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The Blue Note

9 AUGUST 2019

Dear Parents/Guardians

FOUNDATION DAY

St Anne’s celebrated its 142nd birthday yesterday with a varied programme that included a Chapel Service, a lunchtime concert that involved visiting musicians from DSG and St Andrew’s College in Makhanda (Grahamstown), and an interhouse  general knowledge quiz, to name just a few of the day’s activities. As has become our custom, we also used this opportunity to focus on National Women’s Day, the reason for today’s public holiday.

STAFF

Mrs Ghemma Wylde joined our staff at the beginning of the term in the role of Head of Visual Art, and I am delighted that she is already building meaningful relations with her pupils and adapting to her new environment as quickly as she is. Please refer to the accompanying introduction of Ghemma.

We were saddened to receive the news over the weekend of the passing of Mrs Anne Brand, a popular and much-respected member of our Mathematics Department until the end of 2015. Anne positively impacted on the lives of so many people, especially her pupils, during her tenure at St Anne’s.

ANXIETY

The Grade 12 Trial Examinations, Grade 9 Great Adventure, Grade 10 Chanel Ball and other out-of-the-ordinary events can so easily push up the reading on our pupils’ “Anxiety Barometers”. This gave me cause to address the topic of anxiety with the girls during the course of this week. The following extracts from what I shared with them may be of interest to you:

“Robert Burton, a neurologist and novelist, explains that our brains reward us with dopamine when we have that “aha” moment, at that special moment when we recognise and complete patterns. Stories are patterns. The brain recognises the familiar beginning-middle-end structure of a story and rewards us for clearing up any ambiguity. Unfortunately, the brain rewards us for a good story – one with clear good guys and bad guys – regardless of the accuracy of the story.”

So, influenced by human nature, we can become a little creative with our stories. …….  this is particularly true when we don’t have sufficient information ….when there is an absence of data.

Brené Brown, one of my favourite authors and commentators on human nature, in one of her books, Dare to Lead, uses the term “confabulation” which she explains as replacing missing information with something false that we believe to be true, in other words, lies honestly told. This leads to …… what we believe to be factual information but which is really just our own opinion.

Since my student days when I studied psychology, I have, perhaps somewhat simplistically, viewed anxiety  as a reaction to “thinking that there is a lion in your room” as opposed to fear which is related to  “knowing that there is a lion in your room”.

Brown asks two useful questions that relate to anxiety:

  1. “Do I have enough information to freak out about this situation?”
  2. “If I do have enough data, will freaking out help?”

Anxiety is often linked to confabulation.

Brown says that when we deny a story and when we pretend we don’t make up stories, the story owns us. It drives our behaviour, and it drives our cognition, and then it drives even more emotions until it completely owns us. Own the  story and you get to write the ending. Deny the story and it owns you.

When it comes to ourselves, Brown says that the three most dangerous stories we make up are the narratives that diminish our lovability, our divinity and our creativity. She goes on to provide three reality checks.

#1    A reality check around lovability: “Just because someone isn’t willing or able to love us, doesn’t mean that we are unlovable.”

#2    A reality check around divinity: “No person is ordained to judge our divinity or to write the story of our spiritual worthiness.”

#3   A reality check around creativity: (This may be of particular relevance to those of     you who have not been, or will not be, awarded a certain prize, chosen for a certain team, appointed to a certain position, etc. – my insert) “Just because we don’t measure up to some standard of achievement doesn’t mean that we don’t possess gifts and talents that only we can bring to the world. And just because someone fails to see the value in what we can create or achieve doesn’t change its worth or ours.”

SUBJECT CHOICE

The decision-making process involving Grade 9 pupils and their parents regarding the girls’ subject choices for the senior phase of their high school career can also cause much anxiety. I would like to remind you that St Anne’s is well equipped to assist pupils and parents through this process, and is committed to doing so. Mrs Lizelle van Niekerk, Head of our Counselling Department is an experienced, well qualified psychometrist whose assistance in this process is part of our school offering that involves no extra costs. While I am not saying that there is never an instance where the involvement of an outside professional may be necessary, I do think that anxiety on the part of parents and Grade 9 pupils often leads to the unnecessary involvement of these professionals. There are obviously certain mistakes that you want to avoid and doors you don’t want to close at this early stage, but please remember that we are dealing with a choice of school subjects, not career options. Career guidance specialists have an important role to play but St Anne’s would recommend that you involve these specialists, if considered necessary, at a later stage when options of tertiary studies are being considered.

