It is with great pride that Durban High School congratulates Mr Alan Norton on his promotion to Principal of Durban North College. Mr Norton served School with distinction for 30 years and this is a well-deserved appointment.
Mr Norton played a key role in the academic sphere of School through Geography, the Pastoral side as a Grade Head and Head of Discipline and on the sport fields.
Ms Jeanette du Plessis, HOD of Geography, and colleague and friend of Mr Norton’s for many years has written the following:
“Alan Norton is a very proud Old Boy of Pretoria Boys High School. He often speaks about his days as a boarder there with such awe and gratitude and has kept in contact with his former Maths educator and is a reliable donor for many initiatives at his alma mater.
He attended the then University of Natal, Durban Campus, initially to study Commerce. He opted to major in Geography and Afrikaans-Nederlands! He continued to read for his Honours degree in Geography and opted to do his UED so that he could teach.
Whilst he was at university he met his future wife, Beverley Heath. Her father, Grayson Heath (a DHS Old Boy) allowed her to drive his car, a BMW, on condition that she took him to and fetched him from the airport on a weekly basis because his business was in Johannesburg. Alan fell for the girl and the car. It cannot be contested that Alan did always have a good eye for a good model!
Alan did his teaching practicum at Durban High School and the management at the time were impressed by his acumen in the classroom and also his expertise as a coach. He was appointed as a teacher to School, despite the fact that he still had to complete his two years of compulsory national military service.
He arrived at School to take up his post in 1990. He was a form III, now Grade 9, class tutor and taught a multitude of junior classes until he had earned his stripes in the Geography department under the guidance of Ms Margie Fielden. Very reluctantly, he taught a few Afrikaans classes but eventually threatened to resign if he was allocated any more of these classes.
In 1994 he was appointed as Grade 11 Grade Head and he was also the MIC for Cricket. Between matters Geography, Grade 11 issues and MIC, he had to ensure that 26 teams were fielded on a weekly basis. He had to co-ordinate the practices, coaches and fields, ensure that there were buses to transport players, organise umpires, balls, bales, stumps and refreshments and still coach the first XI. He also played club cricket on Sundays for many years. His love and passion for this code made him qualify himself as a rated coach and selector for Natal Schools.
He is revered by many of the Old Boys of School as a coach and mentor. He coached cricket for 22 years at School and the likes of Hashim Amla, Imraan Khan, Jonathan Vandiar, Ainsley Ndolvu and Sibs Makhanya are but a few who relish looking up their old coach when they are in town, or an opportunity arises to visit school to motivate the boys or donate a jersey or two …
Alan also coached Rugby for 17 years and was the 1st XV Rugby Coach for many years, coaching international players BJ Botha, Antonie Claasen and Greg Rawlinson and provincial players Scott Mathie, Anton Bressler, Morne Snyman and Jody Jenneker.
His passion for soccer was also realised when he coached the 1st XI for a number of years.
With these duties came many fixtures, mostly on weekends and during school holidays for local and international sport tours. He toured to every major tournament throughout South Africa and arranged many tours, both locally and overseas. Alan garnered the support of the boys’ parents and together they embarked on many fundraising events to assist with the funding of these tours.
Without a doubt, Alan’s proudest achievement, according to him, is that he married the right woman! Beverley has staunchly and uncompromisingly supported Alan throughout his career.
Their daughter, Christy is a second year Fashion Design student at Vega and was voted top of her class and most promising maverick last year. She is the creative one in the family, who loves to experiment in the kitchen.
Matthew, his son, has followed in Alan and Grandpa Grayson’s footsteps. He is an excellent cricketer, hockey player; actually an all-round good sportsman who loves watching all sports on television.
Alan is a committee man. He likes to hear other people’s voices and ideas when planning events. Apart from chairing the Discipline, Games and Cultural Committee meetings, he was been at the coalface with arrangements for Founders Day for many years. He was tasked with the 150th Celebrations when others shied away from doing so.
He took on this challenge with his usual methodical and affable approach and amassed a group of people whom he knew he could rely on to work independently and meet the deadlines. Alan and Matthew, his son, became the face of the 150th celebrations. Alan attended every function, meeting, pre- and post-tournament meetings with the various coaches from the participating schools, welcome cocktail events, early breakfasts and late suppers, plays, musical festivals and gala events to name but a few. And Matthew was his shadow at all the sports events. Thus ensuring that the DHS he knew and loved, would shine.
Alan is a firm believer in the justice of the universe …. Karma, the truth, honesty, integrity, to analyse your motives for your actions, and to have a wonderful sense of humour. Under his carapace of “take no prisoners” and his Capricorn horns, is a softy, with a generous spirit – kind, thoughtful and creative – with two sweetie jars on his desk in his office.
All and sundry would pop into his office for some advice on matters of the heart, financials, the trials and tribulations of the Blue Bulls, or just to get a sugar rush. He is a wise, intuitive counsellor, caring, a confidante and friend.
Many may not know that Alan has a passion for music and acted as the impromptu DJ on many an early morning in the Admin block passage where his office was located. He loved to croon along to his favourites like BB King, Jim Croce, Elvis, Elton and Freddie and would often start dancing spontaneously with great energy and delight. Kaptein Span die Seile and 40 Days will always bring fond memories to mind.
He was a Deputy Head at Durban High School for many years and has had aspirations of being a principal of a school for a number of years. What an accolade for a true gentleman who has never shied away from responsibility, commitment, hard work and serving his community.
Al-my-Pal, know that the thousands of people who have been associated with you over your 30 year tenure at School salute you for your unwavering loyalty, dedication and pay tribute to you. They as one will stand and congratulate you and wish you well for the next part of your journey, as educator, mentor and leader of Durban North College.
VIRTUTE ET LABORE
Through Courage and Labour
Ms J du Plessis
HOD, Friend & Colleague
We wish you all the very best at Durban North College, Mr Norton Sir, they are very fortunate to have a person of your calibre to lead them.