Youth Leaders’ Summit

On Friday afternoon, 11 June, Union’s learner leaders were among 44 learners from Graaff-Reinet’s secondary schools who attended the town’s first-ever Youth Leaders’ Summit.

The event, which was held at the Profcon Resort, was a Prescient Foundation SCI project, organised by Mrs Hestie Clegg.

Through the course of the afternoon, Mr Igno van Niekerk, an acclaimed author and facilitator on leadership principles, introduced the learners to various qualities and challenges of leadership.

The process started with the learners having to trust their inner genius and learning 10 principles from the book, The power of Focus by Jack Canfield without taking notes but by using their bodies, stories, imagination, and other faculties.

Having learnt about the incredible power of holistic learning which all leaders need to develop; the learners were challenged to consider what difference they are able to make in their current reality. This was done by using FotoFunatix coaching picture cards designed by van Niekerk. Although social distancing was maintained, and Covid-19 protocols were adhered to, learners were able to connect and brainstorm with leaders from other schools.

After several brainstorming conversations, the learners were challenged to make their ideas practical and to consider simplification before application. Great leaders understand that keeping things simple is often a complex task. The process of simplification became a real challenge as learners attempted to complete a tricky 4-piece puzzle in less than 5 minutes. Once the learners understood the power of simplicity, they revisited their brainstorming ideas and challenges. The picture coaching cards were used once again, this time to address challenges, and learners discovered how powerful pictures are in stretching our thinking.

The session was concluded when learners were allowed to experience the importance of energy as illustrated by a UFO ball. Great leaders create energy through their vision, actions, and presence. After the session learners commented that they would like to become more involved in the community, contribute and make a difference.

The vision is that an annual seminar will be held for school leaders and that it will result in young leaders generating more ideas and making a positive impact in the community.

Union is very grateful towards the Prescient Foundation for this very valuable opportunity afforded to our young leaders.

U/16A Boast New Kit

Union High School extends our grateful thanks to Botha’s Garage for sponsoring our u/16A hockey team with a new kit for matches as well as warm-ups – it will be worn with pride!
As always, we are incredibly grateful for their support!
Seen here is Union’s 2021 u/16A hockey team with their coach Mrs Ina Botha.
They are (back) Sarah Jacobs, Charlize Vorster, coach Mrs Ina Botha, Anna Pringle, Tara Ferreira, Tyra Binney, (front), Joy Merifield, Leshay Fourie, Denisha Fortuin, Sadé May, Caytah-Leigh Koeberg and Kenza Neill.
Absent: Siya Desha and Tayla Kingwill.

Youth Day 2021

On Wednesday morning, 16 June, as South Africa commemorated Youth Day, Union High School’s junior boarders took full advantage of the beautiful day and the magical place we live in.
The day was full of fun, adventure and laughter as the Grade 5 to 7 boarders went on a 5 kilometre walk by way of Mountain Drive – accompanied by their matrons – making memories together and taking a break from their everyday routines.
The boarders had a wonderful time connecting with each other and the outdoors.
After the walk, the boarders were treated to a braai, salads and some delicious cake!

Hockey Girls Stay Motivated

The constant changes to school sports regulations brought on by Covid-19 can make it hard for players to stay motivated in their respective sporting codes.
With the recent cessation of hockey skills’ training, Union’s coaches are finding new and innovative ways to ensure the players stay motivated and excited about the game.
During Ms Jacqui Jones’ recent practice session with the junior hockey girls, she employed Union’s Head Boy, Kyle-Luke du Preez, a SAHA-qualified umpire, to host a session with the players from an umpire’s point of view.
Kyle-Luke made use of video footage to demonstrate and explore the rules of hockey with the players. The girls thoroughly enjoyed the various discussions that ensued and interpreting the various ways they, as players, can manage the ball in the match scenarios presented to them by Kyle-Luke.

Meet Our Rugby Captain: Mihlali Tyanase

Meet Union High School’s first team rugby captain: Mihlali Tyanase

Position: Eighthman

What makes it special to play for Union High School’s first team? The Union High School white rugby jersey is exceptionally special because when you put it on, you don’t just represent the 2021 1st XVs, but the past, present and future of the school as a whole. Every time I put on my white jersey, I think about who I am doing it for. How will I embody a level of excellence and respect for those who have come before me, and those who will come after? For me, as a boy who grew up in a small village in Keiskammahoek on the outskirts of King William’s Town, it is a privilege to be able to play for the Union High School first rugby team.

What would you consider the strong points of your team this year? My team’s strongest point has to, most definitely, be the lineouts. That’s where we have JJ Liebenberg in the hooker position who has the ability and skill to consistently hit our jumpers. We also have the expertise of Martin van der Berg and Liam Langeveld, both of whom are very skilled jumpers who navigate themselves quite well in the air. We also have skilled powerlifters in Liyema Mjoli, Bubele Thibini and Siphesihle Goliath – these gentlemen do all the lifting.

What motivates you to give your best on the field week after week? For me it is all about leaving the jersey – and what it represents – in a better place than where I found it. This is only achievable by making sure that I play my heart out week in and week out. Knowing that I’m holding my family name up high and making sure that I’m using a talent that God blessed me with to the very best of my ability, also serves to motivate me.

