Dear Parents and Guardians
As the Lent Term draws to a close, I find it remarkable that the first quarter of the year has passed so rapidly. We have had a very busy start to the academic year, and I know that both pupils and
teachers are looking forward to a well-deserved breather.
We welcomed several new staff members at the start of the term. They have settled into the school routine well and already regard themselves as members of our school family. Miss Khumalo is teaching isiZulu in the Senior School, and we have come to know her as a dedicated teacher who works diligently in the interests of her pupils. Miss Dladla is also a new member of the isiZulu department and is responsible for the junior pupils. Her bubbly personality and enthusiastic approach have engendered great excitement in the ranks of the Pre-School and Junior Prep pupils. In the Senior School we have also welcomed Mrs Schommarz, who has taken on the responsibility of the junior General Science post and Miss Lubbe, who teaches senior Accounting. All four of our new teachers have had experience in independent education, and this bodes well for our ever-improving academic standards. I know that I speak on behalf of the entire school community in extending a warm word of welcome to our newest members.
In other staff-related matters, I am pleased to announce that Coach Palmer has been promoted to the position of Head of Sport at a neighbouring school. He will assume duty on 1st May and we say farewell to him at the end of this term. We wish Coach Palmer all the best for the new challenge ahead. We have appointed Mr Olebogang Matsepe from Hatfield Christian School in Pretoria in his place. Mr Matsepe, who matriculated from the University of Pretoria’s Sports School, is a qualified teacher and coach. He played football at national Under 17 level and represented his province at cricket. He is also a skilled athletics coach. Mr Matsepe will join our staff on 1st May.
Mr Brugman (Prep Mathematics) will tie the knot during the holidays. We wish him well as he prepares for the upcoming nuptials and trust that he and his wife will enjoy a long and happy
marriage. In a similar vein, we wish both Mr Pretorius (Sports Department) and Mr Mynhardt (Prep Afrikaans) well as they prepare for the arrival of new babies next term. Both their spouses are well, and we look forward to the new additions to our school family. I am also pleased to report that I became a grandfather once again earlier this month with the arrival of a new granddaughter,
Mila, who was born to my son and his wife.
Our pupils were extremely active on the sports field and in the area of cultural activities. The Senior School participated in swimming, athletics and tennis this term. Our aquatics team competed in several inter-school galas, and this culminated in a commendable performance at the Prestige Gala where the swimmers did us proud. On the athletics track our pupils produced superb performances. Seven of our athletes were selected for the inter-Germiston team, but it was Neo Modibe who excelled above the rest. Neo was selected to attend the Provincial Championships where he was placed in the sprint event and qualified to attend nationals. Congratulations, Neo! The school community is proud of you.
Six of our Senior School pupils trained for and participated in the Midmar Mile. Open water swimming is becoming increasingly popular and this has been encouraged by the success achieved by
the swimmers at Midmar. We aim to make this event a permanent fixture on our calendar.
In the Prep School the focus was on swimming and cricket. The swimmers held their own in the various inter-school galas and it is clear that the swimming coaching is paying off. On the cricket field, all our teams won most of their matches and there is growing enthusiasm at the level of mini-cricket. Two of our boys were selected for their respective area teams and a number of cricketers now participate in an extra-mural weekend cricket league. The interest in and passion for cricket is heartening.
On the cultural side, our Senior School pupils have successfully participated in the inter-school public speaking competition and the results were pleasing. Mr Venter and Mrs Kirk are working hard to ensure that our marimba ensembles perform at the highest level and that music is flourishing throughout the school. The Senior school marimba ensemble participated in the Inter-Catholic competition held recently and placed first among 11 participating schools. An excellent achievement indeed.
We have occupied the STEAM Centre and the facility is now in full use. The snag list has been attended to and the pupils and staff are enjoying the experience of teaching and learning in such a
state-of-the-art facility. Our staff have completed their training in the coding and robotics programme and the implementation phase for pupils will commence at the start of the Trinity Term.
The new facility will play an integral role in the implementation process.
Many parents completed an opinion survey earlier this term in which they expressed their views on a number of matters related to the school. I want to thank you all for your input. Similar surveys were completed by teachers, pupils and Board members. The purpose of this exercise was to provide feedback to the school which will in turn assist us with looking at areas where we can improve and celebrating areas where we are doing well. The feedback provided to the school forms part of an evaluation and accreditation process conducted by the Office of Independent Schools Evaluations South Africa (OISESA) and takes place every 6 years. The purpose is to encourage school improvement and to provide assurance to parents that high ethical standards are being maintained at St Catherine’s.
The Senior school celebrated excellent matric results at the end of last year. The specifics were announced in the press, placed on social media and marketed at the school’s entrance. Allow me,
once more, to congratulate our Valedictorian, Monkeng Tladie on achieving 7 distinctions and all our other top achievers on splendid results. The fact that all except one of our matriculants qualified to attend university is most heartening.
Our tuck shop manager, Mrs Alho, has published a collection of short stories based on African themes. She will be undertaking a book signing at our Parents’ Evening for those who wish to
purchase her book. If you are interested in getting a copy, but miss the opportunity at the signing event, please contact her directly for further details.
The Prep School will be attending the Camp Discovery soccer festival over the second weekend of the holidays. The pupils always enjoy this exciting event and return to school having learnt a great deal. I wish to thank Mr Wild and his team of coaches for giving up part of their holiday to be with the pupils. I know that they believe this to be a wonderful opportunity for our youngsters to grow.
School will close at 12 noon on Wednesday 5th April and re-open for the Trinity Term on Tuesday 2nd May. We have decided to close on Wednesday to give families the opportunity to travel prior to the Easter weekend. We trust that this will be helpful. Please note that Reception will be open between 8am and 12 noon on Thursday 6th April to deal with any matters or queries. Thereafter the offices will be closed until 2nd May when we return to school. The Accounts Department will operate throughout the holiday. Mrs Morley can be contacted via telephone or e-mail and Mrs Wilson by email.
As we move through Holy Week and prepare to celebrate Easter with all its rich meaning and message of hope, it remains for me to wish the school family a blessed Easter and a peaceful holiday.
I trust that you will enjoy the time spent with family and loved ones and that pupils will return to school well-rested and ready to tackle the challenges of the winter term.
Mr D.I. Maritz