HISTORY OF HELENVALE PRIMARY SCHOOL

The school was officially opened in 1963

  1. Principals
  • P. L. Hendricks, who originally hails from Paarl, was the first appointed principal. He held this post from 1963 – 1969.
  • G. Soudien (snr) took over the post in 1970 until 1974.
  • James Bruintjies who was deputy principal was appointed as principal in 1975 – 1989.
  • Winston Johnso succeeded him in 1990 – 1996.
  • William (Bill) Bowker took over the reins in 1998 – 2006
  • Malcolm Roberts became the sixth appointed principal in 2008, and is the current principal.
  1. Non Teaching Staff

Some household names amongst the non- teaching staff was Mrs. Olive Mackay, who served as secretary from 1975 – 1997, and at some stage was used as a teacher. Also the late Mrs. Philda Jacobs, who served the school as caretaker for many years.

In 2008 a group of Rastafarians under the leadership of an ex-pupil Sam Wetzel approached the school to offer their services in assisting with security at the school. What a blessing this turned out to be to the school. A storeroom was turned into a place where they could stay. The result being that vandalism and theft dropped to zero percent, and also Sam Wentzel being employed by the department on a permanent basis as security guard.

  1. Learners

During the 70s and 80s the school was seriously overcrowded with 1200 learners in a school which was built for 600 learners. This resulted in the school having to platoon, offering afternoon classes to some of the grades. Some foundation classes were taught until twelve, and the others starting at 12h15. This was stopped when the school was renovated in 1983.

  1. Academic

The staff always strive to offer quality learning and teaching at all times. This is evident in the progress made by some of the learners becoming lawyers, theatre sisters, nurses, matrons, captains in the police force, school principals, teachers, etc.

These achievers are invited as guest speakers to our Annual Awards Presentations. This is to encourage learners and show them that despite your circumstances, you can still reach heights.

  1. Extra – Mural Activities
  • The school has been part of events such as Eisteddfods, staging our own operetta in 1972, choral activities, dancing – the staging of musical Ipi Ntombi in 1983 and many other events.
  • Sport – the school was one of the top rugby schools in the area under the guidance of Bill Bowker, Tom Bosman and later Malcolm Roberts and Myron Heemro. Unfortunately due to a lack of facilities in the area and reduction of teaching staff, this code was excluded.

Netball was also the top code amongst the girls, with some gaining EP colours in the 80s. This code is not being played as regularly as in the past because of the volatile situation the area. Schools from outside the Helenvale are not prepared to come play in the area any longer. We also offer Mini – Netball for the foundation phase.

Soccer is one of the favourite codes in the area, with the school having u/ 12 and u/ 14 teams as well as a girls team. There is an ever – improving climate visible.

Cricket and Mini – cricket are also codes being offered at school

With the staging of our 2017 – Inter – House Athletics in February, athletics and cross – country are also gaining impetus and hopefully will soon reached the heights of the 80’s. 

  • The school is also involved in the national WOW spelling competition, that is organised by the University of Stellenbosch.
  • We also pride ourselves in the school’s vegetables garden, where learners are taught by Mr. P. Jacobs and Mr. Sam Wentzel how to care for gardens and encouraged to start their own at home.
  • The school is also the venue for the Literature Club, where learners from Helenvale and Hillcrest are trained on literature and writing skills.
  • Our learner are part of a project called “Breakfast for better days”, under the auspices of Kellogs. All the learners are given cereal with milk before school starts. This is followed by a meal later in the day supplied by the Education Department. This improved learner attendance dramatically.
  1. “Dark Days” (2000 – 2006)

This was a period when the school was confronted with serious challenges like gangsterism, vandalism, theft and community clashes. The school was without electricity for ±6 years and sporadic periods without water, because of cable theft. During the period without water, we had to dismiss learners at 11h00, placing serious pressure on educators, how can a school offer quality education without electricity.

Our Heavenly Father sent Mr. Ben Casper, husband of the longest serving teacher at the school and his company MC Design into our lives. Without payment they reconnected the electricity, fixed the plumbing, repaired damaged doors, installed security gates and upgraded the administration block. A blessing that we are still grateful for.

A few other companies also came on board after this, such as UTI who played a major role in establishing our library.

COMPILED by Mrs. Cynthia Casper – educator since 1976