Rector’s eNews – 18 October 2023/ Newsletters
Our Speech Day was held last Friday with a keen focus, as always, on the matriculants as they take leave of the school. Prizes were awarded to those who have excelled academically and to those who were top in each subject as well as to those who have improved to the greatest extent and/or were the most diligent, underlining our philosophy which seeks to promote excellence as well as the determination to “be the best version of yourself”. A list of the prize-winners on the basis of their aggregate as well as those winning special prizes is attached.
We have received many accolades about the day, including praise for the Guest Speaker, Andrew Cook, a teacher at Michaelhouse between 1980-2004 and, subsequently, Head of two schools, Beaulieu College and Mitchell House. Andrew’s love for Michaelhouse was demonstrated at various times in his inspiring talk to the boys and parents and is also encapsulated in a poem he wrote while he was a teacher here. This depicts the essence of and activity in the Main Quad so beautifully:
Michaelhouse Main Quad
Mostly male domain, the quad squats foursquare
In the lap of the school, its neat rectangles and
Weighty flagstones rooting it firmly in the earth.
It’s not going anywhere.
Through its traffic crossroads gowned academic,
Bookshod sportsman, hungry schoolboy and aspirant Thespian.
The upstand buttress arrows the overarching sky
Magnifying masculinity, and eyes
Drawn along geometric lines
Amplify the stark imperative:
Quit ye like men: be strong.
But the colour doesn’t fit: rosy, red brick
Gentles the impression, and the worn edges
Of tiles and arches, transfigured by human touch
Soften the thrust and drive of perfect symmetry.
The fountain’s running water too, and privet’s
Rounded topiary makes feminine influence tangible
Though few flowers grow.
Site of warcry and schoolboy prank
Great moon clock and horror tale
Barn owl’s haunt and Jabula sale
Round it all lie ancient arms
“Who like God?” He will prevail.
For breathed in brick and balustrade
In rounded arch and colonnade
Live still the shades of those who’ve passed
Along these paths and passageways
Their quiet spirits here excite for us who wander in and out
A sense of balance, love and light
That graces all that’s best in life.
Boys and staff voted at the end of last week for the Senior Prefect as well as for the Heads of House who constitute the School Prefect body. The voting serves as a guideline to the Rector in the appointment of the Senior Prefect and to Housemasters in the appointment of the Heads of Houses. Within each House there is a process followed from the C Block year onwards of Housemasters discussing leadership with their boys and boys gaining experience of leadership through portfolios such as being on the School Council, the Kitchen Committee, organising House sport and the like.
We follow a process in which the Senior Prefect is announced, followed by the Heads of House, and then later on the House Prefects are announced.
At last week’s assembly, I drew attention to the fact that, in line with the traditional Michaelhouse way, a leader should have certain qualities: firstly, there is the quality of integrity, meaning that such a person can be trusted even when nobody is watching his actions. Secondly, he should have courage, especially moral courage which enables him to overcome the natural desire to compromise his position simply because he will be better liked by others; thirdly, he should have humility which entails serving others and having the well-being of others at the forefront of his mind; fourthly, he should have compassion which enables him to support those who are not as able as he is and need support. Fifthly, and perhaps most important, he should be prepared to serve others.
A leader should also have a sense of purpose and, indeed, clarity of purpose. In terms of this clarity of purpose, he should have clear moral beliefs, understanding the difference between what is right and what is wrong and therefore not turning a blind eye to what is wrong. He should have initiative because he needs to set the tone for the conduct of events and organise and arrange activities; he should have enthusiasm and commitment for the task and be able to motivate others; he should have self confidence and the capacity to earn respect; he should have consideration for others as he will need to understand that other people are different and he may need to see things from a different perspective. He will need to acknowledge his mistakes and be big enough to apologise when he is wrong; he will need determination in order to see things through to a logical conclusion and he will need intelligence as he will have to weigh up a range of possibilities and make a good decision. There are other considerations too, but these are just some of the examples of the qualities and direction that a leader at Michaelhouse will need to have.
The School Prefects will be inducted in a service on Sunday evening in the Chapel and each School Prefect is asked these questions. Will you:
• Do all you can to enhance the good name of Michaelhouse?
• Use your authority to serve those entrusted to your care?
• Exercise your authority in order uphold the school rules and maintain good order and discipline?
• Endorse through your behaviour the mission of Michaelhouse?
• Oppose any form of bullying or unfair discrimination?
• Recognise and protect the rights of others?
The announcement of the House Prefects will be made next week once they are finalised, but at this stage I am pleased to announce that Carlyle Hawkins of Mackenzie House is the Senior Prefect for 2024 and, consequently, the winner of the Chree Bright Award. Well done, Carlyle!
The Heads of Houses who are also School Prefects are: Luke Davidson (Founders), Luke Kaufmann (East), Jack Hughes (West), Dylan Hewlett (Farfield), Ben English (Tatham), Ben Cheales (Pascoe), Sanele Mnganga (Baines), Cival Rugbar (Mackenzie), Michael Spencer (Ralfe) and Alex Vries (McCormick). Luke Kaufmann is the Second Prefect. Congratulations to them all. Firstly, I have made the point to the boys that those who are not, at this stage, elected to the role of School or House Prefect still have the opportunity to be made up to that position at a later stage if they develop further and make a good impact on their peers and the School.
left to right back row: Sanele Mnganga , Alex Vries , Luke Davidson , Michael Spencer, Dylan Hewlett, Jack Hughes and Ben Cheales
Left to right front row: Mr Sibusiso Ncamani, Cival Rugbar, Carlyle Hawkins, Mr Antony Clark, Luke Kaufmann, Ben English and Mr Brendan Gittins