One of the more popular announcements made at the recent Valedictory Assembly was the awarding of the Headmaster’s Award to Joel Rabe.
The Headmaster’s Awards are made at the discretion of the headmaster to matric pupils who he believes have contributed positively to the life of the school over five years, but whose achievements cannot be categorised under any of the specific awards. They are not awarded every year but only on occasions where the headmaster feels they are warranted. In this most unusual of years there were four matriculants who were chosen and Joel was one of them.
In his citation Mr Jackson said that at Jeppe, all boys are encouraged to do their best and to make the most of the opportunities available to them. Joel, he said, took this to heart and has, as a result, enjoyed the benefits of a rich and varied experience during his time at the school.
“Whilst his name may not have graced the pages of the annual magazines or the honours boards throughout the school, in many ways, he epitomises the values of commitment, sportsmanship, service above self and “giving it your all” that we espouse to our boys.”
Joel simply competed in as many things as he could and was available to help out with anything that he was asked to do. “My philosophy is to never say no,” he said. “I didn’t want to look back and say there were things that I missed out on.”
Joel was by no means a star. He competed at middle distance in athletics, often at the back of the pack, played rugby for the 5ths-7ths, but never missed a practice, and played, and often arranged and organised the 3rd team water polo, if there was an inter-house event, you’d be sure to find him in the thick of it.
In his grade 11 year he discovered the sport of orienteering and found it was something he was quite good at. He was in the top 25 in Gauteng and was awarded a scroll by the school. If the 2020 season had not been cancelled, he believes he would have done better this year. “It was great to be recognised by the school and to get a colours award, even if it was only a scroll,” Joel said.
He was surprised to receive the Headmaster’s Award and sees it as something special that he can take away from his five years at Jeppe. “The school has meant so much to me and it’s great to see that my passion for it was noticed,” he said.
“Whilst he may think no-one knows his name, little does he realise that, out of reverence and respect, he is nicknamed Jeppe Joel,” Mr Jackson said. “He represents all that is good and pure about schoolboy sport – where young men participate for the pure enjoyment of the game and the thrill of competition, quietly and without expectation of reward or recognition.”
A heart-warming story in this strangest of school years.