High School for Boys and Girls from grade 8-12
My journey with Drakondale started in 2018 when my daughter Sarah-Leigh auditioned to enroll as a Grade 7 learner. At the time the choir was preparing to participate in World Choir Games and funds were needed to assist some learners to attend this prestigious event. I volunteered to fundraise and we managed to send all our girls to compete.
I was then invited to join the SGB and co-opted to the Fundraising Committee. Later I was voted in as Chairman of SGB as well as co-opted to finance and my involvement in the school became more and more hands on.
The SGB was dissolved and a Board of Directors currently oversee the governance of the school. I am currently Chairman of the Board as well as responsible for the finances of the school. I have been a banker most of my career and am currently a business banker for one of the top five banks in South Africa.
I am passionate about the development of our youth and I am actively involved in ensuring that Drakondale sends out well-rounded individuals into the world.
Botes Gresse, born in Otjiwarongo, Namibia, matriculated at the Hottentots Holland High School, Somerset West. He studied for the B. Mus. Ed. Degree (specializing in singing and instrumental tuition) and also completed the Church Organist Diploma at the University of Stellenbosch from 1974 to 1977. During this period he also completed various examinations for the South African Dance Teachers’ Association in Dancing (Ballroom and Latin), a course that became very useful when the Lady Grey Arts Academy was founded in 1997.
After completion of his military training in 1979, Botes started his teaching career at the Worcester Gimnasium in the Western Cape. In 1983 he was appointed lecturer in the Department of School Music, Faculty of Education at the University of Stellenbosch, lecturing Piano, Music History, Harmony and Choral Education. In 1984 he obtained the B. Mus. Hons. Degree (cum laude) from the University of Stellenbosch. During this period, Botes adjudicated at various Eisteddfods and music festivals and acted as Regional and Provincial Representative (Western Cape) of the South African Choral Society. He was also approached to assist in the compiling of the first Afrikaans choral conducting handbook, Die groot Afrikaanse koorleiersgids, which was published in 1991.
In 1990 he took up the post of Choir Master at the Drakensberg Boys Choir School and was appointed Associate-Director of Music in 1994. During this period, Botes undertook numerous national and international tours with the Drakensberg Boys Choir and presented workshops in Choral Training, acted as adjudicator at Music Festivals and Eisteddfods, and also took part in various Radio and TV productions.
Botes Gresse moved to Lady Grey, Eastern Cape, in 1996 and was appointed Head Master in 1997 of the newly founded Lady Grey Arts Academy, a combined Primary and High School focusing on the Performing Arts: Music Studies, Dance Studies, Dramatic Arts, Visual Art and Design and established this institution in the period up to 2009 as a leading South African focus school for the Arts. The Academy accommodated primarily students from the more remote and disadvantaged areas of South Africa. The ALTECH Concert Choir was also founded in the same year and participated in a number of TV Productions, High Profile Concerts and released a number of CD’s. In 2006 Botes was asked to join the UNISA panel of examiners for the annual assessment of external practical music examinations.
An annual exchange programme for students and educators with Swedish Art Schools in Stockholm was also established in 2006 and served as further inspiration to extend the educational curriculum of the Lady Grey Arts Academy.
In June 2009 Botes accepted the post as Rector of the Drakensberg Boys Choir School, a position from which he resigned in December 2010 in order to have more time available to focus on his music career and to live out his passion for educational management and teaching. During this period he acted as member of the international panel of adjudicators for the International Advent and Christmas Music Choral Festival in Prague, Slovakia.
He was appointed principal of the McLachlan High School, Joubertina, Eastern Cape, in October 2011 and retired at the end of September 2018 to take up the position of Headmaster and Director of Music at the newly founded Drakondale Girls Choir School, today the Drakondale School of the Arts in Howick, KZN in October 2018.
Botes and his wife, Estelle now reside in Merrivale, KZN.
Paula Tungay has been involved with Drakondale since its inception and has become more involved as the school has matured.
Each director has a particular brief and mine is Hostel matters. An interesting brief and full of variety, it brings me into contact with the learners and, from time to time, members of staff. Everyone I meet is unique and has a different take on what a hostel should be! My vision is that the learners should feel at home, be happy in the Drakondale environment and, of course, make huge strides both academically and in the Arts, whichever their particular passion is.
My particular passion is that each learner who leaves Drakondale should be easily identified as a former Drakondale learner due to the values instilled in them at the school. This standard of excellence should be noticeable and remain with the learner all their life.
Get in touch to make an application today.