Do you throw that old cereal box, margarine tub or jam jar into the rubbish bin? Don’t let one of our Eco-warriors see you!
Our precious Year 3s take their chosen responsibility of protecting Mother Earth very seriously indeed. Not only have they worked tirelessly on the recycling campaign, but they have also taken it upon themselves to ensure that the whole school understands the severity of the problem and the benefits that small gestures can have for everyone.
They took the time to address not only the foundation phase, but also – very bravely – the Primary and High school students during their assemblies. I have not heard that enthusiastic an applause from the High school in some time!
These young students, brim-full of energy, dedication and determination, are an example to us all. Choose one cause (there are so many to choose from), apply yourself rigorously and make small changes that will result in a big impact when repeated consistently. And that, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, is how you change the world. You, too, can make a difference with not too much effort.
Our recycling bin will be arriving on campus within the next week or two and we would like to extend an invitation to our whole community to contribute to the cause by adding your paper waste to our bin. Not only will you make a difference to our environment, but you will also contribute to the funds raised with every bin filled with paper.
Mrs Moyes has certainly earned every day of her maternity leave this term! With her last day dawning tomorrow, we wish her all the best as she and her family prepare to welcome a new little person into the fold. May their days be filled with joy and wonder as the family celebrate the miracle of life and growth. The Year 3 students will thus be welcoming Mrs Mary Farmer back after having met her earlier in the week. We know that Mrs Farmer will do a great job given her many years of experience and, together with the Year 3s, we are excited for the opportunities that a new teacher brings to the classroom.
Another new development at HIS is the appointment of a new High School Coordinator. Congratulations to Mrs Nicci Geyer on the appointment. We have no doubt that she will guide the High School efficiently and with compassion. Should you have any high school related queries, please feel free to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please remember tonight’s Elevate course for parents at 18h00, and the student workshops being held tomorrow at school. These have proven to be extremely valuable to both parents and students and we encourage to attend if possible. Please do let us know if your child will be attending online.
It has been wonderful welcoming more of our students back this week. I watched in wonder and joy as a group of teens ran around the field chasing each other laughing yesterday and was reminded that happiness is to be found in the little things – fresh air, friends and freedom. Walking home in the evening with the opportunity to greet passers-by, smell the jasmine heralding the coming of Spring and hearing birds acknowledging that this is so.
Wishing you all a weekend full of joyful little things.
Ms Cristina Sanchez Black
Our Year 6 class spent time learning about the British artist, Andy Goldsworth. He is a British artist known for his installations involving natural materials and the passage of time. Andy owes his love towards nature to his family, who introduced him to agriculture at a very tender age. Since then, he had the idea of creating sculptures using already existing elements of nature. He is a meticulous sculptor producing site-specific land art situated in natural and uban settings.
The Year 6 class took advantage of the beautiful sunny winter weather and we went outside to explore nature’s art. They looked at details, colour, patterns and freedom. Even the online students went on the Art walk with their class.Read More
We are thrilled to announce that our latest exam series has been one of our most successful to date after receiving our students’ results this week.
Our IGCSE students achieved the following:
An astounding 20 A* symbols,
14 A symbols,
7 B symbols, and
14 C symbols.
Equally pleasing are the A symbols achieved by two of our AS candidates, who wrote off the AS component of their subjects earlier than usual.
A hearty congratulations to all of our students (pictured above, as well as those who are online from home). We are so very proud of the hard work that these results represent and of the growth that you have all shown as students. I’d also like to congratulate our High School teachers who have guided these young people to the successful completion of and, indeed, excellence in their subjects.
Receiving exam results naturally leads one to ponder the nature of progress, development and growth, a topic that has been on my mind lately as we sand, chip and grumble our way through some DIY renovations at home. With each new discovery of a loose patch on the wall or yet another damp area, the challenge can seem overwhelming. And after a long weekend of finger-numbing and back-aching scraping amongst the swirls of fine dust that settles everywhere, it looks like you have achieved very little.
The fact is though, that as I lay my weary head on my pillow, a deep sense of accomplishment and satisfaction envelops me and I realise that good progress has been made; that in order to make progress or develop, one often needs to digress or take a few steps back to correct something; that in order to improve, one needs to be totally immersed in the task at hand. There is no other way.
This holds true for our students too. Those who aspire to grow and develop their potential, engage fully in their lessons, immerse themselves in their subjects when doing their homework and ensure that they have got to the very core of a topic in order to understand it fully. Just slapping on a coat of paint over a bad patch, or quickly rushing off a task to say that it has been completed achieves nothing.
