Letter from the Head of School – July 2019

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18 July 2019

Dear Oakhill parents, staff and friends

Welcome to our spring term – can you believe it? I do hope that you managed to wind down and reconnect with loved  ones during the winter vacation and that the time of rest rejuvenated you, and especially your children. If you came out of the holidays exhausted, fear not, simply drop them at school on time! We’ll take it from there! Term two was eventful and productive with much that happened in every sector of the school – from Little Oaks to the College. For the latter, it was also a formal assessment term and it is important that learners follow up on their examination results and feedback from teachers. For many of our staff and students, the busy term was followed by various holiday activities and events and we thank them for these extra miles. Cast your eye over the Oakhill website and Facebook page for the latest news on recent events and achievements.

Staff news

You will remember that I sent out an email last term to inform you that our College secretary, Mrs Shobana Moodley, was battling with her health. Sadly, her health has subsequently deteriorated to such an extent that she had to opt for early retirement on medical grounds, effective from the end of June. Mrs Moodley took the decision to move to Johannesburg where she will be living with her eldest daughter from now on. We will sorely miss the caring presence of Mrs Moodley at College reception, as she touched the lives of countless Oakhill pupils, staff and parents over the years. We bade Mrs Moodley farewell last term with a special tea in her honour, held in our beautiful new Staff Commons on campus. As we thanked her for her years of exceptional service to Oakhill, we also wished her peace and healing in her retirement.

I am pleased to announce that the role of housekeeping and functions supervisor as well as College secretary will henceforth be fulfilled by Mrs Catherine Grootboom who has officially joined our Oakhill staff team from 1 July. Before her appointment at Oakhill, Mrs Grootboom was employed at Wittedrift High School as a teacher, functions coordinator, caterer and boarding supervisor. We extend a warm welcome to her and wish her a long and enriching association with Oakhill. Please be reminded: In order to ensure future consistency, we have created a generic email address for the College secretary: collegesecretary@oakhill.co.za

In Term 1, I announced the appointment of Mrs Delaine Mentoor as Head of Water Polo, effective from 1 July. She joins Oakhill from Clarendon High School in East London. Mrs Mentoor will also be involved as a Life Orientation teacher in the College and Prep. She is a well-respected coach and player in the SA Water Polo context. As a player, she has represented South Africa on numerous occasions, including four World Championship Tournaments. She has been coaching water polo at national and international level for a number of years now – both at a senior and junior level. We wish Delaine a very happy and productive Oakhill career.

Miss Meryl Davidson will remain with us for the rest of the year as an intern in the Afrikaans and Life Orientation departments while completing her PGCE through UNISA. We will soon be interviewing shortlisted candidates for the advertised vacancy of Prep School Counsellor, following the departure of Mrs Julia Warren who will be emigrating with her family to New Zealand at the end of July. In the meantime, Mrs Ann van Zyl will step into the breach until a permanent appointment is made.

Diversity, inclusion, and transformation

I would like to remind you of the letter I sent out at the end of term two to inform you of the important Parent Forum on diversity and transformation, scheduled for next week. We will have the rare privilege of welcoming Nene Molefi to Oakhill. Having come from humble beginnings, Nene is now an internationally renowned speaker and author of the book ‘A journey of inclusion & diversity in South Africa’. Please make an effort to attend Nene’s address on Thursday 25 July at 17:30 in the School Hall. Not only does this promise to be a worthwhile experience but it will also equip us as parents and staff to engage more meaningfully with our children on the topic that will be explored the next day at school. Although tickets are free of charge, booking is essential. Please see the poster on the Oakhill website for booking information.

Uniting the wider Knysna schools’ community through song

We are very excited about the big Choir Festival that will be hosted by Oakhill in the Vineyard Church on Wednesday, 7 August. It promises to be a delightful evening with performances by ten different choirs from schools across the wider Knysna community, Oakhill and Cape Town. Please make it a priority to attend this opportunity to enjoy and celebrate a rich diversity of talent in our town. Please see the poster on the Oakhill website for details and book your seats!
**As an additional treat, our guests from Cape Town, the Bishops voice ensemble, Simply Blue, will be performing a programme of their best work in the Oakhill School Hall on Thursday evening, 8 August at 18:00. The concert will be free of charge and booking is not necessary. This promises to be a real treat for music lovers.

Other highlights

We have much more to look forward to this term, including sports derbies, the Matric Dance, prelim examinations, the Prep Light Blue Concert, the U16 Hockey Festival, the Spring Fling, the Little Oaks Concert and a reunion for our Matric Class of 2009!

Here’s to a happy and productive term for the entire Oakhill family!

Kind regards,
Jannie

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