ANTI-RACISM

In 2017, St Anne’s adopted a specific Anti-Racism Policy that was brought to the attention of our College community at the time. In the wake of the recent racist shootings in the USA, I thought it pertinent to draw your attention to the Policy, which reads as follows:

ANTI-RACISM POLICY

ST ANNE’S DIOCESAN COLLEGE

According to Genesis 1: 27, “God created humankind in his own image”. The Apostle Paul states that “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3: 28) Jesus himself instructed us to “love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13: 34)

Based on the faith that is the foundation of our College, we believe that breaking down peoples’ dignity based on how they have been created degrades the image of God that they carry. It also maligns the God behind the image. Judging, condemning and rejecting people on grounds that have no consequence in scripture stands in direct opposition of Christ’s instruction.

Racism thus has no place at St Anne’s and, if and when it is found, corrective action will be taken to root it out. Any attempt to downplay, minimise or in some way tolerate the issue of racism, breaches the fundamental identity of St Anne’s, the Anglican Church of Southern Africa and the Christian faith, and will therefore not be entertained.        

August 2017

(With acknowledgement to a statement made on 2 August 2017 by the Bishop of Johannesburg, The Right Revd Dr Steve Moreo.)

Enjoy your Half Term.

Kind regards

David Arguile

COLLEGE HEAD

“It is impossible for anyone to begin to learn that which he thinks he already knows.”

Epictetus, philosopher

INTRODUCING THE TEAM

GHEMMA WYLDE, Head of Visual Art

We are thrilled to welcome Mrs Ghemma Wylde who has joined us to head up the Art Department. In her spare time, Ghemma loves to make art, read and spend time gardening at her home in Pietermaritzburg. She is married to Chris and together they have two children, Luke and Mali.

She shared some of her impressions of the college so far:

“I have been so warmly and sincerely welcomed into the school by the staff and by the girls. In the first week it was very evident that the school is committed to creating a space in which every person here feels like they belong and are valued. I feel fortunate to be part of a school that is so deliberate in this endeavour. I have joined a thriving department in a very beautiful space and I am really looking forward to getting to know everyone better.”

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Latest News

SA U16 HIGH PERFORMANCE HOCKEY SQUAD

Congratulations to Gabrielle Benkenstein, Bahati Dakile and Ella Thorburn who represented KwaZulu Natal at the Interprovincial Hockey Tournament during the July holidays. Gabrielle was named Striker of the Tournament and all three girls were selected to be part of the South African U16 High Performance Hockey Squad. They attended a national training camp held at Kearsney College straight after the Interprovincial Tournament. Well done girls!

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Latest News

SA JNR OPEN SQUASH CHAMPION

Savannah Ingledew and Natalie Rohrs competed at the Prince South African Junior Open Squash Tournament in Johannesburg from 26 – 28 July. Natalie finished 13th overall and 2nd best U19 while Savannah won the entire event and was awarded Champion in the Open Section. This is an outstanding achievement, made even more special since Savannah is currently only U14. She is quite possibly the youngest player to win this prestigious tournament!

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Sports Results

Sports Results 30 July 2019

BASKETBALL

Results from league matches played against Alex High School

The 1st Team, under 16A, 15A and 14A competed against Alex High on Wednesday afternoon. It was a convincing display from all the teams as they each managed to secure a win. Special mention to Paige Nurkin (exchange student) who scored 6 baskets (12 points) the team were down 1 point with 26 seconds left on the clock when they were awarded a penalty. Paige stepped up to complete both penalties from the free throw line to secure the win.

1st Team Alex Won 21 – 20
Under 16A Won 25 – 0
Under 15A Won 18 – 9
Under 14A Won 10 – 8

Results from the Val Fowler 1st Team Tournament

The 1st Team competed at the annual basketball tournament hosted by GHS over the weekend. Their results were very satisfactory and they can be pleased with their effort. They played six matches won four and lost two to finish 5th out of the 24 teams in attendance.

