During the past holiday, the Union High School Junior Sports Department hosted its 20th annual Anne Beagley Junior Rugby & Hockey Festival sponsored by Caltex and College Motors in Graaff-Reinet, which proved to be yet another success, with many schools gathering in the name of sport. The festival was held over four days – Friday, 14 June, to Monday, 17 June.
Thanks to the school’s estate manager Mr. Donald Kingwill and the rest of the ground staff, the fields were in perfect condition, adorned with the colourful sponsors’ banners, welcoming parents and the public to enjoy a weekend of fun, sport and good company at Union High School.
As always, the school hosted a cocktail function on the first day of the festival, Friday, 14 June, in the Tony Burrell Union, to welcome all visitors to the festival and to pay homage to the title sponsors, Caltex and College Motors, as well as coaches and staff, for their valued contribution to this sports festival.
The generous sponsorship of Caltex and College Motors has afforded the school and all who attend it, this wonderful annual opportunity in sport, and for this, Union thanks them most sincerely.
“It is always a privilege to be able to host an event of this nature and to extend a warm welcome to all guest schools, parents and supporters,” said Mr. William Pringle, Union High School’s headmaster, during his welcoming address on Friday evening.
Mr. Pringle also took the opportunity to thank valued sponsors, Hyundai, Pick n Pay, Mica, Desert Springs Spur, Supa Quick and Merino Pharmacy, for their contribution in making this sports festival possible.
Mr. Vuyani Ngcete, Caltex Eastern Cape Business Consultant, who represented Caltex Eastern Cape Marketer at the event, then delivered a short speech, in which he highlighted the transformative and unifying power of sports.
Thanks were also extended to the superintendents, matrons and staff of Herby Arnott House, Max Kroon House and Arthur Kingwill House, the hostel staff of Hoër and Laer Volkskool, Mr. John Crankshaw and the Old Unionite Association for the running of the Tony Burrell Union, all the visiting coaches, managers, headmasters and players for their attendance, the Union staff and learners and all paramedics and first aid personnel.
“All the coaches and managers in attendance need to be complimented on their willingness to give up some of their free time to extend the educational horizons for those in their care. The Union High School Junior Sports Department, teaching staff and coaches have put in a tremendous effort towards organising this festival, which deserves our heartfelt praise and gratitude. A special word of thanks is also extended to all the parent volunteers working behind the scenes this weekend for their dedication and continuous support,” concluded Mr. Pringle.
The festival was then officially opened on Saturday morning with a moving ceremony in which all participating teams from the 21 visiting schools marched across the Puttick Field, proudly displaying their school banners, during which they were welcomed by Mrs. Yvette Cloete, head of Union High School’s Primary Department.
Both rugby and hockey of the highest standard were played over the four days, with every inch of Union High School’s sports fields occupied with teams from, among many others, Grey Junior School, Collegiate Junior School for Girls, Graeme College, Laer Volkskool, Lilyfontein Primary, Lorraine Primary, Hudson Park Primary, Stirling Primary and Queen’s College. All participating teams played with spirit and enthusiasm with nobody giving an inch in trying to come out as victors.
“The objective of the festival is for young sportsmen and women to play competitive matches while forging friendships and developing character,” said Mr. William Pringle, Union High School’s headmaster. “True sportsmanship was certainly the winner of this festival.” “We appreciate every team that participated, all the officials and the many spectators who supported,” said Mr. Floris Steenkamp, organising convener of the festival. “There were some very close matches, as well as wins by bigger margins, but it was pleasing to see how teams on the losing side never threw in the towel.”
On the rugby field, the Union team enjoyed a run-away 55 – 0 victory against St Patrick’s College in their first encounter on Saturday and beat Cambridge Primary 19 – 12 on Sunday. On Monday, they, unfortunately, went down 12 – 27 against Stirling Primary in the last game of the festival.
On the UHS AstroTurf, the Union junior 1st team lost 0 – 1 to Stirling Primary, 2 – 3 to Cambridge Primary, drew 0 – 0 against Stutterheim Primary, beat St Patrick’s College 3 – 0 and drew 0 – 0 against Hudson Park Primary.
The Union Inv team, lost 0 – 3 against Lilyfontein Primary, drew 0 – 0 against Stutterheim Primary, lost 0 – 1 against Gonubie Primary and 0 – 3 against Charlo Primary.
