November school news: St Charles weathers pollution problem

Station will measure atmospheric conditions

Pictured: The newly installed weather station at St Charles College. Picture by Saysha Baker

St Charles College in Pietermaritzburg, with the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Disciplines of Agrometeorology and Geography, has installed an automated weather station which will measure atmospheric conditions at the school.

The long-term goal is to measure atmospheric pollution at the school and to inform decisionmakers, which will hopefully lead to the improvement of air quality in Pietermaritzburg. The station provides accurate five-minute interval data for air temperature, rainfall, humidity, evaporation, solar irradiance, wind direction and wind speed.

“We consider this an ideal research and teaching opportunity, with our students having the opportunity to experience the climatic conditions and then relate those experiences to the collected data. The weather information can help inform the College’s extreme weather policy and allow decisions regarding sport and the weather to be backed-up with reliable information,” the school said.


The hope for the future is to add further instrumentation to measure pressure, and possibly in the long-term, to add a gas analyser to measure real-time pollution.

Info on the website:

The school thanked the construction team of Prof Trevor Hill, Mr Jarryd Gillham, Dr Alistair Clulow, Mr Vivek Naiken, Noah Clulow and Connor Hill.

Wembley College

Last year Liezl Hesketh, an old Greytonian, contacted Wembley College in Greytown about tree planting as a way to offset her carbon footprint to neutralise the impact our lifestyles are having on the environment.

Liezel lives in Manchester in the UK, where she was unable to find a suitable tree-planting initiative. Wembley welcomed the opportunity to work with her and plant more indigenous trees.

Last year Wembley planted 36 trees on the last day of school and this year aims to plant 80 trees in the Senior Primary Indigenous Bushland Learning Centre.

Unfortunately, a succession of devastating black frosts earlier this year damaged some of the trees in the centre. As a result, the school will this year plant trees that can tolerate the most extreme cold. The philosophy is that these hardy pioneers will create frost barriers to protect future plantings.

A pupil plants a tree at Wembley College. Picture: Supplied

An average frost will singe leaves and the tender growing points of susceptible plants, whereas a black frost causes the plant sap to freeze. Ice crystals form within the plant cells causing them to rupture, the sap becomes concentrated and essential plant proteins are leached out. A black frost usually occurs when ambient temperatures fall well below zero degrees centigrade and, as the day temperatures warm, the affected plants turn black and collapse.

The following tree species are being included in the Bushland centre this year: Rhamnus prinoides (African dogwood); Buddleja species (auriculata; slavifolia; glomerata and saligna); Sagewood family, Leucosidea sericea (Ouhout); Bowkeria verticilliata (Shell Bush); Olea Africana (Wild olive); Comberetum erythrophyllum (River bushwillow, aptly named in Afrikaans as Kanniedood Grewia occidentalis); and the Crossberry.

*Please contact Louise Yeadon at wembleymarketing20@gmail if you are interested in participating in the school’s Tree Project.

Michaelhouse soiree

The first Rector’s Concert took place on Sunday afternoon, November 15 2020, at 5pm at the Michaelhouse Rectory. This prestigious concert is aimed mainly at celebrating the work of boys who have done exceptionally well in external examinations during the year.

This year there was much to celebrate – for example, Michaelhouse music students continuing to make excellent progress under severe restrictions, and that of the 16 boys who took external music examinations this year, 15 passed with either Merit or Distinction. The parents were invited to join the rector and school for a wonderful evening of music.

Picture: Rector’s newsletter

The following boys featured in the programme: Kofi Asumaning (Grade 7 Saxophone); Oliver Cheales (Grade 8 Clarinet); Ben Frost (Grade 4 Guitar); Christopher Silk (Grade 3 Horn); Adrian Hill (Grade 5 Voice); Sandiso Hlongwa (Grade 5 Piano); Letlotlo Sekatle (Grade 3 Guitar); Sello Stone-Mboweni (Grade 6 Drums); David Nienaber (Grade 3 Electric Guitar); Andrew Woodland (Grade 6 Saxophone); Rory Steyn (Grade 3 Drums); Peter Woodland (Grade 6 Trumpet); Marc Sidebottom (Grade 3 Guitar); Jesse Breytenbach (Grade 5 Voice); Alexander Brits (Grade 6 Bassoon); Max Chapman (Grade 6 Guitar); and Ben Cheales (Grade 8 Piano).

The school intends to make the concert an annual feature of the music calendar.

Berg bonding

The Wykeham Collegiate’s Grade 7s recently completed their 20km (three-day) hike from Cobham in the Drakensberg to Drakensberg Gardens. Well done to the young ladies, we hope you enjoyed the adventure!

Picture: Facebook/The Wykeham Collegiate

Epworth School

Zimi Tshaka, a Grade 8 pupil at Epworth School, achieved a Gold with Distinctions in the American Academy of Ballet Performance Awards for both levels 9 & 10 and won two bursaries for the New York Summer School!

This talented pupil also won a trophy for Excellence in Musicality and a trophy for the Most Outstanding Senior Dancer.

Well done, Zimi.

Picture: Supplied

Drakies Concert

Drakensberg Boys’ Choir is holding a concert at the Auditorium at Treverton College in Mooi River on Tuesday, December 1. Look forward to a blend of folklore and classical, with a dose of Christmas cheer! (see details below).


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