Sarah refects on an extraordinarily fulfilling term as Head of Kirsten Hourse
Our 2020 term of leadership, along with the school year began on the most positive note: Grade 8 orientation and the annual Pool Party! What better way to welcome the new year – the new decade - than the introduction of Wynberg’s latest members in Grade 8, as well as our new principal, Ms Wallace. My Grade 8 Orientation was a moment that I will truly cherish forever, despite its occurring 5 years ago. I’m certain that most matriculants can recall the adrenaline felt when deciding what to wear, mingling with their peers and of course, discovering their new ‘home away from home’ amidst the crowd. Kirsten house has been my safe space throughout my years at Wynberg, and I wish only the same for all of my peers, especially the Grade Eights. The Student Council and Matric Leaders managed to organize an incredible event that embodied the Wynberg ethos and embraced our newest additions to the family. Of course, one of the most anticipated events of orientation is the reveal of one’s house. For the ‘big reveal’ this year, the leaders showered the grade 8 learners in the powder paint of their house colour. Kirsten learners were decorated with a beautiful black pigment. Kirsten’s matric leaders created fun-filled maps that led each tutor group to their relevant classroom, as one of their first adventures in the school grounds and classrooms.
A vital event that occurred during the week of orientation was that of the Service Pillar’s sandwich-making challenge – in which the Grade 8 learners, with some contribution from the rest of their house, were tasked with making as many sandwiches as they could to be donated to Capricorn Primary School. The spirit and enthusiasm of the Kirsten leaders was evident and much team work and strategic thinking occurred in order to maximize their time and deliver what they could to those in need.
Lights! Camera! Action! The 13 March saw the masses arrive in the Aileen Currie Hall to participate in or support Kirsten and Constantia’s ‘Lip Sync Battle’ Challenge. Each house selected a group of 6 performers who performed a song, or songs, of their choice in front of an epic trio of judges (Ms van Wyk, Ms Paulse and Mr Myburgh) – with only four minutes to do so! The passion and enthusiasm of participants and supporter were tangible, with much cheering and many sing-alongs from the crowd. Popular choices were Justin Bieber, Beyoncé, One Direction, Bruno Mars and some South African flavours of Youngsta CPT and Biggy for these displays of talent. Learners were ranked on whether or not the words of the song were actually mouthed, their creativity, choreography as well as their overall performance! It is safe to say that none disappointed. The support was incredible and invigorating.
One of the main goals of the Kirsten Leaders of 2020 was to create an inclusive space for all learners to find a sense of comfort and belonging in the hustle and bustle of high school, as well as creating a space where learners feel encouraged to express dissatisfaction and promote necessary change. One’s house is closely linked to one’s family, with the structures in place designed to uplift, encourage and keep an eye on all learners involved. In the words of Nomvelo Majola in Grade 11, “Participating in House events has become something that I have grown to love. I originally struggled to find comfort in my tutor group and in Kirsten, but I can now say that things have really improved and I’m looking forward to Kirsten’s future as a house.” I truly believe that it is the little things that can make all the difference – reminders from your Matric leader about those reply slips (and thus avoiding an unnecessary demerit), engaging with one’s peers at sandwich making on a Thursday morning (where the Music in Room 7 can definitely be heard) or interacting with someone in your grade who hasn’t seemed herself. One of our newest members, Hanan Salasa in Grade 8, expressed her thoughts when asked about her feelings towards her house and tutor group: “Tutor is my favorite way to start off my morning. I get to speak to some friends, relax and get ready for the day. I love my tutor teacher, because all the bright colors he wears just make me laugh in the morning. The people in my tutor are really nice as well as helpful. It's just so much fun! My favourite aspect is that the Matrics are always looking out for us like older sisters which is nice because I've never had siblings so it's nice to feel that I do. We all look out for each other.” And her appreciation for her house, “I honestly love Kirsten because all the people are so kind and generous. We aren't always the winning house, but we all still love each other and our house. We work together and we end up having lots of fun. I wouldn't trade it for any other house.”
We are deeply, honestly and truly eager for the remainder of the year. I can confidently say that Kirsten and our learners will be supported and encouraged to reach new heights (with the power of our trusty mascot, Kung Fu Panda, guiding us on the unchartered journey.) Kirsten is one of the things I will miss most about my journey at Wynberg, forming an incredibly big part of my heart. The learners, staff and attitudes of all have truly made this an exhilarating experience that I did not expect.
A quote that I chose to lead with was the following: “Everything you do right now ripples outward and affects everyone. Your posture can shine your heart or transmit anxiety. Your breath can radiate love or muddy the room in depression. Your glance can awaken joy. Your words can inspire freedom. Your every act can open hearts and minds”.
The last six months of leadership are approaching and I'm sure with even brighter and better prospects.
Head of Kirsten