How wonderful to carve out a couple of hours from our very busy lives for some very convivial catch-ups and canapés! So many years, so many extraordinary women, and so many wonderful stories there were to hear.
Welcomed by the rousing sounds of our Grade 11 and 10 Marimba Performance Bands led by the inimitable Kiara Ramklass, past pupils, former staff members and current staff members streamed into the school on the early evening of 11 September. While this is an annual event during our Founders' Week Celebrations, this year is particularly significant, because it marks the last with Shirley Harding as principal.
Tammy Duggan our Marketing Officer (herself a past pupil), led teams who worked tirelessly to create a beautiful and welcoming space which honoured the school, Shirley and the lives of those who have moved through these corridors. While the decor and imagery is typically determined by the decades associated with the year, and those groups 2009, '99, '89 through to '59 make a particular effort to be there, it was so very good to see a rich representation of women from across the years.
Some way into the evening, Deidre Schultz, Chair of the Wynberg Alumnae welcomed our guests, Hilary Mills paid tribute to Shirley Harding, and Shirley was invited to speak briefly about her twenty years as principal. As is the case with any long term relationship, neither emerges without change. This school is one to which Shirley has given her life. And just as she has led Wynberg through significant changes, so, too, she alluded to the changes the school had brought about in her.
This year, not surprisingly, the scheduled two hours were insufficient for all the catching up to be over, and conversations were in full flight long after the fact. But there was a rich satisfaction that it was an evening filled with so much love, curiousity, kindness and laughter. Underpinning it all, however, was a very deep understanding and appreciation of the enormous legacy this remarkable leader is leaving.