Search
  • Charwin Knoetze

From the Headmaster

The arrival of Covid-19 has placed the world as we know it in a state of uncertainty. The potential impact of the virus is significant. Under the current circumstances, I encourage the whole Queen’s College community to take the situation very seriously. Please heed the following very important directives from our country’s health services.

1. Wash hands with soap and water regularly;

2. Clean and disinfect school/home/work surfaces regularly;

3. Cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing;

4. Promote social distancing (not shaking hands, hugging, sharing utensils etc) without stigmatising learners or employees;

5. Stay home when sick.

The contact details for the Department of Education’s Information Centre is info2020@ecdoe.gov.za and the toll free number is 087 1311 455 (please note that this number is different to the number on my newsletter in the report envelopes – we received notification this morning from the Department of Education regarding the error). It is of critical importance that all information regarding incidents of the virus are communicated to the information centre, as it will enable the Department of Education to identify hot-spots, affected areas, and to make an informed decision on the re-opening of schools.

The Department has also asked that our Grade 8 – 12 learners should have their textbooks at home with them; that they should read 30 to 50 pages a day and write 200 to 250 words per day. The Department also advises that it has a large number of assessment tasks, past exam papers and learning material available on its website (www.ecdoe.gov.za)

In Mr Ramaphosa’s address to the nation on Sunday night, he stated that schools will only reopen on 14 April for the start of the second term. He promised that the June holidays will only be two weeks and the September break will be shortened. Therefore, no academic time will be lost.

Plans are in place to proceed with distance learning, should President Ramaphosa announce that schools will not open on 14 April as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. All staff and boys have been trained to use Google Classroom and to set up WhatsApp groups for the relevant classes by their subject teachers.

Boys that do not have connectivity will be helped by coming to school to collect a hard copy of the work that he needs to do while not being able to come to school, bearing in mind this is only applicable if school does not open on 14 April. Please note that D6 is the platform of communication with parents.

This is a time for all of us to look out for the good health of our loved ones and the wider community. We will do very well to act as if we are contaminated by the virus. It will motivate us to be very cautious and act responsibly. Please see a poem by Kitty O’Meara I found to be lovely in these uncertain times:

And the people stayed home. And read books,

and listened, and rested, and exercised, and

made art, and played games, and learned new

ways of being, and were still. And listened

more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some

danced. Some met their shadows. And the people

began to think differently.

And the people healed. And in the absence of

people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless,

and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people

joined together again, they grieved their

losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new

images, and created new ways to live and heal

the earth fully, as they have been healed.

Unfortunately, a member of our administrative staff confessed guilt to mismanagement of school funds. The staff member offered her resignation immediately, which the school accepted. In consultation between the School’s management, the School Governing Body and our Attorney, the guilty staff member signed an Admission of Guilt Agreement, which contains strict measures of paying back the monies owed to the school over a short period of time. We are happy to state that all conditions of the Admission of Guilt Agreement have been adhered to so far.

On a much more positive note, our staff, boys and the Governing Body have had a very good and busy term.

Academics: Although our academic program was disrupted by the full programme of events of our school (sports tours and midweek fixtures etc.), the vast majority of our boys delivered good results. This is the core business of our school and should always be respected as such. Our staff is committed to making sure that each boy’s academic potential is developed to the full.

Extra-Curricular Program: I am very happy to state that the participation of our boys has increased dramatically over the last 18 months. The majority of our boys are significantly involved in the different sports and cultural activities. This is one of the yard sticks by which the health of a school is measured. Our newly founded Basketball club and the resurrected Waterpolo club have attributed largely to the heightened participation numbers. Our athletes and cricketers have performed excellently. Eight of our athletes have been selected for the Eastern Cape Junior Athletics team to take part in the 2020 SA Junior Athletics Championships. Our first cricket team performed very well with good results against Selborne, Hudson Park, St Andrew’s College and all the other Border region opposition. Our team narrowly lost to Grey High School in the National CSA T20, Eastern Cape provincial finals. It is important to note that the resurrection of our cricket club started with excellent performances by our Second XI. This reality shows that we do not look after only our top cricketers. Another indication of a healthy school.

Our rugby and hockey teams have performed very well at the different early season sports festivals. We look forward to supporting our teams when the season resumes after the holidays.

Queen’s College Gymnasium: One of the very positive additions to our school is the gymnasium. Our boys warmed up to the facility and the atmosphere, expertise and professionalism that Mr Miguel Caldeira, our Strength and Conditioning coach established. Again, it makes me happy to see that a large number of boys, from the whole spectrum of sports that Queen’s offers, are making use of the facility. The positive effect of our boys’ hard work under the leadership of Mr Caldeira is there for all to see. Many athletes have delivered personal best performances. The improvement of the conditioning of our rugby, cricket and hockey teams is remarkable. Our teams play with belief and confidence.

Reunion 2020: Our much anticipated Reunion, scheduled for 16-19 April, is postponed as a result of the uncertainty Covid-19 has caused. We are planning to celebrate Reunion at a later stage. The date will be communicated to you once it is finalized.

