Weekly Newsletters

Newsletter 01/2019

25 January, 2019

Welcome

May I take this opportunity to extend special greetings to our students, staff, parents, governors, alumni, donors and friends of Waterford who continue to play a huge role in the running of the school. I have mentioned numerous times that one of the things I like about WK is the unwavering support we enjoy from these great stakeholders of the school – incredible! Quite recently, we published a statement on our IB results and these results are another testimony of the success we achieve through our collaborative efforts. We congratulate the class of 2018 for this milestone and wish them well as they embark on the next phase – university.

We have also recently received our IGCSE results (about two weeks earlier than usual) and will provide a summary of those as we usually do. We are also proud of these results and congratulate all our 2018 from 5s.

During our opening assembly on Tuesday I challenged our students to be positive as they start the New Year. I told them about the importance of looking at the positive side of things and not to focus on negative experiences and challenges. The truth is we all deal with several challenges on a daily basis. We often have a “survive” mentality for getting through life. My challenge to all is that we move from a “survive” to a “thrive” approach. By looking at the positive that is around us we can start having a “thrive” mentality. And this is particularly important for adolescents as they navigate life at school. There are so many positive things in the lives of young children, so much to be grateful for and as they focus on these things they will develop a positive mindset and become the great people we all want them to be. Waterford remains true to its founding vision; a school committed to the achievement of the UWC mission of producing graduates who will play a significant role in the African Renaissance due to the high quality education that has been and is the hallmark of this great institution.

We are looking forward to another exciting year. Welcome!

 

News staff introduction

Please join me in welcoming our new members of staff.

Leonard Bennet has joined us coming from KFC where he was the Human Resources lead.  Leonard holds a BTech in Human Resource Management. He joins us as the HR Officer, which is a new position and we look forward to working with Leonard.

Elijah Eze has joined us in the Music department coming with many years of experience where he most recently taught at Sifundzani High School. We welcome Mr Eze to Waterford Kamhlaba.

Marloes Vrolijk has joined us in a part-time capacity to assist in the Commserve office and teach TOK.

Nosimilo Khumalo joins us in the Advancement Office where she will fill the position of Alumni Engagement Officer.  Nosimilo is an alumna of Waterford (2013), and we look forward to having her on board.

Andile Dlamini who was a volunteer in Term 3 of 2018 after doing her teaching practice will be assisting us in the Business and Economics department until August this year.

Welile Dlamini has joined us from the University of Eswatini and will be doing her teaching practice in the Business and Economics department.

In addition, we have 8 volunteers who have joined us. They all graduated in November 2018. They will be with us until they go off to University in August this year. We are happy to have them with us. They are, in no particular order, Zama Magagula, Trish Mutsigwa, Mbonisi Mkhombe, Vuyiswa Mngometulu, Felihle Zwane, Anele Matsebula, Stephen Atwell and Mancoba Dlamini.

 

Pre-Orientation English Support Programme

From Thursday, January 10th to Monday, January 14th the second annual pre-orientation program was held for students who expressed concerns about their English language abilities. Six students participated in the program, coming from France, the DRC, Argentina, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Mozambique. Over the four days, students got to know one another through activities and games, met key members of staff, had personalized orientations to both the IBDP and the language options on offer and went into Mbabane to familiarize themselves with the town and pick up essential supplies. The program was successful and the participants all expressed that they felt better equipped to start the year due to the program. I would like to thank Ms. Elizabeth Cummergen who gives of her free time to run this programme.

 

PSA: Thank you

I would like to thank the school’s parents-staff association (PSA) for hosting an event over lunch for our new parents on Monday – it was an absolutely fantastic event and well supported. We thank the PSA for its continued support to the school.

From the PSA: “On the school’s opening day this past Monday, the PSA welcomed the new and old parents and guardians with a delicious lunch by Capitol Caterers. The event, that aimed to encourage communication between the parents’ body and the school, hosted almost 180 guests.  Our guests had the opportunity to meet other parents of their children’s year, share experiences and share their knowledge of the school (the hardest question was who is the longest serving teacher at the school?). The PSA members presented the committee’s work and encouraged parents and guardians to actively support their activities. We would like to thank all the participants who joined us and special thanks to those who offered to help with the activities and left their contact numbers behind. We also would like to thank Capitol Caterers, Print Pak and House on Fire for making the event a brilliant success. 

 

The Din of the Dining Hall

Last year I wrote this message which I thought I should bring up again for the benefit of those who might have missed it: At Waterford we have had a continual debate about the use of cell phones and other personal devices on campus. Too often I find students huddled together on their own devices in their own world, sitting next to one another but communing with something or someone else far away. Increasingly, they are entertained by a small screen that feeds into the addiction centre of the brain to bring them some transitory pleasure. I was reminded of this once again by an article that one of my colleagues circulated recently, which our parents might find of some interest. It can be found here. Increasingly, research is suggesting that the devices many of our children spend so much time on are not healthy and that they feed into the addiction chemicals of the brain. See this video if you are interested. 

