Termly Newsletter Term 1 2012

On April 10th, 2012, posted in: Archive, News, Newsletters by



With the recent success of Richard Levi, I am frequently being asked how Wynberg manages to keep turning out quality cricketers.  To a certain extent, the answer is provided by social psychologists who maintain that members of self-contained groups (for example schools, sports teams, families) ‘catch’ the appropriate behaviour from one another and the many networks they belong to.  I certainly subscribe to this idea as I see it happening so often in a school scenario where individuals are changing the direction and the course of their lives as result of interaction with one another.


This is, of course, not only evident in cricket at the school.  A prime example of ‘catching’ appropriate behaviour is the Blazer Ceremony of our Grade 8’s.  For the two weeks of the year, Tutors and Matrics are ensuring that their Grade 8 charges have understood the privileges and responsibilities of wearing a Wynberg Blazer.  It is then wonderful to see the Wynberg Brand starting to emerge from our newcomers.  Wynberg boys, be it on the street or on the sports field, are distinctive by the fact that they are wearing their colours proudly.  Visitors to the school unfailingly remark on the genuine friendliness and manners of our pupils.


They do this not because they are forced to – but because they have ‘caught’ the habit from their peers and past generations.  I often remark that the pupils of the school’s founder, John McNaughton,  must be looking down 171 years later on their successors with admiration knowing that they set it all in motion.  We have to place the modern Wynberg boy in the context of this tradition whereby they ‘catch’ the expected custom, update it with the stamp of their era and, in turn, pass it on.  As they themselves are affected, so they affect others and cement their place in a vast worldwide endless chain.


The Wynberg Pass is another custom fast catching on.  Driven by the Academic Committee under the Academic Prefect, Jordan Daniels,  they are working hard to ensure that all our pupils ‘catch’ the expectation from their peers that anything below 50% in every subject is not the Wynberg Way!  They are proud that there is a definite correlation between their expectations and the academic results of pupils and teachers.


Social psychologists also see correlation in values in that groups also ‘catch’ social behaviour from one another.  This understandably also works in the negative sense if the prevailing expectations of the group are undesirable – substance abuse being the obvious example.  As adults, we then have to encourage opportunities and chances for our sons to ‘catch’ positive social behaviour.


WBHS has a plethora of positive role models from previous eras.  If current Wynberg Men ‘catch’ the enthusiasm, positivity and humility so apparent in the careers of so many of our old boys – then this school will be a beacon for others.  It is already evident that this attitude is spreading to all our other activities in the school and it is now the accepted norm that ‘no-one tries harder than a Wynberg Man’.


The environment of Wynberg is such that the lives of our young men who have been ‘caught’ are being shaped and moulded by the milieu and atmosphere of this school.  It is an exciting and rewarding place to be.





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