We wish to congratulate the following Union boys on their selection to the Karoo U/12 cricket team. They will be taking part in the U/12 Rural Cricket Festival in Cradock from 30 November – 2 December 2018.
As the matric class of 2018 led out of their final English exam today, they left behind their shoes to be used by those less fortunate. They also left behind them a mountain of memories and special times at Union High, and strode confidently into a new phase in their lives. We wish you well, Class of 2018.
There has been a hive of activity around the Centenary Walkway these past 3 weeks and the area is beginning to look exquisite! Yesterday a group of matrics on study break offered to lay a rock symbolising their time at Union. As Amanda Brink chose a beautiful small rock she commented how poignant it is to her that even a small thing can make large impact towards the creation of something beautiful when you are a part of a team. We can be grateful to so many for this amazing team effort!
A large number of Union swimmers travelled to Port Elizabeth this weekend (17 November) to participate in their final B-Age Group gala for this year. The event proved to be a great outlet from the stresses of exam time and many of our swimmers managed to post new personal best times in numerous events; in particular the 100m freestyle.
Well done to all these swimmers, who have continued to train hard throughout the exam period and have been rewarded for their efforts. Union High placed 9th overall out of more than 40 schools, and in the senior section our boys placed 3rd and our girls finished in 4th place.
‘Bring a rock to Union’ – When dreams become reality thanks to teamwork!
The long walkway between the Bruce Maree Gates and the Union was an area of the school campus that needed a new look! The strip road alongside the Puttick field was a little tatty, and the exotic cypresses that grew there were messy and didn’t allow for any grass to grow. When Headmaster, Mr Pringle mentioned this at a Governing Body meeting, the team immediately sprung to action, determined to make a change! Kevin Watermeyer dreamed of a beautiful area that could somehow symbolise each and every learner at school – past or present, and at the same time bring the beauty of our Karoo onto the campus. The ‘Bring a Rock to Union’ project was subsequently conceptualised under the management of hands-on parent Joan McNaughton.
Phase 1 included appealing to the Union family to “Bring a rock to Union”, and soon a healthy pile of rocks started to materialise at the ‘Rock Drop Zone’. The idea was for each learner to bring a rock that would symbolise their time at Union.
Realising that the area to be paved was far larger than anticipated, the Watermeyer family offered a donation of flat rocks from their farm ‘Zuurplaats’. But we were now stuck with the problem of how to transport about 30 tonnes of rock from about 50kms away to Union!
Local businessman and parent Campbell Scott was approached and very generously loaned the school his 10 tonne truck to transport the rocks – and this took more than 1 trip! Without him, the project would have been incredibly difficult, if not impossible. So now there were rocks on a farm and trucks – and rocks don’t just hop onto trucks!
Mr Donald Kingwill and Mr Sparrius gathered up a team of our strongest Arthur Kingwill House boys and they headed off one Saturday to ‘Grootklip’ with Mr Pringle. While Lisa Watermeyer provided the lads with lunch and refreshments, they spent the day collecting and loading many tonnes of rock. Mr Pringle later said that he had never seen a group of boys work so hard.
Another amazing thing happened as one of the lads lifted a rock, spotting a snake which they thought was a puffadder. Kevin documented the snake and sent a photo off to a group of conservationists called ‘Bionerds’, who identified the snake as a rare Plain Mountain Adder. It was later confirmed to be the 12th ever recording of this elusive snake!
Joan McNaughton now had rocks, and fabulous donations of cement from the McNaughton, Broeksma, Rogers, Beaumont, Sullivan, Brotherton, Bouwer and Hesselink families as well as a cash donation from Johann Botha, and time was ticking. Having worked with rock paving in the past, and with an artistic eye, David Langmead, chairman of our SGB, got the ball rolling and alongside builders Manus, Anthony and James with the help of Mr Kingwill and Joan, started digging out and laying the Karoo rocks. While they were at work, Union learners ambled past, adding commentary and appreciation as to how the area was transforming in the space of a week. Matric learner, Mtha Mzimba spoke of how much it meant to him that he had helped collect the rocks and how he now felt that a little piece of himself was embedded into the Union Grounds. Moral support, cups of tea and coffee and appreciation from those who witnessed the project coming into fruition were much appreciated. Mr Kingwill also took the opportunity to cut down the exotic cypresses along the walkway to give the indigenous stinkwood trees planted there more space and light to grow.
The project will still take a while to complete, but it has been an incredible testament to what vision, teamwork and generosity can do for a school! So in the next few weeks, if you have a spare few hours, put on your work clothes and join the team who are busy ‘Laying rocks for Union’, and leave a little legacy for our beautiful school. Any further donations of cement and flat rocks will be much appreciated as the area is a little larger than anticipated!
As the year draws to a close, we are reminded of the incredible team of people which is responsible for the smooth running of our 3 boarding houses: Max Kroon House (grades 1-4), Herby Arnott House (grade 5-12 girls) and Arthur Kingwill House (grade 5-12 boys).
There are people in this photo who leave home at 5am to prepare breakfast for our boarders, and those who stay on duty to attend to their needs way into the night. These are the people who neaten the beds, who poli…sh the floors, who water the gardens, who stitch on a button when needed. This is the team which makes our boarding houses the clean, pristine places that they are. At the end of a good year we are grateful for all the meetings that go on behind the scenes – each litre of milk and loaf of bread that is ordered, each sandwich that is made, each meal that is planned and flower that is planted. We are grateful for each little hug, for homework that is monitored, for cooked breakfasts and healthy snacks for our matrics. We are thankful for the boilers that are stoked to provide warm water, for laundry that is done, for smiles and care. We are grateful for meticulous management of parents’ fees.
Our boarders are provided with a real home from home at these establishments. We are grateful for the special touches that are added, for fun events, for green fields, beautiful views and fresh air. Our boarders are blessed with pastoral care, with structure, and with a place that promotes healthy development of the body, mind and spirit.
As our boarders head off for holidays at home, we pay tribute to this incredible team!