Past Pupils Association

The PPA is being redefined as an association where anyone who has had an association with St Dominics Newcastle will be able to join, whether it be as a past learner, parent, educator or friend, and will henceforth be known as ‘Friends of St Dominic’s’.

In an association such as this, new blood is always welcome and we would like to urge past learners and friends alike who would like to involve themselves with the association to contact Sally Louw at St Dominics Newcastle either on 034 412 8326, or email her at Sally.l@curro.co.za. Alternatively, contact the chairperson of the PPA, Carla Bach email her at carlabach@worldonline.co.za.

This page serves to keep past learners and teachers informed about the activities of the association, events organised by the association and the school in general.

St Dominics Newcastle also has a page on www.sareunited.com.

Recent developments

Our school's numbers have climbed slowly over the years, but there is a strong feeling among those who hold St Dom’s close to their heart that there is a need to attract greater numbers of learners. This will have a ripple effect throughout the school as it will allow us to develop more and better facilities – both for academics and for extramural activities. Many of the school's buildings date back to the early part of the last century and are constantly in need of repair and renovation. These could be restored to their former glory if additional funds were sourced from greater numbers of learners. With these thoughts in mind the marketing subcommittee of the board of governors has embarked on an aggressive marketing campaign which will included a very successful open day on 7 May. There are also planned visits to schools, marketing forays into neighbouring towns as well as mass-mailings to potential learners wishing to enter school in Grade 1 or Grade 8. It is the hope that past learners can also play a role in this regard, as they can publicise the benefits of sending children to their alma mater!

Our school has had a face-lift on the top field, where the trees have been removed to make way for a new sports field. This means that Jan Smuts Avenue and the surrounding trees are no more. While one might feel sentimental about this, we know that change is inevitable and if we are to sustain our school we have to meet the challenges if we are to continue to provide an excellent education for our learners. The official opening of the fields was on 7 May, and they were opened by the Academy’s long-time stalwart of all things sporty – Mrs Alison Marillier. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all parents and sponsors for their support during this upgrade of our facilities.

The fields will provide venues for two hockey fields, a soccer field and a cricket pitch. In the past, sports facilitators had to find other venues for cricket, which has grown over the past ten years. In order to grow as a school, we need to attract boys to the school, especially in the high school, where we have recently lost quite a number of boys to independent schools in Pietermaritzburg, as well a few to the local high schools. Our sports results have improved over the years. We still believe that participation and good sportsmanship are essential to develop well-adjusted learners, but having the right facilities also ensures pride in our achievements.

This is one of the reasons for encouraging all those who have been associated with our school to join the Friends of St Dominic’s. With the paradigm shift in education it is most probable that there will be further changes at St Dominic’s, and in order to maintain the spirit of Mother Rose Niland’s vision to be progressive and bold about the future, we need the support of all those who wish to see St Dominics Academy growing from strength to strength.

To those few folks who have contributed towards our ‘Save the Belltower’ project, thank you. Your support is greatly appreciated. The PTA has set a substantial sum of money aside for the refurbishment of the roof, the bell rockers as well as the base on which the bells are mounted. The refurbishment is due to take place later this year. The board has also established a 'development' subcommittee, whose task is to look at maintaining, improving and adding to our facilities. There are many projects in the pipeline that are due to see fruition in the not too distant future.

Message from the executive head

I believe the Past Pupils Association should play a very prominent role in both the management of a school and in raising funds for the school. State involvement or subsidies in our school do not exist anymore. It is therefore of paramount importance that the Friends of St Dominic’s becomes a strong and meaningful body that is able to offer its services to the school and to contribute to the school financially.

I therefore encourage past learners, past parents and anyone who wishes to become part of this wonderful school to sign up as a friend of St Dominic’s.

You will receive regular letters, invitations to school events and there will be an annual gathering of past learners, where old acquaintances can be renewed.

Yours sincerely
John Douthwaite