“This valedictory is, as the name implies, both a leave-taking and a farewell.
This ceremony is also a prize-giving, a recognition of achievement, diligence, resilience and engagement — the culmination of many years of education and learning; and the learning curve has never been steeper for both this group of matriculants and for the staff looking after them. So this particular valedictory is also a victory — the signpost of achievement and conclusion.
The matrics of this year, perhaps more even than last year, have had the most disrupted of experiences with all the to-ing and fro-ing in and out of school and blended learning. While this is an opportunity to say farewell to our matrics, this wonderful celebration is also an opportunity to thank the school and all those people and departments and teachers who do not always get acknowledged with the gratitude they deserve.
Also this year, after a history with Herzlia of a quite staggering 55 years, we say goodbye to Mr Ronnie Gotkin who retires (almost) from full time teaching in the high school, as well as Hayley Rubin and several other members of staff. So amid all the excitement and recognition, as there always is at this event, there is the sadness of farewell.”
Marc Falconer, Senior Principal, Herzlia High School, 22 October 2021
“Today we acknowledge what has been the accumulation of 12 years worth of dedication, hard work and perseverance.
We’re finally here, nearing the end of our journey. Despite the rollercoaster that our year has been through, I believe we have a shared bond unlike any other year.
We are the first year in the world to have gone through a full final school year during a global pandemic. Not many people can say this. While this pandemic itself presented its challenges, there is always a silver lining. As a year shared an unspoken bond that will forever remain in our memories. The challenges and obstacles we’ve had to go through have been enormous. Our shared experiences of lockdowns, online schooling, social distancing and living in a Covid world have been imprinted on us forever. The lessons learnt from this will ensure we remain agile, resilient, creative thinkers and capable of pushing through.
What remains important is recognising the immense privilege Herzlia matrics have been afforded during Covid. Herzlia, being the fine institution it is, allowed for us to receive an exceptional education during these turbulent times. However; it would be for nothing, if not to acknowledge what the rest of our country had to endure. While it’s great for me to speak about the adversity that we’ve faced, and how we have overcome it, hundreds of thousands of young South Africans were not afforded the same luxuries. This does not mean we should feel guilty for the privilege, but strive for our country where all people are equal.
Leaving a lasting impression as a head student is something I’ve struggled with for the past year. After thinking and thinking I realised: it was never about me. It’s always been about: us. A legacy isn’t limited to an individual, but rather a collective.”
Ben Zar, Herzlia High School, Head Student 2020/2021
Herzlia Premier Award Winners
Achvah Award for Menschlichkeit: Shallya Samakosky and Rachel Wohlman
Dorothy Whitesman Award for Service to Herzlia: Joseph Zelezniak
Principal’s Award for Outstanding Commitment and Service to Herzlia: Rachel Wohlman
Union Of Orthodox Synagogues Cape Council Award for contribution to JLL: Julia Kaimowitz and Eron Norrie
Rossouw Van Zyl Memorial Award in Recognition of having attained an Average of 90%+ in Prelims: Chad Brouze, Tziyona Cohen, Gabriel Gottlieb, Joseph Zelezniak
Award for the Top Academic Pupils in Grade 12: Tziyona Cohen and Joseph Zelezniak
Website: United Herzlia Schools
• Published in the PDF edition of the December 2021/January 2022 issue – Click here to get it.
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