Bellville High School took a walk down memory lane as the school celebrated its 80th anniversary, with wreaths laid at the Bellville police station and Northlink College, the previous sites of the school.
The first wreath was laid at the Bellville police station on Wednesday January 25, where the school first opened its doors in 1937 with two teachers and 40 pupils.
The current principal, Deon du Plessis, and athletes from the school’s cross-country team, then lit three torches and marched down Voortrekker Road to Northlink College, where they met with the rest of the pupils and teachers.
From there, they marched with banners in hand and a school desk, as the pupils did when the school moved to Omnia Avenue in Chrismar in 1994.
The school, the oldest in the northern suburbs, was dual-medium at its inception but became Afrikaans medium after the last English-speaking matrics left in 1968.
Eileen Burger, who has been associated with the school for 38 years, first as a pupil and later as a teacher, encouraged the pupils to embrace the school’s emblem and everything it stood for.
“The emblem conveys an important message, one of spreading light. This light has given me direction in life and still does up until today. We have to help one another and encourage our fellow pupils to reach their goals,” she said.
The school’s Latin motto, “Paratus ad omnia”, meant its pupils were always ready for all eventualities, she said.
Mr Du Plessis, who has been at the helm for six years, said he had felt overwhelmed and thankful when they lit the first torch.
“I am proud to be the principal of this school,” he said.
The school started the year on a high, boasting a 100 percent matric pass rate for 2016 and a 90 percent bachelors degree pass rate.
Shirley van der Merwe made
the merit list with seven distinctions, while Robert Aartsma received an award for being the best civil technology pupil, with 93 percent, at the National Senior Certificate awards ceremony at Leeuwenhof.
The school, which welcomed 241 Grade 8 pupils this year, started its celebrations with a church service at the Dutch Reformed Church in Bellville on Sunday January 22, where former pupils from the Con-Spirito Choir performed.
A wreath was also laid at the gravestone of Ruben Coeztee, who was the principal from 1949 to 1970, by current head girl Monique Mangiagalli and head boy Nico Olivier.