The Table That Makes You Think

Union High School recently welcomed a wondrous new addition to its campus.

The school is now home to renowned sculptor Louis Olivier’s “THINK Table”.

The table, which is in actual fact a one-of-a-kind work of art, was donated to the school by the Arnott family, in celebration of the school’s recent Centenary.

Mr Adrian Arnott delivered a heartwarming speech in which he reminisced about his days at Union High School.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Old Unionite Adrian Arnott, the son of the late Herby Arnott who served the school as headmaster from the 1940s to the 1960s, said that the family desired to gift the school with a piece of art that is innovative, while being functional and attractive. A piece that would be around for the next 100 years to provide all with the perfect place to stop and think.

Inspired by Rand Merchant Bank’s advertising platform of ‘thinking that can change the world’, the Arnott family commissioned Johannesburg-based contemporary sculptor, Louis Olivier, to create a ‘THINK Table’.

Johannesburg-based sculptor, Mr Louis Olivier, shed some light during his speech about the creative processes behind the ‘THINK Table’.

This ‘THINK Table’ was designed to be a smaller version of the 10-ton concrete RMB ‘THINK Bench’ created by Olivier and his team from the Workhorse Bronze Foundry, that was installed at the University of Pretoria to celebrate and encourage innovative and collaborative thinking.

From a certain angle, the sculpture reveals little human silhouettes in different thinking poses.

The bronze sculpture that forms the main focus of the table at Union, spells ‘THINK’ from one side, while another perspective reveals little human silhouettes in different thinking poses which acts as a reflective reminder to those learners passing by or sitting around the table, that sometimes one needs to change one’s perspective to think differently.

“In today’s school environment, it’s not just the thought, but the quality and inventiveness of the thinking that counts,” said Arnott. “I’m an avid believer in critical thinking that pushes the boundaries to make a difference in the world and it is our sincerest hope that this piece of art will inspire the learners of Union High School to take ownership of “thinking that can change our world”.

The ‘THINK Table’, which immortalises the importance of critical thinking, together with the freedom to think, is inscribed with the well-known quote by the late Herby Arnott which reads as follows: “It is my fervent prayer that God will continue greatly to bless this school and all who enter it, and may whatsoever things that are pure and lovely and of good report here forever flourish and abound”.

The table was unveiled and presented to the school and its senior learners at a special ceremony held on Tuesday morning, 10 March.

The ceremony was attended by Arnott, his sister, Hillary Botha and the artist Louis Olivier, and saw both Olivier and Arnott address all those who filled the school hall for this auspicious occasion.

During his speech, Arnott reflected on his years at Union, stating that he, along with his siblings, enjoyed a wonderful education at this great school and they are deeply indebted to their teachers, the many parents and people of the town and district for what they learned and for the way they embraced their family.

“I like to believe that our whole extended family up until my children and grandchildren are all beneficiaries of the excellent Union High School education that I, my brother Tony and sisters Hillary and Jenny received,” said Arnott.

He also acknowledged the role of all those who have led the school since 1968, stating that, while his parents might have laid some of the foundations, others, such as the present headmaster William Pringle, have ensured that those values endure.

Olivier then also gave a short speech, during which he spoke about how the table was created and encouraged the learners to follow their dreams.

The table now proudly adorns the foyer of the Union High School hall to be used as a space for staff and young talent to congregate and collaborate through having conversations that matter.

The Union Schools extends its most grateful thanks to the Arnott family and Olivier for this wondrous gift.  The table and its sculpture has, in just this past week, brought so many smiles to the learners faces.

This thoughtfully interactive sculpture signified what a school should and what the Union Schools does stand for.

Ideas, knowledge and creativity are not possible without the ability to think. Think is what we are about. Think is everything to us. Without the ability to think we are nothing. The standing and excellence of a school are judged by the level of thinking across the institution. This piece represents an ethos and a way of life at the Union Schools which staff, learners and alumni are all products of.

Union’s ‘THINK Table’ challenges our perceptions and is symbolic of how we shift perspectives by providing our learners with high-quality teaching, learning and exposure to research excellence and community service.

We also challenge our learners to be critical thinkers, to think collaboratively and to apply their knowledge and skills in unique and creative ways that have a positive impact on society.

Union hopes that one day, a new generation of successful alumni will fondly look back and remember conversations at the ‘THINK Table’, recalling how seeing things differently sparked that great idea that helped change the world for the better.

The learners were all very eager to discuss the sculpture with its creator, Mr Louis Olivier.

R.I.P. Mr Munnik

It was with profound shock and deep sadness that we learned of the passing of Mr Puggy Munnik.

A legend in his own lifetime, Mr Munnik taught at Union High School in Graaff-Reinet for 23 years, from 1950 to 1973.

He will be remembered for his tremendous zest for life, his pellucid sincerity and his irresistible sense of humour.

