News Post

MS Principal's Weekly Update October 25, 2019

Dear Parents,

Thank you for reading this week’s news from the Middle School.  We have had a productive week of learning in following the October break.  One of my highlights in visiting classrooms was watching 7th grade scientists test their structures they built to withstand natural disasters.  For several weeks prior to this, student have engaged in the design thinking process to build model homes and buildings that could withstand earthquakes, tsunamis, and hurricanes.  There were some very clever and durable structures and, in my observations, the vast majority of them survived.   Well done to the 7th grade scientists and design teams.

We concluded our week with a fun House Event, planned by our student House Captains.   The theme was “Green Halloween,” where each House dressed up a teacher as a monster using recyclable materials.   Fun times!

I want to congratulate the many students who performed at Thursday evening’s Drama Showcase.  It was a highly entertaining and with some cases, quite provocative.  evening with a wide variety of dramatic performances from 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.  Our drama program in the Middle School is highly popular and it was terrific to see so many diverse performances from our enthusiastic risk-takers.  Well done to all involved and thanks to Ms. Willis for her superb work with students

This week also marked the end of Season 1 co-curricular activities.  Well done to the many, many students who participated in the variety of sport, service, and hobby oriented activities this term, and thank you to all of the teachers and coaches who have sponsored CCAs.   The second season of CCAs will begin on Monday, November 4th and parents who registered students for CCAs should receive confirmation from the Activities Office shortly.

Tomorrow, Saturday, October 26th, student-athletes who have participated in Middle School basketball during Season 1 will have their end of season tournament.  AISJ will be hosting several schools here on campus.  Games begin at approximately 9:00 a.m. and continue throughout the day.  I hope that many students and parents will turn out to support our MS Eagles.

Looking ahead to next week, the highlight for all 8th graders will be the annual Classroom Without Walls (CWW) trip to Sugar Bay.   The Grade 8 CWW trip to Sugar Bay will take place from Monday, October 28 through Friday, November 1. 8th grade students will need to be taken to school on Monday morning, October 28th, by their parents as we are asking students to be on campus by 6:00 a.m.   No AISJ busses will be providing 8th grade students transportation that morning.  Students will meet their teachers and the busses in the carpark above the Theater/Covered Courts. After attendance, they will depart for Sugar Bay by chartered busses at 6:30 a.m. on Monday morning.   

It is important that Grade 8 students arrive at school on time – no later than 6:00 a.m. - so that we can depart on time at 6:30 a.m.  We expect the students to return to campus by no later than 4:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon.  Parents are encouraged to pick up their children from school on the return day as we only offer a 4:30 p.m. late bus to transport students’ homes on the Friday.  We will communicate regularly with parents on Friday regarding our expected arrival time back at AISJ.  Parents will also receive a daily brief about the CWW trip each morning as well as communication about our safe arrival at Sugar Bay on Monday.

I look forward to attending the Grade 8 CWW trip as well and I do want to thank all the teachers who will be involved on these trips with your children this week.  They take their responsibilities for your children and their duty of care very seriously and have also spent a lot of time planning and preparing for this trip.  Thank you to: Ms. Roberts, Mr. Megaffin, Mr. Lingo, Mr. Warnecke, Mr. Cuyamendous, Mr. Barton, & Ms. Rollon

The Grade 6 and 7 CWW trips take place the following week, November 4 -8 and details about these trips can be found below.   Parents of 6th and 7th graders will also receive reminder emails next week in advance of these trips.

I wish all of you an enjoyable weekend.  Thank you for your continued support of the Middle School.


Andy Ferguson



GRADE 6 & 7:  NOVEMBER 4 – 8

The Grade 7 CWW trip at the Blyde Adventure Camp near Hoedspruit will take place from Monday, November 4 throughNovember 8.  A reminder that 7th grade students must be at school by no later than 7:30 a.m. on Monday morning, November 4th.  Students should arrive to school that Monday with their luggage and meet in the parking lot just above the Theater/Covered Courts.  With a long road trip ahead of them that day, it is important that our transportation to the Grade 7 CWW location leaves on time. We expect the students to return to campus by 2:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon in time to catch the 3:00 p.m. bus.  Parents may also pick their children up at school upon their arrival back to campus.

The Grade 6 CWW trip at the Blyde Adventure Camp near Hoedspruit will take place from Monday, November 4 through November 8.  A reminder that 6th grade students must be at school by no later than 7:30 a.m. on Monday morning, November 4th.  Students should arrive to school that Monday with their luggage and meet in the parking lot just above the Theater/Covered Courts.  With a long road trip ahead of them that day, it is important that our transportation to the Grade 6 CWW location leaves on time. We expect the students to return to campus by 2:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon in time to catch the 3:00 p.m. bus.  Parents may also pick their children up at school upon their arrival back to campus.

For each of these trips, parents can expect to receive updates about our safe arrival to CWW venues as well as a daily update around 9:00 a.m. with daily highlights from the trips.  Thank you for your support. 



Dear AISJ Community,

The JHB Middle School Student Council, together with ES STUCO are hosting a Christmas Party at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto on the 16th of November.  This hospital is for children with an underprivileged background and it is also the third largest hospital in the world. For these children, Christmas looks different from yours!

We need your help to make this an amazing Christmas party for these hospitalized children. The Middle School needs to collect at least 150 presents for Middle Schoolers. The presents must be new and nicely wrapped.  The presents must be labelled with the gender and be appropriate for 11 to 14 year-old kids. The presents should cost around 150R and should be something you or your brother or sister would like too.

When you have your presents nicely wrapped and labelled you can drop your presents off at the Middle School Library HUB.  The deadline is the 15th of November. Please help us, because everybody deserves a Christmas with nice presents!  Thank you!

