Chess vs Gill

On Friday afternoon, 12 July, Union’s Top 10 players pitted their skill in the strategic game of chess against that of Gill’s top players.

Three rounds were contested to determine who would emerge the victors. Union started strong, coming out on top after the first round with 12 points to 10. After a short break, the competition commenced again, with a determined Gill side claiming the win with 15 points to 7. With it all on the line in the third round, both teams gave it their best.

As the results started coming in, it was evident that nobody wanted to lose. The closely-contested round ended with an 11-all draw, to bring the final score to 36 – 30 in Gill’s favour.

* Special mention must be made of Union’s Cassidy Goliad who went undefeated during Friday’s competition.

Scouts Show Dedication

James Potgieter, Corniel Vorster and JJ Liebenberg, together with 29 Scouts from Gauteng, attended and passed the 10-day Weston Patrol Leader Training Course held in Johannesburg during the recent school holidays.

The Patrol Leader Training Unit (PLTU) is a comprehensive patrol leadership course run for young leaders in the Scout Movement.  It is a very physically and mentally strenuous course that focuses on character development in each individual, including the development of physical, mental and spiritual qualities. Attributes such as leadership and team spirit are instilled in the Scouts during this course.

Upon completion of the course, Gavin Kelly, the course director, spoke very highly of all three boys, remarking especially on their very positive attitudes throughout the course, even though they were in separate Patrols with Scouts they had never met before.


Young Brains are Made for Enjoying Art!

Young brains are made for enjoying art!

The members of Union High School’s Art Club recently paid a visit to Our Yard, a unique cultural gem nestled in the heart of Somerset Street, Graaff-Reinet, to look at some of the new artworks they have on display.

While wandering through the building and perusing the various pieces on display, the different framing and display options were discussed as well as the mood of each artwork.The highlight for all was the viewing of Aberdeen artist Marguerite Beneke`s exquisite contemporary painted and fused glass creations.

The Art Club is hoping to visit this artist at her studio in Aberdeen next month.

The enjoyable outing was concluded with a milkshake and a delicious Dutch delicacy – the stroopwafel!

Annual Junior (gr 8 – 9) Speech Competition

Outstanding young speakers at annual speech competition

Congratulations to the evening’s winner, Caitrin Spence, and runner-up, Grace Merrifield.

Union High School’s annual Junior Speech Competition was held on Tuesday evening, 7 May.

This year’s event saw eleven of the school’s junior Grade 8s and 9s go up against one another in an evening filled with thought-provoking speeches.

With speeches ranging from humorous to emotional, intellectual and serious, all who attended were captivated by the speakers and very impressed by the high quality of speeches and the obvious preparation that had gone into the evening.

Even though this event was a first for many of the learners involved, the experience was enjoyed by all.

Union would like to thank all the participants involved – it was pleasing to see so many enthusiastic learners presenting their speeches.



An Evening of One Acts

On Thursday evening, 9 May, a unique theatrical evening was held in the Union High School hall.

The biennial inter-house One Act Plays, hosted by the school’s Performing Arts Club, as usual, saw the school’s two houses – Arnott and Daly – pitted against one another.

The performances of the houses, however, weren’t judged as a whole this year, but instead by the individual performances of the actors, who scored points for their respective houses based on how well they played their part.

The themes of this year’s featured plays hit very close to home, with many of the learners and audience members commenting on how relatable they were in this day and age.

‘Bill, please’ – with lead actors James Rose-Innes and Asa Matross – followed a series of blind dinner dates that just couldn’t seem to get any worse. Despite the fact that they did, in fact, get worse, happiness still awaited the characters at the end of the long, dark tunnel.

The humour incorporated in this play produced a lot of belly laughs with the actors delivering an amazing performance.

The second play, ‘The Internet/Sidetracked’, demonstrated what a big a distraction the Internet can be when checking a few facts for a school project gets sidetracked by boxing cats, Facebook lurkers and pig-throwing games that, in the end, put schoolwork on the back burner.

Though the evening was full of laughs, in the end, a winning house and the best performances had to be decided upon.

James Rose-Innes, Tumi Teys, Buchule Siloti, Petra Jaftha and Melissa Swart

Buchule Siloti was recognised as the evening’s Best Supporting Actor with Petra Jaftha and Tumi Teys sharing the award for Best Supporting Actress.  James Rose-Innes and Melissa Swart were, respectively, awarded the Best Actor and Best Actress award.

The winning play was ‘The Internet/Sidetracked’ and the winning house this year, was Daly.

Thanks are extended to the judges, without whom this evening would not have been the success it turned out to be, Mrs. Paula Kingwill, Ms. Sherilee du Plessis, Ms. Vona van Rensburg and Mr. Erwin Itterhagen-Straus.

