This week, we move over to the Music Department, to Mrs Fiona van der Merwe. Her inspiration with the boys, particularly in Choir, but also in the various music groups, often brings a smile to our faces as the music and gusty singing floats out over campus.
Q: Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born in Harare and grew up in beautiful Zimbabwe.
Q: Give us a bit of info about where you went to school and your work history:
I went to Chisipite Senior School in Zimbabwe. I was involved in everything and anything from sports, academics and all things cultural. I studied at Rhodes University and obtained my degree and teaching qualification. I loved my time there studying, playing music and being involved in sport. I played in the varsity tennis league and in the farmers’ tennis league.
I met Steve in Grahamstown and we got married the year after I finished at university. We moved to London, where we lived for 12 years before returning to Grahamstown. I have taught in various schools in Zimbabwe and in London, but I took a break from teaching to pursue other avenues, eventually ending up as an Operations Manager for a Social Care Recruitment firm in London. On returning to Grahamstown I returned to teaching and settled into one of my great passions as a music teacher here at St Andrew’s Prep.
Q: Tell us about your family:
I am married to a wonderful man, Steve, who runs the Hyundai and Len’s Auto dealership in Grahamstown. I am a proud mum of two handsome boys, who keep me on my toes and whom I love very much. We love Jesus and are so thankful every day for His amazing grace and love for us.
Q: What are your personal interests and hobbies?
Reading a good book during the holidays is always a treat. I like to cook a variety of dishes from different parts of the world and have friends over to share a meal with us. I enjoy playing tennis, playing any form of musical instrument and spending time chatting with friends, either over a cup of tea or a gin and tonic.
A recent love of mine is gardening, where I love to see how things flourish and grow after some tender love and care has been put into them. I love to walk for miles on the beach with my dogs. My family and friends are very special and mean the world to me, and I love to laugh.
Q: What do you appreciate about teaching at Prep?
Prep is a unique and special school. I love that I get to see the children grow, develop and often step out of their comfort zones and achieve great things. The sense of achievement and pride on their faces is priceless, especially after they have put a lot of hard work into making it happen. Prep truly is a magical place to teach and there is a wonderful atmosphere where the children are loved and cared for by all the staff.