Principal’s Annual Report – 2018

It gives me great pleasure to warmly welcome you to this our 58th Annual Prize Giving.  We are moving closer and closer to the 60th birthday of our school and some among us have witnessed a multitude of changes over the years.  Students, I remember this school when there was no swimming pool, no Indoor Centre, no Drama or Computer Rooms, no Rugby gym; classrooms 82A to D did not exist and French was taught in a Prefab on the top field, boys and girls were not allowed to sit together at breaks. (However more of that in two years’ time).  Welcome to Mrs Boni Mchunu, General Manager of East Coast Radio.  We look forward to your address, Boni, and thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to be with us this morning.

Welcome to our Circuit Manager, Mrs Sithole, and once again congratulations on your permanent appointment.  We, and I know I speak for my colleagues as well, are delighted with the news of your appointment and really enjoy working with you.  Welcome to colleagues who are present here this morning.  Welcome also to our special guests and to the Chairman of the Governing Body, Mr Tony Hikins, and other members of the SGB.  I would like to take a moment to express my gratitude to the SGB for their unfailing commitment to our school and a special thanks to Tony and to the Treasurer, Melanie Watts, who spend countless hours ensuring that all is well at our school.  In spite of the tough economic times at present, the school has not been in such a sound financial position for a long time and much of it is thanks to these two parents.  I think they deserve a round of applause.

2018 has been a good year for Kloof High.  We began the year with the announcement of the 2017 Matric results where one of our students, Kiara Pillay, finished in the top ten of the Province.  A fine achievement indeed!  The percentage of Bachelor Passes was not as high as it usually is (which is around 88%) and we have focussed on an improvement in this area in 2018.  This focus, coupled with the removal of designated subjects, and the pleasing attendance at the October school revision classes, bodes well for the end of the year.  Students, we hope your hard work pays off!  Remember, it is the quality of the pass that counts, not the pass itself.

Sport at Kloof High has always been strong and, well-administered by Mrs Orrell and the Sports Department, we continue to enjoy many successes, some of which are listed in the booklets you received on arrival this morning.  The sportsmen and women were honoured at the recent Evening of Excellence where Guest Speaker, Matthew Willman, challenged the students to become themselves the heroes they so admire.

The focus for this year was on Cultural Activities and Academic Extension and the results have been spectacular.  Much of the credit must go to the HOD in charge, Mrs Olga Roux, whose tireless efforts have ensured not only our widespread participation but the quality of that participation as well.  The highlight of this involvement has been our participation in the Global round of the World Scholar’s Cup held in Melbourne, Australia, where all four of our teams qualified to take part in the World Scholar’s Cup Tournament of Champions at Yale University in November.  I thank Ms K Bricknell and Mrs O Roux as well as the determined parents of the group, and their generous sponsors, for making this dream possible for these 12 young people.  The standard was exceptionally high with the students participating in debates, essay writing, quizzes and the like on the theme of “An entangled World”.

Another innovation this year, and one initiated by the students of both schools themselves, was the Cultural Derby Day, where the students of Kloof and Hillcrest competed in song, dance, poetry and one act plays.  I am pleased to report that Kloof High scored a very narrow victory and we look forward to hosting the second round of this event next year.

On the Academic Extension side, Kloof High, once again, was placed in the top 20 schools in the country (out of a number of 400 or so) in the Allan Gray Entrepreneur Challenge, which is an online challenge exploring and embracing the mind-set of an entrepreneur. We are particularly proud of one of our students, Aphile Shabalala, who is amongst the top 20 students in the country out of approximately 14,000.  Students like this truly embody the school motto of “to be the best that I can be”.  Well done to them all!.  We will know the exact positions tomorrow night as this will be announced at the Prize Giving ceremony which Apile and Mrs Pillay will be attending in Johannesburg.

Three of our students excelled in the Eskom Science Expo and were selected to participate in the 2018 International Science Fair held in Boksburg, where all three received Silver for their projects.

A group of Geography students participated in a Climate change and Global Warming initiative run by M.I.T.  The students drew up 600 postcards to express what they would do to combat these important global issues.  These postcards, together with thousands collected from all over Africa, will be placed on a glacier in Switzerland.  An aerial photo will then be taken to be entered into the Guinness Book of Records.

The Indian Cultural committee is currently preparing for a quiz, run by the Indian Government, with topics on Indian Song, dance and heritage.  We wish them all the very best in their endeavours.

We congratulate Chris Phillips in Grade 12 on achieving 100% in the 1st round of the Computer Olympiad.  We achieved very good results in the Accounting Olympiad, with one of our students finishing in the top ten in the country.

We have 32 students (in grades 10 – 12) sitting for the international French Delf exams next week which will earn them international accreditation.

Two of our teachers deserve a mention and we congratulate Mrs S Ramsookbhai who has recently delivered a paper on Leadership at an international conference in Dubai and Mr A Juggernath who was invited to deliver a paper in Gaborone. Botswana.  Students, take a leaf out of your teachers’ books’- learning and empowering oneself with knowledge is a life-long pursuit.

Kloof High is fortunate to have a dedicated and committed teaching and administrative staff and I thank the teachers and secretaries and general assistants for all their hard work over the past year.  It is much appreciated!

To Senior Management, Middle Management and Grade Heads, my heartfelt thanks.  So much is expected from you over and above your teaching loads, and I am really appreciative of your efforts.  Let’s give them a round of applause.

On the sports field we enjoyed some gratifying victories at different levels in the various sporting codes.  We are fortunate to have particularly strong U15 & U16 age groups at the moment which bodes well for the future.  To Mr Lötter and the maintenance team, the Sports Department and Coaches and Managers, thank you for a great year of competitive sport.

Various sporting tours were undertaken in the course of the year, namely rugby to Johannesburg, Cricket to Eshowe, Waterpolo to George, Soccer to Bloemfontein and Hockey to Treverton.  I must thank parents for bearing the extra cost of these tours and reassure them of the value of these tours in the development of our youngsters and their sporting abilities.

I congratulate the students on their many individual achievements, some of which are available to you in the booklets.  I would like to highlight the following stats.  3 students made regional teams, 37 district teams, 17 made it to the final KZN trials and 31 made KZN teams.

With regard to the actual plant we have been very fortunate that Public Works has undertaken to do much needed repairs and maintenance at no cost to the school.  As has been said this school is 58 years old and the plumbing, roofing, electrics etc. are all in need of an overhaul.  This work is set to start soon and we look forward to showing off a relatively new school in 2020.

Also, the Victor Daitz Foundation has committed to upgrading the four Life Science laboratories.  A few years back this generous Foundation revamped the Science labs and has now agreed to do the same for the Life Science labs.  We are humbled by their generosity and thank them most sincerely.

We also thank the Debs and Squires, a group of Grade 9 – 10 students who individually raise money for their school over a period of 12 months.  Over the last 2 to 3 years they have raised sufficient money to enable us to heat the swimming pool (which is soon to be refurbished by Public Works), at long last!

Other significant events which have taken place over the course of this year are the Matric Dance with its magical island theme, (I am pleased to say that we are one of few schools which continues to hold this event at school), the isiZulu cultural evening (produced and directed by the students themselves), the two Toastmasters graduations, the Annual Derby Day hosted so well by Hillcrest High School, the enjoyable school play “Sister Act”, a glittering Debs and Squires Ball and so on. 

As you can see this is an extremely busy school where we attempt to provide as many opportunities as possible for our students in which to participate and compete and we hope that along the way they learn to win and lose graciously and also to realise the importance of commitment, of getting involved, of giving up one’s time for the benefit of the school and for personal growth as well. 

A new innovation in 2018 has been the launch of Kloof TV.  Thanks to the company, Digicom, a consultant is stationed permanently with us and, with equipment supplied by the company at no cost to us, he has taught a group of our students the skills of filming, editing and interviewing.  School events are live streamed and are available to parents, teachers, students and the like.  We have had great fun with this new venture and I thank Kiran for all his efforts and the many hours he spends here at school.

Ladies and Gentlemen this ceremony is in honour of our Grade 12s seated here in front of me, I have attempted to highlight all the good that has happened in our school over the year as I hope this counteracts some of the negativity the students are exposed to on a daily basis in the press and on social media.  Things look bleak in our country and the world and I am sure you students feel apprehensive about setting forth and finding your niche in this troubled world of ours.  We, at Kloof High, wish a successful and productive life for each and everyone of you.  Success means different things to different people, but remember that all

people thrive on appreciation, respect, kindness and fairness.  I hope these principles and values govern your actions always and that you receive the same from those around you.

You are masters of your own destiny and everything that you do will affect your destiny.  In spite of the recent Concourt ruling, the abuse of certain substances will negatively impact that destiny whereas focus, hard work, grit and determination will help you to fulfill that destiny. 

Woody Hayes said the following “You’ll find that nothing that comes easy is worth a dime.  As a matter of fact, I never saw a football layer make a tackle with a smile on his face. Never.”

Go well KHS 2018 Matrics may God bless and keep you.  We wish you well in your finals and hope you will stay in touch with us.

I would like to conclude with the following words from Abraham Lincoln: “Whatever you are, be a good one!”  Thank you