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From the Head - Headmaster's Newsletter 26 June 2020

Dear Parents,

This term will go down in Hilton’s history as one of the most unusual. Every one of us has had to adjust to a different way of being, navigating this new and somewhat altered state.

Langston Hughes (1902 - 1962), wrote the following poem:

DREAMS

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

I write about dreams because for many boys, this term has been a coming to terms with dreams being deferred and potentially shattered. On the sports front this is akin to an athlete sustaining a serious injury that puts an end to a player’s career. Any incident of this nature takes a significant effort to overcome and those to whom this has happened speak of their struggle to move beyond this loss and find a new dream to live.

My challenge to all Hilton boys is to find a way to create new memories, new experiences together, new highlights to remember as they transition to the new reality of a schooling experience without the usual sporting experiences that were our collective reality. Fortunately, we have the Estate which is an unrivalled treasure for all boys to explore. I am delighted to say that I have seen many boys making use of this treasure over the past month.

In the light of this pandemic’s world-wide effects it is my belief that, as an educational institution, we have risen to the occasion to overcome the challenges with dexterity and poise. May I take this opportunity to thank the teachers at Hilton for their dedication and their professionalism as they moved to an emergency distance learning mode to deliver the curriculum. I am especially grateful for their agility and for their determination in making sure all our boys have engaged as well as they could have under the changed conditions.

Transformation

I have written previously about the respect I have for the boys who have led the discussion around transformation at Hilton; given their maturity, humility, sensitivity and courage around this issue, I applaud them.

The truth we need to face, however, is that true transformation is a matter of the heart. We will find certain visible and outward symbols in this transformation process - and these are important -but ultimately our journey along the path of redress is all about our attitudes which reflect our values and our beliefs. As a broader community, and as a school, we need to ensure that our beliefs concerning equality, diversity, tolerance and justice are sound and strong. This is the course we should embrace. This is the course that will result in change that will guide all our young men through their lives.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks says, “The deepest mystery of all is not our faith in God but God’s faith in us. May that faith sustain us as we heed the call to responsibility and take the risk of healing some of the needless wounds of an injured but still wondrous world.”

Plans for Term 3

We look forward to welcoming ALL boys back at the beginning of Term 3. We are confident that our protocols are in place for the safe return of your sons.

Please will all parents take some time to look at our Hilton College App, under the Covid-19 button, where one will find all the relevant information concerning how you need to prepare for your son’s return in Term 3. The app also details the procedures we will follow should there be a Covid-19+ case on campus.

It is imperative that we all understand our protocols as far as possible so that we can keep our entire community safe when we are back at school.

Please will you plan to arrive on the afternoon of the 14th of July from 14:00, to all be back by 20:00 on that day. A staggered return will assist us in ensuring all our health protocols are complied with upon entry to our Campus.

Staffing

I am a firm believer in teachers, as professionals, growing their skill-sets and indeed developing their spheres of influence. It is with this motivation that we congratulate a few members of staff who have been appointed to promotion posts in other schools.

Mr Jaco Dippenaar has accepted the post of HOD of Music at Michaelhouse as of the 3rd term, and it is thus with a heavy heart that we say farewell to Mr Dippenaar. Of Mr Dippenaar’s greatest qualities is his humility that is paired with a generosity of spirit which is hard to match. Over the years Mr Dippenaar has built many life-long relationships with students who have been privileged to have had him guide them on their musical journey. We will miss Mr Dippenaar’s presence in the Chapel, in the staffroom and in the Music block especially. Mr Dippenaar has also been a dependable
Tutor in Falcon for the past few years. Mr Dippenaar will still be popping into Hilton for the next little while to ensure that his Matric vocal students navigate their final exams with distinction.

Mrs Jos Anderson has accepted the post of HOD of Drama at St Anne’s as of the 3rd term. Mrs Anderson has had a long association with Hilton, having begun her professional teaching journey here as an Intern in 2012. The opportunity to lead a department does not present itself often and as a result Mrs Anderson has made the difficult decision to embrace this new challenge with the express aim of her ongoing professional growth. Mrs Anderson has created many an exciting opportunity for boys in the Drama department specifically, where alongside Mrs Cal Bray, she has allowed boys to explore
their creativity through dance especially. We will miss Mrs Anderson’s bubbly and effervescent personality and wish her everything of the best in this new chapter - hopefully some collaboration with St Anne’s will be in the offing soon!

Mr Mike Tonkin has decided to take a different career path and has accepted a position in the Telecoms industry. Mr Tonkin is a talented individual with many skills at his fingertips. Always ready to assist in the creative arts arena, whether building sets or mixing tracks, Mr Tonkin has added significant value in his short stay at Hilton College. Mr Tonkin is a thinker and a strong contributor to discussions in the staffroom and with his tutees, often getting them to think more broadly about life in general. Although Mr Tonkin will still be popping in to ensure his vocal students complete their year well, we will miss his energy and his contribution. We wish him everything of the best.

Rev Richard Wyngaard has, after ten years at Hilton, decided to take up a new challenge as Chaplain of St Andrews College in Makhanda. I’m not sure whether the Eastern Cape farmers will be able to keep up with the guitar-wielding, fanatic cyclist, who is the Rev but I think they will be pleasantly surprised as they get to know him. Rev Wyngaard has made a significant impact in many people’s lives here at the College and his ability to connect with the boys has been superb. Rev Wyngaard has played a number of roles at Hilton, including a stint as Deputy Housemaster in Falcon. We will miss Rev Wyngaard and we thank him for being deliberate in his messages over the years, and in his belief in every boy. Rev Wyngaard leaves at the end of July, so there will be some time to say goodbye to him early next term.

Further news

Mrs Kim Lindie and her husband have welcomed the birth of their first child, a son named Hunter, and we are all delighted for them. To this end, Mrs Lindie will be on maternity leave from now until later in the year. I welcome Mr Jonathan Orton as Mrs Lindie’s replacement from the second term. Mr Orton brings a wealth of experience having worked in many local schools and in the UAE.

Mr Kyle Nowicki also joins us for the second half of the year as a Maths teacher. Mr Nowicki is a teacher of much acclaim and he joins us from a recent teaching stint at Reddam House Umhlanga.

Furthermore, Mr Dylan Perrett, an Old Hiltonian, will be picking up one English class for Term 3 as we readjust our timetable.

Term Dates for the rest of the year

Term 3
• Starts Tuesday 14th July (boys arrive on the afternoon of the 14th)
• Half-term: Wed 12 August to Wed 19 August
• End of term: 23 September

Term 4 starts on Tuesday 6 October (half-term dates and break-up day will be communicated at a later stage).

Please be sure NOT to send your boys back to school should any family member be Covid-19 positive or have been in close contact with a PUI (Person Under Investigation) in the week leading up to the return to school. Our aim is to keep the environment Covid-19 free, as far as possible.

Finally, thank you for your ongoing support as we navigate our way through this season.
Kind regards,

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