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At St Catherine’s Convent we believe that learners should not only be given the opportunity to explore  the academic and sporting side of their character, but should also be given the chance to experience all the cultural activities that are on offer.

Experience all the cultural activities

St Catherine’s Convent is committed to providing the best environment possible, so that every pupil in the school is able to participate in the cultural activity of their choice. This commitment endeavours to provide for the full spectrum of St Catherine’s Convent’s learners; from the ambitious and skilled to those who wish to enjoy their activity on a more social level.

Strong emphasis is placed on Cultural Activity involvement for the following reasons:

It teaches learners to work together to understand the cultural diversity of all peer groups.

It provides opportunities to develop leadership skills, initiative, responsibility and self-esteem

It teaches learners to be independent and to be co-operative.

It helps to instill a selfless attitude and camaraderie.

It promotes the development of talent in arts and culture.

It encourages the creative use of leisure time.

At St Catherine’s Convent we offer all our learners the chance to experience the magic of the performing and creative arts. We encourage our learners to participate in outside cultural activities and consequently we facilitate entries to the Eisteddfod.

This is a platform where young performers, dancers, musicians, speakers, singers and artists may participate in an Eisteddfod that is run by the National Eisteddfod Academy. The event is open to learners from grades 1 to 12. Our girls actively participate and a number of them have proceeded to the second and third rounds. A significant number of our girls have been invited to participate in the NEA Young Performer’s Awards, which is the highest level that one may reach in the Eisteddfod process.

There are numerous divisions in which learners may participate, including Speech and Drama, Dance, Creative Work, Choral Verse, Music and Art. Each division has a number of sub-categories that learners may choose from.

Participation in the Eisteddfod is one of the criteria that are taken into account when awarding scrolls and colours for Culture in the High School. It is also a personally enriching experience, which aids in developing confidence and the ability to perform to an audience. These skills are crucial for successful communication later on in a learner’s school career.

At St Catherine’s Convent, we do not only believe that there are angels in our midst, but we are certain that those angels also sing. Our choir, under the superb leadership of our music teacher, is going from strength to strength. They participate in various choir competitions and are always highly placed.

At St Catherine’s Convent we fully embrace the idea that “all the world’s a stage” and so we endeavour to offer our learners the opportunity to “tread the boards” in a variety of different dramatic experiences.

The following events (some of which are alternated from year to year) are on offer.

House Plays

House Plays are a highlight of the school calendar. Although they are held in the third term, preparations and rehearsals already begin in February. Producers, assistant producers and technical producers are selected via a proposal system for each of the three houses – Catherine, Dominic and Thomas. The producers, with the assistance of an appointed house teacher, co-ordinate auditions, rehearsals and dress rehearsals. There is a lot of scope for learners to participate either onstage or backstage as a member of the audio-visual crew.

Primary School Speech And Drama

Drama is taught as a set subject during normal school hours and is offered as an extra-mural on Wednesdays. The girls are encouraged to use their imaginations to the full and to express themselves freely. Drama is used to extend the human experience while improvising around set topics that most girls can identify with. A variety of emotions are discussed, explored and incorporated into these dramatic situations. A greater awareness of speech is developed as well as the confidence to perform.

The High School Production

The High School Production takes place every few years and involves every learner in the High School, from Grades 7 to 11. These productions showcase a montage of music, singing and dancing around a chosen theme.

Primary School Production

Each year the primary school (alternating between the lower and upper primary school) presents its production.  It is an opportunity to put everything they have learned in Drama to good use and this is shown through acting, singing and dancing. There is nothing more special for a parent than to see their child on stage.  Every child is given an opportunity to perform, whether it is in a minor or major capacity. The plays are lots of fun and are enjoyed by parents and children alike.

The Grade 11 Plays

These are shorter one-act plays that are selected (and often written) by a core group of Grade 11 learners. These learners then hold auditions, rehearse and stage their one-act plays.

The Christmas Concert

At the end of every year St Catherine’s honours the birth of Jesus Christ. As a Catholic school, the emphasis is very much on the Christmas story, which is presented in the form of a Carol Service with words, music and Bible readings. The entire Primary School participates, with the older girls narrating the story while the Grade 0’s act it out. Parents are invited to join the children in singing a medley of carols to conclude this joyous event.

At St Catherine’s Convent we acknowledge that not each learner desires to be on the stage and that some learners thrive better in the vital backstage role. St Catherine’s has a dedicated group of learners who are members of the Events’ Crew. The Events’ Crew is further sub-divided into 3 sub-groups: The Audio-Visual Crew, The Set up and Event Management Crew and the Decoration and Maintenance Crew.  The Events’ Crew receive specialised training on all the equipment that they will be required to operate and play a vital role in the smooth running of all extra-curricular activities

The Audio-Visual Crew are responsible for any sound and lighting set up and operation that may be needed throughout the year. They set up, operate and de-rig all sound and lighting equipment for school-based activities. The girls are trained in how to use a sound desk, roaming and drop microphones, spotlights, smoke machine, microphone stands and stage lights. They are trained in stage etiquette, theatre terminology and safety. The Audio-Visual Crew are an integral part of the success of any of the school Productions, concerts or Plays.

