not sending the wrong messages to class groups- the many we have now. Basi on the other hand,  perhaps did not send an incorrect message… although she had sent quite an interesting voice note on our History group recently. But don’t worry Basi...I didn't come to expose anyone.
Grade 12-our final destination! We started off our matric year full of excitement.
Walking the corridors for our last year in our black heels and white jerseys. Our “Day of Hope” revealed how competitive this grade is! Debating who won the game of “Song association” shows that even the small things, we take very seriously. One thing about the matric class of 2021 and the matric teachers, is that we know how to celebrate well. The CAT girls are known to have great mini end-of-year celebrations where they enjoy delicious snacks together. Mr Hartley hands out sweets when someone answers a question correctly in class and Miss de Beer spoils her Life Science class with the tastiest chocolate chip cookies when her ladies score well in their tests. Miss Oliphant keeps the best picnics for her Afrikaans class and Mrs James personalised treats are appreciated. Miss Potgieter and her English class have occasional coffee dates which they call their “coffee club.” The history girls will never forget the golden wrapped chocolates and green fizzors Mrs Gerber encouraged them with before writing their trial papers. #PrankWeek turned the school upside down. A dramatic prank well executed by our best matric actresses has to be the ‘fake’ alarming phone calls we received in class.Oyama Mateza in particular pretended to receive a phone call that her house was on fire! Poor Mrs Bernado felt really saddened by this news. But she was relieved to find out it was all just a prank. Mrs Carstens reaction to the phone calls were priceless. The best prank was when all the matrics hid away from their teachers who were given clues on where to find their students. The consumer girls hid away at the tuckshop and Mrs Ferriera’s clue stated the following, “In order to bake something, you first need to buy your ingredients at the…'' and she immediately claimed her class went to Spar!
On the other hand, Ababalwe Mbambani is definitely most likely to become an actress as she staged a dramatic fall as if she was fainting! Miss Peltason honestly thought it was real. But soon Aba “recovered” and we all shared a good laugh afterward. Although Miss Peltason knows her fair share of staging a good prank because as an April Fools joke, she tricked her English class into thinking they had an unprepared essay test.
 It is safe to say that although the matrics did not experience the full ‘matric package,’ these young ladies have sembraced the change the year has brought in true Riebeek tradition- by singing, dancing and pulling off pranks through the tough times.
As I stand before you today, I can now announce that we have officially made it to the end of our final destination. We often spoke of this day but we certainly never would have imagined it to come so soon and suddenly. However, our success would be impossible without our teachers. They have played a vital role in directing us throughout the journey with knowledge and immense care. So as we venture into new journeys ahead, the class of 2021 will never forget Mrs Stark saying that, “you sleep at night-not in class”, Mrs James for always requesting that she wants her theorems or simply Miss de Beer checking up if her class is happy-happiness?
 I would also like to take this opportunity to extend a thank you to Mrs Stear for believing in me. Mrs Snyman for always being eager to listen to me and assist in any way possible. I’ll truly miss my trips to the office. I dont think I’ll ever come across a team that works so well and who always has a smile on their faces. Therefore, thank you to our office staff for welcoming me so kindly, it's been an absolute joy working with you. To my subject teachers, thank you Mrs James for encouraging me to strive to be better and who has shed so much wisdom to our class, our journey together has been short but so significant. Thank you to Mrs Stark, Mrs Du Plessis and Mrs Weidemann for always wanting the best for us. Miss Tetani, thank you for being authentic and having so much patience with us.  Mrs Peltason, I admire your love for English and thank you for always being so sweet to us. Mrs Stroebel, I'll definitely miss peeping through the staff room to discuss some sort of planning with you; thank you for always being willing to listen and assist. To Mrs Gerber, your passion for history is awe-inspiring. Thank you for always going above and beyond not only in your teaching but in everything you do.
These are merely just the teachers who have taught me this year, if I were to continue we would be here until tomorrow. But to the other teachers who have also played a role in so many different ways- you all have a special place in my heart and in the hearts of your students.
To the prefect body of 2021, thank you for always standing by my side, ready to assist with anything.The adventures we have embarked on throughout this year have been so worthwhile. I'll miss sending those long voice notes to our group chat. Kwakho- Kwaks, you joined the Riebeek family in grade 5 and on your very first day you sat next to me in Miss Arthurs classroom. And now we had the opportunity to lead together. Thank you for supporting me, for having my back and keeping up with all my weirdness. 
To my family, they have been my rock. Daddy, thank you for always trying to help me with anything I needed. Mommy, my number 1 supporter, thank you for keeping up with me throughout this year, you’ve motivated, encouraged and guided me in all my endeavours. To my younger sister, Dante- thank you for bringing so much joy into my life and for always cheering me up with a dance or song. You kept me sane.
To the class of 2021, you all have grown into exceptional women of strength and confidence. It's been an honour to be a part of this journey. I am beyond excited to see the new adventures you embark on in the future. I would like to leave you these words of Chadwick Boseman, “When you are deciding on next steps, next jobs, next careers, further education, you should rather find purpose than a job or a career, purpose is an essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history.” We may have reached the end of the road now, but I’ll cherish the memories we have made together for eternity. All the laughs, the singing, the dancing, the conversations-safely stored in my heart. Finally, enter the new chapter with passion and purpose. Continue to shine wherever you may go and in whatever you may do; so “go forth and conquer.”
To the Prefect Body of 2022, a powerful group of young ladies, your term as leaders start soon. I wish you nothing but the very best. Nobuhle, I am truly honoured to hand over the Head Girls book to you. I know that you and the Prefect body are more than capable and I am beyond excited to see you all shine next year!

 October 16, 2021
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