Founders' Day June 2015

June 23, 2015 | Campus

Dr Mhlophe addressing the Saints community

Over 4 000 people gathered on Baytopp Field on 6 June 2015 to give thanks to God and to our founders. Among the gathering of students, staff, parents and alumni were some 240 VIP guests, including our guest speaker, Dr Gcina Mhlophe – inspirational author, story-teller and poet.

Founders’ Day is the largest formal gathering in the annual calendar of St Stithians. Through this event, we gain a wonderful sense of community and purpose. Our service of celebration was led by Rev Dan Nkomo and Bishop Peter Witbooi prayed the Benediction.

As the Rector, Dr Tim Nuttall, stated in his Welcome, Founders’ Day celebrates two foundations – the birth of the boys’ schools in 1953 and the girls’ schools in 1995.

In his address, the Rector launched the new St Stithians Statement of Intent and Purpose, and outlined the Strategy 2025 framework. These documents are the culmination of 18 months of strategic planning, culminating in the Council’s special session held in March 2015.

The Rector also spoke about two 10th anniversaries which are being celebrated in 2015. The first is the founding of Crusaders Sports in 2005, the highly significant community initiative to create sports clubs under the Old Stithian Association. The second 10th anniversary celebrates the founding of the Thandulwazi Maths & Science Academy, which has grown into the 7th school of St Stithians. The Rector invited Hector Nkosi, a Saturday School matriculants, to share his story of personal growth and development.

Dr Mhlophe spoke and sang beautifully and powerfully – performing in ways which connected with her audience of adults, adolescents and the young children of the Junior Prep. Dr Mhlophe affirmed the excellence of St Stithians and referred warmly to her own schooling at a Methodist school in rural Transkei. Dr Mhlophe wove in international and local themes, and ended with an engaging story about a young boy finding and expressing his individual talents.

The Chair of Council, Carel Nolte, concluded with heartfelt thanks to all who ‘make a world of difference’ in the St Stithians community.

Founders’ Day was a great act of participation and a huge team effort. The music was memorable, with the choir and orchestra leading us in the singing of hymns and songs, and adapting Avicii’s ‘Hey brother’ with a message for all of us. The Junior Prep choir stole many hearts with its two songs drawing on the music of Queen. The Junior Prep Choirs rendition of ‘Saints Rocks’ inspired the whole gathering to rise at the end and join in this song.