It would seem to me that our Year 11 students in particular have learned this valuable life lesson and know how to approach their learning and development with intent and pride. They have taken ownership of their own growth. It’s a simple life truth really: what you put in, is what you will get out.
Of course, this philosophy can be taken further to include other aspects of life. How we approach the limited and restrictive life we are forced to lead now, determines what the future holds. Let’s put in patience, understanding and self-care; let’s be respectful of others’ well-being and perspectives; let’s not drop our guard.
Please take note that the second Elevate workshop will be held next Friday, 20 August, at school. Students who are still attending class online are encouraged to attend the workshop in person, however, it will be online should any of the participants be at home for any reason.
This term we are hoping to have some fun with our teens as the High School hosts a Cultural Bonanza. Please encourage your teens to participate. We know that our students are very talented and celebrating one another’s skills while having some fun is just the kind of event that we all need at the end of the term.
As the second half of August approaches and we enter the fifth week of the term, effectively having passed the mid-term mark, you are requested to fill in a google form once more, indicating whether you will be sending your child to school from the 16th or not. This will help us to plan and prepare the classes accordingly. Online classes will continue to be available for those who prefer to keep their children at home for now, however, we would like to suggest that it would be best to send Foundation Phase children to school as soon as possible. We also ask that you please ensure that your children understand the need to comply with the health and safety protocols that the school is required to maintain. Please take some time to speak to them about the need for social distancing and clean face masks that are worn correctly.
We look forward to welcoming more of our students back next week. Take care and stay safe. Wishing you all our families a good weekend.
Cristina Sanchez Black
What a wonderful week it has been having some of our students back on campus! It has been a week filled with the simple pleasures of eager, curious eyes, happy chatter, spontaneous laughter and active teaching. Despite the third wave, Helderberg International has not skipped a beat and our students are on track with their learning for the year. How very blessed we are! And how very blessed we are as teachers to serve our community. Having said that, we think of those in our community who have lost loved ones due to the pandemic. You are in hearts and thoughts.
Margaret Mead (1901 – 1978), the anthropologist, was once asked by a student what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student expected Mead to talk about fishhooks or clay pots or grinding stones.
Instead, Mead said that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a femur that had been broken but had healed. She explained that if an animal breaks its leg, it dies. It cannot run from danger, cannot get to a river to drink, nor can it hunt. It becomes prey. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal.
A broken femur that has healed is evidence that someone has taken the time to stay with the one who is injured, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety, and has tended the person through recovery. According to Mead, helping someone else through difficulty – serving others – is where civilization starts.
It gives me great pleasure to witness, every school day, myriad small acts of service within our civilized community. From the courteous year 4 boy who insists that I pass through the door first, to the jovial caretaker who elicits a smile from everyone he passes, we all contribute to the well-being of the HIS family. Sadly, a member of the family will be leaving us after more than 17 years of dedication and tireless service. Minkie, we thank you for your contribution to our school over so many years and wish you every happiness as you begin this new chapter of your life. We also say goodbye this week to Teacher Danni who has made an impact in such a short time with her cheerful spirit and willingness to help as she jets off to the USA to complete her studies. We have no doubt that she will make a great teacher. Go well, Danni – there are some very lucky children waiting to become your students!
Today happens to be International Friendship Day. Proclaimed by the UN in 2011, the idea is behind this celebration is that friendship between people, cultures and countries has the power to inspire peace and build bridges between communities – an idea that aligns perfectly with the IES vision. There is no better time to celebrate those close to us, and show gratitude and support for our peers, friends, family and staff. Wishing you all a happy Friday and a blessed weekend.
Ms Sanchez Black
In my last newsletter for the term I would like to refer to the photo above. The sun rises on a new day despite an intimidating bank of clouds that crowd over the school’s roof threatening to swamp it with their burgeoning mass. Above the mounting muscle, to the right, a vortex is visible, possibly bringing rain and adding to the sense of gloom and impending hardship.
And yet, if you look carefully, you’ll notice signs of hope. In the foreground, our little school stands strong and welcoming, Miss De Freitas’ door open and ready to draw in the first students to arrive at school. Pools of light warm the surface of the play area directly in front of the class, while a chorus line of wall lights throws its arms open invitingly to include all and sundry. Behind the clouds, daylight approaches. A new day is coming with all the promise that it holds. There is nothing to fear. The clouds will prove impotent, the vortex, an illusion and the gloominess will dissipate like so much moisture in the air.
