Co-Curricular Programme

Senior school:   

The co-curricular programme is sponsored by the Parents’ Association.

The Co-Curricular programme is an essential part of how St Mary’s DSG prepares our young ladies for their futures. Every Wednesday morning students are learning from real-world experiences, formal talks and grade workshops to prepare themselves for the pressures of the greater world outside of school. The unique objective for each grade level moves students through a gradual progression of learning about their identity, community, leadership, and purpose.

The Identity year: Grade 9


The grade 9 year is focused on many different facets which are valuable in helping to form a St Mary’s DSG girl’s identity. 

  • Finesse/Etiquette
  • Looking from the outside in
  • Image polishing
  • Bullying and Social media
  • Resilience
  • Setting boundaries
  • Relationship politics
  • Discipline
  • Deportment
  • Bullying
  • Public speaking
  • Brain profile neorolink
  • Study skills


    The service year: Grade 10

      The service year is shaped around one of the traditions of St Mary’s DSG of giving and serving to the outer community.

  • Creating community
  • Financial literacy
  • Group dynamics
  • The Ball
  • Dress code for the Ball
  • Finesse/Etiquette
  • How to run a meeting
  • Communication
  • Servant leadership


    The leadership year: Grade 11


    The leadership year is putting the growth of leadership first to ensure that the St Mary’s DSG girl is equipped for her senior years. 

  • Finding a purpose
  • Defining your role in the St Mary’s DSG community
  • Health and wellness
  • Public speaking
  • Time management
  • Stress management
  • Leadership
  • Effective academic planning
  • How to handle adversity
  • Planning for my Matric dance
  • Studying skills


    The purpose year: Grade 12


    The purpose year is about planning, finalizing for girls’ futures.

  • Building your personal blog
  • What next year?
  • Marketing myself
  • Testimonial
  • Tertiary institution requirements
  • The interview process
  • Career selection



    The staff of St Mary’s DSG endeavour to provide their pupils with experiences outside of the classroom. These fieldtrips take on the form of day outings organised by specific Learning Areas as well as annual camps for entire grades from Grade 8 to Grade 11. The purpose of these excursions is to enhance the academic learning of the pupils, as well as to provide a means of team building and leadership development.

    Camp facilities, facilitators and programs.

    Camp facilities are chosen according to a number of requirements, namely: location; program/activities offered; facilitators; facilities and general suitability for a particular grade.

    • The camp venues chosen are ones that have a proven track record, and come with some form of recommendation, either from previous use by this school or other educational facilities.
    • The camp facilitators run the programs for the Grades 8 to 11 camps.
    • The Grade 8 and 9 camps, although they do have an academic component e.g. ecology, they also have a strong team building emphasis as this is the age where the pupils are still developing their interpersonal and group relations.
    • The Grade 10 camp includes activities appropriate for their Debutant year as well as some environmental components. There is an academic slant to the camp as well as having a team bonding experience.
    • The Grade 11 camp focuses on leadership in preparation for the pupils becoming the seniors of the school.

    "The camp week was a whirlwind of excitement, challenges and thrilling, new experiences."

    Tamara Ricci Gr 9 (2013)


    "Camp was amazing, I wish we could have stayed longer and experienced more."

    Thandeka Ndlovu Gr 10 (2012)


    "The highlight of camp was learning to work with other people and making new friends. This camp was critical for the development of our team work skills."

    ‘Dino Girls’. Grade 8 (2014)


    "Camp was fun and the highlight for our group was the night we slept outside."

    WSS group. Grade 8 (2014)





    Clubs and societies

    In all excellent education facilities it is incumbent for the institution to offer as many avenues of exploration as possible in order for each individual to experience and enrich their lives in ways beyond the academic and sporting confines of the school programme. It is only when students begin to engage with optional –self motivated- interests  that a fully developed individual begins to emerge.

    Here at St Marys D.S.G we offer a wide range of Clubs and Societies which will potentially become life-long pursuits.

    • Afrikaans Movie Club
    • Big Data Analysis
    • Book Club
    • Chess Club
    • Conversational Sepedi
    • Conversational IsiZulu
    • CSI Club
    • Debating Club
    • English Olymipad
    • Geospatial Data Club
    • History Club
    • Improvisional Theatre Sports
    • Investment Club
    • Let's Talk Fashion
    • Life Orientation Club
    • Orchestra
    • Photoshop Club
    • Science Club
    • Sign Language Club
    • Technical Monitors
    • The Convergent Thinkers Club
    • The President's Aware (Bronze)
    • TTRPG Club
    • Wonderwords
    • DELF

    Exchange Programmes

    Currently the exchange programme provides eight girls the opportunity to be an international ambassador for St Mary's DSG, Pretoria. The programme is exclusively designed for our Grade 10 students.

    We offer two girls the opportunity to participate in a reciprocating exchange to St Aidan's Anglican School for Girls in Brisbane, Australia.  The girls normally leave early February to return at the end of March to be hosted by an Australian family. In September of the same year, the same Australian girl that hosted our daughter of the King will visit South Africa for six weeks. The bond that form between the two "sisters" are irreplaceable.

