Headmaster’s Report at our Prize Giving Ceremony – 2020
Master of ceremony
Directors of the college
Members of Management
Rev Joe Taylor
It is such an honour to have you in our midst tonight. We are acutely aware that some of you had to travel long distances to be here, and we are truly humbled and grateful for that. I take the pleasure to report to you about the academic, cultural and sporting activities that we engaged in this year. You will agree with me that this was no ordinary year in many respects.
We were caught up in the hard lock down introduced in line with the Disaster Management Act regulations which resulted in schools closing for about three months. COVID-19 health and safety measures forced us to change almost everything on how we do things. We, however, continued to provide tuition through WhatsApp and took the first opportunity to reopen when the Department of Basic Education allowed for the reopening of schools. We assessed and resulted our learners at the end of all the 3 terms so far. The results of these assessments served as a yardstick to both teachers and learners to measure not only how much damage COVID-19 has visited upon our academics this year, but how serious we were with our work during the lock down. We are encouraged and happy to report that with the support of their parents, many learners did their work during that time.
When we reopened for term 2 we introduced an online teaching mechanism called Microsoft Teams that we will use in conjunction with WhatsApp should there be a need for online teaching in future. This is a fully integrated office 365 service, which is like skype, that is chat-based with the ability to work together remotely to share information. Each learner has a password that they use to log in.
We conducted extra classes in key subjects for the Matrics throughout the third term to enhance their chances of success in their final examination. This continued until when they started with the Trial examination. With the efforts we have done together with those done by parents on the side we are confident that all our Gr 12 learners will make it at the end of the year. We could not have a Matric Farewell this year due to restrictions on mass gatherings, instead we arranged farewell dinner for them which they very much enjoyed.
We as a staff are grateful for this opportunity to congratulate the top academic achievers of 2020. Many of you will have strived to do your best in order to be a part of this ceremony and I believe that represents the true spirit of our school.
It is through achievements such as those we recognize tonight that we are clearly able to see the skill, high expectation and commitment of our staff and pupils and these prize winners are great examples of what we hope for from our learners. Reitumetse Amadu was chosen to the Free State 100m and 200m teams respectively. Unfortunately, they were locked down and could not compete any further. Refiloe Motsemme competed in the Free State competition as part of the Eastern Free State athletics team. In the High School Amali Botma and Itumeleng Mosia were selected to the Eastern Free State team and competed at the Free State Athletics.
Many of our learners took part in the Eisteddfod and the Creative Dynamic Festival and performed exceptionally well. Bongani Stuurman entered for the Virtual Radikale Redenaars competition and came out position 4 at National level. Congratulations to these athletes and thank you so much to their coaches
In the list of things that make me proud I note that academic achievement is but part of the interrelated dispositions that make up what Aristotle would have defined as ‘the good citizen’. So often, when we discuss education in this country we mention two connected but not identical ideas – education and assessment or testing. When I meet with new or prospective parents, many describe to me their aspirations for their children in terms which prioritize a ‘rounded’ education. At New Horizon College, we share that belief and thus we have developed a code, a promise if you will, of the qualities which the education that we offer will aim to nurture.
If we take that broad sense of true education, it cannot possibly be the case that everything is achieved at school. The most powerful influence on a child’s perspective is that which is modelled by its parents. Thus we urge parents to continue to shape and mold their children into responsible human beings who will not only be academic achievers, but people who will be good rounded citizens. We are experiencing an increasing number of learners in lower grades who have little or no regard for order, discipline and respect for self and for others. Such learners lose out on teaching that is provided for them.
We want to encourage parents to seek help for children who may be experiencing disorders like these. There are therapists and clinical psychologists in town who can help so that they can benefit from the education experience we expose to at school.
Among the new initiatives to accommodate all learners the school has initiated discussions with the Department of Education in the province to introduce music as part of the Arts and Culture that we offer at school starting from Gr 8. It will allow learners who are gifted in music and may want to make a living out of it, to even study music up to university. We have also noted that some learners do not perform to their optimum potential when they take English at Home Language level. We will therefore introduce from next year Sesotho Home Language in High School providing that there are more than 15 learners in a grade who want to take it. Such learners will do English FAL as a second language.
I should like to thank all our parents who have been incredibly supportive and who always go that extra mile to support their children. Your encouraging support is greatly valued and very much appreciated. Thank you so much to both the teaching and non-teaching staff of the college as well as the management team for their unwavering support throughout this year. I also thank our directors Mr & Mrs Eyberg for their friendly guidance and constant support all of which are greatly appreciated.
On behalf of New Horizon College family, I would like to extend our sincere condolences to the Mokoena family who tragically lost their 15 year old son through death on the last day of the 3rd term. Our hearts go out to them and we pray that the Lord comforts and console them.
Once again, congratulations to all our Award winners tonight; we are all proud of you. Thank you everybody and I hope you enjoy our Awards ceremony.