Thank You

The Herby Arnott girls honoured Lien Koopman, a cook at the hostel, and said good bye as she is leaving at the end of this year. Lien was a great blessing to all.

Jenny Morris also stopped duties at the hostel after many years of bringing lots of laughter to all. We wish them both everything of the best for the future.

Cricket Festival

Union High School will be hosting the 13th Annual Mica Cricket Festival from 3 – 5 January.

All parents and supporters are invited to join us for a Steak Braai in the Tony Burrell Union on Thursday, 3 January @ 19:00.  R120 per person.



UHS MURRAY FIELD – Union High School vs Daniel Pienaar
UHS PUTTICK FIELD – Hoerskool Dispatch vs Queens College 2nd XI
BOTANICS – Queens College 1st XI vs Stirling High School


UHS MURRAY FIELD – Union High School vs Queens College 1st XI
UHS PUTTICK FIELD – Daniel Pienaar vs Queens College 2nd XI
BOTANICS –   Stirling High School vs Hoerskool Dispatch

There will also be an evening T20 played at Botanics on Friday 4 January. (Both Teams will be selected from players from all schools). Bring and braai for all supporters – fires available.


UHS MURRAY FIELD – Union High School vs Hoerskool Dispatch
UHS PUTTICK FIELD – Striling High School vs Queens College 2nd XI
BOTANICS – Queens College 1st XI vs Daniel Pienaar



Paving Progress

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!


Union News

Union News 20181116

Union News 20181116

Posted by UHS (Union High School, Graaff-Reinet) on Saturday, 17 November 2018

Paving Update

‘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!

Grade 5 Excursion

The Gr 5s enjoyed a reward excursion (no DT this year) to the Gariep Dam district. They went on a fascinating dam wall tour & were excited to see and learn how the dam operates. Thereafter, a delicious lunch was served by Mrs Pienaar at the Forever Resort Campsite.

Great fun was had setting up camp and the children so enjoyed playing in the play park all afternoon. Mr Steenkamp and a few boys took care of the braaiing and then supper under the stars was enjoyed. The night was long, noisy and full of fun.

After breakfast the following day the group visited the Pienaar’s farm. On the farm Jack Pienaar, Hayden’s dad, demonstrated how a windmill works using the wind and kinetic energy. Then at the Orange River the learners were shown the solar panels which generate the energy needed to pump water from the river onto the lucern fields.

A sheep dog demonstration wowed us all and we all had the opportunity of touching a lamb. Hot and tired we arrived at the Wimpy in Colesberg and enjoyed our lunch. On the return journey the buses were quiet as most children slept off the effects of an all-night stay awake. The trip was educational & fun with time for learning, playing and just chilling.

We received a couple of compliments on our sweet and well-behaved learners. We all loved this trip!

We Remember Them

Our school paused on Friday, 9 November to remember the members of the armed forces who have died on duty since World War I. Remembrance Day is usually observed on 11 November to recall the official end of World War I on that date in 1918, as the major hostilities of World War I were formally ended “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice.

Rev Dr Mark Marais led the devotions, while the Headmaster, Mr Pringle, spoke about the significance of the day, and its relevance to the youth of today, that now, thankfully, a great many South Africans, have no personal experience of war, no way of knowing the anguish of enforced separation, or the greater grief of separations made permanent. And for that reason amongst others, it is time to renew our pledge.

Mr Pringle told the story of Old Unionite Lt. Victor De Kock RN, MBE, DSC, and MID, South Africa’s most decorated sailor. He was born in Clarendon in 1919, matriculated at Union High in Graaff-Reinet and died at the age of 23 years having earned the highest of military honours. He was the South African Navy’s most decorated war hero, the only officer to receive three awards for gallantry. He was one of four members of the Union High School 1937 1st Cricket Team who were killed in action during the Second World War.

It is fortunate that in schools and in workplaces, in cities and in the country-side, South Africans stop, just for a moment, to consider what was lost to us. And to recognise what was granted to us by the exercise of such moral courage.

Mr Charles Maasdorp, Head boy of the school in 1951, played the Last Post and the Reveille while Mr Sparrius lowered and raised the national flag. Wreaths were laid by the Head Prefects, Jenna McNaughton and Peter Watermeyer, and by Mr John Crankshaw on behalf of the Old Unionite Association. By this act of remembrance, we cherish and nurture this possession, their gift. We prove an understanding both of its value and its cost. We build a bridge across time. By recognising both what has been lost to us and what has been gained, by renewing our pledge to remember, we declare, of all our fallen: “They are not missing. They are here”.

In honour of Remembrance Day, James Rose-Innes wrote the following poem:

100 Years ago

100 years ago, the war was done
Finished with it’s aweful run
Creating heroes who were brave
But only to be celebrated at their grave.

There was great joy to the end of the war
But also great sadness which bore
Into the hearts of men
Who experienced it there and then.

Our condolences are poured into a red poppy
Representing the blood that was shed
Warriors on boats, fields and in the air as well
We had to bid farewell.

I should hopefully never know the effect of the war
Because of those courageous men
Who bravely fought so
100 years ago.