23 November 2016 – Kyle Ramos began his school life at Saint Andrew’s in Grade R in 2003. Recently he was elected Head Boy for 2017, following in the footsteps of his brother, Matthew, who was Head Boy in 2015. We sat down for a chat with Kyle to find out more about him and his thoughts on Saints.
Matthew and Kyle Ramos, Saint Andrew’s Head Boys in 2015 and 2017 (Photo: Tim Pillay, Saints Photographic Club)
Q: What effect did it have on you having a brother two years ahead of you, walking the path that you were about to walk?
A: “Coming to Saints, I knew a lot about the school before I even got here. I was always on the side of the sports’ field as a little child, watching my brother play sport. I would wait here for him outside the junior school after school, so it was exciting for me, looking at the big boys, always looking up to them. Now I am in their shoes.”
Q: Were you always aware that you were going to come to Saints?
A: “Actually, we moved to Bloem from Pretoria when I was two-years-old. We applied at Grey and Saint Andrew’s. Luckily Saint Andrew’s accepted me.”
Q: You mentioned sport earlier. You’re a pretty active sportsman. Tell us about that.
A: “I’ve been playing squash since grade two and hockey all my life. I am now first team squash. I have been playing for the first team for two years. This was my first year of playing first team hockey. I played cricket from grade one until grade 10, but I stopped because I had to focus on one sport in the summer because of school marks. It was just getting a little too hectic. But I still love cricket and I am always there to support the other people who are playing cricket.”
Q: Tell us about the squash because you are part of a great tradition. Saint Andrew’s squash has been exceptional for a long time.
A: “I am currently ranked third in the school. Last year I was fourth. I think the first squash team is doing really well, but it’s not just because of the past. It is because of the coaches and all our training. We have training three times a day and it is intense training. Everyone who goes to squash is passionate about it. We are there for one reason and that is to be in the top three in the country. We always aim high, and that is why we do so well.
We also have committed coaches. Calvin Deutschmann is also an Old Boy. He is the South African under-19 coach. Miss Morgan’s organisation is always exceptional. The whole squash team is really focused on the sport. For a lot of them, squash is their only sport. They really play for the badge and do their best all the time.”
Q: Hockey has another dynamic, the team dynamic. Do you enjoy having that break from an individual to a team sport?
A: “I have always loved team sports. I would love to play more team sports, but I can’t. There is nothing better than a team sport. I also regard squash as a team sport, because when we go on tours we are with each other, we are playing for each other, we are not playing only for ourselves, even though we’re alone on the court. We always help each other. We give each other advice in between sets and show our support. In hockey, there is no better feeling than playing for your friends. We work hard for each other on the field. Another reason I love team sports is that I am more of a sociable person.”
Proudly wearing the cross of Saint Andrew, 2017 Head Boy Kyle Ramos
Q: You’re also a member of the choir. When did that start?
A: “That started this year. It is actually a funny story. We were on prefect camp and the whole prefect group was singing. Mr Mott was there and he heard Katleho (Matooane), Judah (Prins), Triston (Cantor) and me singing. At the first Choir practice [of the new term] he called us over the intercom to come and join the Choir for the Carol Service. We are now in the Choir for the Carol Service and we are looking forward to Sunday evening.
Q: You’re used to hearing the Choir in Chapel. How have you found it now being part of it?
A: “It is very nice to hear the people who can sing nicely singing. I won’t lie, Choir is a lot of hard work and Mr Mott is very precise in what he wants. That’s why our Choir is so good. Behind the scenes there is a lot of hard work. We have been practising every day for an hour to an hour-and-a-half since the start of the term.”
Q: The other part of school life is academics and you are an achiever (85 percent average). How much work does it take?
A: “I put in a lot of hours. I think it is important to listen in class. I think that’s where I do my best, because I am always listening in class, picking up everything the teachers say. Always doing your homework is very important and studying when you have to. A lot of teachers tell us we should summarise every day. I only summarise biology because it is a large quantity of work. But I should summarise everything. Everything comes through hard work and I have been studying and putting in the hours. Let’s hope I do well in the exams as well.”
Q: A huge part of being a Saint Andrew’s boy is about manners and the way you interact with other people. How do go about that?
A: “My main goal since I was elected head boy has been to uplift the manners and the way people treat each other, not only elders and people they should have respect for, but it’s about respect for your friends as well. I think that is a crucial part of being a Saints’ boy. It is not always easy to be respectful, but it’s about basic manners. You should be doing these things. It’s etiquette. I think it is something that the prefects need to continue to work on and respecting others is always good because you will get respect in return.”
Valedictory Service 2016 was an exciting occasion for the new prefect body (Photo: Tim Pillay, Saints Photographic Club)
Q: You’re the Head Boy and you head up a team, the prefects. How do you think you guys are doing?
A: “I think we are a good bunch of guys. I have heard a lot of positive remarks about us. The teachers are fully backing us. It’s not only the prefect body, it is the teachers as well. They’re behind us. We enjoyed a successful prefect camp and that brought us all together. We’re here to work for each other for one main reason, to keep the school running well and to keep the traditions going. I think we are going to do a great job. Let’s hope so.”
Q: What do you think makes Saint Andrew’s a great school?
A: “It’s the boys. It’s not the building, it’s the people inside of it, as Mrs Van Zyl says. I think everyone is united at Saints. We have strong relationships with one another. We may not like everyone, but we still back each other up. Our manners are always good. We try our best in everything we do. We fully support each other in sports and academics.
In my grade there is a lot banter about academics. We have three top achievers right now [achieving averages of between 94 and 97 percent} and they are all challenging one another, so there is a great rivalry among them, but it is all good.
Being a Saints’ gentleman is a privilege, because not many people get the opportunity to be one. That’s why we all know that we have to keep the standards up.”