Award Of Excellence

The Award of Excellence is an award for an Old Girl who embodies determination, success, and excellence in her chosen field. Judges of the award look across a wide range of industries and professions – including academia, business, literature, performance arts, social responsibility, and visual arts, to name a few.

2024 - Lynn Jackson Award Of Excellence Winner

The Award of Excellence is a testament to those who have not just succeeded, but excelled in their chosen field. Lynn’s journey began at St Anne’s in 1967, where she held the position of Head of Macrorie and served as the Vice-Captain of tennis, earning her tennis Colours.

After school Lynn soared to remarkable heights in her field of expertise, particularly in marine science. Beginning her career as a teaching assistant and later a junior lecturer in the Zoology...

department at the University of Natal, Lynn’s passion for the marine world led her to pursue a Ph.D. in Marine Science from the University of South Carolina, as well as a Graduate Diploma in Marine Law from the University of Cape Town.

For 24 years, Lynn dedicated herself to the Marine Pollution Division of the Department of Environmental Affairs, eventually rising to lead the department. Her work has brought her into collaboration with local, national, and international government agencies, non-governmental organisations, and industry leaders.

Today, Lynn stands as a beacon of expertise and dedication, having established herself as an independent consultant under the name of Coastal and Environmental Consulting. Her contracts span a wide range of topics, from coastal management to marine pollution and invasive species.

Lynn Jackson exemplifies the spirit of excellence and achievement that we hold dear at St Anne’s. Her journey is not only a testament to her individual success but also a source of inspiration for us all.

Year: 1967

House: Macrorie

2023 - Dr Tholang Khumalo (Mosese) Award Of Excellence Winner

Thuli was awarded our Award of Excellence for her determination and excellence in her field as a Pediatric Nephrologist. Pediatric nephrologists are specialists. They are coordinators of a team that includes specialized nurses, dieticians, and social workers, all dedicated to the care of children with kidney diseases. They work closely with other physicians such as pediatric urologists, pediatric surgeons, and pediatric radiologists. During her engaging presentation one got the sense of...

how mentally and emotionally strong she needs to be in order to remain professional while caring for her patients. She highlighted the importance of palliative care as a key intervention for her patients who are suffering from renal failure. She believes this type of intervention allows her to give her patients a better quality of life during their treatment journey. Thuli is truly an exceptional Old Girl who changes the lives of her patients and their families on a daily basis. Her “home team” who are her husband, daughter and two sons are the most important people to start her day with – they are her support system. Thuli left us with the words “Not every day will be a great day, but it doesn’t take much to make it a better day. Stay young.”

Year: 1998

House: Usherwood

2022 - Gillian Sanders (Curr) Award Of Excellence Winner

We were very fortunate to have Gillian join us at St Anne’s on the 17th of March during a visit home from the UK. She was presented her Award of Excellence by Debbie Erskine in the Theatre in front of an audience who had many questions for the Triathlete Olympian. Gillian has represented SA internationally for 11 years. Most recently at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021.  She has been to the London and the Rio Olympics, and competed at 2 Commonwealth Games where she was a silver...

medalist in 2014. There were questions regarding her routine followed as a triathlete, her dedication to her sport and whether she would aim for another Olympics. “I am accountable to myself,” says Gillian, “this keeps and kept me motivated to keep going during my training.” Gillian retired from being a professional athlete last year but continues to compete in her personal capacity. Congratulations on your award and it was fabulous having you back at St Anne’s Gillian!

Year: 1999

House: Andrews

2022 - Taryn Potts (Mallett) Award Of Excellence Winner

Taryn flew down from Johannesburg to join us on the afternoon of the 18th of March to receive her Award of Excellence. In the spirit of her speaking about her experiences at the Olympics she dressed up in the actual outfit that she wore to the opening ceremony of the Olympics which was designed by a Durban designer especially for the Hockey team. At university she started by captaining the Maties Hockey team, but this was just the beginning.  She then went on to play U21 Provincial hockey...

and later went on to on to represent SA in the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020. After receiving her Award from Old Girls’ Committee member Debbie Erskine, the audience asked many questions, including whether she met Kevin Durant? No unfortunately she didn’t but many of her team mates did. It was lovely having Taryn back at St Anne’s and the girls thoroughly enjoyed hearing about her time at the Olympics.  Congratulations on your award Taryn and thank you for joining us, we wish you many more years of successful hockey playing.