Some storms are like that: all thunder and no rain. The storm we face as we prepare to go on winter break, is not one of those. It requires more of us than to merely put on the lights and open the door. I know: we are battle weary. We may feel that we do not want to put up with this anymore. We may wish to throw caution to the wind, come what may.
The truth is, though, that we are either part of the solution or part of the problem; either preventing or contributing to the rise in infections. There will be no reason to fear the onslaught of the third wave if we play our part. Stay home (without Uncle Cyril forcing you to do so), avoid social interaction as much as possible and do all you can to ensure that you do not contribute to spreading the virus.
After a busy term, there is no better time to withdraw and use the time to regroup. Reconnect with your family. More than ever, your children need to hear the stories of your childhood. They need to find the joy in the little things – we all do! Build a puzzle together as a family; cook together; learn a new craft as a family. Teach your children to dance. Teach them about light, about new days and about hope. Stay home together and stay safe.
Also in the newsletter today is a well-written essay by Vincent Arnaud in Year 12 on excellence, one of the School’s values. It is truly heart-warming to know that we have students of this calibre at HIS.
Sadly, this term we say goodbye to two excellent teachers. Dr Alan Meyer is off on an adventure to teach in the Middle East, while Mrs Reynolds and her husband will be furthering their studies in the Netherlands. We would like to thank them for their contribution to our school and wish them both the very best in this new chapter in their lives. In their place we welcome Ms Amelia Burger, who will be teaching Chemistry and Physics to the seniors and Mr Tiaan Bothma, who will be taking the position of Music teacher. We would like to welcome them to the HIS family and hope that they will be very happy with us.
Before school resumes for the third term, a decision regarding online classes will be made based on the national and local Covid situation and in consultation with our sister schools and the board. This will be communicated to you in the week of 12 to 16 July. Be assured that our priority remains the well-being of our community and we will not hesitate to begin the term online should this be necessary.
We wish all our students, parents and teachers a well-deserved break.
Ms Cris Sanchez Black
Please have a read this wonderful Argumentative / Discursive Essay essay written by one of our Year 11 students, Vincent Arnaud. It is on the School’s core values, notably Excellence, and especially at exam time this may be very appropriate.
“Excellence” is the most important school value, and also the most ubiquitous
At the International School of Helderberg, there are seven values which are touted as being crucial to good living and learning practices. These values are Pride, Integrity, Empathy, Excellence, Accountability and Respect.
Pride is taken to mean a reasonable degree of self-respect and the acknowledgement of one’s own achievements. It is not to be confused with arrogance or conceit. Integrity is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as being a firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values. It is closely linked to Accountability, the quality or state of being accountable or the practice of holding oneself responsible for one’s thoughts, words and actions. Empathy is the practice of taking other people’s feelings or points of view into account, whether you are or are not in support of their ideas, in an effort to be as constructive and helpful as possible and to minimise needless negativity and callous cruelty. Respect is defined as the act of giving particular attention to something or holding it in high regard. At our school, most people seem to use the word as a way to describe a combination of etiquette, kindness and the preservation of other peoples’ dignity. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Excellence as the quality of being excellent(eminently good), and connotes the word to virtue.
I am of the opinion that Excellence is a quality which, by virtue of being inclusive of all others, is the most important to remember and to strive towards.
Firstly, Excellence and Pride are mutually inclusive qualities: if Pride is a justified respect for yourself or the work you create, then Excellence is the standard to which you aspire. To achieve Pride you must first achieve Excellence. Virtue, a word which is semantically similar to Excellence, connotes a quality or trait which is deserving of merit, meaning that Excellence is something to be earned – just like our school’s definition of Pride.
Integrity implies a certain firmness of belief and an adherence to chosen behaviours, usually positive ones. It is an excellent quality to have, as it informs the manner in which we view and treat others and ourselves, and influences the ways in which we will approach tasks.
In pop-culture, specifically the Bill and Ted franchise of movies and television series, the word ‘excellent’ is sometimes used to describe a way of treating one’s fellow person: “be excellent to each other” is one of the duo’s most memorable quotes. In the very nonchalant and oft-immature language of the characters, this would mean to treat others with Integrity, with Respect and with Empathy. I believe that there are many people, especially Americans who were children or teenagers in the 1980s, who knowingly or subconsciously use the word Excellent in this way due to this influence, and that it would be justifiable to canonise this definition of the word by adding it to the English dictionary. I mean – they added ‘lol’ in 2011, and pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (I typed that perfectly first try) is still in the dictionary, despite just being a synonym of the word silicosis, but specific to volcanos.
