Headmaster’s News Letter – 11 July 2014

Good news is such a good elixir – it keeps us young and gives our aspirations direction. Let us join in celebrating the outstanding achievement of one of our own. Professor Lyn Wadley is very much a part of the Waterberg Academy community and the picture below, taken at a gala dinner on 3 July, tells quite a story.

As a seat of learning in its own right, filled with aspirant life-long learners, some of whom will undoubtedly go on to achieve great things, it is incumbent on the Academy to comment on academic achievement by the wife of our Board Chairman.

As many of you know, Lyn is Associate Professor of Archaeology in the School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies at Wits University. Lyn was awarded with the TW Kambule NRF-NSTF BHP Billiton Award for an outstanding contribution to science, engineering and technology through research and its outputs over the last five to 10 years. We are very proud of you, Lyn, and totally humbled by your willingness to spend time at the School assisting us in such relatively “trivial” matters as tree identification. There is a message in here for our learners – do you guys get it?

Prof Wadley Award - July 2014Professor Lyn Wadley flanked by Thandi Mgwebi on the left and Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandoor on the right.

Another Outstanding Achievement

Ivania de Wet was accompanied by her mother, Joice, to New York where she participated in a drama workshop. Ivania did so well, placing among the top 5, that she has been offered 2 short term scholarships to New York Film Academy and The Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, New York. During 2015 Ivania will be participating in an internship for one month at each institution. Well done Ivania!Ivania De Wet - June 2014

Rhino Capture and Horn Poisoning

During the June/July holiday some of our learners went to Ant’s Nest with Mr Mosime to observe the capture of 2 baby rhinos and the poisoning of their horns to deter poachers. This experience was exciting, informative, and will live in their memories forever.

This is the second visit by the School to Ant’s Nest in a very short time and we are VERY grateful to Ant and Tessa Baber for their interest in the Academy and its learners.

Rhino Horn Poisoning - June 2014Rebecca Banda, Mr Mosime, Peter Calcott, Lucy Calcott and Dinneck Masumba pose in front of a sleeping baby rhino as the team does its work.

Rhino Horn Poisoning Mr Mosime - June 2014Mr Mosime restrains the mother as the vet does the necessary. Mrs Swales was behind the camera.

Week One of Term Two

School opened on Monday amidst zero fanfare and even less drama. Amazingly, after only very few minutes it was all back to normal and the work simply presented itself for our collective attention. “Holidays are so overrated” – I think that quote goes to the inimitable Mr Barger.

Mrs Mills is back and hard at work. She mentioned being tired and a little sore, but added that she was eager to plunge into some Shakespeare, poetry and the like. During my brief time looking after her classes I was struck by one particular thing – our English learners get amazing feedback from their teacher. Well done, Mrs Mills! The suggestion was made to her to pass on something of a good vintage to Mr Barger for all his hard work in setting the English examination papers, a lot of which were entirely his own handiwork. They were very interesting papers and I am sure all the learners really enjoyed writing them!

IQAA Evaluation

There are just two weeks to the visit by our two IQAA mentors. They will be on campus on 23 and 24 July and we are ready for them. Mrs Ciska Leonard is the leader of the Internal Evaluation Team and she and the team are doing an outstanding job.

Special thanks to Mrs Leonard, Mrs Van Dyk, Mrs Raubenheimer, Miss Lavery and Mrs Van Niekerk. The internal evaluation has demanded hours and hours of their time and they have sacrificed this on behalf of all of us. The end result of this process and all the hard work will give us much insight into the way forward for the Academy.

Adventure Club

The Adventure Club will be going to Lindani on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 July. This will take the form of a sleep-over in a Lindani lodge. Lindani have very kindly offered the lodge to us at R150 pp p.n. if we bring our own linen and towels. A sleeping bag and towel will therefore be necessary. We will charge an additional R30.00 to cover the supper on Friday and breakfast the next morning, giving the adventurers a stay at a top Waterberg destination for a fraction of the regular price. Thank you, Sam and Peggy van Coller!

Activities will include the following: Mountain biking for those who bring bikes; a night hike; a hike on Saturday morning (with binoculars for those who would like to learn about birds and birding); and fly fishing/casting in the Melck Rivier. Adventurers will be home for lunch on Saturday. A letter with more detail was handed to all interested learners earlier today.

Tail Draggers

Next Saturday our boarders will be going to the Tail Draggers Fly-in in Modimolle as their fortnightly outing. We believe that this is quite an interesting event and would suggest as many people as possible avail themselves of this opportunity to observe and possibly even fly in some light aircraft. One of our families is deeply immersed in this activity, with one son adamant that he is going to be a pilot when he is big, which is a laudable ambition.

Archery

NASP has now made the cut for official Springbok colours. Being an individual, scores based sport, the criteria for Provincial and National colours have been set on the shooter’s average score out of 300. I stand to be corrected, but something like 280 will qualify for Provincial representation and 290 for National representation.

Clearly, one afternoon per week is never going to get an aspirant archer to those levels of performance. Furthermore, unless the learner buys an expensive bow and other equipment, practicing at home is impossible. To assist learners who might wish to make the sacrifices necessary to aspire to representative honours, Mrs Carlton, Mr Bridger and others of our archery coaches have made themselves available on Friday afternoons. A letter to this effect has just gone out.

Lindani MTB Classic

The pressure is on for our mountain bikers to get fit for the Lindani MTB Classic on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 August. There are distances to suit all ages, from 10 km to 2 day stage races.

The Waterberg Academy PTA will once again be doing the catering at this 2-day event. They will be requiring much assistance. Please talk with Natalie Berry if you can help with the catering on one of the two days on that weekend. Without assistance, this fund raising opportunity would simply be impossible.

Lindani Start - Ben and Josh Baber - 2013Benjamin Baber leads his brother, Joshua and dad, Dave, at the start of the 30 km race at Lindani last year.

To assist with a training regime, there will be mountain biking every Wednesday of term three immediately after School. We will ride the Welgevonden East Gate road. Obviously, learners who have extra lessons or cultural activities on Wednesdays may NOT join in with this training and will have to establish their own routines.

Eisteddfod

The Waterberg Academy Eisteddfod has become a firm favourite with the learners and very well known in the area with participation from other schools and even from non-school organizations this year. I believe the dance section has been expanded to include ballet so that this beautiful activity can also be showcased.

Eisteddfod details have been circulated and I and every manager and teacher in the School encourage learners to get involved and draw maximum benefit from this activity. You have our support as you co-ordinate and sweat blood on this year’s Eisteddfod, Mr Barger.

Mark Godfrey