Meet Our Mentors

Earlier this week, Union High School launched a cross-age peer mentoring programme at the school to promote the learnersโ€™ physical, social and emotional well-being.

The programme has been set up between older and younger learners, with mentors being assigned to specific class groups so that the younger learners can benefit from the experience and knowledge of the older ones.

The programme also comes with the additional impact of providing leadership and development opportunities to the older or near-peer youth who serve in the mentoring role.

The support of parents and teachers is undoubtedly vital for the success of our learners. However, the impact that guidance and advice from people who are closer in age can have is often overlooked – in fact, peer mentoring has been shown to lead to improved attitude to school, attendance and behaviour. It can also help learners to build up a peer network within their school, causing more holistic benefits such as a sense of community and belonging.

โ€œWe hope the mentoring programme will provide the learners with a safe environment to raise concerns and ask questions which they might not feel confident talking about in front of an adult or in a classroom setting,โ€ said Grade 12 mentor, Tracy Petitt.

โ€œOur overall goal is to get as many kids as we can impacted by the experience. There are many opportunities for all the younger learners, yet at the same time, there are numerous stressors and challenges for them to handle. How they adapt to and deal with all these adjustments is key to how they fare health-wise and emotionally every day, as well in the future. We hope to help as many learners as possible deal with these stressors by offering our support.”

๐Ÿ“ทย Seen here are our 35 Grade 11 and 12 learners who will be serving as mentors this year, facilitating positive change in all their mentees.

They are: Michaela Price, Joshua Calitz, Lathitha Ngcwangu, Liso Binqela, Jade Edwards, Mihlali Tyanase, Primrose Mutapati, Likhona Batala, Tracy Petitt, Max Wright, Catelyn Anthony, James Pringle, Kaydn Retief, Kyle-Luke du Preez, Buhlebethu Rolomane, Chloe Bosch, Siphesihle Goliath, Jodi Kenmuir, Matthew McNaughton, Melissa Swart, Matthew Basson, Lutho Ludwaba, Sisipho Arnols, Kelly-Page Scott, Ruzhe Hendricks, Asa Matross, Ayanda Nyama, James Potgieter, Soyama Mbetshu, Kathryn Odendaal, Avemahle Matushe, Elam Nockpaal, Hannah Watermeyer, Rogan Odendaal and Cole Mackenzie.

Odyssey Into The Wild

The Grade 10s of 2020 were terribly disappointed when their Odyssey was scuppered thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic.
So it was with great excitement that it was rescheduled and they finally set off for a 3-day journey of discovery this past Saturday, 15 May.
As it was a sporting Saturday, only half the group set off in the morning. After hiking for 9km they proceeded to set up a fantastic camp for their sport-playing classmates who would arrive a little bit later on.
It was heartwarming to see some of the Grade 11s tirelessly putting up tent after tent for the latecomers. A true act of service that probably went unnoticed by many, but polished the souls of those involved.
At around 18:00, in the dark, the rest of the grade arrived, singing with excitement. A delicious meal was followed by singing around the campfire – the night was not an early one!
As dawn broke on Sunday, the early birds could be heard getting the morning kettles going, and everyone slowly emerged from their tents into an unfamiliar world for many.
After breakfast, the group was joined by headmaster Mr William Pringle, accompanied by Mrs Cathy Pringle, before heading off for a hike down the Gats River Canyon to the incredible fossilized waterfall. After clambering down to the base, some swimming in the bottomless pool was enjoyed before Mr Pringle delivered a poignant speech in this magnificent place of wonder as black eagles circled overhead. One could not have wished for a more perfect outdoor classroom.
Mr David Langmead then offered a few seasoned hikers a different route over the mountains, while the rest of the group returned upstream. Some took great pride in making it over the more challenging route.
Back at camp, everyone regrouped for chicken roasting and breadmaking. The Grade 11s were put into arbitrary groups of 4, juggling friends. Mr Langmead then taught everyone how to cook a whole roast chicken over the open fire, and Mrs Bronwen Langmead taught everyone to make a loaf of bread out in the wilds. Pure magic followed as new friendships were forged and expert cooks emerged!
After a superb repertoire of songs around the campfire, Mr Langmead spoke to the group on the importance of reflection and time alone to appreciate the space that they had become a part of. He spoke on how much of modern life is consumed by the distractions of the age of technology where we connect less and less with our natural environment and the people around us… not to mention getting to know ourselves.
He then briefed them for the Solitaire exercise, where for a few hours everyone would be in a place of quiet reflection and contemplation.
Sleep came easy that night. At dawn, the adults led the group out into the wilderness where they were positioned in solitude in the magnificent Karoo. They were given letters from their loved ones and were asked to write a letter to themselves which would be sealed and opened at their valedictory.
On return to camp a few hours later, an air of quiet contemplation enveloped the group. A sense of elation was prevalent, but also a nostalgia that the time had come to an end.
Everyone worked together to strike camp and no trace was left behind. A 10km hike took the group to the buses who drove them back to reality after an incredible few days.
โ€ข This Odyssey would not have been realised without the generosity of landowners Julian Murray and Dale and Kelly Jackson who so kindly let the learners hike and camp on their property. Grateful thanks must also go to David Langmead who never fails to give of his time and expertise. Kevin and Lisa Watermeyer are indispensable in terms of logistic and moral support. We are also grateful to Joan McNaughton, Kiki and Fanus Nell, Brenda James, Cheryl and Peter Waddelow and William and Cathy Pringle who were incredible backup support.
With sport being locked down 2 days after Odyssey, we are so grateful that this essential event in the development of these young lives in these trying times was able to take place.
View our FaceBook page for more photographs.

Representative Council Of Learners 2021

Union High School recently elected class representatives as well as a new Representative Council of Learners (RCL).
Elections for the new RCL were done last month and all learners from Grade 8 to 12 participated.
The class representatives and members of the RCL are, at all times, expected to carry themselves with excellence and epitomise what a Union learner should be: kind, caring and sensitive to the needs of others; hard-working and motivated to bring about positive change in their environment; honest, trustworthy and dependable; but, most of all, proud of their school and the opportunity to serve others. This is what the RCL of Union High School strives constantly towards.
Congratulations to:
๐—š๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ ๐Ÿด:
โ€ข Erin Gedult (Class representative)
โ€ข Aaminah Steele (Class representative)
โ€ข Megan Nortje (Class representative)
โ€ข Kananelo Kometsi (Class representative)
โ€ข Zenande Mazana (Class representative)
โ€ข Lisakhanya Menos (Class representative)
๐—š๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ ๐Ÿต:
โ€ข Sade May (Class representative and RCL member)
โ€ข Joshua Basson (Class representative and RCL member)
โ€ข Na’eem Mahomed (Class representative and RCL member)
โ€ข Caytah-Leigh Koeberg (Class representative and RCL member)
๐—š๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ ๐Ÿญ๐Ÿฌ:
โ€ข Laythan Carelse (Class representative and RCL member)
โ€ข Jude Langmead (Class representative and RCL member)
โ€ข Lulibo Pietersen (Class representative and RCL member)
โ€ข Caitrin Spence (Class representative and RCL member)
โ€ข Simone Prinsloo (Class representative)
โ€ข Jenna-Lee Jansen (Class representative)
๐—š๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ ๐Ÿญ๐Ÿญ:
โ€ข Bubele Thibini (Class representative and RCL member)
โ€ข Alutho Cekiso (Class representative and RCL member)
โ€ข Asa Matross (Class representative and RCL member)
โ€ข Lisakhanya Mvandaba (Class representative and RCL member)
๐—š๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ ๐Ÿญ๐Ÿฎ:
โ€ข Siphesihle Goliath (Class representative and RCL member)
โ€ข Chloe Bosch (Class representative and RCL member)
โ€ข Liso Binqela (Class representative and RCL member)
โ€ข Hannah Watermeyer (Class representative and RCL member)

Learners Add Colour to Middle Street

On Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, 3 and 4 March, a few of Union’s learners enjoyed the once-in-a-lifetime experience of working alongside renowned artist, Michรจlle Nigrini, while creating a massive work of art in Middle Street.
Their eye-catching mural was created to celebrate the unique immersion of colour, collaboration and creative interaction of two simultaneous art exhibitions in Graaff-Reinet, which opened to the public on Friday, 5 March.
The first exhibition, ‘In Conversation with Colour Symphony’, is being housed at the Jan Rupert Art Centre in Middle Street and is a group exhibition comprised of over 40 artworks.
The second exhibition, ‘Outside In’, is a solo exhibition by Nigrini, and is being housed in Church Street, at the Imibala Gallery.
Both exhibitions are centred around Nigrini’s extraordinary installation, ‘Colour Symphony’, which was moved from the Rupert Museum in Stellenbosch to the Jan Rupert Art Centre in Graaff-Reinet for this event.
Union High School extends its thanks to the Jan Rupert Art Centre and to artist Michรจlle Nigrini for involving the learners in this project and invite the public to view their finished mural in Middle Street.

Prefects Get Together

On Thursday evening, 18 February, Union High School’s 2021 prefect body enjoyed an informal get-together at the Tony Burrell Union.
They spent their evening discussing their duties and responsibilities as prefects, having fun together during the various team-building activities and enjoying a delicious build-a-burger dinner.
The evening brought all of the prefects closer together and helped them to focus on a shared vision for this year.
The team of prefects look forward to working together with staff and learners in 2021!

Special Welcome To Grade 5s

On Monday and Tuesday morning, the first days of school for our Group A and Group B learners respectively, Union High School’s head prefects made the extra effort to personally welcome Union’s new Grade 5s to the school.
The learners were introduced to the prefects, after which they were all presented with a little card. The purpose of the activity was to help the new learners feel welcome and part of the school community.

Welcome Back!

๐—ช๐—ฒ๐—น๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ฒ ๐—ฏ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ธ!
Our head prefects for 2021, Hannah Watermeyer and Kyle-Luke du Preez, have put together a short video to welcome their fellow learners back to school for the 2021 academic year.
We invite you to watch the clip by clicking on the accompanying link.
Union High School thanks them for this special gesture and wish them well as they embark on the final stretch of their high school journey!

Valedictory 2021

“๐˜ ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฃ๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฎ๐˜บ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ต ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฌ ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฎ๐˜บ ๐˜ง๐˜ถ๐˜ต๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ. ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ฎ๐˜บ ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ ๐˜ข๐˜ฎ ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ๐˜บ.” – ๐—ž๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—–๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฟ
This has not been an easy year for the Class of 2020.ย  It was, therefore, especially heartwarming to witness our matrics carry out some of the traditions of school leavers at Union High School after their exam session this morning, Friday, 11 December.
Valedictory is a very special event for our matrics – in particular the ringing of the Centenary Bell which signifies the end of their high school careers.
Grade 12s, your journey at Union may be coming to an end, but know this: you will forever be part of the Union family!
We wish you, our Matric Class, all the best as you embark on the next exciting chapter of your lives.
Take responsibility for your own life, determine your priorities and persevere when life is difficult. Go forward with pride and courage, knowing that your time at Union High School has prepared you well for wherever your lives may take you.
Follow the link to view more photographs: