And what a week it was!
It all started on Monday when Head Master, Mr Erasmus, took Head Prefect, Mvumuleni Mathenjwa, to have tea at the Caister Lodge as some of our Old Boys live there. They are always so delighted to meet the current Head Boy and have tea and cake with the Head Master.
Mrs Nagiah and Mr Lewis, with Mr Maree’s assistance, dressed the trees outside our gate in blue and gold and our trees were decorated with blue and white lights … all very festive.
Wednesday was 1 June, was School’s actual 150th birthday and to celebrate we got cake … for breakfast … what a great way to start the day! Every boy and staff member received a piece, an annual tradition on the School’s birthday. This year the cake was decorated to reflect our special anniversary.
Thank you, and Happy Birthday, School!
Thursday was a busy old day: firstly the Old Boys Golf Day which saw 300 golfers playing at both at Royal Durban and Beechwood, two reunions where held at the School – 1956 and 1966 – and the School of Original Rock concert was held in the evening.
And we received an awesome end to the day when our two new school vehicles, all beautifully branded, arrived!
On Friday morning we welcomed over 250 DHS Old Boys to a Special Old Boys Assembly. The Old Boys Assembly, introduced by Head Master Mr Leon Erasmus when he arrived in 2013, has become an integral part of the Founders Day Celebrations. This year, on our 150th Anniversary, it was bigger and better than ever.
The ceremony, attended by Trustees of the Foundation, special guests, DHS staff and our boys, began with readings and prayers by the Head Prefects and included musical interludes by the Deo Fretus Singers and the Mambazo Singers. Josh Spooner said the thanks at the end of the ceremony.
Mr Erasmus addressed the audience and presented certificates and leather bound copies of the DHS 150th Heritage Book to Trustees and employees of the DHS Foundation in recognition of their roles in the upgrading and development of the School’s infrastructure. (Read an extract from his talk on the front page of the Herald.)
A new Mathematics prize, the Wadley Memorial Prize was introduced by Mr Keith Barnett and Party and Mr Winston Owen, Chairman of the Governing Body addressed the school. Mr Owen, an Old Boy (Class of ’89), highlighted the importance of the brotherhood at DHS that
has been the pulse of School for 150 years. He voiced his pride in the boys that currently form the DHS body and thanked the Old Boys who continuously support DHS. He said, “the current young men at DHS look up to you, the Old Boys, and have enormous pride as they have seen and heard stories about your success and hope to emulate you.”
One of the highlights of the ceremony was a special 150th gift which was unveiled and presented to Mr Erasmus by Mr Hank Pike, the Durban Preparatory High School Headmaster. The gift of an exquisite mosaic of the DHS School badge was in recognition of the close relationship between the two schools which is so important to honour and remember. It was Mr A S Langley, the 4th Head Master of DHS, who founded DPHS in 1910. Four boys from Prep were in the audience and it was wonderful to have them join us.
Thank you, Prep for your wonderful gift!
The 1st XI Hockey and the 1st XV Rugby teams for the games against Maritzburg College on Saturday were then announced.
It was a solemn and dignified occasion. However, Mr Erasmus did warn everyone in attendance that once the formalities were completed, things would get a bit wild … and they did …
Scott Mathie, Old Boy (Class of 2000) and current DHS Head of Rugby, addressed the players, the DHS boys and Old Boys in stirring, rousing and heartfelt talk about building blocks, the small things, wolves and DHS boys being true men of character. Every person in that Hall stood and applauded him when he finished … wow, Scott, we all wanted to play for School on Founders Day!
Then the fun really started … our boys, led by the 1st XV and 1st XI and the war cry leaders, lifted the roof off the Hall with the School Song, the College Song and the War Cry. The spirit amongst the boys was tangible and fantastic to witness. The Brass Band came marching in and led the Old Boys down the red carpet and out the Hall while the whole School clapped and whistled and honoured them … an incredibly moving ceremony which everyone, particularly the Old Boys, will long remember.
The culmination of the Celebrations was our 150th Founders Day on Saturday 4 June 2016!
My word … we were expecting large numbers, but the sheer volume of the 1000s of people that attended was almost overwhelming … the support for our School was incredible!
And what a wonderful day it was … the crowds, the excitement, the expectation, the cheering, the rugby, the war cries, the war cry leaders, the marching band, the 150th cake, the Old Boys, our boys, the passion, the pride, the blue and gold …
Our 1st XV played a splendid game, but unfortunately did not win. The 2nd XV and U16A teams, however, were over the moon to win both their games. These two wins hint at an exciting season next year when the 5 players from the U16A team that were selected for the Grant Khomo Week move up to join the 5 Grade 11s from the 1st XV that were selected for Craven Week.
Thank you to everyone for a truly memorable day … thank you for joining us, thank you for your support, thank you to our parents for the wonderful teas, thank you to Aamena Karolia for the stunning 150th cake, thank you to Marylyn Packham for the beautiful flowers, thank you to the staff who worked so hard to make the day a success, and thank you to our boys for making us so very proud …
There is a School upon a hill
Which has been there for many a year …
Founders Week Celebrations!
And what a week it was!