Karoo U/12 Coach

Mr Floris Steenkamp, Union’s Junior Sports Administrator, has been selected to serve as the coach of the u/12 Karoo cricket team.

He will be accompanying the team when they participate in the annual u/12 Rural Cricket Festival in Port Elizabeth from 29 November to 1 December.

As announced last month, nine Union cricketers were selected for the team. They are Shaakir Kazi, Makukhanye de Beer, Matthew Paxton, Xavier Barlow, Kananelo Kometsi, Yaseen Kazi, Neelon Fourie, Daniel Marais and Yonela Wana.

We extend our best wishes to Mr Steenkamp who we know will leave no stone unturned in ensuring his team is well prepared.

Lest We Forget

Almost 101 years ago, at 11 am on 11 November 1918, an armistice was signed to bring World War I to an end.

Every year, as this date nears, Union High School commemorates the lives lost in “the Great War”, and the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and of civilians in times of war, by observing Remembrance Day.

This year was no exception with the learners, staff and special guests gathering in the quad on Friday, 1 November, for a special Remembrance Day Service.

The Ven. Dr Mark Marais led the devotions, after which the Headmaster, Mr William Pringle, spoke about the significance of the day, highlighting the importance of Remembrance Day in “showing respect for those who were willing to serve their country and, if need be, to make the ultimate sacrifice so that we who are here now can have the life that we know”.

Two bugle calls, the ‘Last Post’ and ‘The Reveille’ were then played by Mr Charles Maasdorp, Union’s Head Boy of 1951, while Mr Hanno Sparrius lowered and raised the national flag.

The Last Post is a bugle call that has been incorporated into military funerals where it is played as a final farewell, symbolising the fact that the duty of the dead soldier is over and that they can rest in peace, while ‘The Reveille’, is a call that marks the beginning of each day to wake up soldiers. The two tunes symbolise sunset and sunrise respectively, and in the context of this occasion, they symbolise death, but more importantly a promise of resurrection.

The Union High School Roll of Honour was then read aloud by Mr Sparrius, to remember the Old Unionites who perished in valiant struggles “for hearth and home”.

Other traditions that were observed included a minute of silence for reflection and the laying of wreaths by the school’s Head Prefects, Sakhe Booi and Bowen Langmead, as well as by Mr John Crankshaw, on behalf of the Old Unionite Association.


EP Midlands Management

Congratulations to Mr Sean Koeberg (left) who has been tasked with managing the EP Midlands u/17 cricket team that will participate in Cricket South Africa’s National Rural Week 2019.

In addition to this, we also extend our congratulations to Union’s Senior Sports Administrator, Mr Raymond Hamilton (right), who has been asked to serve as the team’s assistant coach.

Union wishes them everything of the best in preparing the team for its campaign. We trust that they will do a sterling job and that the team will go from strength to strength under their guidance.

The National Week will take place from 10 to 14 December 2019 at Kearnsney College, Durban.

Gr 5 Excursion

Fifty Union High School Grade 5s recently enjoyed a great reward outing to the farm Slingersfontein, as well as to the biggest inland water mass in the country, the Gariep Dam.

After departing from school early Monday morning, 28 October, the group first made a pitstop at the home of Barry and Suzette Norval, where the children played on the zipline, jumping castle, trampoline, swings and various other play equipment.

After all their pent-up energy had been spent, they journeyed forth to Slingersfontein.  Upon arrival at the farm, the group were first taught how a windmill works and is maintained, after which Mr Anthony Murray spoke to the learners about the Boer War as well as the Slingersfontein farm’s pivotal role in it and then proceeded to show the children where the British had made camp during that time.

The group then hiked to the area where New Zealand soldiers had laid down their lives and viewed the monument erected in their honour.  Mr Murray then shared his collection of war artefacts, explaining to the children in detail what each item was.  Yaseen Kazi was then given the exciting opportunity to ignite a small quantity of gunpowder.

The learners loved hearing about the war and found it most interesting.  They also perused the farm’s collection of animal skulls and tried to identify which animals they’d been.