Thanks are also extended to the school’s senior choir who, accompanied by various individual performances, delighted the audience.

Lastly, a special word of thanks must be extended to Mrs. Sanette Brink for her constant support with the arrangements as well as to Mrs. Avrille Putter who offered to direct one of the houses, supported the process throughout and put in a lot of hard work to help the Performing Arts Club pull everything together.

Eco Club Visits Herding Academy

On Friday 10 May, 25 learners and two educators were privileged to go on an educational outing to the Herding Academy at St Olive’s Farm. We were warmly welcomed by Sarah who gave the group a video presentation of the Herding Academy. Following that, Gavin, the farm manager, and the 12 Academy students accompanied the eco warriors into the veld where they were divided into two groups and shown the practical applications and outcomes of herding, soil erosion management and maximization skills of nature’s gift, rain.

The herding method of land restoration and management has been based on natural migration patterns in nature. The students observe nature and conduct experiments to come up with best operating practices. The intense grazing and ground trampling of a herd of animals that have been enclosed in a camp for a few days fertilizers and loosens the soil. The concentrated nutrient-rich animal dung is worked into the soft soil as the herd tramples the grazing ground. The herd is then moved to another area where the process is repeated. Each student stays with his/her herd for an entire week, living in a bush caravan and moving with the herd.

The Academy students also taught the group about maximizing rain water usage and mulching. Since taking care of the soil is of primary importance, the group learnt about soil erosion management. They observed areas of land where the outcomes of experiments clearly show the benefits of managed herding.

The Academy’s integrity stems from the fact that their work emulates natural patterns and uses lessons from nature to restore the land and maximize their uses of natural resources. Their mission is a three-fold one: economic, environmental and caring for society. It boils down to taking care of the land, the biodiversity and the people, thus creating a sustainable recipe for success, health and prosperity. The Eco Club thoroughly enjoyed their visit to St Olives and is looking forward to future visits at the Herding Academy. Grateful thanks to Johan Bouwer, Sarah, Gavin and the Academy Students for this opportunity.


Chess players test their skills in Middelburg

On Monday afternoon, 6 May, Union High School’s chess players competed in an individual Swiss Open chess tournament in Middelburg.

This tournament served as the second round of trials to select a team to represent the Chris Hani Chess District at the South African Junior Chess Championship to be held in Johannesburg in early January 2020.

Union will soon hear who will be invited to participate in the closed tournament in August, where it will be determined which Union players will represent the district and the school at a national level.


Representatives of Union’s Interact Club recently paid a visit to the Khomanani White Door Centre of Hope (WDCOH) in Graaff-Reinet.

This local centre is one of only four White Door Centres in South Africa that serve as a victim reception centre that provides a short term safe space that victims can access if they need to wait for professional services, including the police.

The purpose of the Interact Club’s visit was to hand over a special donation of soft toys and journals which they hope will, in future, provide some comfort to the traumatised young children being aided by the centre.

Seen here is the Interact Club’s chairperson, Siphesihle Jali, and deputy-chairperson, Jada Smith, presenting the package to the centre’s representative Ms. Sweetness Langa.


Music In The Mountains

The Union delegation with a few members of the Drakensberg Boys Choir.

A small delegation from Union High School’s music department headed to the mountains of KwaZulu-Natal on Easter weekend to attend the annual Music in the Mountains festival.Music in the Mountains, hosted by the Drakensberg Boys Choir School, is held over three days at the end of April each year and offers a quality craft market and performances by well-known South African artists and the Drakensberg Boys Choir School (DBCS).

This year, the main events were a performance by Loki Rothman, the Saturday Pop Gala performed by the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra and the Drakensberg Boys Choir as well as the Mozart Requiem by the Drakensberg Boys Choir, St David’s Marist Inanda, Johannesburg Youth Orchestra, and the Drakensberg Boys Choir Old Boys.

The Union learners and staff enjoyed their adventure in the Drakensberg tremendously.

Apart from attending the spectacular shows, the excursion also saw the group explore the beautiful region surrounding the Drakensberg Boys Choir School.

On Friday, they drove to Monk’s Cowl – one of the most unspoilt areas of the Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park.  From there, they hiked to Sterkspruit Falls where they were rewarded with beautiful views. Some brave souls even ventured a swim in the crystal clear, but ice cold, rock pools.

The excursion was enjoyed by all and the group, who arrived back in Graaff-Reinet on Monday evening, returned enriched after the varied three-day programme of jazz, pop, gospel and classical music that included Bach and Beethoven right through to African folk.