WINDHOEK – Scores of people, who included former Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba, converged in prayer and thanksgiving at St George’s Diocesan School in Windhoek recently as the school marked 100 years of service to the country.
The late first Anglican Bishop of pre-independent Namibia, Arch-Deacon Nelson Wesley Fogarty, set up the school on the 8th of July 1919 with only 27 learners and four staff members with the motto: ‘For the betterment of mankind.’ The motto was coined after the horrors of the First World War and served as a clarion call for former arc-foes to beat swords into ploughshares.
The school has since grown into one of the most prestigious schools in Namibia with 778 learners, 370 of them being girls.
The Right Reverend Luke Lungile Pato, the Anglican Bishop of Namibia, delivered a special message. He challenged learners, teachers and all those associated with the school to uphold the institution’s core values “of integrity, courage and caring for the weak and vulnerable” as well as to commit to the pursuit of excellence at all costs.
“The culture of St George’s School is towards increasing excellence: both in academics and in the shaping of character, and in the unselfish values of service to the community and the nation. In other words, St George’s Diocesan School not only believes in high academic standards but also believes in the development of character and altruistic values without which no country can prosper,” the Bishop said.
While noting that St George’s School had grown into a heterogeneous institution embracing people from diverse cultures and backgrounds, the Bishop, who is also the chairperson of the school’s council, said the school must forever strive to remain “a place where everyone is important, everyone is special and everyone is respected”.
He noted that the school has a holistic approach in the socialisation of learners.
“It is a place which strives to send forth its learners into the world rightly trained in body, mind and character.”
Bishop Pato said the centenary presented a rare opportunity for introspection and re-dedication to the service of God and humanity through education.
He quoted the late President of South Africa Nelson Mandela, who famously said that education is the most powerful weapon to change the world.
“Education is a game-changer. It is a weapon for changing the conditions in which we and others find ourselves,” he said.
He saluted all those who for many years worked tirelessly and made sacrifices to make St George’s what it is today.
Looking ahead, Bishop Pato enjoined his audience to reflect on how St George’s Diocesan School could help “Namibian children have access to first-class, well-rounded, value-based education, regardless of their race, ethnicity, socio-economic status and gender”.
He said the gap between the haves and have-nots was wide and challenged the school to contribute “towards bridging the inequality gap in our society and nation in respect of the provision of education”.
The Bishop likened members of the St George’s Diocesan School family to salt and light.
“Salt gives flavour and preserves, it keeps things from going rotten. We are salt when we enrich the lives of others by our witness and by our courage. Light has the characteristic of dispelling darkness, of warming all it reaches,” he said.
Other officials who attended the centenary celebrations were the Speaker of the National Assembly of Namibia Professor Peter Katjavivi and his wife Jane, the Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation Dr Becky Ndjoze-Ojo and her husband, representatives of the Fogarty family; the newly-appointed Executive Head of the School Berdine Beukes and her husband Jerry, and former executive heads of the school.
The school’s centenary celebrations were set to continue up to Friday last week. Congratulatory messages have been coming thick and fast from far and wide.
Among the messages was one from the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Reverend Thabo Makgoba sent “love, prayers and congratulations” to the school.
The acting Chair of the School Council Reverend Mike Yates acknowledged the hard work, dedication and sheer determination of the school’s teachers, its principals and successive school councils for making the school “an educational home of excellence”.
Reverend Yates said: “Thanks to those who have gone before us from Father Fogarty onwards, today we have a school which is not only based on Christian values, but also excels in offering a non-racial and non-discriminatory environment, a liberal faith-based education, the moulding of character to meet the challenges of an ever more selfish world where only the powerful can manage, and that prepares its students to speak up and live for truth, justice and freedom.”
2019-07-15 09:20:09 | 11 months ago