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P O Thornhill
South Africa
25 March 2015
Good day Parents
I do trust that you are all well. As we move towards the end of this first Term the pace is picking up
and you are probably noticing the time pressures on your children are increasing as their workload
and extramural involvement steps up a gear. My daughter in Grade 4 is certainly under a similar
weight as the Prep Concert that she is involved in is scheduled for performances tonight and tomorrow
Last Saturday I took a trip to the Victoria Park Football Festival and was able to watch our boys play
Selborne in what was initially a closely-contested game. At half-time we were tied at 1-1, but it was in
the second half that we opened a gap and stepped up the pace, eventually winning the match 3-1.
As soon as the game was over I jogged to my car and drove to Kirkwood to support our 1st XV in their
1.55pm fixture against Winterberg. I arrived in time for this fixture and our lads worked hard to be in a
position of 7-10 down at half-time. But again we stepped up a gear and
fought hard to clinch the game 14-10 at full-time.
There are three things that I want to comment on.
Firstly I received a text from Nicholas Kock during the 1st XV fixture that the
Football 1st XI also had beaten Pearson in the Shield Final 2-0.
Secondly, this win from our 1st XV against Winterberg was a key defining
moment for me because it represents the first win for our 1st XV since 2013.
Thirdly, in both fixtures that I watched last Saturday we came back stronger
in the second half and won the game.
To me these results are very good to see, but it is the character of the wins
that really encourages me. And I believe that this is the character of
Woodridge. We don't give up. We don't give in. We don't stand back. We
don't capitulate. And it is this quality of character that gives me goosebumps.
I'm proud to be part of this school for so many reasons and this element is
one of those reasons.
I've included a couple of photos of these teams in this newsletter. I am
looking forward to the winter season very much. I've said before that the Brit in me loves the cold, but
it's also the collegial feel of the Derby Days that makes us feel a collective, that makes us feel a
community and I like that.
In my other capacity as the "Headmaster-in-the-office" I've just concluded writing reports for all 365
pupils at Woodridge. It takes a while as you can imagine, but it is a tremendous privilege to be able to
more than a school… an experience
make a personal comment to you about your
son or daughter and I do thoroughly enjoy
the process of considering each and every
single pupil at our school.
What has stood out for me particularly as I
wrote these comments is that our pupils are
invariably very happy here.
Part of the process of the writing is that I
picture the pupil I am writing about and that
helps me to build the comment.
When I picture your sons and daughters they
have smiles on their faces and this is a
tremendous encouragement to me.
You might recall my letter to you last year in which I spoke about the serving of lunch and how it had
given me a snapshot of the whole school. The process of report-writing does just that. It gives me a
window into all 365 pupils.
Next week I get out of the office again and I will travel briefly to Cape Town to watch the 1st XV play in
the Somerset College Rugby Festival. I look forward to representing Woodridge in the Western Cape
and cheering our rugby boys on as they play Thomas More on Tuesday at 2pm at Somerset College.
We close for the Easter holidays next Wednesday; just a week from today and on the Thursday,
Friday and Saturday following Woodridge is proud to be hosting the Under 16 Co-Ed Hockey Festival
on campus and we eagerly look forward to that tournament.
Next Wednesday is significant for Gavin Thomson and I in that it will mark the start of our second year
working together. We both started in our current roles on 1 April 2013 and so we will be moving into
Round 2 on the final day of this Term. I am very proud to work with this fine man and I am grateful to
Gavin for his unstinting support of me and of Woodridge in this first year.
I look forward to sending you the final letter of Term 1 next week. Until then I wish you every blessing
and success.
With my best wishes as always
more than a school… an experience