Bellies principal retires after 44 years in education

Belgravia High School principal, Andre Buis, retired after 44 years in education.

After 44 years in education, Belgravia High School’s principal, Andre Buis, has retired.

He wrapped up his career on Friday April 29, having spent 42 of his 44 years at Belgravia High School. He first taught at Spes Bona High School, where he was for two years, before joining Belgravia as a mathematics teacher. He was later appointed as head of department, deputy principal, and was the principal for the past 11 years.

“My father was a school principal. We shared a passion for woodwork, and it was my childhood dream to be a woodwork teacher. I completed my training and received my technical teachers’ diploma, but I never got to teach woodwork. I ended up teaching mathematics,” Mr Buis said.

He later completed his honours degree in education at the University of Cape Town (UCT), and did various other courses at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and Stellenbosch University (SU).

Over the years, he dedicated most of his time to the school, often being seen there even during school holidays.

Mr Buis joked that he no longer had an excuse to neglect his family during his retirement years.

School governing body (SGB) chairperson, Zeenat Dawood, can attest to this.

She said it had been “an honour and a privilege” to work with Mr Buis.

“He displayed an amazing amount of professionalism and integrity. I learnt so much from him. He never stayed absent. He sacrificed so many years in the service he rendered at Bellies (Belgravia High’s nickname),” Ms Dawood said.

Teacher Ziyaad Abrahams agreed, saying Mr Buis was synonymous with the school.

“Belgravia High is a part of Mr Buis and his family. The school is in his heart. He is also the definition of a gentleman. Mr Buis played a pivotal role throughout the school community. He is a mentor, among other things. The way he handles matters is extremely admirable. I always admired his patience, especially with learners. There was always a lesson – even when the learners had to be punished. He inspired learners and staff to go for greater heights and achieve better. We will miss him a lot,” Mr Abrahams said.

Mr Buis said he would miss his engagement with the pupils the most.

“As a teacher, one has the opportunity to shape the future, as our learners are our future leaders,” he said.

“I consider it a great blessing and privilege to have served the Belgravia High community. I’d like to thank my colleagues for their support and cooperation over the years. We may not have always agreed, but we had the wellbeing of the learners at heart and shared the vision of making Bellies better with every year.”

Mr Buis also thanked the parents and community for their support for the school and its activities. He also wanted to remind the pupils that their actions spoke louder than their words, and encouraged them to carry the Bellies flag with pride.

Part of his retirement plans include spending time with his family, as well as travelling. Plans are already in the pipeline to reunite with his family who live abroad.