The fall colors in New England, USA

USA- Kearsney College Old Boys Times

Proud of our Past, Focused on the Future

Dear <<First Name>>
Welcome to the Christmas issue of our USA-KCOB Times. The main focus of this newsletter is to keep you up to date and connected with the USA Old Boys by strengthening our virtual Kearsney network. We also want to keep you up to date about the USA-KCOB Centenary Bursary Fund. As this is the Season of Giving we invite you to find out more about this fund in this edition of the USA-KCOB Times or on our website.

We are honored to feature our USA old-boy donors in each issue. In this edition we feature Grant Smith who has been a long time and generous supporter of Kearsney. We would also like to include a ‘Connections’ (catch-up) section in each issue with your News & Views. We invite you to send any personal or KC-related information that you would like included in the next issue to Athena Fisher on or Such news might include job promotions, relocations, “hatched/matched and dispatched”, recent arrivals (or departures) of Old Boys in the USA, information that you might want our USA Old Boys to know, or perhaps a photo of KCOBs meeting in the USA. Your ideas and contributions are most welcome.

Carpe Diem!
Michael Hall (Gillingham 1953)
(310) 702-1636 – LA, California
The USA-KCOB Times: Editor
Chairman: USA-KCOB Centenary Bursary Fund
Athena Fisher: Foundation Coordinator
Joy Mills-Hackmann: Foundation Director, co-Editor
Grant du Plooy: USA KCOB Branch Chair

USA-KCOB Centenary Bursary Fund

This is an invitation to you to Seize the Day! We invite all USA Kearsney Old Boys to contribute to this fund to support talented and deserving students in financial need who have the potential to add value to our school and to South Africa. You can get involved by clicking here or go to our webpage on >Foundation>Specific Funds>USA-KCOB Centenary Bursary.

The USA-KCOBs aim is to raise $600 000 to provide bursaries in perpetuity by the Centenary in 2021. This goal is broken down to an annual target of $100 000 for each of the next 6 years.

KCOB President Lawrence Polkinghorne made the following appeal at Founders Weekend 2015: “The Class of 1974 has Seized the Day (by establishing a class bursary) and I invite each of you to join me in growing the legacy of Kearsney College. Should we as Old Boys want to see Kearsney remain at the pinnacle of independent education, we need to get involved, show leadership and take ownership! The game has changed, with extraordinary operational costs and an extremely competitive environment. There is a perception amongst Old Boys that we have to write out the “Big Cheque”. This is certainly not the case. The collective power of each of us giving R100, R200, R500 per month cannot be underestimated. We can be the difference!!”

At their graduation ceremonies this year, the Class of 2015 made an astounding announcement: they have established a Class of 2015 Bursary Fund - and this before even one of them has gone out into the working world! Read more about this inspiring pledge under the School News . 
Surely we as a group of USA Old Boys, many of whom are well established, all of whom are earning a salary, all of whom have benefited from the excellent education and wonderful opportunities that we received at Kearsney, can rise to the examples set by this class?

With the USA dollar so strong against the South African Rand, now is a really good time to give because your gift goes so much further. Each dollar that you donate at this time will give our bursary fund over R14, allowing us to reach our goal that much sooner

Kearsney’s partnership with General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) of United Methodist Church (UMC) allows KCOBs to pay your gifts to Kearsney into this USA account. Your gifts are fully tax deductible as per ruling of IRS [Internal Revenue Code section 501 (c) (3)]. Please click on this link for complete information on how to make a donation to the USA-KCOB Centenary bursary through GBGM.

We are pleased to bring you a short Biography on another of our Donors to the USA-KCOB Centenary Bursary Fund

Grant Smith (Pembroke 1969)

Born in Johannesburg, I was the eldest of 3 boys who all attended Kearsney for 5 years of High School (what would now be called Grades 8 – 12).

Coming from the freedom and privilege of living at home, it would not have been my first choice. This was the ‘60’s of Beatles and Carnaby Street where there was an endless whirlwind of crazes and fads accompanying a social revolution. Who would want to be distracted from all that by something like school?

For my parents, trying to control us in that revolutionary world would take more energy than they wanted to expend. Wouldn’t it be much easier to bundle us off to be whipped into shape by a cadre of disciplinarians at Kearsney?That was definitely my interpretation at the time. With age comes wisdom, and with hindsight, they were dead right. Being unceremoniously dumped miles from anywhere in a rigidly-managed environment quickly brought me to realize I might as well just knuckle down and put some effort into school – which I would probably never have done at home. Over the 5 years, I increasingly appreciated the benefits of concentrating on getting educated where competition focused on academia and the sports-fields rather than on frivolous one-upmanship of the latest crazes and fashions. In retrospect, I was indeed lucky and privileged to attend Kearsney, much as today's pupils are (whatever their personal reasons and whether they agree right now or not). Being shaped-up early in life saves a lot of grief later.

And well-educated I was. After a wasted year in the army (anyone recall ‘universal conscription’?) I spent part of a year at Wits, and then transferred to MIT. That, too, was a life-changing event, and another very privileged one. From faculty to students, the people there are mind-boggling. The English/South African education system through Grade 12 was tough to beat. But I much prefer the American system of higher-education. You have to be disciplined and determined to navigate it well because (beyond core requirements – dispensed with at MIT in the first year) there are literally thousands of 1-semester courses on offer. The curriculum you choose to pursue is guided by the field you select, but largely up to you. Kearsney instilled the discipline to cope with that system and to maintain focus on each of quite a wide array of courses.

I earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from MIT (1974 and 1975) in Finance/Computer Science. These days, that is a ubiquitous combination, but back then it was unusual. That combination is how I (unintentionally) ended up at one of the earliest quantitative, derivatives hedge funds. I thought it might be an interesting diversion for a while before I returned to the world of software. It may have been quantitative, but everything was done manually – from collecting the data to using a hand-held calculator to ‘process’ it into trading signals which were then ‘phoned to floor brokers. (Remember them? A colourful lot, but not always the sharpest tools in the shed!) As I liked to say (to the annoyance of many in the industry) it was a ‘Harvard’ world that needed to be MIT-ified in a hurry. I was hired to formalize and computerize some of the drudgery. And I’ve been there ever since, watching the world of finance transform itself – for good or ill, but hopefully mostly good - into the unrecognizable industry you see today.

Now, almost nothing is manual in finance. Quantitative/computerized analysis and trading
are everywhere, which keeps the world of finance very interesting – often a little too
interesting! The huge decrease in cost of computing and information has made sure of that. A lot more MIT than Harvard!

There is much truth to the old saw that ‘change is the only constant’. So there is no point learning facts; as knowledge advances, ‘facts’ are far too fleeting. To remain relevant, one has to learn how to learn - which is why I try to support education. Buildings and facilities are important, but my interest is in enabling others to attend institutions where they learn how to learn, as I was lucky enough to do. Thus I am a big fan of scholarships.

These days I am lucky enough (and senior enough - in age, at least) to have a lot of freedom in how I spend my time. Aside from the ever-changing world of the office, my wife and I divide our time between a country house and New York – with a reasonable amount of travel thrown in. We are keen supporters and patrons of the arts, mostly the ‘performing’ variety. If those are your interests, there can be few better places than New York, so we are lucky to spend half our lives here.

Luck is a massive part of life. I have had more than my share of it. And some day, those at
Kearsney today will recognize what they, too, have been given – if they don’t already. It’s a
great springboard to life. Use it well!

Prefects 1969: Grant Smith Second Row 4th from the left (behind Jimmy Hopkins)

‘Tis the Season to say THANK You

Every 3rd Term the Bursary & Scholarship students are asked to remember the honor bestowed on them by their donors and to write a short letter of thanks and set out their goals and aspirations. We have included a few quotes from a bursary recipient in each grade:

 " I would like to thank
you, Sir, for the financial help you have given me to attend this world class institution. Since I have been at Kearsney my life has changed dramatically in all spheres of life for the better. One of my best highlights was when our first team beat the “mighty” Glenwood College. In those moments I truly realised what a Kearsney boy is; Kearsney Boys have integrity and respect themselves and all the people around them no matter what " – Tsela Ezra Grade 8

" I am privileged and honoured to attend a world class institution which provides a top quality education and various sporting opportunities. This would not be possible without your kindness and generosity and I can’t be more grateful. On a sporting front the team spirit and work ethic encouraged me to be joyful when something great has been achieved. Later on in the term the whole school is embarking on various leadership courses. I was taught by my teachers that the best way to learn is to learn from other people. I am looking forward to the excursion as it will bring many lessons which could determine the important life decisions I will make in the future. As you already know, my lifelong dream is to become a world renowned mathematician. It is without a doubt that none of these ambitions and achievements would be possible without your generosity. It is my honour and privilege to say thank you, Sir, and with your help. I hope to seize many more opportunities in the near future."