Because of this additional way of defining the word, Excellence can be used to stand in for at least three of our school’s values with a minimal need to explain its inclusion.
But what should Excellence mean to you? How can you practice Excellence in your life, in and outside of school? I will share my answer to this question by explaining the ways in which I behave which I believe are Excellent, and also some of the things I would like to change in order to be more Excellent.
One of the main ways in which I try to let Excellence dictate my decisions is in my efforts to keep all of my friendships emotionally open and trust-based. I try to be available for people when they are struggling, because I understand how it feels to have no one available and ready to listen or offer advice and support.
Another way in which I strive for Excellence is the effort I put into my subjects at school, even subjects which I don’t enjoy. I am of the mindset that I will benefit from doing well in my studies consistently in the event that the unforeseen occurs and I underachieve for reasons which I could not have countered, for instance having to take time off being sick for a long time and falling far behind.
One of the ways in which I am lacking Excellent behaviour is in my conflict resolution skills. When disputes arise I am often described as being condescending, stubborn or aggressive. Although this is often unintentional, I can often recognise that the criticism is a valid one, and I would like to avoid this sort of behaviour in the future.
I hope that I have demonstrated both the ubiquity and the importance of the value of Excellence, and proven to you that it is the most important school value.
Written by: Vincent Arnaud, Helderberg International School
When I think about our school, I invariably feel a warm glow inside and a smile appears involuntarily. In my head, the soundtrack begins… “In my little red schoolhouse, with my book and slate.” Warm memories of Aunty Greta teaching the song to three eager ten-year-olds flood back. I hear happy sounds: children’s animated chatter, laughter, a bell ringing. It happens every time. Romantic? Definitely. Soppy? Perhaps. But the truth is that this is how I perceive our school. It is a happy place that fills me with joy.
Is it the building? Well, no. Although I do love the quad and the fact that, for the most part, we can all see each other at a glance. Is it the site then? No, it’s not that either. You already know that I love the row of trees outside the school. The pretty new beds in the front are pleasing too, as is the protective mountain that enfolds the School in its embrace, but no, it is none of those things.
What brings me such joy is our community. American author, Coretta Scott King, said: “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” And that is the secret to the joy to be found at HIS.
There is warmth in this community; there is heart; there is compassion. From the youngest cherubs, who showed their appreciation to various staff members last week with a small gesture, to the Year 3 students who want to make a difference in the world by planning, presenting and putting into action a recycling system all on their own, to our veteran volunteer, Granny Beth, who helps out in the library, our community members have heart. From the teachers who tirelessly (and selflessly) give day after day, to our supportive parents who drop off and then pick up again, attend meetings, make contact, cover books, screen students in the mornings, provide care packages to unwell members of staff and more. Are we not abundantly blessed?!
In these difficult times, I believe that it is this very sense of community that will carry us through. “Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much,” said Helen Keller, while Margaret J. Wheatley, recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Leadership Association, is of the opinion that “there is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.”
At Helderberg, we care for our community. As an international school, that care extends far beyond the borders of our school grounds and encompasses the greater community at large. When all hope seems lost, we lean on each other and, together, we move forward. As Margaret J. Wheatley put it: “Hopelessness has surprised me with patience.” And so we learn to be patient; we learn to support; and we learn to be carried. All valuable life-lessons.
The third wave beckons. Let us take courage from one another, holding on tightly to that which we care about and that which gives us our strength. Together, we can patiently say, “This too shall pass.”
Cristina Sanchez Black
Ah, to be on top of a hill…
To feel your heart pulsing like the wondrous machine that it is. To fill your lungs with the sweetest, fresh air… To be able to remove your mask!
Last Thursday, the High School students and staff took a much-needed day away from the classroom to recharge in the natural environment of the Helderberg Nature Reserve. Everyone enjoyed the pleasure of sunbeams stroking our skins, birds heralding our approach as they lightly flitted about and the limitless, breath-taking views. It was a well-earned respite from the academic challenges of the term and the stifling restrictions of the times we live in.
It occurs to me that hiking to the top of a hill or mountain is a fitting metaphor for the strive for success. To enjoy the magnificent views, and feel the thrill of exertion and success, takes effort. In fact, the very effort itself is enjoyable if one’s perspective is aligned with the end goal. Every step, is either a step closer to the intended destination or a learning opportunity. The important part is not to give up. Certainly, one can take a breather; look back and realise how much progress has been made, but never give up.
