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Memories

2002 Peterhouse Girls Speech Day

Sue Davidson’s First Address

Guest of Honour, Mrs. Tessa Mattinson, the Rector and Mrs. Calderwood, governors, invited guests, parents and girls of Peterhouse; I welcome you to our annual Speech Day and Prize Giving.

Most of you will remember Rudyard Kipling's poem 'If'. It starts:

'If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs ................ .............'

and Kipling ends the poem by promising "the Earth and everything that's in it."
Well, the other day I came across a piece of literary graffiti that may help to sum up my performance in my first year at PHG, a year of great uncertainty in both the political and the educational spheres. It went like this (and, no, I'm not telling you where I found it!):
'If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs ......................
perhaps it's because you haven't got a clue what's going on!

In the event, I think that I have kept my head. The girls have begun to realise that though I puff and pant a bit at times, that is due to lack of training rather than incipient panic; and I think I've got enough of a clue about what's going on to be able to present to you, ladies and gentlemen, the sort of report on the school that you will find acceptable, perhaps even pleasing.
Here we go , then!

As I look around this Chapel today, I realise just how lucky we are, as teachers and parents, that we are able to ensure that our pupils and your children, albeit from a small, impoverished third world country, are able to make their way successfully in a world of ever increasing complexity. Are you aware that in the richest country in the world, the United States of America, there are 44 million men and women who are functionally illiterate? They cannot fill out a job application; they cannot read a newspaper; they cannot understand a product label nor address an envelope. 44 MILLION!

Your daughters will not just make their way in this new world fraught with difficulties and dangers: they will take it by storm. They have done well at PHG, and they will do well when they leave.

2002 has been a year of changes, in and out of the school, and I marvel at the resilience and ability of our community to adapt to circumstances over which we have little or no control.

Staff
At the beginning of the first term, we saw many new faces in our Staff Room. In a short space of time, they have become very much "part of the furniture" and the PHG family.
Sadly, we have had to say goodbye to two members of staff who had been at PHG many years. Mrs. Avril Pratt joined PHG in 1987 as a founder member of staff and is responsible for the development of our exceptionally fine Art School. She gave so much in other areas too - as a Tutor and House Proctor; as the founder chairperson of the SRC; and as our friend. She and Steve have begun a new life in France. Bonne chance å tous les deux.
Mrs. Carol Gibson has joined her husband in England after teaching here since 1989. She was an amazingly versatile person, teaching agriculture, Commerce and English; training girls for the Allied Arts Competition and as Chapel readers; organising and distributing stationery - the list is almost endless. It has not been easy to find enough people to take over her many roles.

And sadly, Mrs. Wendy Hewit, who has been with us for three years, is moving to Zambia. She has had great success running the French Department but more important, perhaps, has been her impact on girls' rowing. She and her husband, Rob, and their two children must have travelled 1000's of kilometres with the rowers and their boats to regattas in Zimbabwe and South Africa.
To all the staff, academic and non-academic, new and old, I should like to express my gratitude; they serve with loyalty, and their support has been invaluable. I thank all of them for their immense input. In particular, I would like to thank Mrs. Sue Davies for her support and advice so readily given; and my secretary, Mrs. Helen Baxter, who has had to field an almost non-stop barrage of questions from me. I am sure that you, too, are grateful and would like here to express your gratitude.

Academic results
And now to a summary of the year's achievements. First, academically, Peterhouse Girls' continues to produce exceptional results. At 'O' level, our pass rate was once again 96% with ten subjects out of 17 having a 100% pass.
For the first time our girls wrote AS level at the end of the 5th Form and with a pass rate of nearly 94%, we can look on AS as a useful stepping stone to 'A' level. Several of our girls have opted to carry their grades through to 'A' level which considerably lessens their load in their second year in the Upper School.
The 'A' level results once again showed our girls in their best light: a 94Ì % pass rate. There were five subjects in which the girls achieved 100% pass rate.
Next year we shall be writing Cambridge International Examinations at all levels.
These figures speak clearly of the commitment of the staff at both schools; equally, they speak of the positive attitude of the girls to whom I now say: very well done!

Chapel
I was delighted to hear a couple of days ago that our Chaplain, Fr. George Punshon, will be with us for two more years. Our weekly services form a very important part of our lives and we are able to draw strength from our Christian beliefs. Fr. George and Mr. P.P.T. Davies have prepared our confirmands this year and the Bishop of Harare conducted the Confirmation Service a few weeks ago. Many of our girls belong to Scripture Union which meets every Friday and offers fellowship through the school.

