It has been a frenetic term. Matrics have been focusing on their last set of exams before their finals and the rest of our students have been gearing up for the final push into Term 4. Our Matric group seems focused and determined to ensure they finish their careers at the school well and I am sure we all wish them the best of luck as they prepare for their final examinations during this holiday period.
Our intake for 2017 is also being finalized and I am excited about the wonderful young men and women coming into our Grade 8 year. This class is full and the College continues to grow from the bottom up. We will start 2017 with 500 students and I have no doubt, like in recent years, we will have some late applicants in November and December to consider. Oakhill is poised to leap into a new era with optimism and expectation and I have no doubt our new Headmaster, Mr de Villiers will guide us forward with purpose and vision.
I would like to remind you of some important dates in Term 4 to diarise:
28 October: Jannie de Villiers and his wife Suzanne will join us at the opening of the Grade 12 art exhibition. Mr de Villiers and his family join us for a couple of days and I will be introducing him to the staff, our executive and the students during the school day. Please take note of the invitation to the Grade 12 Art exhibition, which is always a spectacular affair, where you will be given the opportunity of meeting Jannie and his family. I would encourage everyone to join us on this occasion.
- Matric Valediction – Friday 14th October
- College Celebration – Saturday 15th October
- Parent Forum: Lee Den Hond – Monday 17th October
- Grade 7 Valediction – Thursday 10th November
- Miniature Art Exhibition – Saturday 12th November
- Shane’s Farewell – Thursday 17th November
- Foundation Phase Celebration – Thursday 1st December
- Intermediate Phase Celebration – Friday 2nd December
- Christmas Market – Saturday 3rd December
It gives me great pleasure to inform you of a number of new appointments for 2017:
Andre Barnard joins us in the College to teach Afrikaans and human Social Sciences on a full time basis. Andre is currently teaching at a school on the East Rand and I have no doubt that he will be an asset in the classroom and on the sport field.
Brendan Keevey joins us as our College Director of Sport to step into the shoes of Dave Pryke. I am particularly excited about this appointment as Brendan is an Old Oak and his experience coaching internationally in the Netherlands as well as at University level at UCT will stretch us and allow us to grow as an organization. Brendon’s wife Jennifer is an Occupational Therapist and was a founder pupil at the school. We welcome them back to the community and wish them well as they take up the reigns.
I am also pleased to announce that Ryan Habib has been promoted to Head of Department Mathematics in the College. Ryan joined us at the beginning of the year and has already made a significant impact in a number of areas and I am excited by his vision for Mathematics at Oakhill. This appointment frees up Andrew Brown, our Academic Director in the College to focus on leading us forward on a number of fronts.
It is also with regret that I inform you of the resignation of Robyn Humphreys. Robyn was appointed via a skype interview 3 years ago and has made a significant impact as an English and History teacher and has created a dance department which has impressed at every turn. Robyn is already a master teacher and her presence will be missed on the campus in 2017. She is taking up an exciting opportunity in Hong Kong and we wish her all the best as she endeavours to make a difference in that part of the world.
Sue Carver will be rejoining us after a short sabbatical to replace Robyn and I am delighted to welcome her back onto the team.
Change is never easy but it’s inevitable. What makes it difficult is the fact that we have developed great relationships and we will miss those who are leaving but I have no doubt that as the school progresses we will be able to attract other top professionals to the area. I have heard it said that our turn-over of staff is too high. I would like to remind you that we have approximately 100 staff members at Oakhill and our turn-over is monitored closely and I am pleased to say it is approximately 6%, year on year which is well within the norms of any organization.
I would like to thank a number of parents who have enabled us to complete certain projects this term and who have continued to help at functions behind the scenes:
The Supporters club has been instrumental in gaining traction in many areas but mostly socialising and welcoming guests to our beautiful Sports Campus. I would particularly like to thank Leon Smith who has cajoled and convinced a number of parents to make donations toward the cricket net project. These nets will be completed by the start of Term 4 and I would like to thank every parent who contributed to the completion of this project. Our children will certainly appreciate this facility once completed.
Leon has also been instrumental in ensuring that our new Supporters Club Braai area has been completed. I would also like to thank Ian Brymer for his help in both of these projects. We certainly would not been able to complete them without their help.
I would also like to thank the Takkies and Turf committee led by Liesel Battel who has tirelessly led this event in the last few years. I am really grateful to her and her committee for growing this event and as she hands it over I would like to commend her for all she has done to make it successful as it is enjoyed by the entire community.
Our Little Oaks kitchen has been refurbished and we are incredibly grateful for this. I would like to thank Charlene Turpin as well as Ian Brymer for ensuring that this project was completed successfully.
As always our staff have worked tirelessly to ensure our kids grow and learn and I thank them for their dedication but more particularly I would like to thank Zolani Jenteza our Estate Manager continues to make a significant difference in the way we do things on both campuses. I would like to thank both him and his staff members for all they do for us as a community.
Lastly, I would like to wish you a relaxing break filled with peace, love and generosity and I look forward to welcoming you back for the final term of the year on Tuesday the 17th of October.