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.


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.

Eco Club Outing

On Thursday and Friday, 17 and 18 October, ten loyal Eco Club members enjoyed an outing as a reward for their excellent attendance at this year’s Eco Club meetings.

They were treated to a 1-night stay at the Asante Sana Private Game Reserve, where they had loads of fun and even worked on an academic task in the peaceful setting.

Union extends its thanks to everyone who made this outing such a memorable one for all the learners involved.

Blood Donation

Donating blood at Union High School this year wasn’t in ‘vein’

Thanks to the school’s dedicated pool of blood donors, Union claimed the SANBS Interschools floating trophy for the second year in a row!

At the end of each year, the trophy is awarded to the Graaff-Reinet school that managed to donate the most units of blood during the year and serves to recognise them for their loyal dedication to blood donation.

Seen here are some of Union’s Blood Peer Promoters with the sought-after trophy.


Interact Donates to MDF

The special guest at Union High School’s assembly this morning, was none other than Old Unionite Mr Laszlo Maya (Headboy of the Class of 2012).

Mr Maya was at the school to accept a donation of R2 000 on behalf of the Maya Deaf Foundation (MDF).  The money was raised by Union High School’s Interact Club through various fundraisers this year.

The Maya Deaf Foundation (MDF), based in Graaff-Reinet, aims to help bridge the gap between the hearing and the deaf by providing a range of services to those affected by hearing loss. They rely solely on donations and fundraising efforts to further their cause.

Union is honoured to be able to contribute to this foundation and its endeavours.

PHOTO: Seen here is Interact member Katherine Imrie, with the MDF’s secretary Ruth-Mandy Abercrombie, its founder Laszlo ‘Laz’ Maya and Siphesihle Jali, chairperson of Union’s Interact Club.


Roses Of Hope For Cancer

Union High School’s Interact Club has undertaken to support the Graaff-Reinet Cancer Association with their ‘2000 Roses of Hope for Cancer’ project this October.

The Graaff-Reinet Cancer Association hopes to sell 2 000 artificial roses (at R20 each), which will then be “planted” on the lawns of the NG Grootkerk on Friday, 18 October, between 07:00 to 18:00 by their purchasers.

The rose closest to a predetermined secret spot will win its owner R5 000. At 18:00 the secret spot will be revealed and the winner announced.

The members of the Interact Club would like to assist the Cancer Association by helping them to sell the roses.

Roses can be ordered from Interact members (at R20 each) from tomorrow, 4 October, to Thursday, 10 October, during first break (09:40 – 10:00).

Parents, friends of the Union Schools and Old Unionites wishing to support this endeavour can do so by transferring the money for the roses they wish to purchase to the Graaff-Reinet Cancer Association’s bank account. The details are as follows:

Name of Bank account: Graaff-Reinet Cancer Association
Name of Bank: FNB
Branch Code: 210216
Account number: 62005169570
Reference: Rose UHS Interact

Proof of payment can be forwarded to deputy@unionschools.co.za so that the buyer’s details can be captured on the list of orders.

All the roses are numbered and must be collected on the day at the church where they will be planted by their purchaser. A cancer survivor will plant the roses of those who are out of town on the 18th or who are unable to attend.

Union Hosts 40-board Chess Simul

This past Saturday, 31 August, Union High School hosted the first ever simultaneous chess exhibition to be played in the Karoo.

The only learner who managed to beat Kirstein, was Rowan Swemma from Asherville Secondary School – he walked away with a handsome prize of R500.

The competition saw chess aficionado, Mr. Ian Kirstein, playing against 40 chess-loving individuals – at the same time!  Kirstein had to walk from player to player, making his moves after only having had a short chance to assess the board.  His competitors, however, had plenty of time to consider their position and strategy while he was playing the other 39 players.

The day’s longest match lasted 3½ hours, while the majority of the matches lasted 2½ hours.  Kirstein didn’t falter under the pressure and managed to win 36 out of the 40 matches.  He conceded two matches to chess coaches JP Kruger (Union High School) and Morne Naudé (Karel Theron Primêre Skool).

The only learner who managed to beat Kirstein, was Rowan Swemma from Asherville Secondary School – he walked away with a handsome prize of R500.  The last match of the day ended in a draw, with Siphosethu Fortuin playing ’till the bitter end.

This was an inspiring morning of pure chess brilliance and Union would like to thank the following sponsors for their generous contributions that made this event possible: the Prescient Foundation, Blue Magnolia Nursery, Drostdy Toyota, Mrs. Kruger, Dr. Larson, Mrs. Jill Rose-Innes and Karoo Living.

Union hopes to, in future, host more events of this nature to promote chess in the district.

Eco Club

On Friday, 30 August, the members of Union’s Eco-Club met up once again for a most-enjoyable afternoon.

The learners were tasked with putting their knowledge about directions and orientation into practice by studying a map of Graaff-Reinet.

While the activity in itself was a ton of fun, it also served to increase the learners’ knowledge about the beautiful little town

Little Moves of Kindness

Little moves of kindness

How many of us have thought of doing something good for the world and making a difference in someone’s life but never found the time for it?

James Rose-Innes, a Grade 10 learner at Union High School, is not only contributing to the society in his own little way but in the process he is making use of his favourite game, chess, to make a difference!  His initiative to teach the game of chess to children at Vuyani Safe Haven originated as a Life Orientation project, but in time, turned into so much more.

A little while ago, five of Vuyani’s children had no idea what chess was about and now, little over two months later, some of them are representing their respective schools in Interschools matches.  “I am very grateful to the management of Vuyani for allowing me to discover these hidden talents in their kids. Without their hospitality and charitableness, this would not have been possible,” says James.  “I truly believe that an educational activity such as chess can play a vital role to empower and uplift a community,” he continued.  “In chess the learners are taught to think ahead and not just to make any move. Every move you make on the chess board must count – from the very first move in the opening game right through the middle game till the very last move in the end game you must think ahead. Why is it so important to think ahead in real life as in chess? If you do not think ahead and make the wrong moves (choices), such as taking drugs, the game is over and you are in checkmate!”

Union extends its thanks to Vuyani for facilitating James’ coaching sessions and for giving him the opportunity to make a difference while promoting the great game of chess.