Our Directors of Sport and Culture, Mr Gittins and Ms Kemp, decided early in the lockdown to try to make the experience of the boys who were stuck at home more than just the academic lessons that they were dong online, so they came up with the concept of The Extramural Enrichment Series.
The idea was to have a series of Google Meets sessions at which guest speakers would talk about, and answer questions on, topics that would be of interest to those boys who participate in the various extramural activities, sporting and cultural, that the school offers.
“We wanted to make it as varied as possible and to keep to our philosophy of providing and all-round education to tour boys, Mr Gittins said. “We realised that we have a number of old boys who have excelled in different fields, so we could use them as guests. That guided us in the choice of topics, to an extent, and in the end we featured a mix of old boys and other experts in their fields.”
The online chats were thrown open to the wider Jeppe community – parents, old boys, teachers etc – and the audiences they attracted were way beyond expectations, with several of them being closed off by the Google Meets administrators because they had reached size limits.
“Our intention was to have something there that would be of interest to every learner in the school,” Mr Gittins said. “We began on May 12th with a talk on Mental Toughness by our school Psychologist, Mr Reg Hammond, to set the tone, and ended on May 27th with DJ and music producer Nkosi Sibanda.
In between, the following speakers appeared: Gary Smith (sport – cross-country, road running); Ernest Nkosi (cultural – film); Devon Conway (sport – cricket); Siya Masuku (cultural – graphic art); Jethro Eustice (sport – hockey); Jake White (sport – rugby); Mark Tatham (culture – creative arts/drama); Daryl Impey (sport – cycling).
“The numbers that the talks attracted, both while they were being live streamed, and since them via the YouTube recordings that were made, as well as the number and quality of the questions that the boys asked, tell us that there is certainly a demand for these sorts of talks. It is something we will look at continuing on a more regular basis in the future,” Mr Gittins said.
Throughout the lockdown and the online learning experience, the school has been acutely aware of the costs of data and airtime and the challenges that many of the boys face. All the presentations were recorded so that they could be watched later.
The talks can be accessed at: