Blood of Queenians is orange

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QueensFeature

ONE of the challenges educators faced in the “New South Africa” way back in the early ’90s, was the scrapping of corporal punishment.

For some it was a huge challenge and for others it was a relief and a time to cement in education a more humane set of rules for disciplining children.

It’s not the time and place to discuss the merits and demerits of the above, but my reunion message for 2016 has to do with change and the challenges thereof.

Changes come in all shapes and sizes. I came across the belt used by a Grade 1 pupil at Queen’s Junior in 1967.

The boy who used that belt has returned for this year’s reunion and is one of the boys who matriculated in 1976. It’s enough to say that our bodies have changed and that the belts worn then, won’t fit us today.

In the modern age of technology, the rapid changes in computers and cellphones are quite daunting and the older folk among us (here may I say that I am first in the line, not second) may feel intimidated by the pace of change.

Ask any child to help you with your mobile app and they will do it with ease. Getting back to the technology issue, as headmaster of Queen’s College Boys’ Primary School,

I am proud to say that we have kept abreast with the latest technology in and out of the classroom. All our foundation phase classrooms have been fitted with Edu Boards and are connected to the internet. Only a smattering of classes in the intersen phase haven’t had these wonderful tools for teaching installed, but will be getting them during the course of the year.

GETTING BETTER: Queen’s College Junior headmaster Richard Second with Grade 3 pupil Bukho Poswa, who is on the mend
GETTING BETTER: Queen’s College Junior headmaster Richard Second
with Grade 3 pupil Bukho Poswa, who is on the mend

These boards make for exciting and more visual presentation of knowledge. Hence an improvement in content, especially in the social and natural sciences.

It is incredible to see our senior educators using these resources. Certainly a change from the old black or green chalkboards!

Queen’s College has seen many changes over the past 158 years. However, the ethos of our school has remained the same.

“To be rather than seem (to be)” is at the core of our school and its traditions. As written in the foreword of our sesquicentennial publication, and I quote the author, N R Veitch, “Change without regard for tradition may have disastrous consequences for an institution.” We have experienced changes that have gone hand in hand with tradition.

The unfair and discriminatory practices of the past have been abolished. We have made the changes and kept abreast of the changes in South Africa. This change, this transformation, is what makes me the proudest headmaster in the country.

I see how our lads perform on and off the sports fields. How they display comradeship, friendship, fair play and loyalty to their alma mater. But more than this, and this is what really makes me proud, is that our boys and parents from both the junior and senior schools have embraced this change.

This school is our school and we are very proud of our achievements.

In closing, I would like to share with you a courageous story about one of our Grade 3 pupils who was involved in a horrific accident last term. He ran across the road and was dragged under an oncoming car for a number of metres.

When I arrived on the scene, I saw his limp body lying in the road and I feared the worst. His Queen’s uniform was torn and tattered and his fragile body covered in lacerations. I wondered if he would survive the ordeal.

In this eight-year-old boy’s eyes, I saw the most incredible courage. That night in hospital in East London, just before an operation on his broken femur, the doctor jokingly told Bukho that he was in black and white country, i.e. in the land of the Selbornians. Bukho gritted his teeth and whispered back to the doctor, “My blood is orange!”

Bukho had the determination to survive and we have had the determination to go with the changes and show the rest of South Africa and the world that we are truly a school to be proud of. Our blood is orange.

Good luck to the teams who take on our rivals, Selborne, and I wish the QCOBA and all the returning Old Boys best wishes for this, our 158th reunion weekend.

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