U­ni­on com­ple­tes sym­bo­lic sto­ne pathway

Graaff-Reinet Advertiser - - Voorblad -

At U­ni­on High School, the long wal­kway be­t­ween the Bru­ce Ma­ree Ga­tes and The U­ni­on was an a­rea of the school cam­pus that nee­ded to be up­gra­ded, and thanks to the vi­si­on, com­mit­ment and ar­tis­tic flair of so­me de­di­ca­ted mem­bers of the school com­mu­ni­ty, that ma­ke­o­ver was re­cent­ly re­a­li­sed.

The strip ro­ad al­ongs­i­de the Put­tick field was a litt­le ba­re, and the exo­tic cy­pres­ses that grew the­re we­re mes­sy and did not al­low for any grass to grow.

W­hen he­ad­mas­ter, Wil­li­am P­ringle, men­ti­o­ned t­his at a School Go­ver­ning Bo­dy (SGB) meet­ing, the i­dea was pic­ked up with ent­hu­si­asm. Ke­vin Wa­ter­mey­er en­visa­ged an a­rea that could so­mehow sym­bo­li­se each and e­very le­ar­ner at school, past and pre­sent, and at the sa­me ti­me bring the beau­ty of the sur­roun­ding Ka­roo on­to the cam­pus.

The ‘Bring a Rock to U­ni­on’ pro­ject was sub­se­quent­ly con­cep­tu­a­li­sed un­der the ma­na­ge­ment of ent­hu­si­as­tic pa­rent Jo­an M­cnaug­h­ton.

The first pha­se in­clu­ded ap­pe­a­ling to the U­ni­on fa­mi­ly to “Bring a rock to U­ni­on”, and soon a he­althy pi­le of rocks star­ted to ma­te­ri­a­li­se at the

Rock Drop Zo­ne. The i­dea was for each le­ar­ner to bring a rock that would sym­bo­li­se their ti­me at U­ni­on. Ho­we­ver, it was soon re­a­li­sed that the a­rea to be pa­ved was far lar­ger than an­ti­ci­pa­ted, and the Wa­ter­mey­er fa­mi­ly kind­ly of­fe­red a do­na­ti­on of flat rocks from their farm Zuur­plaats. T­his ge­ne­rous of­fer broug­ht lo­gis­ti­cal pro­blems of its own, as a­round 30 ton­nes of rock nee­ded to be trans­por­ted to the school from the farm, a­bout 50kms a­way.

Lo­cal bu­si­nes­sman and pa­rent Camp­bell S­cott was ap­pro­a­ched and very ge­ne­rous­ly lo­a­ned the school his 10-ton­ne truck to trans­port the rocks.

Do­nald King­will and Han­no S­par­ri­us then gat­he­red up a te­am of the stron­ge­st Art­hur King­will Hou­se boys and they he­a­ded off one Sa­tur­day to Zuur­plaats, ac­com­pa­nied by the he­ad­mas­ter. Li­sa Wa­ter­mey­er pro­vi­ded the te­am with lunch and re­freshments, which we­re ri­chly de­ser­ved af­ter a day of col­lecting and lo­a­ding ma­ny ton­nes of rock. P­ringle la­ter said that he had ne­ver seen a group of boys work so hard! It was du­ring t­his ex­cur­si­on that a sna­ke was found un­der a rock which was i­ni­ti­al­ly thoug­ht to be a puff ad­der. From pho­to­grap­hs, it was la­ter i­den­ti­fied as a ra­re Plain Moun­tain Ad­der, an en­dan­ge­red dwarf ad­der spe­cies, found on­ly in a very small a­rea in the Eas­tern Ca­pe It was al­so con­fir­med to be on­ly the twelfth e­ver re­cor­ding of t­his e­lu­si­ve sna­ke.

With suf­fi­cient rocks and ge­ne­rous do­na­ti­ons of ce­ment re­cei­ved from the M­cnaug­h­ton, Broeks­ma and Hes­se­link fa­mi­lies, the pa­ving pro­ject was set to start in e­ar­nest. Ha­ving wor­ked with rock pa­ving in the past, and with an ar­tis­tic eye, c­hair­man of the SGB Da­vid Lang­me­ad set to work. Al­ongs­i­de buil­ders Ma­nus, An­tho­ny and Ja­mes, and with the help of Do­nald King­will and Jo­an M­cnaug­h­ton, he star­ted dig­ging out and laying the Ka­roo rocks.

W­hi­le they we­re at work, U­ni­on le­ar­ners am­bled past, ad­ding com­men­ta­ry and ap­pre­ci­a­ti­on as to how the a­rea was trans­for­ming al­re­a­dy in a short spa­ce of ti­me. Ma­tric le­ar­ner, M­tha M­zim­ba s­po­ke of how much it me­ant to him that he had hel­ped col­lect the rocks and how he now felt that a litt­le pie­ce of him­self was em­bed­ded in­to the U­ni­on grounds. Mo­ral sup­port, cups of tea and cof­fee and ap­pre­ci­a­ti­on from tho­se who wit­nes­sed the pro­ject co­ming in­to frui­ti­on we­re much ap­pre­ci­a­ted by the wor­kers. King­will al­so took the op­por­tu­ni­ty to cut do­wn the exo­tic cy­pres­ses al­ong the wal­kway to gi­ve the in­di­ge­nous stink­wood trees plan­ted the­re mo­re spa­ce and lig­ht to grow.

The last rock nee­ded to com­ple­te t­his pro­ject was put in pla­ce t­his week and the end re­sult is an in­cre­di­ble tes­ta­ment to w­hat vi­si­on, te­am­work and ge­n­ero­si­ty can do for a school.

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