Farewell to Spes Bona stalwarts

Pictured, from left, are Claude Nicholas, principal Amanda Matta, deputy principal Edmund Cupido,and caretaker, Charles Louis.

Spes Bona High School bid farewell to two of their long serving staff members on Wednesday August 3, at Hartleys Buffet in Wynberg.

Charles Louis, better known as “Uncle Charlie”, and Claude Nicholas, together spent 68 years at the school.

After serving the school for 41 years, Mr Louis, 60, has retired and will be moving back to Genadendal, where he grew up.

He is the 10th child of 13 children. He attended LR Smidt Primary School and Emil Weder High School in Genadendal but left school in Grade 9 and started working at the Hewat Teacher Training College in 1974 as a general worker. He joined Spes Bona High School on December 13, 1975, as a caretaker.

Mr Louis said he has enjoyed his time at the school and that he had a great relationship with the pupils and other staff members.

“I won’t miss them, but they will miss me,” he joked.

Deputy principal Edmund Cupido said Uncle Charlie was the person who opened the school every morning.

“He is a very dependable person, never absent or late, it will be difficult to replace him. He is a very pleasant person, never back-chatted or gave a bad remark. We’ll miss him dearly,” said Mr Cupido.

“One of the things that I will miss about him the most is the way he used to speak in syllables, at first it was funny but we got used to it. We appreciate the way he was. We could ask him to do anything and he would do it to the best of his ability. We wish him well in his retirement. He must look after himself, and never forget us when he comes to Cape Town,” Mr Cupido added.

The second staff member that the school said goodbye to was mathematics and biology teacher, Claude Nicholas, who was with the school for 27 years.

Mr Nicholas, 51, also known as “Boetie”, grew up in Kewtown and had also been a pupil at Spes Bona High School, matriculating in 1982. He attended the Hewat Teacher Training College from 1984 to 1987 and earned a diploma in teaching.

In 1998 Mr Nicholas applied for a post at Spes Bona High School and he has been at the school since.

He also graduated with an Honour’s degree in Education from the University of Cape Town, in 2014.

Mr Nicholas had played rugby and taken part in athletics as a sprinter as a pupil so once he became a teacher at Spes Bona High School, he became the athletics coach.

“I was very dedicated and always gave my best to the school. I was very passionate about maths, and had a close relationship with the pupils. I have never had any animosity with anyone at the school and always spearheaded different committees especially the fundraising committee. The thing that I will miss the most is the unity. They are not just colleagues, but a family who grew with me, and inspired me. As a young teacher, I’ve learnt a lot from the older folk, and was always motivated by my colleagues,” said Mr Nicholas.

Mr Nicholas will be taking up a post at St Andrews Technical High School in Elsies River, as head of the mathematics department.

“Spes Bona will always be a part of me. I will always go back to them, it is my alma mater,” he said.

Mr Cupido said that Mr Nicholas always motivated the pupils to do their best.

“He was a pleasant person who worked well with others. He could always distinguish between a professional relationship and a platonic friendship. He was active in the fundraising for the school, surf walks, car rallies, and school dances. I will miss the pleasant person that he is and I am very proud of him. He could not escape his destiny as a teacher. He is a true Spes Bonian, an ambassador of the school. I wish him well for the future. Farewell but not goodbye,” said Mr Cupido.