As the orchestra played on, parents took their seats quietly and expectantly. Listening to highlights from Frozen, Despacito, Pearl Harbor and Guardians of the Galaxy, they waited to celebrate these moments of achievement with their daughters.
The occasion was the hosting of Wynberg's premier academic events - our annual prize giving ceremonies.
To accommodate the numbers of parents and girls in our hall, we need to have two events: the Grade 8 & 9 ceremony in the morning, and the Grades 10 & 11 in the evening. On both occasions the hall was filled with excitement and pride as educators and parents celebrated the achievements of our learners in 2018. 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 Mrs Harding, who sketched briefly the achievements of the year. Reminding us of our core values (Integrity, Inclusivity, Courage, Accountability, Respect and Empathy) and mission statement adopted in 2017, she identified two core values in which particular progress had been made in 2018 - those of inclusivity and respect for the environment.
As the prize giving is a occasion in which achievement is celebrated, our guest speaker in the morning was Illse Davids – a past pupil of Wynberg, who achieved great things at school, in her field of study and as an Olympic sportswoman. This exceptional young woman was introduced by Ms S van Wyk. She commented that, many of the lessons needed for her success could be traced back to the opportunities offered and taken at Wynberg. 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 "Hero" - a particularly fitting song for a celebration of the valiant efforts of our Grade 8 and 9 prize winners.
In the evening our guest speaker was Rehana Odendaal. Rehana from a very young age has been committed to social justice and making South Africa a better space for all. She is currently completing her Masters at UCT, teaching at Stellenbosch University and plans to begin her PhD next year. Rehana talked about the importance of celebrating the achievements of young women, reminding us of how very important it is not only to do so when something is done, or when an award or certificate is given, but for the many achievements along the way - when significant courage was needed just to pick oneself up. Inspiring, kind and rooted as Rehana has always been, she too talked of the significant life lessons she learnt from her alma mater.
A violin performance of Czardas by V Monti and edited by R Czerwonky by Micaela Arries received a resounding applause. She was accompanied by Ms Simmonds on the piano. Once again it was after this musical interlude, that the distribution of the prizes took place. It was clear from the tears of joy, that many of the recipients were quite overwhelmed.
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.