A gala banquet, organised by Union High School as part of the school’s year-long centenary celebrations, was held on a grand scale in Graaff-Reinet this past Friday evening, 3 May.
And, what a truly memorable evening it turned out to be with just over 250 guests, young and old, past and current parents and staff, Old Unionites as well as honoured guests, treated to a very special night.
Upon arrival, the guests were met with welcome drinks and canapés on the school’s beautiful sportsgrounds and as the sun set, were enthralled by a variety of performances by the school’s marimba band, choir ensembles, musicians and soloists. It was then on to a lavish banquet inside the Marquee tent, magnificently decorated for the occasion.
Headmaster William Pringle delivered a welcoming address, using the opportunity to thank everyone involved in the centenary celebrations.
The evening’s Master of Ceremonies, Adrian Arnott – the son of the legendary headmaster Herby Arnott – then proceeded to introduce a number of speakers.
During the speeches that followed, the phrase “The past beats inside me like a second heart” as extracted from John Banville’s novel ’The Sea’ is the only apt way of describing the sense of nostalgia, pride and enthusiasm that radiated from all those present, creating a fantastically festive atmosphere within the Marquee.
After a few treasured words by guest speaker Derek Light, previous chairman of the UPS and UHS Governing Bodies and current chairman of the Union High Development Trust, the evening’s keynote speaker was introduced.
For this special occasion, Union High School called on the services of a very special guest to help celebrate its centenary banquet with style. Old Unionite, Doug Stern, proved a fitting keynote speaker, as the proud alum referred to Union’s illustrious history spanning the past 100 years, interspersed with quaint anecdotes about the visionaries and legendary characters that shaped the school into what it is today.
Following Stern’s speech, guests were treated to a sumptuous three-course meal, served up by Dianne Murray and her capable team, after which the draw for the Old Unionite’s Association’s 100Club was conducted and a magnum bottle of ‘Chakalaka’ wine auctioned off by Duncan McClaggan.
The guests were clearly keen to support Union, as the R10 000 1st prize of the 100Club draw was graciously donated back to the organisation, with the wine also fetching the hefty sum of R5 000.
After all the formalities were finalised, the guests took to the dancefloor and proceeded to dance the night away.
“The evening was a huge success and a great coming together of people from over several decades who travelled from far and near,” Headmaster William Pringle stated. “Throughout the evening we witnessed great interaction between the various age groups from past pupils or people who have strong links with the school. It was a magical evening and the commitment by all who helped in organising the event, as well as all who supported the event, bears testament to why Union has achieved so much these past 100 years,” Pringle said afterwards.
Union High School extends a big thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of the evening, especially to the spectacular team, headed up by Karin Marais, who coordinated the marquee, décor and the evening’s programme to ensure an unforgettable and most enjoyable occasion.
Commemorative wine available
One of Union High School’s Centenary Projects has been the bottling of a limited Cabernet Sauvignon Vintage 2015, produced by Fairview Estates. The label of this elegant bottle of wine was designed by Old Unionite Mieke Marais and depicts the historic façade of the school along with the Centenary logo
This wine is available from the school at R600 a case or R100 a bottle. Buyer to arrange own courier.
Contact Mrs. Marais at 049 891 0262 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to place your order.