When I started teaching at Imhoff Waldorf High School in 2013, it was in the third year of its existence and I was immediately impressed by the dedication of the visionary Carol Berry and my colleagues who I have come to know and love so well – Kath Kelly, Tracey Bester, Ulric Conradie and Janis Merand. Our regular Main Lesson teachers and long time Waldorf educators Ed Fox and Howard Dobson were also wonderful mentors to me and the High School as a whole. Over the years we have had others come and go, the delightful Matthew Dowling was with us for a year when we were still at Wolf Power Close as was Caroline Fouche. When we moved across to the dreamy Solole grounds we had the able Maryann Gilbert as school secretary and our staff enlarged to incorporate other charismatic and gifted teachers – Bernard Hurner, Lorna Smith, Carol Drew, Lina Godden, and our stalwarts in this last chapter Maggie Joubert, Irene Stewart and Phumeza Soci. In the final years of our High School we have had Imelda Neate holding the front desk fort and the enthusiastic young bloods Sandise Ngxumsa, Nina Hoffman and Natalie Scherr Steyn join our team. Dear Vanessa has been there to hug all along and then our gracious groundsman Lulamile joined our High School family and more recently the lovely Ntombi. We have also been fortunate to have some fabulous German volunteers – Ishmael, Taco, Merle & Eric.
I doubt there will ever again be such a fine group of witty, wise and talented teachers gathered together for the common good. It has been a real honour dreaming up threshold experiences for our lovely students with them. I’m sure they will hold these memories dear and so should we, even as our hearts are breaking …love’s labours lost it seems to us. To everything there is a season. My first season saw our first Class 10s go on their first job shadows and share with such verve the experience with our growing High School. I will never forget their Parsival Journey in 2014 which was absolutely epic. In 2015 we pioneered their Projects and Class 12 Plays, “An Outline of History” and “Horn of Sorrow”. All beautiful and moments to be proud of. I taught them my first Main Lesson, The Word, and as I taught my last Main Lesson, which as fate would have it happened to be The Word, to this year’s darling Class 10s I felt a sense of coming full circle. We spoke of the origins of story and language, how these communicate the very essence of what it is to be human and to find meaning in existence. I find it hard now to put into words the many rich lessons of my time growing this school while growing my own capacity. It has been the hardest thing ever, requiring a 24/7 commitment of heart and soul. I loved that pioneering class as if they were my own first born children. Then the class just behind them became my first Guardian class and were such a delight to me. We tackled the philosophically dense “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” as their Class 12 Play. What fun! They are matriculating now at Michael Oak and are stars academically but more importantly as people. My best wishes to them all. My last guardian class are busy making the transition into their school leaving exams at Constantia and Michael Oak Waldorf Schools or through self-study and they were also my first Class 8 group, so in that there seems to be something of a complete cycle at least. I am heartened to see what magnificent young adults they have become.
I can’t pretend to feel good about the closure of something that took SO much sacrifice to build up, but I will always treasure the memories of such rich learning shared by teachers and students. There really isn’t another curriculum quite like it for depth and breadth.
I have loved learning and growing alongside you and will certainly miss laughing and even crying with you my dear students and colleagues. Thank you to every student, teacher & parent who has shared this path. Blessings to you all on your onward journeys.
by Charisse Louw