Voluntary service
Closely linked to the life of faith is the life of service; one of the most encouraging aspects of the girls' life here is their involvement in voluntary service to our community. All the girls' Houses fund raise in order to supply a snack and drink at break each day to the St. Francis' pre-school centre on our campus. We have a special club under the guidance of Mrs. Gladys Fantiso, which entertains a group of handicapped girls from Kukura Neshungu each week. It's lovely to see the smiles on their faces when they arrive here on Tuesdays.

The Leo Club, under the direction of Rachel Moore and Timisella Zunguze, have been involved with the primary school in many ways - painting blackboards, teaching English, supplying netball uniforms for the girls; Rachel and Timisella were finalists in the Soroptomist International of Harare "Outstanding Youth in the Community" Award 2002. Interact Club raises an amount of money each year from its Variety Concert and the proceeds are donated to local charities, and in particular Ida Wakwako Old Aged Home. Both the Leo and Interact Clubs have raised money to pay for an artificial leg for a worker's wife.
In this field of voluntary service, we are this year celebrating several firsts: Timisella Zunguze is the incoming President of Interact; and Dananai Majuru is to be the Junior Mayoress of Marondera. Our girls are very well represented on the committees of all three service clubs and rumour has it that they do all the work!

Music
The second activity which I wish to emphasise this Speech Day, is Music which continues to play a large part in our lives at PHG. "Where there's music, said Don Quixote," there can be no evil". I'd like to believe that we can live up to that dictum. We started the year without a Head of Music, not a happy situation; but with the invaluable help of Mrs. Frances Yiend, Miss Denise Osborne, Miss Hilary Wynne and Mrs. Christine Venables, we managed to keep all our musical activities going for two terms. We competed very successfully in the Eisteddfod, where the Choir achieved an Honours and a 1st Grade Certificate.
In addition to the Juniors and Senior Choirs, last term saw the inauguration of the 6th Form Choir and they have been a delight to listen to. Together with the Jazz Band (in which are three members from the girls' school), they have performed in Marondera, Mutare and Harare. Highlights here have been "A Little Light Music" and a most enjoyable dinner-dance.

At long last, at the beginning of this term, we were delighted to welcome Miss Catherine Stirling as Head of Music. She is a talented violinist and has quickly become immersed in the musical life of our three schools. It has been something of a "baptism by fire" for her as this last weekend she was heavily involved in the Choir Dinner and Musical Soiree in which many of our musicians and singers took part to such delightful effect.
The musical activity this year has been something special, but the cultural side of the school, as a whole, is alive and flourishing and each year new activities appear on the programme.

Cultural successes
Let me now touch lightly on some of the cultural successes.
Our Bridge teams more than hold their own and this year Rachel Moore and Carolyn Nel won the Interschools Mashonaland Pairs Competition.
In the Allied Arts Competition, special mention should be made of Emily Laing, Amanda Mapanda, Brenda Mataka and Joanne Redmile who achieved Honours grades.
Mr. Munjoma's Senior Quiz Team took part in an Interschools Quiz hosted by Watershed College. We won, very easily, I'm told.
Toastmasters continues to attract at least half the 6th Form each year. This year we have had meetings with Peterhouse, St. John's, St. George's, Watershed College and Prince Edward. Emily Laing and Brenda Mataka are the two Presidents.

Emily Laing represented Peterhouse at the World Individual Public Speaking and Debating Championships held at Michaelhouse, Natal, in April.
It's been an interesting and varied year for drama with activities each term: Term One saw a lively musical variety show "Songs from the Shows", produced by Kate Sinclair with the girls from B Block and above singing and dancing. Special mention should be made of Sandy Khumalo who has sung solos in many productions over the years.
Interhouse Drama took place in the 2nd Term. There were some excellent productions and a lot of unknown acting talent came to light: Camilla Knight was awarded Best Actress, and Brenda Mataka Best Cameo Role. The best overall production was the Impala play "Darlings You Were Wonderful". And they were.
Not content with masterminding the Interhouse plays, Mrs. Davies then threw herself into the time-consuming task of organising the Buckland Arts Competition in July. It amazes me that for a small school we have such a wealth of talent in so many disciplines - music, song, recitation, dance, art, craft, needlework, cookery and flower arranging were all on display, all judged. The overall winners were Eland.
All this cultural activity is a sign of healthy minds.

