The History of The OWA

In 1958 several Woodridge Prep alumni held an inaugural general meeting to form the Woodridge Old Boys Association (WOBA) after attempting to contact the 300 or so past pupils. Their main objectives were to organise reunions and sports meetings, have old-boy representation on the Board of Trustees, assist pupils in need where necessary and for old boys to maintain friendships formed at the Prep.

A constitution was drawn up, revised, accepted and circulated to all old boys by the “ad hoc” committee. At the first AGM in February 1959 (attended by 27 members) Mr LJA Carter was elected as Honorary President. All of the 56 paid up members were encouraged to recruit as many past pupils as possible so that the school could grow and flourish. Mr Carter expressed the hope that in time there would be a Woodridge Prep and a Woodridge College and that they would be completely run by old boys. He concluded by saying; “either it (the school) must go forward or it must slide backwards. We must think big or we will die small.”

The committee organised a cricket match between the old boys and the school team and the old boys were given a drubbing! They had a Braai and Bop Session after the game and the old boys showed the school boys a thing or two on the dance floor.  There was also a reunion dinner at the Griffin Hotel in PE during the year. The WOBA was now well established BUT, according to the minutes of the AGM, was only supported by 25% of the alumni.

By 1963 the editor noted in the school magazine that ; “For the past few year the Woodridge Old Boys Association has been, to all intents and purposes, non- existent.” and appealed to all old boys to support them. This appeal worked and the association reformed under a name change. They became the Old Woodridgeans Association (OWA) which worked well especially once the school began accepting female students.

The OWA, under the chairmanship of Ronnie Paxton, was re-inaugurated in June 1970. By now the College had been founded, allowing students to complete all their schooling at Woodridge. This engendered more loyalty among the alumni and that, along with more modern means of communication, facilitated good contact growth for the OWA.

To date the OWA’s major fundraising initiative has been the 500 Club which hold lucky draws 3 times a year and give prizes  of R30 000, 00; R15 000, 00 at each draw, as well as attendance prizes and lucky draws. They aim to sell 500 tickets each time but have not always reached this target.

Every October the OWA hold an induction dinner for the matriculants and these “new” old Woodridgeans are handed a tie and a three-legged pot to remind them of their responsibilities to their school.

Modern methods of communication as well as social media have made it a lot easier to contact all old Woodridgeans and all they ask is the alumus keep them up to date with changes in their contact details.

In the same vein they have also accessed these media forms and now have an OWA facebook page that keeps everyone informed and highlights upcoming events and activities.