Dear Old Boy

Dear Old Boys

By now you are all aware or should be, that Mrs Barnes has been appointed as the Principal of Glenwood High School and I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate her on behalf of the Glenwood Old Boys Association. I have been privileged enough to have had a fair amount of interaction with Mrs Barnes over the last couple of years and this is truly an inspired decision made by the Dept. of Education as well as the School Governing Body that recommended Mrs Barnes as their leading candidate.

Mrs Barnes had been acting in the role for around 18 months and has steered the school through some challenging times but one thing that hasn’t wavered has been her dedication to the school (she turned down a promotion post to remain at Glenwood) and her passion for the boys. Her rallying cry “OGA” has been embraced by staff and pupils alike and it is something to behold to hear 1100 boys shouting it back at you. “OGA” has a dual meaning “Our Green Army” in reference to our school colours and the fact that we face any obstacle united as an army would be and also “Our God is Awesome” which clearly references to the belief that God is present in everything we do and has a hand in the success of the school.

Anyone that maybe even a little nervous about having a lady in charge of The Green Machine for the first time in its 108-year history, let me remove that doubt…Mrs Barnes is as passionate about our sports results as anyone I know and if you see her in the huddle with the 1st XV rugby side, she’s not giving them warm fuzzies but rather a proper rev and a reminder that they carry the pride of the school in the badge on their chests. However, what Mrs Barnes does bring is “balance” in that the “core business” of any school is academics and that should be non-negotiable. With unemployment in the country running at +30% we need to ensure that every Glenwood boy leaving the school has achieved the absolute best possible results in order to have the best possible chance of moving forward with their lives. I am already 100% comfortable in the character that is instilled in the boys and as we know that will count hugely to them having a successful future – there is just something about Glenwood boys. The school and what we stand for gets into our blood and sets us apart from the rest but bonds us as Old Boys too.

Mrs Barnes’ appointment brings to a close the period of uncertainty that has dogged the school over the last three years or so. There is now certainty in leadership and we can start to move forward with concrete plans and a new vision for the school. On that note, I appeal to all Old Boys to stay interested and involved in the school. The reality is that the Government subsidy for the school hardly covers the toilet paper bill for the year (and I’m not joking!) The school fees collected allows the school to employ the best possible educators and sports coaches and covers operating expenses – unfortunately it doesn’t leave excess funds for development projects or any additional capital projects the school would like to implement around the grounds. An example of one of these projects is the vision of an indoor sports centre with a state of the art gym that would give our boys in certain sports such as cricket, hockey and basketball the indoor facilities to match other schools. The gym would potentially also be an income generator for the school and add a much needed commercial boost to what we do every day. Another would be the building of our own hockey astroturf – we currently share the “Three Schools Astro” with Penzance and Durban Girls High and whilst this arrangement currently works, the astro is situated approximately 2,5km away and creates a logistical challenge on some occasions. Once again there is a commercial angle to this as astro’s can be rented out for league fixtures.

You may be aware of other major high schools that have generous benefactors that have invested heavily in their alma maters. The reality is that these donations will allow them to position themselves with additional facilities to attract more of the kind of boys we want at Glenwood as well. There are ways we can all assist the school to move forward and to retain our status as one of the top schools in the country, let alone Durban and KZN.

Some of the possibilities are:

• Patron Opportunity
o Become a patron of the school by agreeing to a monthly debit order from R150 to the amount of your choosing. These funds are paid into a trust that has been established to assist with ongoing capital improvements – the current funds available are being used for the refurbishment of the cricket nets. The total amount for the year is tax-deductible and a tax certificate can be provided
• Adopt-a-Boy
o The sad reality is that there are many Glenwood boys that simply can’t afford either school fees or boarding fees or both but they are the absolute right kind of boys that we want to have at the school. There is the option for Old Boys to contribute towards a part or in fact the full amount required for a specific boy. The donor will have access to the boys academic and sporting records to ensure that you are able to see the positive results of your contribution
• Adopt-a-Classroom/Adopt-a-Dorm
o Some of the classrooms in the school and the dormitories down at Gibson House are requiring modernising and renovations. If you have the appetite, you are able to provide the funds for one of these and in return, the school will acknowledge the contribution via a plaque placed in the respective classroom or dorm
• Sponsorship
o The school provides various sponsorship opportunities from branding on sports kit (the 1st XV plays on average five or six televised games every year) through to advertising opportunities around the school grounds. If you believe your company can benefit from these as well as assisting the school, please get in touch with the school
• General
o Outside of these more formal options, there is always an open door to discuss any other opportunities for Old Boys – from commercial opportunities through to assistance with building materials or hardware for any other projects or ongoing maintenance

With your involvement and assistance, we can ensure that Glenwood remains at the forefront of sporting and education success going into the future. My eldest son starts at Glenwood next year, very proudly 2nd generation and I want to ensure that his experience is as good as any of ours and one day my grandson will be proudly 3rd generation!

The school is striving to improve its communication with Old Boys and have accordingly established the following social media accounts as below. I urge you all to go along and like and follow these sources of information and stay connected to Glenwood. Of course, we’d love you to all join the Old Boys Association as well, become more involved in the school and join us at the annual Old Boys Dinner every year. Old Boys Membership also entitles you to a reduced membership rate for Club Green Machine which is the official supporters club for Glenwood, established this year.

Kind regards

ERIK AISSING
CHAIRMAN: OLD BOYS’ ASSOCIATION