And this philosophy applies to teaching. And to parenting. It may require us to dig deeply to take the next step and specially to persevere when it would be so easy to give up, shrug our shoulders and let it be. But our children deserve the necessary guidance to ensure that they reach the top of the hill and can enjoy the thrill of success. They need to be taught that discipline is a necessary step to ensure progress; that without it, the climb will be so much more difficult. If we as teachers and parents work together to guide our children in the same direction, we cannot fail, and neither can they. The summit beckons; it requires effort, but every step is worth it.
It has been a quieter week at School as the Primary and High schools get to grips with the term’s work and show what they have learned. The exams are in full swing and our students have risen to the challenge with courage and determination. In the Foundation Phase, the teachers are busy with assessments and everyday class activities. There is a general hum of activity in the unseasonably warm weather as we wind up the term.
A few house matters:
- Please note that our students are not allowed to visit the coffee shop at the church to buy lunch. We simply do not have the resources to accompany a child to the church and cannot allow them to go over on their own. Lunches are available through Danelle at Nels Bakery for R37 a day should you wish to order for your child.(contact the office and they will send you the necessary information)
- We appeal to our parents to help out with the bottleneck created on Fridays at home time. If your child is not waiting for you and ready to climb into the car, please go and park at the church parking and fetch your child on foot.
Thank you to all our parents for their support and encouragement. We miss the social events that we would ordinarily have had throughout the year and the interaction with our parents. Nevertheless, we are grateful to know that our parents continue to support the school and are content. Please feel free to give us feedback when necessary – we cannot improve on that of which we are not aware.
Wishing you a wonderful family weekend.
Cristina Sanchez Black
Poor Melissa the Mermaid lost some of the scales from her tail! The Early Childhood 2 class were tasked with the job to find out which materials she could use to cover her tail until new scales grew back! They tested a range of different materials to see which was the most waterproof!Read More
The Year 7 class were asked pretend that Anne survived the concentration camps and to write an account of what she did when she grew up. Levi wrote the following fantastic piece.
Anne Frank WHAT-IF
The 15th of April 1945 is a day that has been engraved into my memory. It was at dawn that we felt the ground vibrate and shake. As we huddled out of the barracks, the penetrating daylight scorched our eyes. Skeletal figures, flesh and bone surrounded me. My skin was raw from the scabies. Through blistered eyes I could see the cause of the tremors. There were columns of tanks entering Bergen-Belson: The Union Jack on each one flapping in the wind. Our tormentors, the vicious S.S. guards were nowhere in sight. Free at last, free at last. Thank you God almighty, I am free at last!
After being liberated I went to live with my cousin in Amsterdam. Adjusting back to normal life was difficult. The scabies had scarred my skin but thank God not my face. I had nightmares for many years. The starving, the working, the beatings. Every night when I cleansed myself I stared at the number on my forearm: 98288. Our persecutors reduced us to numbers. I am not a number; I am Annelies Marie Frank! I was hardworking and as I had dreamt, I graduated from the University of Utrecht in 1953 with a degree in journalism. Through the help of the Association of Holocaust Organizations, I found my father in a convalescent home in Eindhoven in 1954. The day was surreal. My father was old, his body worn out, but his eyes had a spark. We tremored as we clutched each other. Even Auschwitz cannot break the everlasting bond between a daughter and her father.
My journalism career set off at the Utrecht Dagblad as a news journalist. 50 million dead which included 6 million Jews and yet humanity could not stop fighting after World War II. The Cold War was in full swing and everywhere little tin gods were trying to establish their regimes. One of them was the Butcher of Uganda, Idi Amin. Just like Hitler, he unleashed a genocide on his country, and I covered this human tragedy. For a full week we were trapped inside a cold, dark, damp basement in a church located in the Ugandan Capital. Father DaSilva had to smuggle provisions past the army roadblocks to help us survive. The exposé I wrote on this tragedy helped me to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1981. I settled in Brussels with my husband and two kids, Margot and Otto. The refreshing winds greeted us every day as we walked in the park.
Editor’s Note: On the 14th of May 2019, Annelies Marie Frank died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 90, surrounded by her children. She was a wife, a mother, a journalist… and a Holocaust survivor.
On the 14th of May 2019, Annelies Marie Frank died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 90, surrounded by her children. She was a wife, a mother, a journalist… and a Holocaust survivor.