    The German exchange requires three girls from St Mary's DSG, Pretoria to visit SchlossNeueberen in Bavaria, Germany, while three of this schools girls visit us - it is therefore a simultaneous exchange. We then ask three girls from St Mary's DSG to host our German visitors and show them the community and hospitality that makes South Africa unique. SchlossNeueberen offers our girls a very unique experience in that they have a very sophisticated exchange programme that focuses more on the Germany as whole rather than just the school.

     Australian Exchange

    The St Aidan's AGS motto of "confidence and success" is very similar to our motto that states "if she believes in herself she will fly". St Aidan's strives to provide excellence in education, in a caring, friendly environment, where each individual is nurtured and shaped by the values of the Christian Faith. This provides her with the opportunity to achieve her full potential and to develop a passion for life and for learning. 


    This similarity in motto and mission is why we see St Aidan's AGS as our sister school across the waters and why the girls going on the exchange make friends for life.

    Application for a visa to Australia:

    German Exchange

    SchlossNeueberen's global approach and international community gives a visiting girl the opportunity to become part of the rising trend of universal living.  At SchlossNeueberen they want to be one of the best schools, preparing young people for a successful and international life. Their mission continues to state that they have high standards of quality, which extend to all disciplines and areas. They work to achieve economic success in order to secure our continued existence and our independence. They want to promote and maintain the "SchlossNeubeuern" network as a lifelong community and we at St Mary's DSG are honoured to be part of this network.

    Application for a visa to Germany:

    The Application Process

    Application for the exchange opens in September every year to the Grade9s. A letter of information and an application form is can be collected by girls interested in these opportunity. If their application has been successful the girls are invited to an interview with a panel that makes the final decision as a collective.

    For the most up-to-date letters and application forms please see the school communicator.


    Special Programmes


    History and Origin

    The word "débutante" refers to a young lady making her debut in society.

    The British tradition rose to prominence at the beginning of the previous century and was finally discontinued by Queen Elizabeth II when she came to the throne.

    Traditionally, the daughters of British aristocratic families were presented to the reigning monarch at Buckingham Palace when they came of marriageable age (usually 17 or 18), at a special "coming out" ceremony at the beginning of the social season.

    The débutante could only be introduced to the King or Queen by a female relative, usually a mother or aunt, who had herself been presented at a previous ceremony. The young lady was required to dress entirely in white and wear three ostrich plumes in her hair. Once the débutante had thus been officially launched in society, she could be approached by eligible suitors from other aristocratic families. The system was regarded as a means of introducing young people to each other, for the purpose of encouraging inter-marriage to keep the blue-blooded generations pure.

    From this tradition arose the more fulfilling scheme (in other countries) by which a young lady on the brink of adulthood and referred to as a débutante, could utilise the opportunity to raise money for charity through a variety of innovative schemes.

    Hence our present Grade 10 Débutantes' fund-raising programme and the presentation at the Débutantes' Ball in the third term of the school year.

    The main purpose of the programme at St Mary's DSG is to raise money for charity, to equip the girls with the necessary business skills, and along the way to help them garner invaluable lifeskills.

    Who are the Debs?

    The Débutantes’ Programme is an annual focus of fun, fund-raising and entrepreneurial endeavours amongst the entire St Mary’s DSG family i.e. girls, staff, parents, PA, Old Girls, friends of St Mary’s DSG and outside sponsors.

    The style in which the programme runs is a drastic breakaway from the traditional fund-raising undertaken by schools, because the main aim of the Débutantes’ Programme is to teach many different life and business skills as the first priority. The means by which we do this is group fund-raising amongst the Grade 10 group.

    All Grade 10 girls will be Débutantes, working together in their Tutor Groups of 15 to 16 girls and pooling all their skills, energies and resources to raise as much money for charity as possible.

    The Season will commence with the Débutantes’ Launch and culminate with the Débutantes’ Ball – a spectacular gala event to be held early in October. There the Débutantes will hand over contributions to various charities such as Irene Homes and be presented to the Bishop of Pretoria.

    The Aim of the Programme

    Over the past few years, the Débutantes’ Programme has developed into an all-inclusive life lesson. It is also seen as a rite of passage for all girls at St Mary’s DSG.

    Within the programme the girls are given the opportunity to explore various aspects not only of their own characters as young ladies in an ever-changing modern society, but also how they are accountable to their greater community.

    The main purpose of the Débutantes’ Programme at St Mary’s DSG is to raise money for charity. Hhowever the programme aims to teach these young ladies a number skills and values:

    • Entrepreneurial skills such costing, profit margins, basic accounting, innovative and creative thinking;
    • Event planning and execution skills;
    • Time management skills, so they are able to balance their lives;
    • Leadership skills through each girl being given the opportunity to lead in various capacities throughout the year.
    • The value of money and the responsibility that comes with having in abundance. It helps these young ladies to realise the privileged lives they live.
    • Compassion and social responsibility as South African citizens.
    • Interpersonal skills – how to function as a group and to treat others with respect, how to deal with conflict.