1st Team Alex High Won 17 – 15
St John’s Won 23 – 22
Pts HSG Lost 16 – 30
Carter Won 30 – 21
St Mary’s Lost 34 – 35
The Glen Won 22 – 19

EQUESTRIAN

Results from the Shongweni Show Jumping:

1.30m Bunty Howard 1st in both classes
Jessica Woollam 2nd in both classes
1m Elné de Klerk 1st
90cm Elné de Klerk 1st

GOLF

Results from the Championship matches and individual scores

1st Lucy Norton 42
2nd Lerato Moephuli 48
3rd Savanna Alexander 54

HOCKEY

Results from the match against Voortrekker Bethlehem

The 1st Team played a friendly fixture on Saturday morning against our visitors from Bethlehem. The match was a good contest and perfect preparation for the Top 12 tournament to be played next week. Despite a valiant effort from the St Anne’s team, the opposition were more clinical and scored 2 goals to zero to win the match.

1st Team Voortrekker Bethlehem Lost 2 – 0

SOCCER

Results from the league matches played on Thursday, 25 July

In the opening fixtures of the league, we competed against St Nicholas, Grace College and Laddsworth. While still in the early stage of the season, the teams had a great start and were able to win three of the five matches played. Special mention to the U16 team who won by 10 – 0 and to Paige Nurkin (exchange student) who scored a brilliant goal from 30 meters out in her debut for the 1st Team.

1st Team St Nicholas Won 4 – 0
2nd Team Grace College 1st Won 2 – 0
Under 16 St Nicholas Won 10 – 0
Under 15 Grace College U15 Lost 3 – 2
Under 14 Laddsworth Lost 6 – 0

SQUASH

Results from the SA Jnr Open Tournament

Congratulations to Savannah Ingledew and Natalie Rohrs on their exceptional performance at this year’s event. Natalie finished 13th overall and 2nd best U19 while Savannah won the event and was awarded Champion in the Open section as an U14. Outstanding achievement.

TENNIS

Results from league matches played on 23rd of July

Under 19A TWC Won 31 – 13
Under 19B St John’s Lost 29 – 15
Under 19C TWC Won 25 – 11
Under 15C TWC Drew 18 – 18
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In Chapel

IN CHAPEL THIS MORNING

Chapel on Monday highlighted the environmental crisis of our planet. Rev Susan played an instrumental song by The 1975 which featured a speech by 16 year old Greta Thurnberg, a Swedish climate change activist. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed and paralysed by fear of what will happen in this environmental crisis but we need to face it and find answers. At the root of the human problem is a lack of contentment. We think we are not enough and we do not have enough. This leads to low self-esteem which leads to greater need. Part of the answer is spiritual and we need to know that God loves us as we are. Rather than be paralysed or motivated by fear, we need to be motivated by love, how we love others, ourselves and our planet.

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In Chapel

IN CHAPEL THIS MORNING

We celebrated the start of the 3rd Term with a full school Eucharist. Rev Susan reminded the girls of the importance of loving God, loving your neighbour and loving yourself. She explained that the Hebrew word for the love of God is HESED which translates to loving kindness, consistency, compassion, mercy and justice. It is important for us to be a channel for God’s love so that the more love God pours into us, the more love flows from us to others. Self-indulgence, fear and busyness are some of the things that prevent us from channelling this love to others. She stressed the importance of self-love and compassion towards ourselves which opens us up to receive God’s love. As we receive this, we are able to pour out love and compassion to those around us.

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The Blue Note

21 June 2019

Dear Parents/Guardians

AWARDS

Our end-of-term assembly yesterday included the announcements of many awards that covered six areas of College activities and once again provided evidence of our holistic education, and of the success that many of our pupils are experiencing as they immerse themselves in our curriculum. Special mention must be made of the  following pupils who received Honours Awards:

Drama –           Hannah Haines and Reobogile Sachane

Music   –           Jade Howard and Nwabisa Ngotho

Service –           Ashley Low

STAFF

The same assembly included a farewell to Ms Joy Preiss who retires after a long and distinguished educational career. She has had a significant impact on the quality of art produced by our girls during the four years that she has headed up our Art Department and she will be passing on a very healthy department to her successor, Mrs Ghemma Wylde, who moves to St Anne’s next term from Maritzburg College.

PRESIDENT’S AWARD PROGRAMME

The President’s Award Programme, overseen at St Anne’s by Mr Andrew Gilfillan, is an exceptionally demanding and enriching one. Despite the tough criteria that have to be satisfied in order to progress from Bronze to Gold Level, the programme has attracted a disproportionally large number of participants since we introduced the programme in 2012. The success rate of these participants has been exceptional to say the least, with our 50th Gold Award having recently been announced.

2020 ENROLMENT

Our enrolment process for Grade 8 in 2020 is now complete. I am looking forward to welcoming a diverse and talented group of 90 girls from 42 different primary schools to St Anne’s at the beginning of next year. We now shift our attention to offering places to a few girls in senior grades. May I remind parents that a term’s written notice is required if you intend withdrawing your daughter from St Anne’s at the end of the year (not that I am trying to encourage her departure) and, obviously, the longer this notice period the better for the College.

PARENT SUPPORT

A very positive feature of St Anne’s is the significant parental support evident at various functions, despite the fact that so many parents live some distance from the College. Our recent Fete Day, Interhouse Music Competition and Grade 11 Parent/Teacher Meetings were no exceptions. Thank you for actively partnering the College in your daughter’s education.

DEVELOPING ETHICAL CAPACITIES/UNIVERSITY ADMISSION

For most of our Grade 12 girls and their parents, a significant amount of time, effort and possibly emotional energy have already been linked to the process for admission to university in 2020. Recently, with reference to the United States, it was reported that a number of parents have allegedly donated huge amounts of money to prestigious colleges in order to ensure that their children receive preferential treatment with regard to the admissions process. (Replace the afore-going words with “bribery” or “unethical behaviour”, as you see fit.)

Two reports, recently released in the United States that relate to the college admission process in that country, contain lessons that, in my opinion, are also relevant to our South African context.

The first report, released in January of 2016, argued that what’s important in college admissions is not the quantity of students’ achievements or long “brag sheets” but the quality of their ethical and academic engagement. In the first comprehensive effort of its kind, a large group of colleges publicly and collectively sent a message that they seek applicants who care about others and their communities, and who are energised by meaningful learning.

In a second report,

ROBBING THEM OF WHAT COUNTS

Turning the Tide II: How Parents and High Schools Can Cultivate Ethical Character and Reduce Distress in The College Admissions Process by Richard Weissbourd with Trisha Ross Anderson, Brennan Barnard, Alison Cashin, and Alexis Dikowsky March 1, 2019 

the researchers commented on the critical role of high schools and parents in supporting teens in developing core ethical capacities, including a sense of responsibility for others and their communities, and reducing achievement-related stress. While the report acknowledged that parents and high schools also powerfully shape the admissions process, an intense focus on academic achievement has squeezed out serious attention to ethical character, both in a large majority of high schools and a large number of families. Many parents—particularly, middle- and upper-income parents—seeking coveted spots for their children in elite colleges are failing to focus on what really matters in this process. In an effort to give their kids everything, these parents often end up robbing them of what counts, namely cognitive, social, and ethical capacities such as the ability to take multiple perspectives, empathy, self-awareness, gratitude, curiosity, and a sense of responsibility for one’s communities.

The report also points out that too many parents fail to be ethical role models during the admissions process by allowing teens to mislead on applications, letting their own voice intrude in application essays, hiring expensive tutors and coaches without any sense of equity or fairness, treating their teen’s peers simply as competitors for college spots, and failing to nurture in their teen any sense of gratitude for the privilege of attending a four-year college. College admissions may well be a test for parents, but it’s not a test of status or even achievement—it’s a test of character. Alert to the wishes of parents in their communities, high schools in middle- and upper-class communities often follow parents’ lead. Many of these schools are too focused on highly selective colleges, don’t adequately nurture students’ interests and curiosity, and do little to challenge parents engaging in ethically troubling behaviour. Encouragingly, the report does confirm that many colleges have stepped up to make substantial changes to their admissions processes in line with the report’s recommendations, and that many high schools are also taking key steps in developing students’ ethical character.

