The dream of moving to a small town, surrounded by mountains and flanked by the sea, had been on my bucket list for many years. A place to retire to some day!
Then I applied for the position at PHES and the rest, as they say, is History. I fell in love with Pringle Bay and subsequently PHES as soon as I visited it. The prospect of taking up the challenge to grow the school, appealed to me. The whole ethos of an Eco School is an amazing one. To be able to teach and have the opportunity to bring in nature to illustrate concepts being taught, is more then I could ask for.
I had little time to resign from my current school, pack up my things, sort out my family’s living arrangements, put my house on the market, find a place to stay in Pringle Bay…but it worked out in the end and I am still just as enamoured with Pringle Bay and PHES as I ever was.
Many changes have been made as the year has rushed by. Many wonderful experiences and a few learning curves have kept my PHES journey an interesting one.
I have an incredible team of staff. They are hard-working, show initiative and have humoured me as I made changes, both great and small. The staff and I had a common goal after all…to grow a school that would benefit the students on every level.
Thank you to the SGB who run things in the background, ensuring that our school runs smoothly. Your guidance, input and patience in mentoring me in my new role as the Head of PHES, has and is much appreciated.
Changes have been made in the administration sector. To our very talented and wise secretary who works tirelessly to get policies, new enrolment forms, school fees, transfer cards, screen calls, take messages from all and sundry (the list is endless), we give our grateful thanks. With her level-headedness we came through the fires and the riots, unscathed.
My staff has been supportive and encouraging. I was quick to “exploit’ their various talents and use them to my advantage. When suggestions were made, I considered them seriously and so physical and aesthetic changes began to take place to transform our school from what it was to how it looks now.
We said a sad goodbye to Sharon Knight who had looked after our babies and she was replaced by Andrea Botma.
We also said goodbye to Retha Kruger and welcomed Leslie Van Zyl in her place in the Grade ½ class.
We say a sad farewell to two other staff members at the end of the year, Eloise Wallace, who has been nurturing the 4-6 year olds for just over two years, and Anita Van Schaik, who taught the Grade 6/7 class.
We also introduced three specialist teachers onto the staff to head up the Music, isiXhosa and Drama Departments, Debi Best, Maureen Reid and Galia Manikom.
The classroom sizes at the beginning of 2017 were too small to accommodate the growing number of students entering the school, so a group of parents, the staff and I, put our heads together and brain-stormed. The result was an amalgamation of classes out of which large, airy classrooms emerged. The lighting was changed and more furniture was purchased. Then I mentioned that it would be great to have an extra room for the arts! And voila! The Art Zone was created. Marie Nel and Martin Fehr’s input of time and energy has been invaluable to us.
We now have a wonderful field where we can play ball games, new jungle gyms, a volley-ball pit, and tyre animals to brighten and tweak our littlies’ imaginations.
Milly headed up the Eco part of our school and ensured that we stuck to the programme that we were given for 2017. There were many beach clean-ups, water-wise talks and tree identifications, and vegetable patches were dug and planted. All of this has been incorporated into our general teaching programme and has enriched the students’ experiences immensely.
The support of the parents for the annual Fun Day was amazing. They helped to organise, under the guidance of the PTA, an immensely successful day and vital funds were raised which are used to help run the school effectively. At the moment these parents are working towards another annual fund-raiser, the PHES AUCTION! We are also hugely privileged to receive such awesome support from the Pringle Bay Community. From the local businesses and artists and from generous individuals who love our school. We are truly grateful for your kind generosity.
As the year comes to its conclusion and exams are being written and plans are being made, I want to take this opportunity to thank my staff, the SGB and the parents and students for helping to make this year such a phenomenal success.
I look forward to an even more productive and successful year ahead where we can compete with other schools in sporting activities and do even more successful Eco Projects. It is also our school’s TENTH YEAR ANNIVERSERY and we are planning many exciting things to celebrate our successful journey thus far.
Light and love