May is normally a wonderfully tranquil month in the Drakensberg. The gardens are filled with the sounds of sunbirds and sugarbirds and the aloes are in full bloom. It is truly a magnificent time! It would be great to sip tea on the grass and take in the beauty but there is much-to- do on the fundraising calendar! We hosted our annual Royal Drak MTB & Trail Run in April and then our Big5Hike in May. Both events were incredibly successful and they help in keeping our precious school operational. We thank every sponsor, every helper and every supporter. Read more below:
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N3TC Royal Drak MTB & Trail Run – Megan Bedingham
During the month of April we hosted this wonderful event in our valley. Three MTB options and two Trail Running races. There was fabulous participation and I took on the challenge of running the 20km Trail Run. I run occasionally and rely heavily on my “built-in” fitness because I climb a small hill every day to get to my house but I really do battle to do things consistently! So, our training programme began well but sort-of-petered-out at the very end. The day arrived and as we headed out the marshal decided to give us a little warm-up loop! So, 5kms later we were back at the beginning. Since my longest run had been 11kms I wasn’t really sure I’d make it to the end! Well, the trails were truly magnificent, the company fantastic and the incredibly thing is that the body is much stronger than we think! Particularly if we allow the mind to knuckle-down, we can get much done! Loretta & Chris hosted the event at All Out Adventures and it was, as always, brilliant. Great organisation, a great vibe and in a truly great space. We are so grateful to everyone that gets involved to make these events a success and especially to the long-standing supporters that come out time and time again!
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The Big 5 Hike – Kevin Mackenzie
The Big5Hike took place in May and is our largest fundraiser of the year. The weekend has become the highlight for many. Starting on Friday our teachers welcomed all the walkers at The Cavern for Registration. The Saturday started early and the first batch of walkers left in the misty darkness at 6:30am. The teachers, together with the Cavern team, helped carry lunch all the way up to Cannibal Cavern to supply all the hungry hikers with freshly-made, delicious Wimpy burgers supplied by Wimpy Harrismith. The lunch was warm and the champagne cold which was welcomed by the weary participants. With lunch over, the final stretch of the walk takes place across Surprise Ridge. The muscles are generally tight but bellies are full. With the final peak of Camels Hump conquered, the walkers return to the Cavern via a very steep downhill which one hopes the legs will survive.
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Our Grade 5 pupils were waiting for the walkers to cross the finish line. Our pupils welcomed them in, with a small token of our appreciation, in the form of a handmade keyring. Later in the evening, after a wonderful warm shower, the speeches and special thank you’s were delivered. The pupils, with a few tears and blisters, had made packs of coasters for the major sponsors and contributors. The grade 4 and 5 learners spent hours learning to sand and how to oil and then varnish in order to be able to make them beautiful. This event raised approximately a million rand which is vital to the continuation of the school.
Once again I would like to thank all the sponsors and walkers for their contribution to the longevity of our school.
Georgie Carter delivered an inspiring speech –
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Merit Day – Claire du Toit
For merit day, learners at school have to work hard throughout the term to earn their ten merits. At the end of each term the learners who earn these merits get rewarded for their hard work and good behaviour. Merits are individualised and awarded according to each child’s personal achievement. For merit day the pre-school decorated marie biscuits with icing and sweets at the Natural Pool. Once they had devoured their biscuits they played hide-and-seek and the teachers joined in!
The grade one class were treated to delicious milkshakes at The Cavern. Smarties and Astros were added to the milkshakes which made the milkshakes extra appetising. The grade two and three class enjoyed a picnic at the jungle gym at The Cavern. They ate hotdogs and played pass-the-parcel. Once the grade ones had finished their milkshakes they joined the grade two’s and three’s at the jungle gym where they played. The grade four’s and five’s had lunch at The Cavern for their merit reward. They were taught table etiquette and experienced a few new flavours such as olives. Loads of fun was had by all!
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Reach for a Dream – Sue Kraupner
On Friday 11 May 2018, we joined the rest of South Africa in a fund raising effort to give hope to those children suffering from life-threatening diseases. We explained to our learners that some children with terminal illnesses spend months in hospitals or clinics and are unable to lead a normal life. Through “Reach for a Dream” they are possibly given a chance to fulfil a dream such as to meet a celebrity, accompany a TV presenter or a fireman or even swim in the sea…
We encouraged our learners and teachers to be part of this noteworthy fundraiser by donating R5 or more, and to wear slippers and/or pyjamas to school. The turnout was wonderful and our school was filled with fluffy slippers, pyjamas and gowns! It was humbling to watch some of our little people putting their hard saved coins into our “Reach for a Dream” tin!
We encourage our children to follow their dreams through healthy living, hard work, determination and the ability to look forward and not to dwell on the past as this will contribute to making our children and this country a success! I was proud to witness one of our core values of kindness shining through by each child trying to help another. Royal Drakensberg Primary donated R425,10 to Reach for a Dream.
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Beanies and Jerseys – Melanie van Zyl
Last year an Old Age Home from Pinetown were kind enough to spend many hours knitting the most beautiful jerseys and beanies for the learners in our school. The box filled with colourful, warm garments was kept safely until the icy winter came.
The jerseys and beanies were handed out to learners who are in need of warmer things. Learners were incredibly excited to try on their beautiful new jerseys and beanies for those freezing mornings in the berg. We are incredibly grateful to the sweet ladies who took the time and effort to put together gorgeous colours with stunning little buttons. Learners come to school proudly wearing their cozy new attire.
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Our Challenges Shared – Megan Bedingham
Recently we were invited to present to a corporate for funding for Royal Drakensberg Primary and we are very pleased to have been awarded some assistance. What the exercise did make us do was to calculate carefully what our actual spend per child is. For an independent school, with no government funding, we believe R26 000 per child is a reasonable amount given that each child is transported to school, they receive a bowl of porridge on arrival, wonderful teaching and all within a nurturing environment. We have always worked with determination and just had faith that we’d cover our expenses and fortunately this has always been the case but it is important to reflect more carefully and it has given us good insight into our needs.
Having completed the exercise we have identified 3 challenges. Our first is that our parents cannot afford to pay the full fees of R1500 per month over 10 months, the second is that our expenses are greater than the fees we get in. And, thirdly, we do need to continue striving for long-term financial sustainability.
Our Big5Hike has helped us begin a savings annuity for the future but should anyone like to contribute on a monthly basis towards the top-up costs or towards a child, we’d be most grateful. We remain committed to making a real difference in the lives of the children and we are so pleased to have many of you with us on this journey.
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A Final Word
We are new members of the Independent Schools’ Association of South Africa (ISASA) and have been featured in their Winter Magazine.
The Winter 2018 edition of Independent Education magazine available online at the following link:
Our best wishes to you all over the holidays. Keep warm and thank you for the continued interest and support!
Megan & Loretta