Year: 2009

House: Mollie Stone

2021 - Lisa Linfield (Denoon-Stevens) Award Of Excellence Winner

The Old Girls’ Committee would like to congratulate Lisa Linfield (née Denoon-Stevens), Usherwood, 1992, who was presented with our Award of Excellence on the 5th of November. In her presentation to the Committee, Lisa embodied the St Anne’s values of “Reflect, Embrace and Reach Out.” Her enthusiasm, her determination to help others, and her down to earth outlook on life was inspiring.  She has over 23 years of financial services experience in the UK and South Africa. Over the...

years, Lisa’s career has evolved to include, Personal Finance Expert, Investment Manager, Author, Keynote Speaker, Course Creator and Podcast Host. She has a goal to equip, engage and empower 1 Million Women to live a financially free life – so that they too may be able to live a life of purpose and choice. To support that goal, Lisa established a weekly podcast, Working Women’s Wealth, featuring women who’ve achieved personally and professionally, as well as shorter episodes to engage, equip and empower her listeners to manage their money. So far her podcast of over 200 episodes has been downloaded more than 75,000 times in 125 different countries. Lisa’s book titled Deep Grooves: Overcoming Patterns That Keep You Stuck aimed to bring all the pieces of the puzzle together. Lisa teaches a holistic approach to money to people of all ages and financial means, in an easy-to-understand way that incorporates financial best practice, as well as the latest research in thinking and mindset change.  It was a great privilege for the Old Girls Guild to award Lisa the St Anne’s Excellence award and we are very proud to have her as an alumni of our school.

Year: 1992

House: Usherwood

2020 - Megan Berning Award Of Excellence Winner

On 5 March we presented Megan Berning (Usherwood, 2011) with the Award of Excellence. This award is presented to Old Girls who model determination, success and excellence in their chosen field of endeavour. Megan has done amazing work at Ardmore working closely alongside her mother and assisting with inspiring the Ardmore artists in their day to day work. She has been a part of the design team and worked closely with her sister, Catherine, on the Hermes collaborations and new fabric...

She is the Director of the new non-profit Ardmore Community Fund which will bring art and creativity into local, rural schools in Lidgetton.

Year: 2011

House: Usherwood

2019 - Spoen Green Award Of Excellence Winner

On Thursday, 17 October, we presented Spoen Green (2013, Macrorie) with the Award of Excellence. This award is presented to Old Girls who model determination, success and excellence in their chosen field of endeavour and Spoen certainly illustrated this with her presentation to the girls when she spoke with great passion and enthusiasm about the Oxpecker Trail Run event and how the idea started and grew to the success it is today.She explained how the Oxpecker Trail Run is South Africa’s...

top 2-day trail running event and that this is not just a race but an OXPECKER experience! It was hosted in 2015 with 490 runners and has grown to a 3 race weekends event and 3000 runners in 2019.Spoen further demonstrated her determination to be successful in everything she starts by winning the contest on the television show, My Kitchen Rules South Africa, with her sister Rox, in 2018.Spoen left the girls with the message, “Bravery will get you places, it takes 20 seconds of insane courage and something good will come of it.”

Year: 2013

House: Macrorie

2019 - Toni Burton (Spiller) Award Of Excellence Winner

On Friday, 1 February, we hosted Toni Burton (nee Spiller, 1976, FB) at St Anne’s and presented her with the Award of Excellence for her commitment to training and empowering disadvantaged women. In 2007, she started up her company, Zizamele, and was able to employ a number of ladies who she had trained in the art of creating ceramics. Zizamele has grown from strength to strength and the ladies who fashion these beautiful pieces have the security of employment and a steady income....

Toni addressed the girls of St Anne’s before accepting her award and was an inspiration to all. She present 3 girls who asked her favourite questions with beautiful Zizamele pieces. She also gave St Anne’s an iconic Ubuntu Bowl which we will proudly display!

