A tribute to a fabulous school

Felixton College…25 years

July 2018, we arrived in South Africa for Summer Holiday from Bahrain, set to enjoy time with family.  It is always exciting and a wonderful experience travelling and reconnecting with family and friends.  This summer holiday, however, was set to end a little bit different than we anticipated.

As many things in life, circumstances change, and by the end of August, our holiday had turned into a relocation exercise.  My husband had been made redundant at work, and with us (me and the children) already in South Africa, and him having always had the dream of returning to South Africa, we decided to stay where we were, in Richards Bay with my sister and her family until we could sort things out.

The year running up to this holiday, we had been looking around at schools for my son, his dream, much like my husbands, has always been to return to South Africa to complete his schooling at a boarding house and be part of the great sporting (Rugby and swimming) experience and legacy that South Africa has to offer.  We had read up and communicated only with a few schools at this point, not worrying to much about it as we still had a few years to go before having to make the final decision.  During a call with my sister early on in 2018, chatting about schools in KZN and various environments and choices, she mentioned a school that she knew about but had almost forgot to mention, Felixton College.  I took the information and started doing research about the school, including some other schools in the area.

From the get-go Felixton College was just different.  Debbie Lane’s first communication was one of warmth, care, and enthusiasm, happy to share what ever information I needed to help me with my research.

We decided to visit Felixton College with the children during our summer holiday, as we did with a previous school in the Western Cape in December just the year before, again, not realising that this (and our circumstances) would lead to something much bigger.

Taking the turn off and driving towards Felixton Village, then entering the village was like driving onto a movie set (apart from signing in at security at the main gate), the lush green environment, open properties, golf course, and then of course the beautiful tree covered Felixton College.  It was a picturesque image that took us by surprise as the photos we saw on the internet did not do it justice at all, not in the least.  What lay before us was so much more beautiful and magical.  Stepping out of the car into a world apart, and yet somehow it felt familiar, comfortable, and easy.

End of August hit and suddenly we found ourselves having to rearrange our entire life.  It was stressful and fearful.

I contacted Debbie at Felixton Collage and informed her that we will in fact be staying and enquired about available spaces for the children.  It was with great relief and happiness that we received the news, very quickly, that Felixton College not only will accept both children, but had space at the end of September for both.  They had welcomed us with open friendly arms, in Debbie’s case quite literally, when we returned to Felixton to view some places to rent, again, one of the many things that the “Felixtonites” helped us with.

Felixton College had welcomed us as a family, not just the children, but our entire family, our circumstances and every part or our life completely.  It turned out in the end that having discovered this gem had been the best thing that could have ever happened not only for the children but for me as well.  Felixton College, the teachers, the children, all staff and the parents had been part of the most amazing growth for all of us.

We returned to South Africa, our entire family, Father, Mother, Children, cats, dogs and entire household in September 2018.  Happy to return, but unfortunately, because of circumstances, again, we were set to enjoy this great environment for only 2 years.  Like many a people, we returned to life as an expat family because of limitations in work opportunities in South Africa.

The 2 years spent in Felixton Village and being part of the Felixton College family had been the best “accidental”, or fate-driven time.

Felixton College truly is like a family, everything and everyone embraces you like a warm comforting hug.  The school is one of great learning, academically, culturally and in sports.  Encouraging all the children to be part of every aspect of the school, exposing them to every opportunity and guiding them gently on their way forward.

My daughter went from being an insecure, unsure, unadventurous and a very non-sporty little girl to a confident little girl, willing and happy to try new things, not just enjoying but embracing sports as much as she did culture and academia.  My son too, had gone from being a polite, quiet and a very insecure boy to stepping up and take the lead, filling a part of himself that he did not believe he had and grew into a strong confident young man.  My children’s time with Felixton College has been a great big part in the people they are growing in to be, and we still often reminisce about the wonderful friends, teachers, opportunities, and adventures we all had there.

The two years we spend in the bubble of the Felixton College community had been one of great privilege and joy for all of us.  It was with a heavy heart the day that I had to share the news of our departure to expat life with the Felixton College community.  Even in this, everyone involved in all the administrative duties, getting the things done for the children’s applications and transfer to the international school, had been made easier through the friendliness and willingness of the Felixton College family.

Felixton College is a part of who we are now, like proud family members sharing in all the joy, sadness, excitement, and stress of the entire family.  We have all made lifelong friends and will forever have a piece of our hearts buried with this extraordinary school hidden in the wonderfully charming almost mystical lush greenery between the sugar cane fields of KZN.

We wish Felixton College many years of success and growth.

I leave you with this poem I wrote as a dedication to Felixton College just before we left.

Felixton is not a school, Felixton is a family

(Sharon F Hudson – March 2020)

Hidden in the tranquil rolling
hills of macadamia and sugar
cane fields,
You find this star bright beacon of
loyalty, support, and family glowing
with heat from the fire of love and
respect, filling your weary soul
with reassurance and hope, guiding
your battered heart to where
love overflows, inspiring your mind to grow

From the littles to the bigs,
we are all but children in this
magnificent haven, protecting and
moulding young and old, inspiring
the active and the reader,
It is a place of fun,
A place of reason,
A place of action,
A place of peace,

Felixton College is a place of home.

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