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25 Hlumela Mngomezulu Grade 9 

" I would like to express my most sincere gratitude for awarding me such an important scholarship. The scholarship has not only altered my life but has had a profound effect on the lives of all of my family members. I want to be a great role model for boys in my grade and below. And to achieve this I intend to treat all people with respect and to seize every opportunity presented to me. I am truly blessed and thankful for this amazing opportunity, as it is said in Acts 20:35It is more blessed to give than to receive. I pray that you receive bountiful blessings for the great act of kindness you have shown me " – Wandile Linda Grade 10

" I would like to thank you for your continuous generosity towards my bursary. I am truly grateful to have received this award as without your kindness I would not have been able to attend such a prestigious institution such as Kearsney College. My highlight this year was raising funds for a Vietnamese orphanage." The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of othersGhandi. Matt Pretorius Grade 11

" Kearsney has made me a mature and responsible young man and has given me many opportunities that I otherwise would not have received. It has helped me set up a platform from which I may build the rest of my life. I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me these opportunities. What you do doesn’t go by unappreciated and I hope that what you do inspires others as I have been inspired!" – Ru Baker Grade 12 

Ntinga Shabalala’s Mother (Bursary Recipient Ntinga (Grade 10) was partially funded by Michael Hall) 

"This Bursary has made such a difference in my son and my family’s life. When you give to a cause like the Kearsney Foundation, you are not only changing the boy’s life but his whole family and future generations lives. I wish that one day I will be in the position to change an underprivileged boy’s life. Thank you!"

School News

The 9th September 2015 was Enviro Day at Kearsney, an initiative to raise environmental awareness amongst the boys. This is in line with eKCO-Kearsney which is the school’s green initiative, created more than 2 years ago with seed funding from Michael Hall, which seeks to minimise the school’s environmental impact and promote environmental education and awareness at Kearsney. KCOB Zack Buchan (Finningley 1993), an intrepid explorer and experienced adventurer, spoke to the boys about his mountaineering and trekking expeditions in Antarctica. Following the talk the boys attended a ceremony to symbolically open the new subterranean water reservoir. Kearsney's Facilities and Projects Manager, Mr Andrew Bretherton, spoke to the boys about the massive project (the reservoir has a 300,000 litre storage capacity) and the importance of conserving this vital scarce resource. In 2014 the College experienced more than 42 days of water problems around campus, not ideal for a school of active boys. Thankfully this is a thing of the past. To find out more about eKCo-Kearsney click here

Zach Buchan (Finningley 1993) in Antarctica

Andrew Bretherton addressing the boys on Enviro day at the new reservoir

Class of 2015 make a stunning announcement at Speech Day: The Head BoyRobert Polkinghorne,addressed the audience and announced that the Class of 2015 have collectively decided that to show their appreciation for the opportunities that Kearsney had given to them, they would start a Class of 2015 Bursary Fund. This is the first year group to start a Class Fund whilst they are still in school. The fund will one day afford another boy the life changing experience that Kearsney has given to the class of 2015. This awareness of the world around them and the spirit of giving back sum up the Class of 2015 and their selfless actions during the year, when they rallied up the boys to give back to those who had suffered at the hands of xenophobia and joined forces with Durban musicians to sing out against xenophobia. Newest Whippets lead the way! Congratulations Class of 2015. What an amazing example you are to all of us! Hear their rendition of Shoshaloza at their Leavers Dinner

The Class of 2015 pictured in front of the Sir Liege Hulett Room, October 2015

Boys’ Thank You lunch to Kearsney staff is deeply moving: The Kearsney Choir performed for the entire Kearsney staff in a special final show of the year. Almost two hundred Kearsney and service provider staff, from the grounds, maintenance, laundry, kitchen, cleaning, administration and academic departments enjoyed a hot lunch and were thanked by the boys for their tireless work in maintaining excellent standards in every facet of College life. What made the lunch extremely special was that the boys gifted their lunch to the staff to say thank you and all of the boys were involved in serving the staff and ensuring that the lunch went smoothly. Thank you and well done boys!! This is truly ‘the spirit of Kearsney’. #KearsneyCares


Matric Choir Boys with Director of Music, Bernard Kruger, at the Staff Thank you lunch

Breaking News: The Kearsney Choir will tour to NYC, USA in June 2016 The Kearsney choir will participate in the Rhythms of One World Festival in New York in June 2016. The choir departs from Durban on 18 June and returns on 28 June. Once again Kearsney is deeply honored to have been invited to represent the continent of Africa, the choir will perform with five other choirs representing their continents on three occasions. The first will be at the Hard Rock Café on Times Square, the second at the Lincoln Centre and culminating in a massed choir performance in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations on Saturday 25 June 2016. There will also be one performance for the choir on its own at the Kaufmann Centre with one or two other performances still being finalized. The Kearsney Foundation Director, Joy Mills-Hackmann will accompany the choir on this tour to arrange special opportunities for Old Boys to hear and engage with the choir.