On behalf of the SGB, staff, parents, past pupils and current learners of Union High School, we extend our heartfelt condolences to his family.

Please take note of he funeral arrangements for the late Mr Puggy Munnik.

The Union Schools are inviting all those who would like to contribute to a tribute in honour of Mr Munnik, to send their submissions to uhsmarketing@unionschools.co.za

UHS Statement On Coronavirus

Coronavirus (COVID 19): Statement from the Union Schools | Monday, 16 March

Dear parents,  

During his address to the nation on Sunday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster to deal with the spread of the Coronavirus in South Africa.

One of the decisions made in this regard was that all schools in South Africa will be closing on Wednesday, 18 March, until after the Easter Weekend.

As the 2020 Easter Weekend falls on Friday, 10 April to Monday, 13 April, it is expected at this time that the school will reopen on Tuesday, 14 April.

While all necessary arrangements to facilitate this has now been made by the Union Schools, we regret to inform you that this has resulted in us also having to postpone our upcoming 33rd annual Senior Rugby & Hockey Festival as well as our Matric Farewell.

The festival was scheduled for this weekend, Friday to Monday, 20 – 23 March, and would have been attended by 30 visiting hockey and rugby teams from all over the province.

The school’s Matric Farewell would have been held this Wednesday, 18 March.

While this was by no means an easy decision, we believe it is in the best interest of the safety and well-being of our learners and everyone else that would have been associated with these events.

We hope this postponement puts us in the best position to safely host these events at some later date.

Please accept our apologies with regards to this unfortunate matter. We regret any inconvenience this may cause you and appreciate your understanding.

The Union Schools care deeply about the well-being of our learners, staff, friends and family of the school as well as the greater Graaff-Reinet community and our nation at large.

As a country we are facing a very uncertain time, but we trust that the decisions made last night by our government will help us to try and curb the spread of COVID-19.

We need to work together, and remember that this affects us all.

We support the President in urging all citizens to remain calm, to stay informed and to take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. We know matters will change from day to day and we will keep in close contact with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) – to remain on top of the latest health news.

We understand that closing of schools seems to cause a bit of uncertainty, but we support this measure to ensure families can be at home until more clarity is obtained about the way forward.

We are hoping to keep our educational programme alive, by perhaps allowing our learners to study via e-learning, this will however be determined, if and when, it is deemed necessary.

The Union Schools will endeavour to keep the school community informed of all developments in this regard as well as to how this will affect the school year going forward.

Coronavirus Update

During his address to the nation yesterday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster to deal with the spread of the Coronavirus in South Africa.

As a result, all schools in South Africa will close on Wednesday, 18 March, until after the Easter Weekend with a week lobbed off the mid-year break.

To clarify, this means that Term 1 will conclude at the end of the school day on Wednesday, 18 March at 13:30. As the 2020 Easter Weekend falls on Friday, 10 April to Monday, 13 April, it is expected at this time that the school will reopen on Tuesday, 14 April.

The Union Schools will endeavour to keep the school community informed of all developments in this regard as well as to how this will affect all planned school activities.

Festival Postponed

We regret to inform you that, as more people across South Africa test positive for the novel Coronavirus, the health emergency is forcing Union High School to postpone our upcoming 33rd annual Senior Rugby & Hockey Festival.

The festival was scheduled for this weekend, Friday to Monday, 20 – 23 March, and would have been attended by 30 visiting hockey and rugby teams from all over the province.

While this was by no means an easy decision, we believe it is in the best interest of the safety and well-being of our learners and everyone else that would have been associated with this event.

We hope this postponement puts us in the best position to safely host this event at some later date.

Please accept our apologies with regards to this unfortunate matter.

We regret any inconvenience this may cause you and appreciate your understanding.

Please do not hesitate to contact the school at 049 891 0262 if you have any queries in this regard.

Gr 8 & 9 Thespians

Union High School’s Grade 8 and 9 learners got to experience the free-wheeling, creative and judgment-free nature of improv when they took to the stage this week for improvised performances as part of their Creative Arts curriculum.

It was immensely gratifying to watch these young thespians as they took on the various characters and put the different dramatic techniques they’ve learnt into practice.

Announcement

The management of the school is pleased to announce that the following nominated parents were elected to serve on the School Governing Body at the by-election held on 27 and 28 February:

Please join us in welcoming Mrs Natalie Anthony and Mr Hento Davids.

We are grateful to all parents who made themselves available for election and to those who serve our school so selflessly.

UHS Educator Completed CT Cycle Tour

Congratulations to Union High School educator, Mr Hanno Sparrius, who successfully completed the Cape Town Cycle Tour yesterday morning, Sunday, 8 March.

The 42nd edition of the biggest timed bicycle race in the world began at Grand Parade and traversed the Cape Peninsula for 109km, ending in Green Point.

Approximately 30 000 people competed this year.

Mr Sparrius crossed the finish line in a time of 3:19:36.