From the Desk of the Headmaster – 11 December 2020

NB – Please read through the entire message for relevant information:

Congratulations DPHS, we have crossed the finish line and can now look forward to celebrating the success of the year not only as a school but also in our homes amongst the love and support of our families.  We all know what a challenging year we have experienced but please rather look for the abundant positives that have enriched us as school or household.  I say that with the utmost respect towards any hardships that we as staff, boys, families and the Prep community may have had to endure but I refuse to allow myself or us as Prep to get caught in that dark hole that this Covid-19 pandemic may have created.  We have not only survived but we have grown as individuals and as a Prep community – even the world leaders have been forced to engage to save lives and pay urgent attention to critical global issues to “heal the world”.

DPHS could no longer rely on what has always served our needs but have had to alter our ships course through online teaching, innovative leading styles and use of school facilities with new formats introduced to cater for our boys in their extra-mural programmes.  We have as Prep been encouraged to focus more on the deeper soul to develop and care for the physical, emotional and mental well-being, not only of the individual but more importantly that of the entire grade, class, team, school and families.  We have as a society and community learnt not just to follow routine of ‘when’ we are doing it but “why” and “how” we are going to do it.

You will remember that I have used the theme of “Lighthouse Leaders” from the very beginning of the year.  Little did I realize then that this solid structure would be so appropriate for this year – this tower that stands so tall containing that powerful beacon of light, to warn or guide our ship at sea.

Please allow me then with your full support as parents and boys of Prep to pay our utmost respect towards the 2020 lighthouses who have guided our DPHS vessel to the safety of our harbour.  I firstly refer to our staff members who have stood firm refusing to leave their post even though their lighthouse brickwork has at times been pelted by unexpected stormy weather.

When panic and pressures have been felt in society our staff have stood tall as professionals throughout each day even at times at the cost of their own health and family time.  The staff lighthouses exist along the entire DPHS coastline which identifies each staff member in all school management positions, all departments, all phases, administration offices, as well as the security, maintenance and support staff.  I refer to every staff member, without mentioning by name, to be warmly applauded from the comfort of your Prep homes.  Our staff members will feel your love, support and recognition for steering our valuable cargoes, “our boys” to the safety of “excellence and overall development” throughout this year.

Please believe me when I again state that the DPHS lighthouses are already prepared to serve our school from day one ie. – Wednesday 27 January 2021.  No unexpected Covid-19 storm will cause our lights to flicker – learning and teaching will begin as meetings, planning and preparation has already been conducted in advance.

May I briefly pause to again highlight the following staff members who have blessed our DPHS shores with their service namely:

Mrs Marinda Tournier for her 17 years of expertise and dedicated guidance given to our JP boys, in the position of learning/remedial support.  May you enjoy your retirement.

To Mr Botha for his hands-on excellent service for two years as our Director of IT – may you and your family find much happiness overseas.

To Mrs Kirstin Pullen for her Proudly Prep efforts of seven quality years of service in the JP phase who will now be a full time mom to her son who was born this year.

We also say thank you to Mrs Colleen Thomson, Mrs Eleanor Sanders and Ms Cheryl Ferreira for their afternoon services at Preppy’s Place.

Thank you to Chloe Pillay for 4 years of dedicated service as a Teacher’s Assistant at the Reception Unit.  Together with Mrs Viv Reed and Mrs Sue Matthysen she will now take up a position at our restructured DPHS Aftercare facility.

It gives me great pleasure on behalf of Prep to officially welcome Mrs Bronwyn Muller and Mr Pieter Mouton into permanent positions on the staff team from 2021. 

Further DPHS lighthouses need to be acknowledged who have also served as a pillar of strength for our school.  Thank you to our SGB Chairman, Mr Bruce Hughes and to the entire board of ladies and gentlemen who each deserve much praise and abundant recognition for their loyal and dedicated commitment in serving our School.  I extend this vote of appreciation to the Chairman of the DPHS Educational Trust, Mr Craig Simpkins and the Trust Members – thank you.

The lighthouse of the Mothers Committee under Chairlady Mrs Cheryl Turner in the earlier part of 2020, to the acting Chairlady, Mrs Fathima Cajee for the remainder of the year who with her team of mothers still provided a wonderful service to the school and boys. 2021 will welcome in the recently appointed Chairlady, Mrs Jane Oliva and her team.  Thank you Mothers Committee for being there for Prep as always, even under trying circumstances.

Special mention is made of Homework Centre Club, the Aftercare Centre, the Prep Club Coffee Shop, DPHS Uniform Shop and all our service providers who have served the school.

Thank you in abundance to you as “parents” as lighthouses for the solid support structures that you have provided for our school.  Your willingness to adapt, respond to change sometimes at urgent requests and for your continued belief and support for all at Prep need to be highlighted.  May you continue to “shine brightly” again in 2021.

Now that our boys are safely docked in our Prep harbours for the year I would like to congratulate each young Prep gentleman for his “Champion Proudly Prep” efforts this year.  You may not believe this now but your will all move into your next journey stronger than ever as you have risen above the elements of disappointment, learnt to show a maturity beyond your young ages to live in a new world experience, become more resilient to succeed, understood that you have to accept change for the benefit of everyone.  You have shown that spirit of Ubuntu on a daily basis as true Prep sailors with your “all hands on deck” approach.

I personally believe that our statement of “preparing our boys for life” has definitely shone brightly throughout this year.  Congratulations on your achievements and positive comments, that I have enjoyed reading when signing each of your reports.

DPHS will always look out to “sea” to keep a close watch on any boy/family in the grades who now leave the harbour of Prep.  This reference is also especially focused on our Grade 7 seniors who I predict will be lighthouse leaders at High School next year right through until their Matric year in 2025.

Thank you to our senior boys for the maturity, respectful “buy-in”  each day and for standing together on deck refusing to send out an SOS flare by giving up.  I raise my Prep cap to you – travel safely and know that our DPHS harbour will always shine that blue and gold light for you, encouraging you to return one day to celebrate with us and relive our combined memories of how we braved the seas together in 2020.

In conclusion I remind you that our cargo-vessel “The Proudly Prep” is safely in the dockyard.  Our senior sailors (Grade 7) enjoyed their leavers walk around deck for the last time before they rang the ship’s bell today to sound their personal achievement of “Old Boy of Prep” to the loud applause of the junior ranks.  Boys in each grade have received their reports today with most sailors having already packed up their personal belongings and locked their cabin door as the “lighthouses of families” have taken note of these Covid-19 clouds that seem to be gathering in number.  The Prep staff are merely left to scrub down their lighthouses in the next two days until school officially closes on Tuesday 15 December so that our lighthouses are ready to shine brightly on Wednesday 27 January when it is full steam ahead again.

Many families have already indicated that although school is open until Tuesday that they would prefer for safety and personal reasons not to send their son back for a day and a morning.  We fully respect the decisions made by our parent community during these uncertain times.

With this said I would prefer to take this opportunity to now wish every DPHS family a well-deserved holiday filled with rest, peace of mind and blessings of good health and safety throughout each day.  I do as the Captain, call out to all sailors to be spotless in appearance on the first day back with their regulation haircuts (non-negotiable) of short back, sides and no mop of hair on top or fancy styles or cuts.

Please contact the school before Tuesday closure (11h00) if your contact details ie. – home/cellphone numbers or email addresses have been changed so that we can be proactive if the need ever arose to communicate with you before school opens for the new academic year.

May each family enjoy a holiday and festive season filled with love, joy and happiness as you spend quality family time together.

Kind regards

B WILSON
Your Proudly Prep Headmaster

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