Primrose Park Primary School celebrated its 50th anniversary, on Thursday February 3, with a morning of song, motivational talks and the unveiling of its anniversary banner.
The event is one of many planned for the rest of the year, according to principal Gail Beukes.
She said the school prided itself on the good relationships among teachers, parents, support staff and the community, who all worked together to support the pupils.
Ms Beukes is the fifth principal and took over the reins last year. She has been at the school since 2016.
The school had started a project to paint a series of murals that depict its values.
Said Ms Beukes: “Every class came up with a design, and they were guided by an artist. As this is a no-fee school and the children come from impoverished backgrounds, the teachers had to dig into their own pockets to help buy paint for this project.”
The teachers often also buy pupils’ school uniforms, shoes and stationery, among others. And a feeding project meant to only cater for 50 children, now serves well over 100 daily with teachers covering most of the costs.
“So many parents lost their jobs because of the Covid-19 pandemic, hence the need to serve more meals,” said Ms Beukes. “The feeding project is subsidised to provide only 50 meals a day. For many, the food they receive at school is their only meal for the day. I am so grateful for our teachers. With their efforts, they make a huge impact in a child’s life. We also started a vegetable garden to supplement our feeding project.”
At the celebratory event, Reverend Derrick Cloete reminded the pupils of the school’s motto, “knowledge is power”.
“Knowledge is power, but in order for it to be powerful, it needs to be applied. Through education, we can break the cycle of poverty,” Reverend Cloete said.
Sheikh Mogamat Davids told the children about the importance of reading, and reminded them to respect, honour and heed the advice of their elders.
The school opened in 1972 as a dual-medium institution with classes up to Standard 6 (Grade 8). It is now an English-medium school for 524 pupils. It is still housed in its original prefabricated building – even though it was expected that the building would only last for 10 years.
Ruwayda Hendricks is the longest-serving teacher with 40 years of service to the school.
“A lot of good has come from our school – more good than bad,” she said. “Our former pupils have gone on to become medical doctors, lawyers, a pilot, estate agents and entrepreneurs, among others.
“As staff, we have a beautiful relationship. We are like a fruit salad, made with love. We work well together as a unit. This is really a calling, not a job. I also love what we have with the community, as they have taken ownership of the school. With all of us doing our bit, we hope to make a difference and an impact in the children’s lives.”
The school has called on all former pupils to assist, as the Grade R play area needs an upgrade. The school is also in need of more paint for its murals. If you can assist, contact Ms Hendricks at 076 859 1935 or Ms Beukes at 082 975 2652.