It’s the cold term. The days get shorter and the sunshine is just a warm glow. We have even had a little snow on the highest peaks which resulted in a proper cold snap. Thankfully there is much energy and enthusiasm and this warms us up from the inside! The children and the teachers have been so productive! Their hard work and their commitment has resulted in much being achieved, despite the frosty mornings, and today we share an update of a few key happenings from the cold, dark term!
The Big5Hike 2021 – Britt Houghting
Every year, people work really hard to raise money and then gather at the Cavern Resort to hike the peaks that surround both the Cavern and the Royal Drakensberg Primary School to raise money for our school. After the unfortunate decision to cancel last year’s hike, this year was a wonderful and energetic event with some hikers returning and others entering for their first adventure in the mountains. The hikers followed the trails in the mountains, starting in the misty drizzle and ending in the lovely afternoon sun. The peaks that they completed were Hlolela, Battleship, Sugarloaf, Cold Hill, and Camel’s Hump, a tough 18km hike navigating the ups and downs of the mountain trails. This year brought an addition of a 6th peak, Broome Hill to add to the excitement and challenge of this wonderful event.
The RDPS staff eagerly assisted with the lunch station in the Cannibal Cavern cheering on the hikers as they arrived. Champagne and Wimpy burgers made for a delicious break in the echoing cavern. It was not only the staff from the school that assisted with the event. The smartly-dressed and well-mannered Grade 3 learners met each and every hiker at the end of the hike. They congratulated each person and presented them with a gift of a handmade clay Eland. This gift included special QR code messages from all the learners at the school congratulating and thanking the hikers for all they do for us. It was wonderful to see these learners interact with the hikers showing confidence and sharing their excitement with those around them.
On the Sunday morning, the hikers ambled down to the school to see for themselves the impact of their fundraising. It was a lovely morning with tours around the school filled with exciting conversation about the Big-5 in 2022. We are looking forward to the next hike as we continue to walk for education.
Snoozing at School – Sine Ngobese
On Thursday 27 May, our learners got to come to school in their slippers and pyjamas for Slipper Day; the excitement was palpable as the children got off the taxis looking out to see all their friends and teachers in their pyjamas! It was a cool winter morning so we all came dressed in warm and fluffy pyjamas and gowns with all their favourite characters portrayed. The slippers added much excitement as we had some lovely characters such as bunnies and puppies!
This was so we could raise money to donate to “Reach for a Dream” so that children suffering from life threatening diseases, who are less fortunate than us, and have spent months in hospital can have at least one of their dreams come true… to be something they liked for a day like a teacher, painter or even visit the zoo.
Our learners realised how big a difference a small gesture can make in another person’s life and that one can always be a helping hand to other people and gained an understanding into how lucky we are to have what we have and get to go to such a great school in the amazing Drakensberg Valley.
This was such a fun way to begin our midterm break!
Winter Wonderland Inter-house Soccer – Cait Gordon
A morning dedicated to our special little people to showcase their soccer skills, team spirit and love for the game of soccer as the Bushbucks took on the Duikers in our inter-house soccer tournament. The children arrived rearing to go and ready to take on the fun morning ahead despite the chilly weather. The rivalry began as we all put on our red and yellow shirts before getting in our houses to team talk, sing some war cries and show team spirit.
The day began with our littlest stars, the grade RR and RRR having their turn to shoot at the goal against a friend from the opposite team with the older children cheering them on from the sidelines. The grade R’s then took to the field and gave it their all making their respective teams proud. We then began the 3 primary school games with lots of cheering and support from the sidelines encouraging all the players. It was a fun day enjoyed by each and every child which could be seen by the huge smiles on all their faces. The camaraderie was extraordinary and it was so wonderful to see the children having so much fun regardless of the final outcome which was a win for our yellow team, the mighty mighty Duikers!
We ended off this exciting day with a cup of hot chocolate and biscuits before we all gathered for prize giving, where the trophies were handed out for first and second place as well as the player of the day. The soccer boots will definitely not be put on the shelf and will be on the feet of many children for the next 3 weeks of holiday as we have found some new fans and lovers of the game on this special occasion to mark the last day of term 2!
Teacher Corner with Mqapheli Hlatswayo
Mqapheli hails from the Langkloof community and is at RDPS for 2021 as an intern. This is made possible thanks to the support of the N3TC.
1. What is your favourite day of the week? Why?
Friday, because I feel that for most people it is the last working day of the week. It is also a day to reflect on the past week and celebrate the achievements of the week. It is also a chance to reconnect with family and friends.
2. If you could go back in time, where would you go and why?
I would go back to when I was in High School because knowing what I know now with the life experience and mistakes I have made would allow me to change the bad habits that I formed helping me in my adult life.
3. What is your favourite number?
4. What was your best memory of being at school?
When I became top student in grade 8 and 9 achieving top marks in my favourite subject, Mathematics. As well as achieving 100% for my grade 8 English exam.
5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I would like to have achieved one of my other career goals of either becoming a soccer coach or a career in any aspects of the music industry.
6. What has been your most inspiring moment as a teacher in the classroom?
It has been really great to see learners having fun while learning especially when they are so busy having fun that they do not realise in the moment they are really learning something great.
7. If you could have a super power, what would it be and why?
I would have the super power of time travel and would travel to life after my death to see the impact that I have had on people.
8. What is your favourite quote?
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us“
9. Who do you consider to be your role model?
I want to inspire people to be the best they can be so it would be Steve Mbuyi Kompela. A professional soccer player who became a teacher and later a TV presenter and motivational speaker who has had a great impact on many lives in his career.
10. What would be your dream holiday?
A sightseeing trip through Egypt.
A Final Word
In this last term we have found so much to be grateful for – firstly, to have been able to host our annual Big5Hike in May. It was an incredible success, surpassing our expectations and raising in excess of R1m for our school. The hikers, the sponsors, the corporates and all the helpers came together and we were able to make a huge contribution to the children. It remains a very special day and this year, perhaps after a hard lock-down, there was much appreciation. Appreciation for the mountains and the challenge, appreciation for all that made it possible and an appreciation for what it means for the future of our school and ultimately our sustainability.
Secondly we have been able to keep our doors open and to welcome the children into this nurturing space. It has been so good for them to have a mission each day and to go home having achieved much. This pandemic and the uncertainties surrounding it make us all rather unsettled but in being able to keep the day-to-day activities going, this solid daily constant, helps grow the children and it helps make them feel secure.
We trust that you all remain safe. Take care. And, thank you for your support always.
Our best wishes,
Megan & Loretta