On a sunny afternoon, Wednesday the thirteenth of February, a group of excited British students arrived at the gates of The Settlers High School. These older looking young ladies and gentlemen were soon surrounded by their hosts and curious Settlers’ learners. It was going to be quite a visit…

The following day, the Helsby students spent their time at school with their respective hosts, attending classes and extramural activities. “It’s different,” said Patrick Phelan, a student from Liverpool, when commenting on the schooling system and noting the cramped passages. When asked about the school spirit in general, he added, “I love it!”

The following day was the annual Interschools Athletics Meeting. The Helsby students stood on the arena facing our school, enthusiastically watching us cheer and giving us a hearty applause as we did our opening, giving them but a taste of The Settlers Spirit. After the opening medleys, the students jumped in a tour bus and visited Seal Island, the Waterfront as well as Robben Island, where they experienced some culture shocks and were struck by South Africa’s scenic beauty.

The Saturday evening thereafter was the Valentine’s Day ball –the school’s biggest annual dance. The Helsby group was pleasantly surprised by the large number of young, partying teenagers’ endurance and stamina for dancing from mid-evening to almost midnight. They even joined in when the party-goers randomly broke out in school cheer songs. “They enjoyed it,” said Zoë Meiring, host of Helsby student Katie Haze. “They were partying and dancing!”

The following morning, the group returned as a sad assembly of students. Even though the visit had been short, the group seemed to have become a part of the school and would always carry a piece of The Settlers’ Spirit with them. On 22 March 2013, it will be the turn of a lucky few Settlers’ learners to travel England and repay the visit. Helsby High School – get ready!

Writtne by Sandrine Mpazayabo