Welcome to 2017!
I would like to welcome our parents, new and returning students and members of staff. I trust that you all had a safe festive period and that it was a restful period. To our new parents and students, welcome to our growing community of diverse nationalities, cultures and families. We hope that you will also make us a part of your lives as we continue on this journey. We are honored by the trust you have placed on Waterford Kamhlaba to look after your children.
My key message to the school on opening the new academic year was how the idea of “deliberate diversity” was the foundation of all that we do at the school. That may sound a little strange for a school, where I suppose most would expect academic excellence to be the foundation for the life of a school. Well, yes academic excellence is possibly our most important aim, but how is this to be understood? You see, I believe that you cannot be an excellent institution, unless you are a diverse institution. More and more research is suggesting that homogenous institutions produce group-think, little creativity and challenge and in the end members of the institution who are condemned to following those around them and failing to meet the changing and challenging times we live in.
Excellence can only be through diversity. Our children are growing up into an increasingly global and diverse world; a world in which your ability to relate to those of a different gender, race, linguistic or cultural group will determine your own success and impact as an adult in our world. If the school fails to prepare you for that reality the school fails you. Deliberate diversity, ensuring that the staff and student (and the therefore parent body) represents the diversity of our humanity is a central feature of Waterford as a school. It is at the heart of the DNA of the UWC from the inception of the first school in 1963 and central to the DNA of Waterford Kamhlaba at our founding in 1963 as a beacon of hope against the darkness of apartheid education across the border in South Africa.
It is my fervent wish that as we start the New Year, all our students will discover something more of their own humanity as they interact with, and celebrate those different to themselves. That combined with earnest academic endeavor will surely produce the results they want from this next year of their schooling.
Good luck to all for the year ahead.