Over the holiday I received the message below from a parent, concerning the above matter. With the permission of the parent I thought it could be used to stimulate debate on this issue and see what other parents think about it:

“Dear Mr Lowry

I have been following with interest your newsletter comments on cellphone use by students and thought I could share my contribution as a parent. Yes indeed, our children are so dependent on cellphones and internet that they don’t seem to be able to come up with any other activities that can keep them busy besides surfing the internet, playing games , chatting and posting on social media.

Today I attended a workshop where pediatricians and UNICEF representatives were emphasizing on maximum 1 hour to two hours of screen time for children ( this includes TV, cellphone , laptop). There is lots of scientific evidence showing the repercussions of going beyond 2 hours. The World Health Organization has added another mental disease; the gaming disorder to do with addiction of playing video games. Unfortunately our children have access to games on phones.

In the evening today I also heard a speech at our young daughter’s prize giving about reliance on internet and cellphones having the following negative influences:

1. Children are not patient as they are used to quick answers.

2. Teamwork is discouraged as a child can easily think the only team they need to function is them and the internet.

3 Children may fail to face challenges in life as they are used to getting quick answers on internet. However the internet does not have answers to some pertinent issues in life. Our emotional quotient (EQ) is very important vs the IQ these days.

 I feel children should be given minimum access to phones, maybe a certain time a day for communication with parents or certain days a week. I have personally tried to concentrate on a certain task with my phone nearby and achieved less than when i consciously put it on silent or keep it in another room. Chatting can be very disruptive and I am not sure how many of our children are disciplined enough to ignore incoming chats or to resist the urge to check how many people are viewing their tweets etc.

I have also been reading a book by Charles Dobson on raising boys and it talks about how much we should monitor what our children are looking at on the internet. It is around the age of 14 when young boys get exposed sometimes accidentally to things like pornography and if allowed access, as Charles describes it, addiction can develop later causing issues in adulthood.

 I know they are issues to do with children researching for assignments on the cellphones but i believe cellphones at school can bring more harm than good.

 As the children spend three quarters of the year at school, I think this is the place we can limit cellphone use in order to bring substantial impact and improvement in terms of how children relate, reduce cyber bullying, game addictions, inactivity etc. I hope you will consider my concern...

I invite all parents to investigate this matter themselves. I am also interested to hear your views. As a school we have been discussing this for some time and are considering introducing some restrictions regarding the use of devices and screen time.

  

University visit

Next week Tuesday 29th January we host our first university visit of the year. Cambridge will be presenting on UK options to IB students in Emhlabeni – parents are more than welcome to join us at 6.30pm in the Emhlabeni common room.

 

IB2 Parent Cheese and Wine

IB2 parents should have received an invitation to a party on February 8th here at 7pm. The objective of the event is for you to meet recent alum and your child’s potential referees – just to get more of an idea of how the process of applying to universities works here – and we know it will be fun too. Please do RSVP to principal@waterford.sz by Monday February 4th.

 

Entrance Testing for 2020

This will be held on campus on Saturday March 9th and 16th at 8am. Ms. Martha Dlamini is already taking bookings – marthadlamini@waterford.sz . Please do register any siblings in good time and help us spread the word through your networks of relatives, friends and colleagues. We know that our current parents are amongst our strongest advocates and we appreciate your support in this regard very much. Regional Entrance Testing will take place as normal in May and June as set out at www.waterford.sz

 

NYATSELA UPDATE

Mrs Lowry writes:

There are only seven months to go until the Form 3s set off for 3 weeks walking around Eswatini. I will provide an update every week to let the whole community know about the planning for this exciting new project. By 1 February we will have a page on the website which, among other things, will provide links to previous newsletter inserts, and offer a Q&A site where any interested party can post a question which I will answer.

A brief overview of some of the work we did last year in preparation for this event:

·         spoke to five schools in SA who offer a similar initiative

·         spent time with two of these schools (St Albans and St Andrews/DSG) on their 3-week walks, observing logistics and chatting to students and facilitators about various aspects

·         discussed and decided on a route

·         over the last 18 months, Sipho Mavimbela and myself and others have walked most sections and revised the route if necessary for reasons of safety, distance and suitability

·         visited potential hosts

·         engaged the services of a medical supervisor to co-ordinate our preparations, teach first aid and plan our emergency response

·         started speaking to businesses etc who might be able to sponsor us

·         planned the CAS lessons and training for the students for this year

·         started planning the training for the adult facilitators

Upcoming updates will cover the following topics:

·         health and hygiene

·         route

·         overnight stops

·         training

·         other – please write to me with your questions

 

Reminder of important dates

        Tuesday 1st March - Half Term: bus departs WK for JHB at 06.15

        Tuesday 5th March - Half Term: bus departs OR Tambo, JHB at 14:00

        Wednesday 17th April – School closes

        Thursday 18th April - WK bus departs for JHB at 06:15

 

Any Questions?

If you have any questions and feedback, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line at principal@waterford.sz.  If the question is of broad interest, I will publish the question (with the permission of the writer and without the name) and my reply in the newsletter.

Parents are also encouraged to be in touch with their child’s tutor or residential head for any matters about which they may be concerned.

 

Kind Regards

Stephen Lowry

Principal

© Waterford Kamhlaba UWCSA 2019

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