Year: 1976

House: Frances Baines

2017 - Sarah Collins Award Of Excellence Winner

On 2 June 2017, the St Anne’s Old Girls’ Guild awarded Sarah Collins with The Award of Excellence for her incredible journey empowering impoverished women with the Wonderbag. In 2008, during the rolling blackouts that gripped South Africa, Sarah had an idea. She had found her destiny and was about to change the lives of hundreds of thousands of women across impoverished areas of Africa. The next day, Sarah created the prototype for her heat-retention cooker, the Wonderbag. After food is...

brought to a boil, the pot is placed in the heavily-lined bag where it slow-cooks for up to 8 hours. “Finding firewood for cooking takes a huge amount of rural women’s time,” explains Sarah, “and gathering it is very dangerous. The wood fires used to cook then cause indoor pollution, a leading cause of death worldwide in children under five. Having the Wonderbag would empower the women to feed their families, generate an income, and save them time.” The Wonderbag eases the impact of health, social, economic and environmental problems facing Africa and developing countries. It enhances people’s quality of life by reducing time spent cooking. This small home business has expanded into a global social impact business. It is a dual model company with The Wonderbag Foundation focused on distributing bags to the poor. The busy Wonderbag factories produce hundreds of Wonderbags daily and a percentage of the proceeds from each Wonderbag purchased around the world are donated to the Foundation, helping them distribute Wonderbags to poverty-stricken communities. Sarah’s new goal is to sell 100 million Wonderbags to people worldwide. With the sales of these Wonderbags, the Foundation is committed to programs that continue to support the donation of bags to families in need which will act as catalysts for change! Sarah spent an afternoon interacting with the St Anne’s girls and imparted much inspiration. She is a true visionary and has an incredible heart for people. Her enthusiasm and dedication for this cause can only lead to its continued success.

Year: 1987

House: Usherwood

2017 - Susan Abro Award Of Excellence Winner

This week we were able to honour one of our remarkable Old Girls by presenting Susan Abro (Frances Baines, 1981) with the Award of Excellence. This award is presented to Old Girls who model determination, success and excellence in their chosen field of endeavour and Sue certain fulfills all these criteria and so much more. She has always been passionate about her career and is highly regarded as a specialist in family law where she has focused on the rights of women and children. Sue is...

regarded as an international specialist on Family Law matters and has done much work in connection with the abduction of minor children. She was the first woman vice-president of the KZN law society, is a member of the Law Society of SA, and the Chairperson of the Family Law Committee of SA. Sue has really excelled and the outstanding accolade of being named SA’s Family Lawyer of the Year for 2016 is a credit to her integrity, dedication and skill. Sue’s firm has also been named the South African Boutique Family Law Firm of the Year for 2017. She is an incredible role model as she has forged her way through commitment to her chosen career and the community she has served, and she has managed to retain a balance with family, friends and work – and she has a wonderful capacity for fun! Our current girls were delighted to hear Sue’s advice and insight into pursuing a career in Law as well as her stories from her time here at St Anne’s.

Year: 1981

House: Frances Baines

2016 - Annabel Rosholt (Elgie) Award Of Excellence Winner

Annabel is the project Director of the Stellenbosch Community Development Programme which she started in Kayamandi 10 years ago. Working tirelessly she has built it from non-existent to a remarkable, self-sustaining, donor funded, non-profit organisation ,which evaluates 2300 children in the community and supplies those who are malnourished, approximately 2000, with a daily meal. S.C.D.P. has also initiated a food parcel programme for parents, encouraged the establishment of food gardens...

at homes and helps parents identify and create income earning opportunities through training and mentorship programmes. Annabel is making a dramatic difference in so many people’s lives and is a well deserving winner of out St Anne Award 2016. S.C.D.P.

Year: 1979

House: Frances Baines

2016 - Francie Lund Award Of Excellence Winner

The inaugural Award of Excellence was presented to Francie Lunch on 21 October 2016 in recognition of her incredible social work. In 2016, Rhodes University awarded Francie with an honorary doctorate for her lifelong work as a social policy and welfare activist. This was presented to her in particular for her chairmanship, in 1995 and 1996, of the Lund Committee of Enquiry into Child and Family Support investigating forms of support for poor children in post-apartheid South Africa, which...

led to the introduction of the Child Support Grant. Francie attended the University of Cape Town where she completed a Bachelor of Social Science, cum laude, in 1968. In 1969 she went to work in Scotland as a social work therapist and in 1971 she received a post graduate diploma in Community Development from Manchester University, and later, a Master’s degree at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She was promoted through the ranks of the University of KwaZulu-Natal and is now a Senior Research Associate at the School of Built Environment and Development Studies, where until retirement in 2008, she was tenured Associate Professor. Francie is also the international director of the Social Protection Programme of WIEGO (Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing), a global research and advocacy network involved with improvement of the conditions of work of poorer informal workers. Francie’s unfailing commitment to community welfare makes her a well deserving winner of this prestigious award.

Year: 1964

House: Usherwood