September 2, 2020

Rector’s eNews – 02 September 2020

/ Rector's eNews

One of the major events in the Michaelhouse calendar is the C Block Journey which, all things being equal, starts this Saturday and continues for 13 days. This is the 10th such Journey and many accolades should be bestowed on Paul Fleischack who, amongst other responsibilities, leads our outdoor education with skill, empathy and huge enthusiasm. We are also extremely grateful to upwards of 25 other members of staff, including the four group leaders, Ryan Strudwick, James Fleming, Ollie Hugo and Peter Stevens, for their expertise and commitment to ensuring the success of the venture. For Peter Stevens, it is his 10th consecutive C Block Journey and, since he retires at the end of this year, it must be his last. We thank him for his enormous contribution over the years including his relaying to the boys the history associated with the terrain through which the boys walk, cycle and paddle.

Many schools have a similar programme, but few have the prospect of venturing into some of the most beautiful and interesting parts of the entire world as we are privileged to have on our doorstep in the Drakensberg.

Having been associated with similar ventures elsewhere, I am aware of the impact that it makes on the young men who, in many cases, have to ‘dig deep’ to sustain themselves well outside of their comfort zones. Over the past couple of days, I have asked some of the A Block what they recall of the C Block Journey and here are a couple of verbatim responses:

“When you have done C Block Journey you become a senior boy. It is the doorway to the senior years at Michaelhouse.”
“It is the biggest growth experience I have had in my time at Michaelhouse.”
“I got to know some boys as never before. The biggest challenge is not the summiting or having a sore bum from cycling, but the solitude.”
“I remember that it was quite emotional getting a letter from my parents.”
“C Block Journey gives you time think about your life away from any distractions such as social media.”

Though we are aware of the Michaelhouse code and strive, probably intermittently if the truth be known, towards integrity, humility, courage, compassion and service to others, we are all aware of how we fail, most often, in terms of attaining those characteristics or qualities, but the experience of a C Block Journey engenders and develops the best attributes in boys; these may be exhibited, for example, in helping a friend in difficulty, undertaking a new activity such as cycling which could be a real challenge, or appreciating how insignificant one is in the greater scheme of life when standing beneath Giant’s Castle and looking up.

So, as the C Block boys leave us on Saturday morning for their Journey, we wish them well and trust that they will be conscious of areas in which they need to develop further personally and that they are also able to celebrate their undoubted strengths.

A complete change of subject takes us to our Speech Day which is due to be held on Friday 9 October. We have had to consider how best to enjoy this event with no more than 50 people able to assemble for such a celebratory gathering and I wanted to let you know as soon as possible about our thoughts on this so that you do not make arrangements which then have to be changed. At present, we are planning this event to include only the prize winners and a very small number of staff along with the Chairman of the Board. There will be somewhat shorter speeches than usual and the event will be live-streamed to all parents, Old Boys and other interested parties. As I have said, I wanted to avoid your making arrangements for this occasion and then needing to change them, but we will also be alert to the outside possibilities of national norms changing in terms of the number of people who are able to gather for such an event.

Read the full Rector’s eNews here

Copyright © 2024 Michaelhouse. All rights reserved.