Message from the office
This week we have begun to have firsthand experience of the Corona virus as it begins to affect so many of the VP families within our little Grahamstown community. I am finding the world a much quieter place. Yes, this could be due to the masks but I also sense a mood of shock among many of the staff. We are still recovering from the loss of what we once knew and coming to terms with how things are now. Slowly we are also starting to feel that sense of angst as the virus we have dreaded is now knocking, if not on our own door, but on those of our neighbours. We share news on a daily basis and sympathise and empathise with those who are experiencing what we have perhaps only read about or seen on the news. We worry about our elderly parents and if we may expose them unknowingly and we worry about our precious people who work in our homes who may also be vulnerable. We share news and see those, who you presume are coping, with tears gathering in their eyes. This has made us all fearful but it has also bound us together.
We guard our girls and their safety at school like lions in front of Daniel’s den but we also know that our guardianship is not impenetrable and we are very aware of the intense responsibility that we carry when your girls return to school. We can only try our best. We know that you know that too and we can only promise you that we are trying to act in a way that we see best, checking that our protocols and our actions are compatible and daily seeking advice from medical professionals as we are confronted with each new scenario.
We thank the many parents who send messages of thanks and encouragement and we also thank those who have respected and abided by the strict measures we have put in place. We thank you for your understanding and support.
In our Zoom Assembly on Monday we spoke about being powerful and strong women who can achieve anything when we put our minds (and actions) to it, but we noted that being strong does not equate to being mean to others and lacking in empathy. In fact, it means the opposite. We need to teach our girls that it takes strength to be able to show kindness, to think of others’ feelings and to think beyond oneself. Too many TV shows (especially the reality ones) and movies set an example for our girls that being a strong woman means competing with others at all costs and making sure that you win no matter what, including ridiculing and ostracizing others . We must teach our girls that fellowship, love and compassion are the values that they should aspire to and this is more crucial than ever both during this pandemic and considering the plight and staggering statistics of violence against women.
We cannot tolerate behaviour where people who get affected by Covid-19 are to be stigmatised and ridiculed. We need to realise that none of us are immune and we need to breed a greater sense of empathy and understanding in our girls. I really don’t see how our little town can tolerate such insensitivity and unkindness at this time. Our society and country needs to take a stand against people who display such hatred and ridicule towards any group of people, and I appeal to you to speak to your daughters about the huge impact intolerance of any kind can have.
I’d also like to appeal to you to consider what/who your daughter’s role models are. Is it the latest soapie star or the prejudiced uncle next door? Do you engage in conversations with your daughter that will encourage an understanding and non-judgmental attitude towards things that are different, new or which may even instill fear? Don’t presume that your daughter knows that soapies are badly written scripts and that that is not how real life works. Let’s not create a generation of women whose footprint makes others feel ashamed of who they are and robs them of their courage to put their own unique stamp on the world. Lead, guide and engage to develop strong women whose impact will leave others feeling accepted and loved and empowered to be brave and strong.
Message from the Intersen Phase
Standing at the early morning lines this week waiting for the Grade 7s to arrive a group of girls spontaneously started to sing. How wonderful it has been to have our lovely and excited girls back at school. The school feels alive with vitality and buzzes with hope and the promise of happy times to come. Strict protocol has been put in place, which the girls are slowly getting used to. It is remarkable to see how our girls are taking responsibility for their own “bubble” in class. Spraying their desks with surface spray and sanitising their hands on a regular basis. I must admit that the girls are very aware of their masks and the importance thereof.
Letters were shared with the Grade 6 parents. We hope to welcome our Grade 6s on the 6th and 7th of July respectively. Please make sure that your daughter knows which group she is in ie. either the blue or the green group. I am convinced that the extra-small classes will be a blessing, as it will make it easy to reconnect with our pupils, a handful at a time, ensuring individual attention and the strengthening of bonds. As one can imagine, social distancing is a very foreign concept and the Grade 7s, as well as Grade 6s, will need regular reminders that as much as we are protecting ourselves with these precautions, more importantly, we are protecting others around us. Grade 7s had the opportunity to introduce their careers during our LO lessons. They discovered through this experience that due to so many advances made especially on the technological front the career fields are gradually changing.
The “fun day” was postponed to next week Thursday as we hope to have all our Grade 7’s back at school. The Grade 7 teachers are very busy with the marking of various activities completed during the lockdown. These vary from Peer Pressure posters for LO, English short stories based on the Coronavirus, music instruments with instructions in Afrikaans to various Maths activities. This will be a process and we hope to have most of the activities marked in due course. We have also resorted to Zoom Assemblies on Mondays. Mrs Rafferty has inspired our girls with her very special and insightful messages. We look forward to introducing our next value of COMPASSION AND EMPATHY next week.
A reminder to please send all library books back with you daughter when she returns to school.
Happy birthday to the teachers and girls who celebrated this week!
Mrs Ryan, Ms Hanslo, Aventandwa Ponoshe, Lithalelanga Tabensky,
Ella Radovic, Tatiana Radovic, Lithalethu Santi, Nakweziphi Mthetho and Amana Dyira.
Mrs Michelle Rafferty