The ladies of the farm prepared a tasty lunch of mince and vetkoek and juice for all the hungry youths, after which the group continued their journey to the Gariep Dam’s Forever Resort.  Upon arrival at the campsite, gale force winds made the pitching of the tents quite difficult, but, with the help of kind and caring parents, the job got done with all the kids being taught a valuable lesson about perseverance!

When camp was established, all the kids enjoyed free play time of their choice.  The night was cold and windy, but in the morning everyone experienced a genuine appreciation for their warm and comfortable beds and homes.  Having survived the harsh conditions, the learners are definitely stronger for the experience.

A tour where the learners got to explore some of the13km of passages and halls within the Gariep Dam’s wall, was very interesting and informative. The children were amazed to learn that it took six years, from 1966 and 1972, to construct the dam.

The excursion concluded with lunch at the Colesberg Wimpy.  Needless to say, the busses were much quieter on the return trip, as most children used the time to catch up on lost sleep.

Union extends its thanks to Zanel and Anthony Murray, as well as Barry and Suzette Norval, for their wonderful hospitality and assistance. The school also extends its thanks to the Forever Resort as well as to the officials from the Department of Water and Sanitation for their excellent service while touring the wall.

Eco Club Visits SPCA

On Friday, 25 October, a caring group of Union Eco Clubbers visited the Graaff-Reinet SPCA.

Here, the learners were given a tour of the property, where they not only got to feed the animals but were also able to give them much-needed love and attention.

The visit proved to be a very enriching experience for the learners and Union extends its thanks to SPCA field worker Jean-Heinrich Pieterse whose love for animals is evident in his caring ways.

Union Supports Dam Clean-up

This past Saturday morning (26 October), some of Union’s Arthur Kingwill House boarders, joined the hostel’s superintendent, Mr Donald Kingwill, his wife Alet, and daughter Ingrid, in participating in the local Assembly Church’s ‘Dam Day’ initiative.

The boarders were just some of the many members of the Union community who were among the 612 locals who supported this venture which sought to clear the Nqweba Dam of dead fish and litter.

At the end of the day’s efforts, a total of 36 625 fish were picked up!

Union congratulates the Assembly Church on this very successful community project and extends its thanks to all those from the Union community who rolled up their sleeves to support them!

Art Club Outing To Aberdeen

Discovering kiln-fused glass

Yesterday afternoon (Thursday, 24 October) Union High School’s Art Club travelled to Aberdeen for their final outing of the year.  Once there, they visited the studio of local artists Marguerite Benecke.  Mrs Benecke is a contemporary warm glass artist, who creates paintings and textures in glass.

The group was treated to a tour of her gallery and her studio where she showed them some of the many techniques she has mastered over the years.  She graciously answered all of their questions, of which there were many, leaving the learners in awe of what she can produce using glass, enamel paint and a massive kiln!

Union extends its thanks to Mrs Benecke for her time, as well as her generosity!

Learner Babalwa Lewis was the lucky recipient of a beautiful piece of art signed by the artist.

UHS Eco-Life

It’s a wrap!

This year, Union High School’s Eco-Schools Committee chose the theme “Water” with the emphasis on conserving water, spreading water-wise awareness, capturing and storing water.

The Eco Code was revised and Wise-up Wednesdays were instituted along with the existing MAD Fridays, to be driven by the Educators and Eco-Reps of each class.

Big construction projects were undertaken by the school this year, which included the bathroom revamp of Herby Arnott House, the complete renovation of Max Kroon House, the revamp of the junior boys’ bathroom at the High School and the repairing of the swimming pool which turned out to be a major rebuilding project.

Thankfully, this swimming pool project was completed mid-September, with the pool being refilled just in time for the swimming season.

Union continues to support schools in our district. We make our sports facilities available and offer our transport services to assist other schools.

Union also works together with other schools to promote interest in and improved skills in chess.

This year, Union’s Primary Department addressed a need at Sonskraal Crèche, by donating a sizable amount of appropriate toys and books to them.

