Dear Parents, Students, Team Members and Colleagues, Friends of the School,
Summer at last — just few days before we plunge into the summer break, it is my pleasure to greet you with some concluding remarks on this eventful school year 2013-14, my first at the Nelson Mandela School.
It would be foolish to summarize the many events and initiatives that marked this year, even more so since our first NMS YEARBOOK has just appeared and gives a truly magnificent overview of our community and its inspiring array of activities. On more than 350 pages, you can read and see who we are and what the Nelson Mandela School stands for. Ianessa Norris, Roslyn Simms and Sandra Ehlermann, together with many contributors and supporters, deserve the highest praise for shouldering this beautiful project. I hope you have secured your personal copy!
Equal praise is due to our graduation class 2014, who managed to impress us all with outstanding exam results. Of the 49 Abi students, 33 students reached a 1 as the first digit. Our IB graduates are still waiting for their results to come in, but, from all we know, they will be equally successful — once again, my heartfelt congratulations to all students and their families. We all know that grades alone cannot be a comprehensive indicator of what we strive for as a school. The graduation ceremony and other festivities around, however, amply showed that our students have much more to offer than academic vigor: the way they presented themselves and their plans for the future, the way they greeted their peers, thanked their parents, and lauded their teachers for lifting them to where they are now emanated an acute sense of community, understanding and generosity. It makes me proud to be part of such a community of learners.
We purposefully end the year with an Umuganda Day. This idea came to us through a student visit in Ruanda this winter. The term Umuganda stands for the act of “coming together in common purpose to achieve an outcome” and has become a regular part of public life and as such a great success in Ruanda these days. At our school, we also feel the need to further build and enhance the spirit of togetherness and lateral accountability. Verging on the number of 1300 students, we as a school community have to rely on every one’s participation and feeling of responsibility. Our special status as the State International School that comes with many privileges also obliges us all. It is this very spirit that has brought the school to be what it is, and, as the parting graduates have communicated to us, is something they have truly cherished but also urge us to sustain and keep track of in years of further growth.
In this spirit bear with us and let me finish with my special thanks to the entire community, our parent council and its splendid leadership and the fabulous team of teachers, educators and staff in particular, for the vibrant energy and full commitment to our school.
Have a refreshing and happy summer vacation — with kind wishes,