Our Head of the Academic Pillar, Kaley Appleton, reflects on the events that have taken place this term. It makes impressive reading.

Term 2 was an exceptionally busy term for the academic pillar. We hosted the Athena Games and CareerConnect, then girls tried (and failed) to beat the teachers in a general knowledge quiz and participated in a number of olympiads and competitions. And, of course, we completed our mid-year exams.

The academic committee was busy right from the start, finalising plans for the annual Athena Games which took place on 9 April. The event, organised in conjunction with the committee from Wynberg Boys’ High School, required participants to complete a series of brain-challenging tasks. All of the teams worked hard, but it was a grade 12 team consisting of Nicola van Tellingen and Kristina Burge (WGHS), and their partners Jordan Isaacs and Matthew Williams (WBHS), who took first place. The Athena Games provided some good-natured competition and was thoroughly enjoyed by organisers and competitors alike.

On 24 April, more than 100 current and former Wynberg girls gathered in the hall for CareerConnect 2019. This is an opportunity for learners to chat with past pupils and ask questions about their chosen profession. It was an incredibly interesting and informative evening which gave girls the chance to get an “insider’s view” on a variety of possible career options.

The following evening, a number of our girls went to UCT for the annual UCT Mathematics Competition. Girls who are more mathematically inclined competed as individuals, while those simply looking for a bit of maths-related fun took part in pairs. All the girls who attended learnt something, having taken mathematics out of the classroom and into an exciting environment where students from across the province could take on (and hopefully enjoy) a different challenge.

Barely a week later, a crowd of spectators gathered in the hall to watch six learners’ teams take on two teachers’ teams in a general knowledge quiz. Everyone participating was determined to settle - finally -the debate about whether or not the students were smarter than the teachers. Topics ranged from music to logic puzzles, with a few challenges thrown in to keep things interesting. The event was thoroughly enjoyed by all of those involved - particularly the teachers, who took both first and second place, leaving no questions about who is smarter.

The day after that, three Physical Sciences students - Mariné Bosch, Mu’minah Salie (both in Grade 12) and Mikaela Meyer (Grade 11) - travelled to Canal Walk to compete in the annual SAICE Schools' Model Bridge Building Competition. The girls had a limited amount of time to build a bridge, with the materials provided, which had to comply with various rules and parameters. Once the time is up and the glue has dried, the judges have a look at the bridges and test their weight-bearing capacity. Bridges are scored on aesthetics, mass, and weight held. We are very proud of our girls, who placed 17th out of 33 schools and whose bridge was able to hold a weight of 40kg before breaking.

Just two days later, it was the academic pillar’s assembly. The Head of Academics, Kaley Appleton, gave a short speech encouraging girls to work hard, but also to remember to look after themselves during the exam period and not allow their marks to define their worth. After this, the committee presented an entertaining skit showcasing what girls should not do during exams and giving the girls another chance to laugh before the seriousness of exams set in.

A number of our girls took part in multiple olympiads throughout the term, including the World Knowledge Olympiad, the ATKV Senior Afrikaanse Olimpiade, the Proverto National Accounting Olympiad and round two of the South African Maths Olympiad. While we have not yet received these results, we did receive the results of the De Beers English Olympiad which was written last term. We are incredibly proud of the ten Wynberg Girls who took part - all of whom received a bronze certificate or higher - but special mention must be given to the two candidates who received gold certificates, Mariné Bosch and Jasmine Kennedy.

After all of these exciting events and wonderful achievements, our girls had to put their noses to the grindstone and focus on the exams. Those taxing few weeks are now behind us, and it is time for a well-deserved break!