    The débutantes are required to do the following throughout the year:

    • Raise funds to support these charities by hosting events in smaller groups as well as in a whole group;
    • Non-monetary drives to collect items of need specified by their chosen charity;
    • Participate in a revamp project, where the girls will spend time helping to renovate and improve the facilities of a charity. Though this they can see how a number of people in our country live every day.

    Isn’t raising all this money too competitive?

    Over the last few years, the amount raised by the Débutantes has continued to rise. Although this acts as a spur to encourage the girls in their endeavours, it could also be seen as a cross to be borne. To avoid this, each year, a reasonable target amount is set, based upon what each girl can raise. In order to spur the pupils into action, the groups do compete with one another. At the end of the year, one group is awarded the title of being the winning group. The pupils assess and vote for the best débutante in their respective groups and nominate the overall winning débutante of the year. This assessment and voting is performed according to strict criteria, which tie in with our values here at St Mary’s DSG, namely: commitment, co-operation, respect, responsibility, equality, honesty, tolerance and school pride as well as achievement orientation, charm, consistency, creativity and originality, enthusiasm, effectiveness, loyalty and reliability.

     (N.B. It has to be stressed that the amount of funds raised by individuals does not form part of this list of criteria.)

    What happens to the money that is raised?

    The major charity that benefits from the Débutantes’ Programme is Irene Homes. Also started by the CSMV sisters, Irene Homes is part of the St Mary’s DSG family. Other charities, nominated by the Debs, will also benefit. Finally, an amount will be used to contribute towards the funding of the following year’s Matric Dance.

    What do they have to do?

    Each girl will be asked to pay a specific amount to open the Group Débutante account and provide some start-up capital for the funding of early events. This money will eventually pay for the Débutante’s ticket to the Ball.

    Thereafter, each Débutante group will raise funds towards a group total. The Débutante co-ordinator will maintain records of all donations and collections, but will NOT disclose any details about monies raised at any time, except for periodic reports on the total raised by the Débutantes’  Programme as a whole. To start the Season and explain to parents about the Programme, a Débutante Launch Cocktail Party is held just before half-term. There the Head of the Senior School with the Co-ordinator of the Programme will explain the concept to the girls and their parents.

    A Senior School teacher will be allocated to each Débutante group and she/he will meet every Monday with their group to discuss ideas and provide invaluable assistance. They are there to provide encouragement and support; however, the girls themselves are there to make sure their ideas work!

    The Débutante Programme promises to be HARD WORK but LOTS OF FUN. We hope that at the end of the Season all Grade 10 girls will be budding businesswomen ready to go out and conquer the world!

    A list of some of the charities supported on an annual basis

    • Irene Home
    • St Mary's DSG Outreach Education Trust
    • St Mary's Community Club
    • SOS Village
    • Tshwane Place of Safety Association
    • Reach for a Dream
    • The SA Guide-Dog Association
    • Louis Botha Children’s Home
    • Jakaranda Children’s Home
    • Girls’ and Boys’ Town
    • PTA Sungarden Hospice
    • SPCA




    The President’s Award is a Youth Empowerment Programme that is run internationally under the banner of “The Duke of Edinburgh International Award”. It was adopted by Nelson Mandela in 1994 (hence the name). There are 3 levels to the award Bronze, Silver and Gold.  

    Each award has a different level of difficulty in Sport, Skill, Service and Adventurous Journeys, with the Gold Award also requiring a 5-day Residential Community Service project. The aim of the award is to encourage independence and social consciousness, and to help young people to become positive and rounded individuals.

    At St Mary’s DSG, the Grade 9s are invited to enrol as Bronze Level participants. They are guided on setting up portfolios, how to plan a camping trip, and how to compile their log sheets. They also take part in the Adventurous Journey in the Magaliesberg mountains in July. Once they have completed their Bronze level, they should have acquired the necessary skills to continue with Silver and Gold. With these two levels, there is assistance available, but in order for the girls to get the most out of the award, they are encouraged to show initiative and take responsibility across all aspects. The World Challenge Expeditions, such as the expedition to India in 2013, are opportunities for the Gold level participants to complete both their Adevnturous Journey and Residential Service Project in a foreign country.

    This award is a great challenge, and not everyone who enrols will complete their award. But for those who are willing to rise to the challenge, and forge the discipline to achieve their goals, it could be life changing.


    Every second year a Cultural Tour is offered to our students in grades 11 and 12.

    The tour aims to expose our students to an intensive cultural experience on every level. This includes all aspects of ‘culture’ such as food, art, the geographical contexts of different regions, language, music, dance, performance and architecture to name but a few.

    It is also a great experience of the girls to travel with their friends and to learn about the different countries first hand and to understand different currencies and their value. The tour is both educational and an experience the girls will never forget.