Good evening to the Meridian Pinehurst school community: honoured guests, parents and guardians, staff and most importantly tonight – our learners.
It has been a privilege for me to have been part of this family since the beginning of the year. In planning a vision for the year I set out to focus on the growth of the school. We can liken our school experience to a sequoia tree which is a kind of pine tree, and since our name ‘Pine – hurst’ means grove or wood of pine trees it is fitting. In the US Giant redwoods form part of this family of coniferous trees. And they have some interesting features we can learn from: they are
Every tree begins with a seed so I want to pay homage to the pioneers of Meridian schools: Dr Chris van der Merwe, Malcolm Law and the Old Mutual investors and especially our founding executive head, Mr Phil Snyman. It is not easy to envision a thriving community of love and learning such as ours when staring over the clay earth that was Pinehurst (a ‘hurst’ can also be a sandbank by the way) before building began. These men planted the seeds and saw the greatness we could aspire to.
Because we are part of the Curro and Meridian network of schools we also have a grove or ‘hurst’ of support, technologically, professionally and in the curriculum. But for us, there is more. We are a grove of pines all together here in our family. Our job in management this year has been to strengthen those networks and their interdependency which makes us strong so we have focussed on nurturing our relationships among the staff, between ourselves and our parent body, and between parents too – PAC, and most importantly with and for our learners.
At Pinehurst, in keeping with twenty-first century thinking, adversity helps us learn. Struggling with concepts is important for overcoming the learning pit we may sometimes fall into. So we teach how to cope with the difficult stuff rather than protect them from it. The prize winners tonight are proof of how a Pinehurst learner can withstand the annoying bites of insects like time constraints, obstacles to understanding and really tricky tests.
We are launching our first matriculation class next year and this year, we have been scorching them and sometimes they have even fallen over, BUT they are our pioneers, bursting forth from the firey furnace of Grade 11. Like the seeds of the trees, they will bring new life here at Meridian, with the traditions that are being established. But also in the world they enter in 2018, they are charged to be the creative energy of change and in the forest of our nation.
Large elderly redwoods tower over the younger saplings in a grove; yet still their canopies allow for light and water to reach the younger plants beneath the. Our new leaders who will be announced later will nurture their younger brothers and sisters and pass on the seed to the next generation of pines in our grove.
When they leave the grounds one day (barefoot because they donated their shoes) they will remain in our ‘hurst’ as we head towards 3500 years.
So if you ask what the new management has been up to this year: we have been putting in all the systems, overseeing the new buildings, planting new trees (literally – watch the various quads in the next few weeks) in order to water and prepare our Pinehurst to be a forest of creativity and success. And we shall do it together.
Thank you for trusting us with your children. Let us celebrate now the splendour of their successes this year: