While King Edward VII has a strong Sporting history which has spawned many fine National & International sportsmen,it must be recognised that balance and holistic education is vital for the development of young men and we too have our fair share of Cultural achievers. The diverse and successful Cultural Programme of the School provides a range of extra-curricular choices to cater for all interests.
Activities from the Art Club and the Annual Art Exhibition which showcase the creative talent of the artistic,the production of plays for the entertainment,pitting wits and using general or specific knowledge to enter Quizzes and Olympiads, entering Cultural Competitions or Festivals. Playing Chess matches (which have netted us recognition in the form of medals, certificates and a trophy from the Gauteng South Chess Association), there is a wide choice and a long list of achievers in the Cultural sphere of the School.
We encourage the musical abilities of our boys talented in this field with outlets such as the magnificient Choral Society, the top performing Pipe Band and the gifted Music Society. King Edward hosts Pipe Band gatherings, attends Eisteddfods and regularly stages highly entertaining Music Festival and Acoustic Evenings.
The Photographic Club meets regularly to hold workshops, listen to talks and appraisals, enter competitions where they have been most successful and is also responsible for the provision of photographic material used in School publications and on our website.
Outreach is very important at King Edward. Not only do we raise money through KESFAM (King Edward Family) for donations to charitable organisations such as Oliver’s House, Hospice and the Avril Elizabeth Home, the learners through KESCO (King Edward School Community Outreach) collect Easter eggs, food, clothing, books and sports equipment for distribution to the needy, throughout the year. Time and effort is also expended on projects such as visits to orphanages, Old Age Homes and undertaking painting, cleaning or vegetable garden projects. Worthwhile bi-annual blood drives are organised by the learners to collect much needed supplies for the SANBS.
King Edward VII School has School representatives as Councillors on both Johannesburg Youth Councils. We have had three Johannesburg Junior Council Mayors in five years and have our first elected Johannesburg Student Council Mayor this year. ‘KES’ boys are popular and are consistently voted into leadership positions due to their penchant for hard work, good manners and fine leadership and organisational capabilities. The youth councillos are encouraged to initiate group and individual projects which benefit the disadvantaged in society. They also run KESCO which was the initiative of two councillors in 2005.
A ‘legal’ team of two learners recently won the first National School’s Moot Court Competition held in the Constitutional Court in front of a panel of Constitutional Court judges and other important dignitaries. The winning duo were coached by an Old Boy who is a candidate attorney. The keen interest in the next generation and helping culture of ‘giving back’ by Old Edwardians ensures that the traditions and strengths of King Edward are preserved for future generations.
We regularly enter the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), Model United Nations Debate Competition. Extensive research by groups of three to four learners into the workings of the UN is required as well as getting into the ‘skin’ of the country being represnted and keeping abreast of current affairs are necessary in preparation for this competition. We have always been well placed and last year we were the winning team, boasting the Best Speaker of the competition. We also take part in the SAIIA Environmental Sustainability Essay Competition which focuses on topics such as Global Warming and its effects on our planet.
Creative writing is a passion for some of the young gentlemen at King Edward and to this end the Writer’s Society was formed by an enterprising learner last year to rpovide a forum for those with exceptional writing skills to give expression to the events and environment around them.
A number of learners are chosen to particiapte in a stimulating and educational programme run by GIBS called Spirit of Youth while others are given the oppotunity to hone the leadership, organisational and socialisation skills at weekend camps, thanks to the generosity of the Rotarians. The GIBS Programme integrates learners from all economic and cultural backgrounds and provides a forum of exploration, self discovery and civic awareness.
Our well trained and dedicated First Aiders provide an invaluable service at all Sports fixtures as well as attend to the daily scrapes and mishaps that occur in a busy school environment.
The Dramatic Society at King Edward is actively supported by the boys and auditions for the productions are keenly contended. The school proudly sports its own intimate theatre, The Hugh Wilson Theatre, named for the founder of Dramatics at the School. It is here that the boys escape into another dimension and enthusiastically create a differnt perspective of the world. A number of careers in the theatre have been initiated in this creative space.
The boys are usually involved in at least one school production and the Inter House productions. In 2010, the dramatists took part in the prestigious RAPS Festival at the Wits Theatre for the first time and were very warmly received with a number of individual performances being noted. The hilarious comedy “Laughing Stock” gave the boys the opportunity to dress up and take on roles as diverse from their own lives as could possibly be. Much fun was had by all, as well as experience gained into the workings of a theatre.
The boys in May 2011 put on a more serious production, “The Examination”, in the school theatre and are also performing in the RAPS Festival at the Wits Theatre. Later in the year, the organisational and dramatic skills of the boys will be on display when they entertain the crowds with the many varied productions of the One-Act house plays once again. Besides the productions, an interest in theatre is cultivated amongst the boys with visits to the theatre and other school productions being encouraged.
The young men at King Edward VII, have strong opinions on matters and enjoy diverse opportunities to express themselves. The School actively participates in the Debating League both at senior and junior level. Past pupils are involved in the coaching of these teams and are happy to share their expertise with their younger counterparts. A variety of informal forums also afford the opportunity for the young men to debate issues of importance to them.
King Edward enters teams in the Speech and Drama Speech Contest League and enjoys great success. Here the boys develop the ability to work as a team, as well as developing their oratory skills on an individual level. The Grade 10-12 learners participate in the prepared and impromptu sections where they clearly demonstrate their ability to think on their feet. In the individual speech and Elite Trophy sections very impressive results have been attained with many a speaker being acknowledged as the Best Speaker of the evening. The young men practice the skill of being master-of-ceremonies at the events hosted at the school and ably demostrate wit and knowledge of current affairs.
KES boys participate in invitation speaking events with great success. In 2010 trophies were brought home from all events in which they partcipated. Inter House speaking contests, both on a team and individual level, are held at school to afford as many boys as possible the opportunity to practice the valuable skill of Public Speaking. The “Just-a-minute” contest provides an evening of fun and laughter and is enjoyed by participants and audience alike. The highlights of the speaking contests at school are the Junior and Senior Best Speaker Competitions. The names of senior best speakers are proudly displayed on the boards in the Auditorium to inspire future great orators.
The Cultural Programme at King Edward School continues to foster young men who will speak out on matters of importance and who can express themselves with eloquence and confidence whether it is through the vehicle of art, movemnet, images or via the written or spoken word.
Mrs A Mania (Director – Cultural Portfolio) and Mrs M Reynolds