The Setup and Event Management Crew are the group of girls who set up for school and outside events as well as working at these events. They learn the vital skills of event management, time frames, table layout and how to ensure the smooth running of a function.

The Maintenance and Decorating Crew are the learners who envisage, plan and implement any decorating changes to the school. They undertake such work as re-decorating bathrooms, the hall as well as ensuring that their school looks the best at all times. In this Crew the learners experience how to work within a budget, source quotes, liaise with outside contractors and run a project from start to finish.

All the skills learnt whilst being a part of the Events’ Crew will play a valuable role once our learners reach the workplace and will enable them to work as part of a team in accomplishing a goal.

At St Catherine’s Convent we believe that the ability to speak in front of an audience is a valuable skill that will be needed in every aspect of life. This skill is often introduced and honed in the classroom but our learners are given the opportunity to participate in formal Public Speaking events as well.

The High Schools’ Public Speaking Festival

St Catherine’s Convent continues to shine and, at times, dominate this inter-school competition.  This is an inter-school team Public Speaking festival that is held in the first term of each year.   Learners from grades 8 to 12 compete in the Open Event. In Grade 12 a Trophy Team and a Best Individual Speaker participate in the competitive event.  St Catherine’s Convent usually enters no less than 10 teams into this Festival.

St Catherine’s has been participating for many years and we can boast great success with our public speaking teams.  To date the lowest symbol that has been awarded is a B (70-74%) with the majority of our teams scoring A’s and A+’s. A dedicated team of teachers coaches these teams and learners are taught how to write meaningful speeches and are also coached on the finer points of public speaking.

St Catherine’s has also achieved one of the highest accolades in this competition with our 2012 Trophy Team being invited to the finals of the competition. To do this they beat over 3 000 other speakers from Gauteng and were placed second overall.

The Internal Best Speaker Competition

At St Catherine’s Convent we believe that in order to achieve our greatest potential, we sometimes need to challenge what is both within us and what is around us. To this end we have our Internal Best Speaker competition, which is an annual event that is held in the second term. Learners from grades 7 to 11 compete against each other in the categories of Best Senior Individual Speaker, Best Junior Individual Speaker, Best Junior Impromptu Speaker and Best Senior Impromptu Speaker. A qualified adjudicator adjudicates the event and meaningful feedback is given to each individual speaker.

We encourage as many learners as possible to participate, so that this competition may provide a gateway to the inter-school public speaking competition.

Blink dance studio @ St Catherine’s Convent

“Dance is the language of the soul”. 

Implementing elements such as discipline, culture and hard work, dance teaches the students, confidence, grace, time management, co-ordination and an understanding of achieving higher goals.

Focusing on genres such as Ballet, Modern, Hip hop and Tap dances, every girl can find her inner style and personality.

During the year they get a mixture of their own personal hard work to achieve the highest marks in their A.I.D.T. and R.A.D. dance exams. After the exams they experience the group work and team effort that it takes to put a group dance on stage at the competitions, in the race for placement against other dance schools.

They come to practice, train hard, wear beautiful costumes, and perform for their mommies and daddies. Bigger girls get the opportunity to partake in bursary awards. At the end of the day just enjoying the music and the movement of their body.

“Once a dancer always a dancer”

At St Catherine’s Convent we recognise the benefits of learning and playing chess.

St Catherine’s Convent presents chess as an extra-mural activity for all learners from Gr. 0 – Gr. 12.

Mr Bruce Whithey is our Chess Master who trains all our chess candidates under the supervision of a St Catherine’s teacher.

Chess is offered to Primary School learners (Grades 0 – 6) on Tuesdays and Thursdays directly after school.  The venue will be confirmed at the start of each year.

High School chess training is offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays (14:30 – 15:30). The venue will be confirmed at the start of each year.  The High School chess training sessions cater for everybody interested in chess, from new-comers who have never played chess before, to learners who deem themselves experts at the game.

Chess Ladders is offered on Wednesdays (14:15 – 16:00). Chess Ladders has been created for High School chess players who can play and will be part of the St Catherine’s Convent Chess Team to represent our school and play in leagues.

There are many benefits of learning to play chess. Chess improves a child’s:

  • visual memory;
  • attention span;
  • spatial reasoning skills;
  • ability to predict and anticipate consequences;
  • ability to use criteria to drive decision making and evaluate alternatives.

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