Middle School Student Council



AISJ Middle School Instagram: with more than 70 followers already, the MS Activities Instagram account is becoming quite popular.  If you’d like to check out all of the great things happening each day in the Middle School, please consider following the IG account. If interested, please click on this link. Once the Communications Office confirms that you are a parent, they will grant you access. With a new photo being posted each day, don’t miss out!


Ms. Elcke: Shout-out to Ms. Elcke who has led the charge on moving the Middle School Garden to a more central location. Now, everyone who comes through the Middle School will get to see the awesome work being done by the Garden Squad.

Eli, Noah, and Aidan, Grade 7: These three 7th graders have stepped up to develop and take on new leadership roles for the MS Chill Zone. Noah will be responsible for the bulletin board; Aidan will be responsible for overseeing fair play on the table tennis and foosball tables; Eli will be our resident DJ, making sure that there is always fun and appropriate music blasting from the speaker. A BIG shout-out to these three students for helping to make the Chill Zone a truly student-owned space.

House Captains: This is not the first time I have given a shout-out to the House Captains for planning, designing, communicating, and running a House Event – no small feat. Today, though, I want to shout-out the House Captains for the remarkable growth they’ve shown as young leaders. For example, they have started a year-long recycling collection initiative that goes well beyond the proverbial job description of the role. Additionally, they’ve begun to solicit feedback from students and faculty to inform future House Events. By listening to the ideas of others, this week’s House Event is a point-less, arts-based Halloween-themed event, signalling a real shift in what we even thought a House Event could be. 

Basketball Players: Shout-out to the nearly 30% of students who will be participating in the End-of-Year Basketball Tournament this Saturday. Players of all ages and abilities will have the opportunity to showcase the progress they’ve made over these last 10 weeks against some of the best competition South Africa has to offer. Go Eagles!

Important Dates:

October 26th



Season 1 CCA Activities end


November 1st


Curro School

Junior Swimming Meet


November 2nd


JHB Field

Steph Sprint for Cancer Awareness


November 4th



Season 2 CCA Activities begin


November 13th – 17th




SAISA Swim Meet

November 15th



CWW/Season 1 Athletics Celebration


Activities Note:

Over the October break, my wife and I were fortunate enough to spend six days in Mauritius – a beautiful island located in the Indian Ocean about 1100km east of Madagascar. Though the island is only about 45km wide and 65km long, it is packed with things to do and places to visit. Whether it’s tooling around the Central Market in Port Louis, scuba diving off the coast of Grand Baie, or hiking along Charmel’s colored sands, there are plenty of ways to spend a vacation.

The hotel where we were staying included shuttles to, and tours of, these destinations, in addition to countless other options such as wind-surfing, kayaking, and sailing, Of course, there are also plenty of leisure options, including a day-long trip around the island with nothing to do but eat fresh fish and enjoy the endless sun. Going to Mauritius is the vacation equivalent of going to a restaurant, checking the menu, and realizing that everything looks good. 

As enticing as it all seemed, though, the truth is that my days weren’t spent on sailing or scuba-diving. In fact, they weren’t spent doing much of anything at all. I would wake up in the morning, get a spot on the beach, and read until lunch. After lunch, I would get a spot by the pool, and read until happy hour, and this was the extent of how I spent my vacation. And you know what? It was one of the best vacations I’ve ever had.

You see, from late-July until the October Break, the schedule is full-on. It turns out that what I needed – more than kayaking or wind-surfing – was a break. More exactly, the sort of unscheduled time when I could do nothing other than chill.

I am sharing this with you because Season 1 CCAs come to an end this week, and I am not the only one whose schedule has been full-on. Our students have been working non-stop since the start of August. With the two-week break students have between the end of Season 1 and the start of Season 2, I would encourage all of us to allow our students to have some unscheduled, unstructured time in the afternoons. Maybe they spend it shooting hoops in the yard or playing video games in the living room or reading a good book on the patio, either way it’s their time to decompress, reset, relax, and come back in November ready for whatever Season 2 has in store for them.  

Dear Community,

The AISJ High and Middle Schools will be presenting Matilda from 14 - 16 November.  We are looking for a simple hospital bed or a wheelchair.  If you have one and would be prepared to lend it to us between now and the above-mentioned dates, please contact Robyn Wood at

Thank you,

The Matilda Team

Other Important Dates and Events for the Months of October through December

October 26

AISJ MS Basketball Tournament

October 28 – November 1

Grade 8 Classroom Without Walls – Sugar Bay

November 2

Steph Sprint 3 km Run for Cancer Awareness

November 4 – November 8

Grade 6 & 7 Classroom Without Walls – Blyde Adventure Camp

November 7 – 13

World Scholars’ Cup Tournament of Champions @ Yale University

November 14 – 16

Grade 6 – 12 Musical Production – “Matilda”

November 19

Principal’s Coffee Morning @ 8:15 a.m. in the Library.   Topic:  Digital Safety and Raising Teens In the Social Media Age

November 26

MS/HS Band Concert @ 6:00 p.m. in the Theater

November 28 – 29

U.S. Thanksgiving Holidays – No School

December 4 - 7

Umoya Band Festival

December 5

MS/HS Choir Concert @ 6:00 p.m.

December 13

Early Release @ 1:30 p.m.

December 14 – January 6

School Holidays



Three Cheers for our Middle School thespians who performed so well in the Drama Showcase.

Three Cheers for our Middle School student-athletes representing AISJ at

Saturday’s Middle School basketball tournament.

Three Cheers for Classroom Without Walls.  Wishing safe journeys and good times

ahead for the Grade 8 class and their teachers next week.