Your team has been together for 5 years.  What makes your team special? Our team’s philosophy is “Humility breeds success”.  The members of our team continuously show humility by asking themselves, “How can we do this better?” and they’re not afraid to put in the hard work to improve their performance. I think that is what makes us special.

What has been your team’s greatest achievement over the past 5 years? Our greatest achievement came in our first year playing together as u/14As when we beat our fiercest rivals, Hoër Volkskool, in front of a jam-packed Botanics stadium- that was a very special moment.

Who is the joker of the team and why? The joker has to be Thando Matotie. That oke knows how to get the lads laughing. He has a great sense of humour and is always laughing – even when we’re dead tired and doing hill sprints, you’ll just suddenly hear him crack a joke that gets everyone laughing.

What is the most enjoyable time after a match? The most enjoyable time after a match is when we get the “W” and we gather in the changing room where the lads take pictures with Sisipho Arnols’ phone (best quality) for our various social media platforms. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, my most enjoyable moment was when I’d walk over to my dad after a match and he’d give me a handshake and say, “Well played, son”.

Who was your matric hero in Grade 8? In Grade 8, my matric hero was the 2017 first team rugby captain, Ross Stanley. He always made me feel part of the team as its waterboy. That made me look forward to playing for the school’s 1st XV.

Choose one:

  • Tackle or Clean: Tackle
  • Dummy or Side-step: Dummy
  • Winning try or winning kick: Winning try.

Meet Our Mentors

Earlier this week, Union High School launched a cross-age peer mentoring programme at the school to promote the learners’ physical, social and emotional well-being.

The programme has been set up between older and younger learners, with mentors being assigned to specific class groups so that the younger learners can benefit from the experience and knowledge of the older ones.

The programme also comes with the additional impact of providing leadership and development opportunities to the older or near-peer youth who serve in the mentoring role.

The support of parents and teachers is undoubtedly vital for the success of our learners. However, the impact that guidance and advice from people who are closer in age can have is often overlooked – in fact, peer mentoring has been shown to lead to improved attitude to school, attendance and behaviour. It can also help learners to build up a peer network within their school, causing more holistic benefits such as a sense of community and belonging.

“We hope the mentoring programme will provide the learners with a safe environment to raise concerns and ask questions which they might not feel confident talking about in front of an adult or in a classroom setting,” said Grade 12 mentor, Tracy Petitt.

“Our overall goal is to get as many kids as we can impacted by the experience. There are many opportunities for all the younger learners, yet at the same time, there are numerous stressors and challenges for them to handle. How they adapt to and deal with all these adjustments is key to how they fare health-wise and emotionally every day, as well in the future. We hope to help as many learners as possible deal with these stressors by offering our support.”

📷 Seen here are our 35 Grade 11 and 12 learners who will be serving as mentors this year, facilitating positive change in all their mentees.

They are: Michaela Price, Joshua Calitz, Lathitha Ngcwangu, Liso Binqela, Jade Edwards, Mihlali Tyanase, Primrose Mutapati, Likhona Batala, Tracy Petitt, Max Wright, Catelyn Anthony, James Pringle, Kaydn Retief, Kyle-Luke du Preez, Buhlebethu Rolomane, Chloe Bosch, Siphesihle Goliath, Jodi Kenmuir, Matthew McNaughton, Melissa Swart, Matthew Basson, Lutho Ludwaba, Sisipho Arnols, Kelly-Page Scott, Ruzhe Hendricks, Asa Matross, Ayanda Nyama, James Potgieter, Soyama Mbetshu, Kathryn Odendaal, Avemahle Matushe, Elam Nockpaal, Hannah Watermeyer, Rogan Odendaal and Cole Mackenzie.

Ongoing Coach Training & Development

This past week, on 26 and 27 May, Union High School was privileged to have Mr Anthony Heugh, an experienced and respected World Rugby Coaching Educator, in our midst, to assess all our coaches for their World Rugby Level 2 accreditation.

Mr Heugh has been working with the Union coaches since September 2019.

After having successfully completed their World Rugby Level 1 certification a while ago, each of them had to compile a coaching portfolio of their coaching processes along with the completion of a set of online exams, to be followed by a practical assessment to be conducted by Mr Heugh for their Level 2 accreditation.

Following his visit last week, Mr Heugh was very impressed by the high standard of work done by all the coaches and completed the practical assessments with the coaches over two days, ensuring that all coaches were fairly judged on their coaching abilities.

Union High School is very pleased to announce that Messrs JP Kruger, Erwin Ittershagen-Strauss, Hanno Sparrius, Christopher Felix and Donald Kingwill were all awarded their World Rugby Level 2 accreditation.

“We are very grateful that the school has afforded us this opportunity,” said Union’s 1st team rugby coach, Mr Christopher Felix.

“Part of my goal for rugby at Union High School is that the coaches will grow together and provide quality coaching, be students of the game and keep sport educational. This Level 2 course definitely ticked all the boxes. All coaches were signed off as competent and received their certificates. We are looking forward to imparting the knowledge gained while completing the course with all our players.”

Thank You, Everyone

This past Saturday and Sunday, 29 and 30 May, Union High School’s 2021 Matric Farewell Committee prepared and sold delicious early morning breakfast buns, rusks and coffee to all the visiting Stoep Tasting tipplers accommodated at Herby Arnott House.
The fundraiser was a big success and we extend our thanks to everyone who supported this endeavour, as well as to all the learners and their parents who pitched in over the weekend.