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Ashton International College MD, Joe Erasmus, reflects on the recent 10th anniversary alumni gathering, and the legacy being created after a decade of excellence.

For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.”

Our 10th anniversary has hit us at a supersonic speed. If one compares us to other traditional schools, 10 years is quite minuscule. However, what Ashton has achieved is remarkable. The emotions that drive the above quote have been experienced and felt, and through determination and perseverance, we have lived up to the expectations of ‘Excellence Belongs to the Zealous’. We were constantly under pressure on the cultural and sport side and with time, grit, blood, sweat and tears, began making strides in productions, performances and results. The introduction of Cambridge opened the doors for a new direction of curriculum, and as each year passed by we were able to build on the previous year’s success. We thank Mr. and Mrs. Buys for their vision, direction and dedication to education at Ashton. They have allowed us to grow a campus from 459 to 1 400. As short as 10 years might be, it has been a long road with ups and downs, but through their generosity we have been able to establish a Legacy landmark on the Dolphin Coast. How apt is our College prayer: “To shine like a beacon on the Dolphin Coast” From 10 years ago, to now, where our College name is mentioned in the hallowed grounds of our most traditional schools. ‘We have come a long way very quickly”

In the same breath, we say it with humility as we have achieved this with God’s Grace, presence and direction. To put things in perspective, we have literally been a construction site since day one, and how appropriate that the last building has been named the Legacy Hall. The dictionary definition of legacy is “a gift of personal property by will”. Your legacy will live forever in these beautiful buildings, but we know that that is not the way you want to be remembered. Your biggest gift is knowing that your investment has a priceless return in that we are affecting lives witnessing an outstanding academic record, sharing in the success of great sporting achievements, and collaborating with the cultural department to ensure world-class productions. The legacy is about what is happening inside the classrooms and halls. The legacy is about the teachers nurturing, teaching, facilitating and educating. The legacy is about those students who are now working or studying and it would be interesting to see how many past students have become entrepreneurs, following in your footsteps. It reminds me of a speech by Tony Greg who was a guest speaker at his old school. He said, “It is not that you played rugby for the 1st team or represented your school at provincial level for cricket or that you were the top academic, but rather that when you left, you were a student of quality, of sound character and who had intrinsically a set of core values and morals. From this, one can discern the difference between the buildings and what is happening inside. Here I would like to give praise to our staff.

Education is not only about ‘chalk and talk’, but rather a relationshipbuilding process driven by emotions, understanding and being unique. We should all take cognisance of the phrase used by Mrs Buys in the Grace Wing; “There are no disabilities but only different kinds of abilities. We all learn differently.” It is in our educational philosophy that EQ is of prime importance. It is the holistic approach which differentiates us. People will come and go, but in 20 years the Ashton Legacy must remain the same. Having a Christian ethos, being family orientated and being a valuedriven College must continue as core values. Young students must be great not because of their strengths, but because of their character. Forrest Gump was right. “Life is like a box of chocolates – there is somebody out there that loves the orange and strawberry chocolate.” We are different in so many ways, which has driven us to success. Mr. and Mrs. Buys, we acknowledge you, we salute you and we thank you. Long may your legacy live on. Visit ashtonballito.

Mr. André Buys (CEO of Ashton International Colleges Benoni and Ballito) and Mrs. Germare Buys

Alumni taught by Mrs. Pretorius, from left to right: Benjamin Habig (2016), Deneil Habig (2010), Tharendra Reddy (2015), Mrs. Janine Pretorius (Science Teacher), Nagendra Reddy (2009), Courtney Myburgh (2012), Nadia Habig (2012).

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