Old Boy News


Joshua Bean (Pembroke 2013) is studying in the States for the Fall Semester. He was accepted for international exchange by UCT and was then accepted at the University of California, Berkeley where he is studying at the Haas School of Business and doing credits towards his Business Science degree.

Josh has informed us of his time in the USA so far: “The first time I heard about Berkeley was when we were learning about the free speech movement in history. Never would I have thought sitting in class at Kearsney that I would be walking around the same campus and learning in the same classes as those students who were protesting in the ‘60’s. To this day Berkeley encourages students to challenge everything. It was from learning about Berkeley in history that led to me first being interested in applying for an exchange here.

Berkeley is considered the best public university in the world. It would be an understatement to say that I consider it a privilege to be able to study here for a semester. The courses I am taking while I am here are Finance, Marketing, International Trade and Public Economics. The lecturers are the best of the best. They are both busy running their own business and operating fully in the corporate world while lecturing part time or they are publishing the most recent research in the field of economics. Read more about KCOB Joshua Bean

If any old boys living in the San Francisco area would like to have the opportunity to meet Josh, and treat him to a home cooked dinner, his e-mail address is: 


Since the international company, Barrows was founded in 1990 by two Kearsney old boys, Richard Barrow (Finningley 1975) and Derek Woodhouse (Finningley 1975), and it employs

Derek Woodhouse                                                                 Richard Barrow

a number of Kearsney old boys in its branches around the world, and is a generous supporter of Kearsney causes, we thought it would be of interest to our USA old boys to publish an article about Barrows, and particularly its USA operation. For this we reached out to Brent Taylor (Pembroke 2001), currently the chief of Barrows North America, who answered the Times’ questions about the success that a small South African company has made in the international market. Read more about Barrows

Meet the Team:

       Brent Taylor                                                  Ian Bester                                           Chris Hartwig

                Brad Woodhouse                                     1st Rugby team 2001

Available Now

As most of you will know we have sent out correspondence requesting feedback as to whether or not USA Old Boys would like USA-KCOB T-shirts and we are pleased that the response has been favourable. To date we have received about 30 orders, if you would like to order one please do let us know at The cost will be about $30 if we have at least 50 orders. This would of course include a little profit which would go to our USA-KCOB Centenary Bursary Fund.

Connection: Your News & Views

Grant Du Plooy (Pembroke 1978) and his wife recently met with Tom Corbeth (Pembroke 1978) in Vancouver recently read more on our USA-KCOB Facebook page

Your editor recently attended a wine tasting at Hi Time Wines in Costa Mesa, arranged by Sean Coetzee (Finningley 2003) which showcased South African, French and California Chenin Blancs. In my humble opinion, the South African Chenins blew the others in the same price range out of the water! Sean is the regional manager for the West Coast for Cape Classics, which imports South African and French wines to the USA. He is happy to give ‘mates rates’ for any orders from Kearsney old boys, and will arrange shipping throughout the USA. Why not let Sean stock your wine cellar for the Holiday Season. You can contact Sean at: (858)-252-8549.

Photo: Nancy Coetzee (mother of Sean and Chris, Finningley 2005), Sean, Megan (Sean’s wife), Michael and Jill Hall.

Athena, Joy, Grant and I wish you, and your loved ones, a Joyous Christmas, and a New Year that is filled with happiness, health, prosperity and peace for our troubled world. To connect you with the season, and with our school, please take a moment to enjoy our marvellous choir singing We Three Kings during their carol service at the College

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In the last USA-KCOB Times we mentioned that Joe Hansen’s great grandfather was a missionary in Empangeni, but in actual fact he was with the mission in Empangweni.

Message sent by the Kearsney Foundation 
Joy Mills-Hackmann (Director), Athena Fisher (Foundation Coordinator), Kerry-Lynn McMaster (Secretary) | Tel: +27(0)31 765 9600 / 28 / 27 / 50  | Fax: 086 511 0594


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