Sport
Equally important in the overall education of the girls is the development of healthy bodies. We were very fortunate at the beginning of the year to welcome Mrs. Claire Hough as Director of Sport, and also Counsellor and Science Teacher. She has had the daunting task of co-ordinating fixtures, buses, fields and courts.
There have been many very satisfying results this year and, although winning is certainly not everything, it does give those involved a great deal of pleasure. Our small staff is very stretched when it comes to coaching all the age groups but they rarely complain!

The athletics team, coached by Miss Terry Matongo, won all their Interschools meetings. Seven girls were selected for Mashonaland East and Kundai Musarurwa, although only in the C Block, went on to represent Zimbabwe in the U20 100m hurdles in Botswana and came 4th.
Mrs. Liz Ireland Jones' Tennis Teams, have been most successful in all age groups this year and there have been some extremely exciting moments, particularly in a Melbury Cup fixture against the Convent: matches were equal, sets were equal, but we finally lost by four games. Our 1st Team enjoyed its revenge when they beat Convent 8-0 shortly afterwards.

Swimming has certainly gone from strength to strength thanks to the dedicated coaching of Mrs. Sue Vandoros, culminating in our coming 2nd to Chisipite in the Northern Section Interschools Relays Gala, beating the Convent for the very first time. Once again, Megan Odendaal was chosen to represent Zimbabwe in the Prestige Gala held in Cape Town in March.

The PHG Boat Club had a good first term, with our 6th Form crew competing in the S.A. Schools Championships. All our crews moved up a category, with two crews competing in B category races. The highlight of this term has been competing in the International Regatta held on the Zambezi River above the Victoria Falls.
Squash, of course, is played throughout the year and at present, we have three teams playing in the Leagues. Earlier this year, Joanne Redmile and Stacey-Lee Plenderleith were selected for the U14 National Team which competed in South Africa.

Our winter sports also produced some exciting results. In Basketball, our First Team gave spectators two memorable matches when centuries were scored. Three girls competed in the Mashonaland East Trials and Lorraine Bgoya was selected to captain the side.

Hockey has had another exceptional year and for the second time in a row, we won the Hockey League, and our First Team came 3rd in the Golden Girls Tournament. Seven of our girls were chosen to represent Zimbabwe: in the U18B Team - Angela Raynor (captain), Karen Speight, Kirsty Querl, Ngaa Mataswa, Breanna Curtis; U16A Team - Susan Cloete and Geraldine Raynor. In April, Miss Barrington and Mrs. Davies, supported by the indefatigable Raynors, took a team to South Africa and toured Stellenbosch and Cape Town.

Under the watchful eye of Mrs. van Staden, our Golf Team has gone from strength to strength winning both Interschools Competitions this year.
As an experiment we have introduced volleyball as a compulsory sport in the D Block. Our teams won all their matches except one this year - not a bad record, Mrs.Munjoma!
Finally, Aerobics continues to be very popular and we have been lucky to have two instructors this term. I think over half the school is involved in aerobics; kick boxing and modern dancing at present. It is an ideal form of exercise for the less athletic.

The future
And now - the future. I am an optimist and convinced that we must go on making plans. We cannot be negative and stop all progress, just as I cannot live without improving my garden! We must look ahead. 2003 promises to be an exciting year: plans for a new Science Block have been approved and building should start in the not too distant future.
It is also the Golden Jubilee year of the Springvale Campus and we can promise you three terms of non-stop action! We need your support in many areas if we are to achieve our goal - a hall to serve both Springvale House and Peterhouse Girls'.

At the beginning of this term, the girls were asked to design a Golden Jubilee Logo. The winning design was created by Mandy Moran, an ex-Springvale House pupil and now in our D Block. I would ask her to come up and receive her prize.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mandy is a symbol of our future: young, bright, athletic, artistic. With God's blessing and the continued support of our wonderful parent body, the future will be fair.

We now come to the Prize Giving and I would like to hand over to Mrs. Davies and call upon Mrs. Mattinson to present the prizes which the girls so richly deserve.

S.M. DAVIDSON (Mrs.)
Headmistress
7 November 2002

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