Once again, the impact of Covid left Merrifield having to be creative in our approach to Valedictory. We desperately wanted the occasion to be as special as possible for the Matric class of 2021 but still be safe enough to feel confident that their final examinations will not have been placed in jeopardy.

We had all the Matric students and teachers in the hall but parents and students from the other grades had to watch the proceedings online. The added bonus with live-streaming is, of course, that friends and family from afar could be part of the special day.

After Dr Hartley opened proceedings, Qiqa Penxa and Mr Marc Williams gave their stunning rendition of the song “For Good”. This was followed by the Grade 12 awards ceremony that celebrated the amazing achievements of this talented group.

The focus turned to the history of our pupils from preschool through to 2021 as Dr Hartley presented his tribute of delineating the arrivals of the pupils over the years to make up our final Matric cohort. No fewer the 15 pupils spent their whole schooling career at Merrifield! This surely serves as a great vote of confidence to all the phases of this unique school.

Once again, our Foundation Phase song had to be pre-recorded as we did not want to risk having such a large number of pupils in the hall with the valedictorians. Their lovely medley of “Diamonds” was concluded with an Irish blessing. This beautiful moment is always received with fondness and appreciation by our Grade 12s.

This year’s guest speaker was Mrs Liesel Da Silva who shared words of wisdom and a three-part challenge to our young adults. The simplicity of this well-grounded speech was perfectly pitched at a group entering the real world in very trying times and Isabella can be very proud of her mother’s sensitivity and wisdom.

After the much-loved rose ceremony where the Grade 1s or siblings hand a rose to each Matric, the heads of the SRC delivered their final speeches for the year. Then each Grade 12 subject teacher was thanked by a pupil representing the subject group and the formal assembly was concluded with the beautiful voice of Lea Heyns singing “Believe”.

The final part of the day was a wonderful spread provided at the Club House where pupils, parents and staff could mingle, relax, reminisce and share personal anecdotes and wishes. This personal contact was the perfect way to end such a lovely ceremony.

We thank all the staff, parents and students who were involved in making Valedictory 2021 a great success. – Gerald White

Prizegiving

Academic Honours:
Neve Hayman, Jake Webb, Kathryn Connock, Afikile Nelana, Yusuf Peer, Pooja Vijay, Pippa Sparg, Inga Ntengenyane, Keelan Hartley, David Weber, Kirsti-Ann Burmeister, Oliver Jonas, Lisa van der Heide and Jody Harvey.

Third in Grade 12: Oliver Jonas (Average over 90%)
Second in Grade 12:  Lisa van der Heide (Average over 90%)
First in Grade 12: Jody Harvey (Average over 90%)

Special Awards:

Kate Arthur Trophy for Achievement in Art
Nazi Mkumla and Pooja Vijay

The Eric and Mary Merrifield Centenary Trophy
Isabella da Silva

Cecilia Smulovitz Trophy for Steadfastness and Determination
Tia Hart

Zaheerah Limbada Trophy and Medal for Dux Scholar
Jody Harvey

Headmaster’s Award
Pooja Vijay

Jacqui Russell Astra Petentes Trophy for “True Merrifield Spirit”
Keelan Hartley