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THE RESTORATION OF ST MARK'S COLLEGE

Once a very angry American student teacher followed me into my office after an assembly. I had asked for volunteers to help clean the sewerage plant but, because of the nature of the task, I had addressed the request to boys only. She felt that I was being sexist and insisted that the girls should be included! In the end there were some twenty boys, the headmaster and one woman marching off with spades to carry out the task.

St Mark's College was never short of helpers when there was work to be done. We even thought of making the school motto: "Getting our hands dirty".

The task this time is more delicate but just as urgent. For some time St Mark's College has been directed by two institutions, the St Mark's College Council, representing the Anglican Church, and a School Governing Body as the immediate arm of the Department of Education, Limpopo. The Department of Education has many schools to administer and can only manage by laying down numerous regulations to determine the life of the schools. This secures some order in the schools but at the same time reduces their initiative. The Anglican Church on the other hand comes from a liberal tradition. It believes that education is self disciplining. One is taught to examine the facts, whether they be , say, measurements in a science lesson or, say, arguments in history lesson, and then to judge for one self. It is this practice that distinguishes the educated man. This difference in approach between the Department and the Church has lead to much difficulty and, in the end, to the St Mark's College Council, under the Bishop of the Diocese, proposing to the Department of Education, Limpopo, that St Mark's College return to its former status of an independent Church school.

The task ahead of us this time will be more exciting than cleaning out the sewerage plant though it has its similarities!

Responsibility for St Mark's College, as from 2014, we plan to be distributed as follows:
  1. The school will owned by a Board of Trustees, senior men and women brought together by the Bishop.
  2. The Trustees will then delegate their authority to a St Mark's College Council, consisting of twelve wise, hard working, experienced people, who, under a mandate from the Trust, administer the three schools, Pre-primary, Primary and Secondary, which today constitute the College.
  3. The vision of St Mark's College will be to provide the best education possible and in doing so to uplift the value of life for all those in contact with the school.
The Rector of St Peter's Church, Marishane, once told me that a church never suffered from financial difficulties, only from spiritual ones, which I believe to be true, even of schools. However, the material side of any institution does have to be considered constantly. St Mark's College has been poorly maintained and now the repairs will cost millions. Salaries will have to be paid and fees carefully considered and then paid dutifully. The curriculum, that so defines a school, will have to be exacting but its detail is still to be considered. The sporting facilities, that multiply the teaching occasion again and again over, will have to be first class. Finally the boarding facilities and boarding arrangements will have to match the high ideals of the school: the family around the table. All this makes financial demands.

The call then is for The Strength of St Mark's, thus named because of its strong arm, to help this time in a more subtle fashion than before. The work will entail: broadcasting the news about St Mark's; helping us raise the millions needed by the Trustees to back the school; binging to our notice suitable people to man the St Mark's College Council and suitable people to join the teaching team; and Praying for the school.

This appeal started with a wad of bad news but it finishes with the Good News, that St Mark's College in Jane Furse is part of a long established Christian tradition that is inspired by the Good News, and so we pray, and not only for St Mark's College:

O God, by whose manifold grace all things work together for good to them that love Thee,
establish, we pray Thee, the thing that Thou hast wrought in us
and make this school as a field which Thou hast blessed;
that whatsoever things are true, pure, lovely and of good report may here forever flourish and abound;
enlarge our school with a wider usefulness;
and exalt it in love and reverence of all its members as an instrument of Thy glory,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Peter Anderson,
Principal 1985 - 1998
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