Mentorship: We started a mentorship program where we organized our boys in groups of 15 with a mentorship teacher looking after each group. The group is made up of 3 Grade 12, 11, 10, 9 and 8 learners respectively. We aim to create an atmosphere of real care and support in these groups.

Vision 175 & Beyond: An important part of our vision is to grow our school to 650 boys of which we would like our boarding community to extend to 250 boarders. Currently, we have 140 boarders. Queen’s College’s boarding facilities are of the best in the world. Our boarding community staff has created a safe, homely and disciplined environment where boys can thrive and be happy. You, our parents and our boys, are best positioned to promote our school to your friends and wider community. We encourage you to help us by inviting good people to become part of the Queen’s College family.

I extend a word of sincere thanks for the constant support and guidance our Governing Body gives us. These parents’ commitment to assure professionalism and adapting to the ever changing demands of modern education in terms of infrastructure and systems, is a shining light in the culture of our Great School. Ladies and Gentlemen, our school salutes and thanks you.

ACADEMICS:

Congratulations to Allen Koshy and Joseph Kankam from the Class of 2019, who were the Top 2 Matriculants in the Chris Hani West district. These young men were rewarded for their efforts with trophies and prizes by the Department of Education at a special awards ceremony held at the beginning of January.

The Academic awards for the end of 2019 were announced at an Assembly at the beginning of the year. These awards are based on performance in the mid-year and final examinations in Grades 8-11.

Academic Honours was bestowed on Siyambonga Cengimbo, Colby Green and Logan Hartley, who achieved the relevant criteria at the end of their Grade 11 year.

64 Queenians obtained Academic Merit and 34 obtained the Cum Laude standard.

In addition, the following boys received All Rounder awards for 2019.

Grade 8 Mutumbo Kabau, Axola Khatshwa

Grade 9 Joel Manoj

Grade 10 Desmond Ayeh, Emmanuel Fako, Kamvelihle Mangqangwana, Lunathi Ntaba, Eli van Schoor

Grade 11 Justin Campher, Junior Damane, Taine Duncan, Logan Hartley, Jade Julies, Dillon Oelofse

WE ARE EXPECTING TO RESUME OUR ACADEMIC ACTIVITIES ON 14 APRIL AS PER THE DIRECTIVE OF THE GOVERNMENT. IF IT SO HAPPENS THAT THE HOLIDAY IS EXTENDED BEYOND THE GIVEN COMMENCEMENT DATE OF TERM 2, TEACHERS WILL

COMMUNICATE WITH THEIR STUDENTS AND WORK WILL BE ISSUED THROUGH GOOGLE CLASSROOM OR WHATSAPP GROUPS. THESE HAVE ALREADY BEEN SET UP, BUT WILL ONLY BE ACTIVATED IF WE DO NOT RE-OPEN SCHOOL ON 14 APRIL.

OUR 2ND TERM CYCLE TEST PROGRAMME and EXAM TIMETABLE WILL BE UPLOADED ONTO D6 ONCE WE HAVE CLARITY FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION ABOUT OUR OPENING DATE FOR TERM 2, AND WHETHER THE GRADE 12 COMMON EXAM TIMETABLE WILL REMAIN UNCHANGED OR NOT.

All students are encouraged to take this long holiday as an opportunity to catch up on all areas that they did not perform well in.

The Parent/Teacher academic feedback meeting and interviews is scheduled for Tuesday 14 April 2020 from 18:00 – 19:30 in the Memorial Hall. This is an ideal opportunity for you to discuss your son’s Term 1 academic progress with his subject teachers.

HOWEVER – this may not take place on 14 April if the opening of school is moved once more.

PUPIL MATTERS:

Grade 8 orientation camp:

The Grade 8 class of 2020, accompanied by numerous staff and prefects went on an exciting camp to Lekkeroord campsite near Igoda mouth over the weekend of 10 - 12 January. The camp was a great way for the new learners of Queen’s College to get to know one another, the staff and prefects as well as learn what Queen’s College is all about and how Queenians conduct themselves.

The 140 strong group left Queenstown at 09:00 on the Friday and arrived at the campsite to very wet and muddy conditions. The busses were unpacked and everyone was welcomed by very friendly and professional instructors who quickly set the ground rules of the camp, split the boys into doors and groups and got started with various team building games and exercises. The games and exercises included boys learning how to work together to solve problems such as carrying a cup of water using only string to balance the cup, climbing through a ‘spider web’ type obstacle course where you needed to avoid touching the ground, as well as bumping into someone from the other side and balancing a set of nails on top of each other (which seemed impossible at times, but in the end taught boys the value of how everyone, no matter how big or small, plays a role in the success of our school) which really tested the boys’ critical thinking and problem solving skills.

Saturday was a beautiful sunny day and the boys had a full day of activities to look forward to. The boys started the morning with a hike to Igoda beach, which is a good 3km hike downhill and they had to carry a very big piece of rope. This was done to teach them about helping each other and sticking together. Once at the beach, the various groups took part in numerous activities such as sand castle building, river rafting, water fill the bucket races (with a holey bucket), hand soccer and a very interesting game where they had to get a ball in a hoop with their hands behind their backs. This morning was full of fun, laughter and great spirit and the activities were things that many of these boys would never have done before, which is what made it so special. After the fun the boys made the walk back uphill to the camp site still holding their rope. This tested them, both physically and mentally, but they took to this task with ease, getting back up the hill quicker than it took them to descend it. The last activity of the camp was ‘capture the lantern’, which tested all the boys had learnt on the camp and was a very fun way to wrap up a very busy two days.

Grade 8 induction ceremony:

Our second Grade 8 induction ceremony took place on the evening of Friday 24 January. At this ceremony, our Grade 8s received their Queen’s College blazer and tie. The evening was very special for our Grade 8 parents and their children and could be a highlight of these boys’ school careers. Our matric class of 2020 was simply superb and their presence and participation at the event added to its uniqueness.

Grade 8 Head, Mr Tyrone Rankin, welcomed everyone and gave a run-down of the order of events. The Headmaster addressed the boys on what it means to be a Queenian. He referenced many Old Boys, parents and staff and used their words to get his message across. His speech set the tone for the night and helped our new boys realise the importance of wearing their blazer and tie and being a part of the family.

With our Grade 8 boys all now wearing their school colours our Head Prefect, Lwazi Sogiba, delivered a very strong and meaningful message to our boys.

The Grade 8s were led from the school to the front of the old school gate where they would enter for the first time and ring the bell which would signify the start of their journey at Queen’s College, leaving again over the bridge and out the very same gate they entered through in January, upon completing matric in 2024. This is a very symbolic and special moment for our boys after a 5-year journey at Queen’s.

Please note the following:

Ø No boys are allowed to wear tracksuit tops in place of blazers to school, and no boys are allowed to wear tracksuit tops underneath blazers at all.

Ø Kindly ensure that your son has a name badge on his blazer at all times. If your son does not have a name badge, kindly provide him with R30,00 so that he may order one from the Bursar’s office.

Ø Despite my advices to all parents in previous newsletters, I have noticed that many boys are still using incorrect school bags. NO name branded (Adidas, Nike, Puma etc) bags are allowed, even if they are black. All boys are supposed to use the official Queen’s College school bag and sports bag. Incorrect bags will be confiscated and only returned once the boys are able to show me that they are in possession of the correct bag/s.

STAFF MATTERS:

Mr Gilbert van Zyl, our Catering Manager, who has been the incumbent at Bisset Hall since 2007, leaves us at the end of this term, to pursue a career in Somerset East. Mrs Veronica Barraud, who was previously at Queen’s Junior, takes up the reins at Bisset from the beginning of Term 2.

Mrs Michelle Henson, is relocating to the Western Cape with her family at the end of this term. Thousands of boys have passed through Mrs Henson’s 11 year tenure at our hostels, both at Whitson and at Connaught. We wish you and your family all of the very best in the fairest Cape.

We also bade farewell to Mr Simtembile Mgidi on 13 February 2020, when he relocated to Port Elizabeth to take up a position with a local newspaper.

Mrs Sharon Kriedemann has taken up the reins as Senior Bursar; and will no longer be the school fee Bursar. Interviews for the school fee Bursar have been held, and it is hoped that the successful candidate will commence duties before 1 May 2020.

Long Service awards were made on 18 March to:

10 years

Mrs Michelle Henson 1 January 2010 – 31 December 2019

Mrs Margaret Myburgh 1 January 2010 – 31 December 2019

Mrs Lesley Vincent 1 January 2010 – 31 December 2019

30 years

Mr Wayne Gilfillan 1 January 1990 – 31 December 2019

CLUBS AND SOCIETIES:

Blood Peer Promoters:

At our first blood drive for the year, on 29 January, we bled 62 units, which is a brilliant achievement.

Choir:

On 6 March our Choir was invited to perform at the 10th Opening Ceremony of the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders in Bhisho. This was wonderful exposure and we hope you saw the Choir on the SABC news that evening. This event was also very educational as the Premier, Mr Oscar Mabuyane and other traditional leaders were talking about finding solutions to the serious problems like Gender Based Violence, the death of young men in our societies during initiation season, etc.

DIY Club:

This club has learned about tools and visited WG Mica where the members were taught how to use a glue gun and how to choose the correct saw for the task. The boys also painted storage boxes for their projects and made desk organisers.

Ecowatch:

This year the members painted T-shirts to wear at the Fun Run with the theme “Heal the World”. The Ecowatchers also visited the waterfall at Glen Gray and the members made succulent gardens to enter at the Tarkastad Agricultural Show, winning 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes! Ms Zipho Rapiya from Beautiful Enlightenment gave a talk on sustainable fashion and showed the Ecowatchers how to upcycle materials. Together with Mrs Christa Watt¸ the boys went for a hike in the Kholorha forest and did some fishing at Thomas River.

A reminder to everyone that it is Earth Hour on 28 March from 20:30 – 21:30. Remember to save electricity and switch off your lights during this time!

Student Christian Organisation:

On 6 March, approximately 70 students from different schools met at the Memorial Hall for the official launch of our Student Christian Organization. Thanks to Yamkela Poni and his team for organizing this wonderful event.