The Sponsor-a-Brick Project was undertaken by the entire learner body of the school during the third term, to aid Kroonvale Primary with the construction of their school hall.

Many learners and staff, even old Unionites who read about it on our Facebook page, contributed to this project, enabling our estate manager Mr Donald Kingwill to deliver the bricks before the end of the third term.

Outdoor Education in the form of camps, excursions and outdoor lessons continue to add value to our eco focus.

An Eco-Wise Day was held at the end of the first term and enjoyed by all those actively involved.

The Eco Amazing Race was cancelled this year, but the Eco Club took over three community projects which were incorporated into its planning, by:

– assisting with providing water for the community during a time when it was sorely needed;
– establishing the Spekboom Nursery project for SANParks;
– and providing 10 Santa Shoeboxes for indigent children.

The latter was done in conjunction with assistance from ten of Union’s Interact Club members who guided the Eco Clubbers in choosing and buying the necessary articles.

A civvies day was held to raise funds for the purchases of the presents and the learners loved this charitable exercise, suggesting that we do it again next year.

Litter clean-ups, separating paper waste, blood donation drives and the making of eco-bricks continued this year.  The latter was donated, by kind favour of one of our learners, to an organisation in Hogsback who are building with eco-bricks.

Greening our school has continued, amidst the worst drought in many decades.

During Arbor Week a Camdeboo Stinkwood tree was planted and a special assembly held. Despite the challenges a drought presents, the gardens and sports fields have been maintained using fountain water. The Jo-Jo tanks installed ensure that our learners enjoy a clean supply of drinking water.

Healthy Living education was kick-started this year by Mrs Christine Scott who educated the parents and educators about Gut Health.

The Union Tuck Shop was encouraged to have healthier options available on sale for our learners.

The school organised education sessions against substance abuse and this included experts in the field from both the private and government sectors.

Many learners were deeply moved by what they heard and saw, requesting that such educational and motivational initiatives become a regular part of our school programme.

Next year the school looks forward to focussing on restructuring some of the fundamental elements of our Eco-Schools Programme in order to make room for innovation and inspiration.

Holey Mole-y!

Union High School’s Grade 10 and 11 science classes celebrated Mole Day today (Wednesday, 23 October), with a series of fun and interesting activities focused on the mole.

And by ‘mole’, we don’t mean the furry little critters that burrow underground, but rather a useful unit of measurement in chemistry that all Grade 10 to 12s (should!) know well.

Mole, abbreviated mol, designates an extremely large number, 66.02 x 10^23, of units (be it atoms, molecules or other specified articles), and is central to many chemical calculations.

As such, the 23rd day of the 10th month between 6:02am and 6:02pm is used to celebrate all things molar, with the aim of helping the learners understand the importance of the chemical ‘mole’.

This year, the theme for Mole Day was ‘DespicaMOLE Me!’ and the learners had a lot of fun celebrating this molmentous occasion with various mole-related activities.

Social Sciences Excursion

Based on their Social Sciences report marks, eight boys and six girls were invited to attend Union’s annual Grade 7 Social Sciences excursion held on Friday and Saturday, 19 and 20 October.

After arriving at Westbrook on Saturday, the group took a short hike to a huge poplar forest on Onbedacht farm, where they were pleased to see that the river was flowing, even though the area is experiencing the worst drought in 100 years.

The learners managed to catch a few crabs that they released again. (It was good to see that there was a lot of life present in the river.)

After supper, the learners headed to Langfontein for a late night dip in a saltwater pool.

A warm cup of hot Milo was the perfect way to end off the evening.

After breakfast the next day, the group headed to De Vrede Farms where Mr John Biggs showed them around.

He spoke to them about the challenges farmers are facing in the drought and suggested ways in which farmers can adapt to farming in areas with low rainfall.

Mr Biggs also informed the learners about the Pendoring bush which acts as a natural nursery for new trees, such as the Shepherd’s Tree.

The group then investigated the central pivot as a way of irrigation and discussed the effect it has on the water table.

Union extends its thanks to everyone who made this excursion possible – it was very educational and all the learners had a great time.