DAVE Beetar was appointed 20 years ago as headmaster and is the 11th headmaster in the history of Merchiston Preparatory School. Mr Beetar said that being at the school for nearly three decades has been a wonderful experience adding that it is the staff, boys and parents who make the school.“This year sees the 125th celebrations at Merchiston Preparatory School. This is a major milestone in the school’s esteemed history. “Merchiston has successfully negotiated countless changes over the past quarticentennial and its history is steeped in the achievements of its staff and boys. “It has enjoyed academic, sporting and cultural fame and is respected for its well-guarded traditions, values and ethos,” he said. Mr Beetar added that Merchiston is blessed and it continues to be a respected educational institution with clear vision, closely guarded values, committed parents and staff and boys who are loyal and passionate. Boys would duck-dive in the mud at the old school in Burger Street. On one occasion girls at the neighbouring Collegiate School saw these boys and said they looked like drowned rats - mudrats. “Our boys will be the fathers of our future ‘mudrats’ and they continue to be proud of their school and all that it stands for. “We celebrate this wonderful milestone with our Merchiston family, our special friends from all schools in Pietermaritzburg and beyond its magisterial boundary and the significant number of old boys and their families who continue to support Merchiston.Over the years Merchiston old boys have gone on to make a name for themselves in either the business or sporting worlds with many old boys being selected for national sporting codes, including cricket and rugby,” said Mr Beetar. Currently the school has about 700 pupils enrolled from Grade R to Grade 7 with 60 of them being boarders. “We, at Merchiston, are committed to excellence. It is our desire to create a safe and stimulating environment where our boys are challenged to achieve their personal best and where their achievements are rewarded.“The school has a wonderful heritage and is built on strong Christian foundations, which provide us with a framework of values for life.“Merchiston will always be ‘Ready Aye Ready’,” he said.