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A letter from The Head – 26 March 2021

26 March 2021

Dear Parents and Guardians,

When the world as we know it seems to be upended, it is necessary to reflect on that which we can yet be grateful for.

At Hilton College I am grateful for the significant support we enjoy from you, our parents. The frustration of not being able to watch your son participate in our usual sporting programme, alongside the frustrations of our altered approach to leaves, are very real. However, your understanding and support through this unusual time remains an encouragement to us as we endeavour to provide an educational and life experience true to your expectation for your sons.

I am grateful to the gentleman of Hilton College who have acquitted themselves superbly (by and large) as we have navigated this strange period of mask-wearing, sanitiser-spraying and temperature-taking that has come to represent our hygiene regime here at school. I am grateful to most boys who have embraced this new state, despite their own frustrations with levels of restrictions, and who have understood that the whole world is dealing with similar situations.

I am grateful to a teaching and support staff who have been brave and bold in their creating of an environment that resembles, as close as possible, a schooling experience that gives our young men the best opportunities they can hope to have at this time. Teachers across the globe have been thrust into delivering a schooling experience under very different circumstances and I would rate our teachers highly in what they have achieved at this time.

I am especially grateful to our Housemasters, Deputy Housemasters, House Managers and Assistant Housemasters who have worked tirelessly to provide a safe environment during this pandemic. We have not had one case of Covid this year, among our boys, and long may this continue.

Spiritual leaders, psychologists and wellness coaches remind us that our living with gratitude assists us in making sense of our worlds and ensuring we thrive. This principle has never been as pertinent as it is at this time in our lives; it is important that we maximise this learning opportunity.

This term we bid farewell to Mrs Beth Wisdom who has chosen to relocate to the Western Cape. I would like to thank Mrs Wisdom for her valued contribution to Hilton over the past fifteen years and I trust that her next chapter will be filled with much joy and fulfilment.

Rev Sean McGuigan arrives next term to take on the role of Chaplain. Rev McGuigan is a Methodist minister whose most recent station has been serving the Durbanville Methodist Church, in the Western Cape. Please join me in welcoming Reverend Sean, his wife Sarah-Jane, Grace and Benjamin (who joined us in January in Lucas House). We eagerly anticipate Sean’s ministry in our community.

In Term 2 we also welcome Mr Wilbert Tenga to our Maths department. Mr Tenga joins us from Pretoria Boys’ High School, where he has been a teacher of Mathematics and a Grade Head. We look forward to his joining our community and for the contribution he will make in Maths and indeed in other areas of College life.

I am in ongoing conversations with fellow heads of the boys’ schools in KZN around the matter of inter-school sports fixtures. We are strategising as to how we return to a calendar of fixtures in the second term, should we remain at Level 1 of Covid regulations. I am acutely aware of the frustrations linked to our not competing at this time.

I am also aware of Gauteng schools having taken a different approach to the application and interpretation of the regulations. We have consistently aimed at abiding by the regulations in order to be assured of our eligibility to remain open and not to incur the challenge of being closed on account of flouting the national rules. I hope to have more promising news for us regarding inter-school fixtures upon our return in April.

With so much ongoing uncertainty, we will need to all continue to show dexterity and flexibility in adjusting to changes that are forced upon us. The Matric Dance, for example, has been rescheduled to 17 June. Should infection rates continue to drop then we look forward to a wonderful event, but we need to be cognisant that there is the possibility of further date changes or additional restrictions being put in place. The same applies to other social events that we plan.

Finally, at this Easter-tide, I am eternally grateful for the sacrifice made by Jesus Christ as he laid down his life for you and I, such that we might have life and life in abundance. We remain a blessed people, even in the face of this pandemic, and we consciously choose the path of a life rooted in gratitude.

Have a blessed Easter holiday.

Kind regards,

George Harris

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