In addition, the report offers actionable guideposts for parents and high schools for shaping an admissions process that puts young people’s ethical character and well-being at the centre of a healthier, more sane college admissions process. As an example one of these guideposts, entitled ETHICAL PARENTING IN THE COLLEGE ADMISSIONS PROCESS includes the following advice:

Keep the focus on your teen. The college admissions process is a key rite of passage in adolescence and can be a wonderful opportunity for parents to get to know their teen in a deeper way. It’s also an important opportunity for parents to model the empathy in their relationship with their teen that is key to their teen’s relationships. But it’s critical for parents to disentangle their own wishes from their teen’s wishes and avoid conflating their interests with their teen’s interests. Throughout the process, parents should get input from their teen about whether their involvement in the process is helpful. Often it’s important for parents to just pause and listen.

As stated earlier, the above contains lessons/warnings for schools, parents and pupils in our South African context, not only with regard to admission to tertiary institutions but also admission to independent high schools, particularly those where demand for places exceeds supply. The above also reinforces recent action taken by certain of our neighbouring schools in emphasising that there are consequences for unethical behaviour, a stand too infrequently taken in other sectors of our South African context.

D6 COMMUNICATOR: SUBSCRIPTION OPTION

As you should be aware, St Anne’s communicates to parents via the d6 School Communicator App. The d6 group is fully committed to protecting client’s data in line with the required regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA). As part of a process to ensure compliance, d6 has developed the capability for end users to select a subscription option which will allow them to use the d6 School Communicator mobile app with no adverts. Note that if you do not opt for the subscription offering, you can continue to use the app in exactly the same way as you previously did. The proposed launch date of the mobile application update will be before the end of July 2019. The ad-free option is not available for d6 School Communicator Desktop users. Please refer to the attached communication from the d6 group for more information.

(To download the d6 Communicator App, please click on this link.)

Kind regards

David Arguile

COLLEGE HEAD

“It is often easier to fight for principles than to live up to them.”

Adlai Stevenson II, American politician

INTRODUCING THE TEAM

STHEMBISO MEMELA, Security

We welcome Sthembiso to our Security Team. Sthembiso matriculated in 2009 and worked as a painter before joining St Anne’s. He was born and raised by his mother in Bulwer and has since relocated to Landskop. He enjoys spending time with his family and especially likes cooking for them. He works out at the gym and aspires to be a fitness trainer one day. His future goals also include being married by age 35, owing his own home and giving his two children a good education. Welcome to the team, Sthembiso.

DUM’SANI ELVIS MSHENGU, Security & General Estate Support

We are delighted to announce that Dum’sani, who was appointed to control the exit gate during the construction of the new theatre complex, has now joined us in a permanent role. Dum’sani is married with four children aged 23, 21, 4 and 18 months and lives nearby in Emvelweni, Sweetwaters. He enjoys watching movies and keeping up-to-date with current affairs by reading the newspaper. His favourite pastime however is watching soccer. Dum’sani is happy to be working at St Anne’s and says that “everybody here is welcoming and friendly, even the managers”.

SYLVIA BONGEKILE PHUNGULA, Housekeeper – Mollie Stone

Sylvia has joined us in the role of Housekeeper in Mollie Stone. She has two children: Zama who is 22 years old and Sonasipho, aged 13. She also is a proud grandmother to Enzo who has just turned one. Originally from Bulwer, Sylvia relocated to Edendale and spent 10 years working at Amberfield Retirement Village and three at a private cleaning company before joining St Anne’s. So far she has found everybody to be friendly and sees her position at St Anne’s as an opportunity to learn and grow. She considers herself a happy, friendly person, who is grateful for all of God’s blessings.

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Latest News

THE STEPP MINUTE & YOUTH DAY FETE

In assembly on Tuesday the STEPP leaders reflected on the significant history of Youth Day that dates back to 16 June 1976. They congratulated the Grade 11 girls in their efforts to commemorate the day at the annual STEPP fete. This year the girls managed to raise R31 000.00 which will go towards making education accessible for children in under-resourced schools. A tremendous effort to all involved!

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