Rector’s eNews – 24 November 2021/ Rector's eNews
Coinciding with your receipt of this final eNews for the year, the majority of the A Block will be walking down the avenue known as Warriors Walk and out of the school gates. They will be accompanied by the President of the Old Boys Club, Wayne Witherspoon, and Paul Fleischack who, himself, has been a stalwart at Michaelhouse over 36 years and has latterly served, too, as the Secretary of the Old Boys’ Club. In undertaking the walk, the present generation pays tribute to the past generations some of whom are commemorated by the trees which Rector Currey had planted, one for each Old Boy who fell in World War I. The current boys, thus, become Old Boys of Michaelhouse, an enduring brotherhood and more than a presence both here in South Africa and in many other countries around the world.
Over the last year, there has been an exciting step change in the Old Boys’ Club. Driven by a ‘Club for Life’ vision, the Club has been reorganised with Murray Witherspoon (East, 1993) expanding his current role as Head of Marketing and Admissions and becoming the first Director of the Old Boys’ Club (DOBC). This role is akin to that of a Chief Operating Officer and will drive a new era of the Michaelhouse Old Boys’ Club and truly deliver on the ‘Club for Life’ mantra by putting its members at the centre of everything it does.
The Club for Life mantra is: Ask for help, offer help, share knowledge, share memories and do good business.
In April, the Club launched OM+, a private online community for Old Boys powered by market-leading alumni software. Since its launch almost 2000 of the 6500 living Old Boys have joined OM+ from over 30 countries. We now average around 100 new members a month. OM+ enables Old Boys to connect like never before. It has a range of features that include: an on demand global members directory, a global events board (over 40 events around the world each year), interest groups (including local branches), a mentoring hub (with over 900 Old Boys who have made themselves available as mentors), links to Michaelhouse on the internet (websites, social media, etc), regular live online chats with prominent Old Boys, and in early 2022 a jobs board and an (Old Boy) company directory will appear. They are also hosting monthly live online chats and webinars with prominent Old Boys. Here is a short video tour of OM+.
A ‘Club for Life’ aims to be something that builds on the strong values of our School and continues to promote them. Something that is there at every stage of an Old Boy’s life. Something that can meet their evolving needs. Something that means enough to them that they take time out of their day when the call for help comes from one of their own.
The five years of schooling at Michaelhouse is merely the glue/catalyst (or tie) that binds us together in the Club for Life journey. The Old Boys aim to ensure that they are there for each other because they exist because of each other, and for the benefit of future generations of Michaelhouse boys.
Led by Club President, Wayne Witherspoon (East, 1984), Vice President: Sean Lumley (Baines, 1994) and DOBC, Murray Witherspoon (East, 1993), the Club will – over the next few years – seek to:
- Deliver on demand access to the entire Old Boy community.
- Provide a service to Old Boys that is useful in their lives.
- Create a culture that draws ALL Old Boys together for mutual benefit and for the benefit of their communities, the country and the world.
- Be a force for good in the world.
They have made an excellent start and there will be more to come in 2022. I will periodically update you on the Club’s progress.