If she is not searching for spiders, hadedas or grasshoppers with her 16-month-old grandson, St John’s D.S.G. Old Girl, Robyn Kirkby (née Frederick, Class of 1975) is filling her days by helping her husband, Russel, in his Medical Practice in Pietermaritzburg.
After leaving St John’s D.S.G., Robyn studied Radiography at Addington Hospital in Durban, completed a compulsory year at Eshowe Hospital and a year at Whipps Cross Hospital in the U.K. Whilst living on the South Coast, Robyn married Russel at the age of 28. A few years later, they moved to Pietermaritzburg where he joined a university colleague in Practice. If that wasn’t enough excitement, after having their three daughters, Lindsay, Julia and Nikki, Russel and Robyn decided to embark on an adventure to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. Their three girls had their hearts set on attending St John’s D.S.G., so 5 years later, they returned to South Africa, where Lindsay and Julia started St John’s D.S.G. in the Senior School and Nikki in the Junior School.
Robyn’s family goes back three decades at St John’s D.S.G., with her mom, herself and her daughters all having attended our special school. St John’s D.S.G. had the pleasure of having Robyn as part of the Marketing Department from 2008 to 2013 and she is now a valued member, representing the Old Girls, on the School’s Board of Governors.
It was an absolute pleasure to catch up with one of our most supportive and passionate Old Girls for this month’s Heart-to-Heart.
- What did you love most about St John’s D.S.G?
School was a happy place for me. We had a great class – there were only 26 of us so we knew each other well. In fact, when I was in Senior School there were only 262 girls in the whole school.
- What does success mean to you and how did St John’s D.S.G. equip you for life after school?
I think if I had been asked this question when I was younger my reply would have been a bit different – potentially less simplistic! Success? If one is happy with one’s own little lot in life, not living a life of constant comparison, you are doing okay. Russel has always said that if you are happy to come home “to your own little castle”, that is all that matters.
St John’s D.S.G. is a constant. I loved going to school and still today, there are seven of us from my year (1975), who are in daily contact with each other on Whatsapp. There is so much about school life that is transient, yet somehow St John’s D.S.G. has managed to keep it safe, stable and secure.
- What advice do you have for our current girls and their families?
If one is realistic, most of us only truly appreciate what a fortunate opportunity having been schooled at St John’s D.S.G. was, and what most parents sacrifice to afford us this privilege, only once we have experienced our time there, moved on and living in the real world.
The girls are given a great start at St John’s D.S.G. and the rest is up to the individual.