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.

Cleathon To Join WP Rugby Academy

Union High School’s Cleathon Koeberg was recently announced as part of the Western Province Rugby Academy’s intake for 2020.

Cleathon, a Grade 12 learner, excelled as Union’s 1st XV’s 8th Man this year, representing the Eastern Province Country Districts (EPCD) team at the 2019 u/18 Rugby Academy Week.

The WP Rugby Academy’s 2020 intake is an exciting blend of talent, that has the potential to really develop into an extremely competitive group of individuals.

With players from all over South Africa heading to Cape Town to “Realise their Dreams”, it’s going to be an extremely enjoyable journey to be part of and we wish Cleathon all the best as he strives to achieve his goals in WP.

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.

EP Midlands Cricket

Following extensive trials, eight Union High School cricketers have been selected to represent the Eastern Province Midlands u/17 team at the SA National u/17 Rural Week at Kearsney College, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal from 10 to 14 December.

Congratulations to Jaden Brotherton, Hlaki Skepe, Sisipho Arnols, Rogan Odendaal, Lihle Mxhunyelwa, James Pienaar, Kyle-Luke du Preez and Bowen Langmead!

Jaden Brotherton will captain the team, with Bowen Langmead assisting him as vice-captain.

Karoo U/12 Cricket

We wish to congratulate the following Union cricketers on being selected for the Karoo u/12 cricket team: Shaakir Kazi, Makukhanye de Beer, Matthew Paxton, Xavier Barlow, Kananelo Kometsi, Yaseen Kazi, Neelon Fourie, Daniel Marais and Yonela Wana.

We wish them everything of the best in the knowledge that they will represent us well!

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.

Swimming: 1st B-Age Group Gala

It is always said that the joy of life is in the participation, and it was certainly clear from the faces of our swimmers, that the first ‘B’ Age Group Gala of the season was enjoyed by all.

The gala was held yesterday morning (Saturday, 26 October), at the Newton Park indoor swimming pool in Port Elizabeth and saw many of the Union swimmers recording new personal bests.

The next gala, which will also be the last one for the year, will be held on 16 November.

Jnr Cricket Results vs Summerwood

This past weekend, Union’s u/13As cricketers played in two competitive matches against Summerwood Primary School who travelled from Port Elizabeth to play against Union in a T20 match under lights on Friday evening and a limited over game on Saturday morning.

• On a lovely Friday evening at the Botanics, Union won the toss and elected to bat first.  Summerwood bowled well and managed to take some early wickets.

A well-worked 40-run partnership between Shaakir Kazi and Matthew Paxton helped Union to a respectable 75/6 after 20 overs.

A fiery Bowling attack led by Shaakir Kazi (who produced bowling figures of 5/10 in 4 overs) immediately put Union’s guest under pressure.

Summerwood gained some momentum in the middle overs, but great spirit and commitment on the field inspired the Union bowlers to ultimately bowl Summerwood out for 69.

Union won the match by 6 runs.

• During Saturday morning’s limited over match, Summerwood elected to bat first.

Good bowling by Union restricted Summerwood to 80 runs.

Unfortunately, Union’s top order left too much for the lower order to do, and Union fell short, ending their match on 79, losing by only one run in the end.

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.