Bridge House turns 15

| September 6, 2010
By Mike Russell

Fifteen years ago, three parents pictured an English-medium, co-educational, non-traditional school somewhere in the Franschhoek valley.


On 13 March 2010, a number of founding families and teachers, along with the original founders and a strong contingent of past pupils, celebrated Bridge House’s 15 years of phenomenal growth with a special assembly, followed by its own mini World Cup tournament for all age groups and past pupils.

A joyous celebration

There was standing room only in the school’s gymnasium and the assembly was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone present. Perhaps the concept that most grasped the hearts and souls of the school community, though, was the time capsule. This started off as a good idea to store present-day artefacts and bits and pieces of school memorabilia, to be opened in 15 years’ time. By 13 March, it had taken on a completely different life of its own. Head of Art, Dave Fuller, challenged all students and teachers to write a letter for someone to read when the capsule is opened on Founders’ Day in 2025. The following is an extract from the new Head’s message to the Head of Bridge House in 2025:

Firstly, I hope you find yourself the citizen of a wonderful country, beyond the adolescent growing pains of its first 15 years of democracy. I hope you find yourself in a society in which education and educators are both highly valued and relevant. I hope you find yourself in a country which treats its frailest and poorest members with
dignity and gentleness. I hope you find yourself in a country which embraces and celebrates difference, and in which the spirit of ‘ubuntu’ is both understood and lived by all its citizens.

Hopes, advice and good wishes

I hope you find yourself at the helm of a strong and highly regarded school, well on its way to its 50th birthday. I hope our school has played, andcontinues to play, a leading role in the transformation and healing of our fractured society. You’ll be dealing, no doubt, with many of the human issues that leaders have dealt with since the
beginning of time, and you’ll no doubt be facing challenges that have yet to exist at the time of my writing to you. We’re in a job that is never complete: we’re lent institutions and the people in them for a period of time. I’ve come to understand and respect that concept – a concept of stewardship, of ‘keeping the keys’ or ‘guarding the flame’.

Every Head surely wishes the same

I hope the theatre and the fields are busy and colourful and noisy and that they attract our community to the school, and that it has become a focal point of the valley and our region. I hope there’s an unmanageable waiting list. I hope there’s a huge boarding establishment, packed with top students from all over the world. I hope you’re
working with a full staff of thoroughly professional people who bring a rich and robust mix to the education of your students and each other. I hope there are many internationally distinguished achievers and humanitarians among the school’s alumni. I hope that the school’s parent community is trusting and supportive of your professional efforts in the interests of their children. I hope that the school is fully equipped and appropriately fitted out. I hope your biggest challenge comes from
channelling energy and creativity, rather than from trying to ignite them.

Mike Russell is the ‘new head’ at Bridge House. Contact him at: mikrus@bridgehouse.org.za

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Category: Spring 2010 Edition

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