The grades 8s started off their year by being introduced into the brand, spirit and attitude of Wynberg. This introduction to our ethos culminated in the highly anticipated Grade 8 camp over the weekend of Friday 15 and Saturday 16 January.

Throughout Friday, the Grade 8s were shown just what it means to be a part of our School in its 175th year: there were tours around the school grounds highlighting our Heritage and an introduction to the traditions that are the foundation of our way forward, as well as energetic team building exercises for the new Wynberg Men and an introduction to our unique Wynberg Family.

Having to wake up at 4.30 a.m. on Saturday after a night under the stars on the school fields and be ready for breakfast by 5.00 a.m. was the first challenge of the day, but the really big stuff was to follow!

This was the traditional challenge to go in the tracks of their ‘brothers in an endless chain’ from the School, via Cecilia Forest, up Nursery Ravine and back to School: the ‘Buddy Hike’.

The Grade 8s left for the mountain in their Houses with their Matric Buddies accompanying them. The groups gave the boys a chance to bond and clear hurdles together within the 8 School Houses, helping build the fierce House Pride that underpins our School Tutor system and links the family and class of 2020 who’ll lead the School and Matriculate together.

The ‘Wynberg Buddy’ is not an ordinary buddy but rather a matric of the same house. The whole role of being a buddy is to be there for the Grade 8 and to help him in any way possible while instilling in him our Wynberg Brand, helping him find his feet and showing him the Wynberg Way.

For a Grade 8 to have a matric who is there only for him is hugely comforting and welcoming. The matric, in a sense, initiates the Grade 8 into the school and shows him how a Wynberg Man should act and how Wynberg Men help each other as much as they can.

When the Grade 8s came back after a gruelling hike, each one entered through our Memorial Gates to ring our School Bell.

After waiting his turn, each grade 8 stepped up to the bell next to his buddy. Realising that ringing the bell is a symbolic acknowledgement of the previous 174 years of tradition; of intent to look after the school with all his heart; of acceptance of his duty to better the school in whatever way possible; and the expectation that he strives to create memories in the school and stay on the path of the Wynberg brand and badge, he rang the bell with pride and honour.

Daryn Bright