In what seemed like the speed of light, the year moved to an end with the two separate prize givings held for our Grades 8s & 9s and our Grades 10s & 11s.
This occasion is one of Wynberg's premier academic events.To accommodate the numbers of parents and girls in our hall, we need to have two events: the Grade 8 & 9 ceremony beginning at 9:30 followed by the Grades 10 & 11 event at 12:00. On both occasions the hall was filled with excitement and pride as educators and parents celebrated the achievements of our learners in 2019. We congratulate all of those who excelled in their academic, culture, service or sport and consequently received their well-deserved awards.
The audience were welcomed by Shirley Harding, who spoke briefly about change. Using the time to talk about some of the changes that she has seen in her 21-year tenure as principal of the school, she also took the opportunity to remind us of the opportunities that change frequently brings. Graciously, generously, she saluted the staff, the governing body, the parents and particularly the learners of Wynberg whom she has felt privileged and grateful to learn from and lead.
As the prize giving is a occasion in which achievement is celebrated, our guest speaker in the morning was Tracey-Leigh Gaag (née Genricks) - who, after an inspiring introduction by Melissa McCarthy spoke of how her passion for the provision of food developed, and the journey that she has been on in establishing the very successful restaurant, Four and Twenty. It was clear from what she said that courage, resilience and hard work have been important values in that journey. But she reminded us of the value of friendship, and the importance of the core values of respect, kindness and being trustworthy. As is customary, there was a musical item performed between the presenting of the prizes and the address of the guest speaker. Drew Dickson-Hall delighted all with her performance of "Once Upon a Dream". This was followed by the awarding of Academic Certificates and special awards.
In the Grade 10 &11 ceremony, our guest speaker was Lauren Gildenhuys – a past pupil of Wynberg, a top achiever when she was at school, and who has continued to be so in field of study at UCT. Lauren talked to us about achievement, lessons learnt and lessons she has needed to unlearn. As one who has been an astonishing top achiever in her life, she cautioned against defining one's self-worth in terms of this, and suggested that values such as kindness, patience and being a good friend are of greater value. She talked of vital lessons she had learnt at Wynberg such as developing an expectation of equality which we should never ever relinquish and a thirst for learning, and using that for the benefit of others.
A flute performance of I Clarke's "Hypnosis" by Amber Abrahams received a resounding applause. She was accompanied by Brigitte Franke on the piano. Once again it was after this musical interlude, that the distribution of the prizes took place. Special mention must be made of one of the special awards: the Honours Plate - which is awarded to "A pupil who, by action, word or deed, has upheld the school motto "Honour Before Honours". This year, it was awarded to Faith April. It was clear from the tears of joy, that many of the recipients were quite overwhelmed.
In a final vote of thanks, Nicky Stock, Chair of the Governing Body, presented a gift to Shirley on behalf of the alumnae and parent body.
After two very inspiring and successful ceremonies, it is hoped that our learners will find in the words spoken, and the experiences lived, clear points from which to chart their course.