Upon arriving at Union High School’s hall on Wednesday evening (26 June) for the performance by the Drakensberg Boys Choir, you could already get a feel for the event with excited guests milling about and the evening air thick with anticipation.
The sold-out concert attracted a large number of people from all walks of life despite the chilly weather.
After some brief socialization, audience members quickly funnelled into the hall, filling all the seats. Local André Brink, himself an Old Drakie, then welcomed guests to the event, setting the stage for the performance, after which the choir opened the concert with Mozart’s Requiem. There was no need for an introduction, as the audience was rapt from the very start of the piece.
After grounding the audience with a classic, the singers kept the concert fresh with a transition to the second song, “Curse upon Iron,” an ode to the horrors of war written by Veljo Tormis, a prolific Estonian composer. For this song, the singers are required in the score to spin, crouch and shriek at points, adding to its power. The Estonian lyrics speak of the curse of war and its weapons: “Wretched iron! You flesh eater, gnawer of bones!” The effect when the choir performed the work, even though the words were foreign to everyone in the audience, was quite dramatic.
The transitions between pieces were fluid throughout the evening, as every song, no matter its contrast with the previous song, was transitioned into in a way that never felt disconnected or rushed. For the songs that weren’t well-suited for direct musical transitions, the enigmatic conductor Bernard Krüger introduced the selections in confident and interesting ways.
Throughout the evening, it seemed as if the choristers themselves – who succeeded in delivering a well-rounded and impressive performance – were enjoying it just as much as the capacity audience. They were able to link diverse songs together which made many of the songs stand out and memorable after the concert was over.
Of these songs, Joshua na die Reën’s “Lig Op Die Horison” was particularly engaging. The song speaks of how, in good times and in bad, there is always light on the horizon, even when the storms are raging and it feels as though the tough times will never pass.
Another song that stood out for its ability to move the crowd was “Bohemian Rhapsody”. The choir did a wonderful job of creating the perfect atmosphere for the song both through the choristers’ body language as well as their vocals.
After the first half was ended by an uplifting Johnny Clegg number, there was a short intermission during which the audience enjoyed a warming cup of coffee, which was then followed by an enthralling second half, themed, “Celebrating 25 Years of Freedom”. Featuring songs by Stanley Glasser, Lebo M, Ntsika, Hugh Masekela and Mafikizolo, the second half paid homage to iconic artists who fought against inequality and discrimination through their art. As the concert went on, none of the songs disappointed, with the last few performances, which included energetic Pata Pata and gumboot dances, being particularly notable.
The last song “Shosholoza”, described by Krüger as South Africa’s unofficial national anthem, did a good job deepening the connection between the audience and the choir – it made the audience feel like an irreplaceable friend that would be remembered even after they separated.
Overall, the entire concert was engaging and left the crowd wanting it to never end.
The 2019 SA Rugby Youth Weeks Series kicked off at Grey College in Bloemfontein today (Monday, 1 July).
One of the tournaments – the U18 Rugby Academy Week – sees Union High School’s Bladen Jacobs, Cleathon Koeberg and Sbongakonke Koyingana representing the Eastern Province Country Districts (EPCD) squad.
Accompanying them is UHS educator Mr. Christopher Felix who is serving as the assistant coach of the EPCD team.
Drugs have the power to derail or end your future.
This message was brought to learners of Union High School when Freddy Trout and Wayne Windvoël of People Against Substance Abuse (PASA) visited the school on Monday morning, 10 June.
As is the case with all schools, Union High School’s administration is charged with ensuring a safe, supportive and healthy school environment where children can learn and reach their full potential.
This includes taking measures to prevent alcohol and drug use among learners. Learners in high school are at an age where they need to hear the facts about the negative impact of drug abuse and how it has the power to derail or end their future. Union, therefore, enlisted PASA’s expert help to host an educational talk at the school about the dangers of substance abuse.
During their visit, PASA founder Freddy Trout and former drug addict Wayne Windvoël shared their stories of drug abuse, addiction, gangsterism and violence in an attempt to enlighten the learners about the reality of addiction and possibly curb any experimentation with addictive substances.
The session was thoroughly engaging, demanding the rapt attention of all the learners present.
As every person is the architect of their own future, Union hopes that this informative talk will help the learners make wise choices and in so doing, contribute to the building of a brighter future for Union’s youth, short of the impediments that substance abuse can have on their lives.