Hillside Primary School turns 40

Principal Bernard Meyer and deputy principal, Carlyn Abrahams at the 40-year anniversary of Hillside Primary School.

The Rocklands primary school famous for its green and beige uniform marks its 40th anniversary this year.

Hillside Primary School turned 40 years on Tuesday March 3 but held their celebration on Thursday March 5.

Principal Bernard Meyer said it was an exciting time for the school. “We are celebrating love. The school was created by the state as it was a need for our community,” he said.

The late principal William du Toit was the curator principal of the school in 1980. He started the school, got things in place and paved the way for those to come, said Mr Meyer.

The late Isaac Japtha was the principal from 1981 to 1987, followed by Derrick Muller from 1988 to 1996. After Mr Muller, there were interim principals who made sure the school was functioning well when Mr Meyer stepped in in 2000, he said.

Weltevreden Primary School amalgamated with Hillside Primary School in 2011. Weltevreden Primary School was situated where the Mitchell’s Plain School of Skills is today.

“In 2011 we were about 570 pupils with Weltevreden’s 200 pupils, we were a relatively small school. It was hard work to get our school to where it needed to be,” said Mr Meyer.

His earliest memories at the school include attending a prize-giving ceremony in Johannesburg as part of a programme which was called You’re Special.

“It was my first experience on a plane with the school,” he recalled.

The school won R10 000 in the programme for the various projects and extra-mural activities they were running, including health, sports and academic programmes.

Mr Meyer joined Hillside at the onset of the millennium on January 1, 2000. Before that he spent 12 years teaching at Manenberg High School and seven years at Zeekoevlei High School. “I never knew what to expect at a primary school as I had been teaching at a high school for most of my life. Hillside really supported me in settling in,” he said.

Mr Meyer said they are excelling in their systemic results at their school. “We are continually striving to improve and be the best we can be. Our slogan and philosophy is that we need to do everything in our power to serve the very best interest of our learners. Always striving to add greater value holistically.”

Founding member and teacher Fadielah Ariefdien, who will be retiring end of this month, said she will miss the school. “This is my passion, teaching. I spent some good days at this school, travelled to KwaZulu-Natal for nature with the school, and was an environmental coordinator. One of the founding members and teachers is Rolina de Boer, who has been instrumental in making this school a success,” she said.

Circuit manager from the Western Cape Education Department, Eric van Wyk, has challenged the school to do their best.

Mr Meyer said: “Through his dedication and passion, he acknowledged our performance, he helped make the school what it is, through not only smart work but hard work.”

The school had to raise funds to build a computer lab and their dream now is to get a hall.

Grade 7 pupil, Salama Toefy, 12, said she will miss Hillside next year when she has to leave but her best memories come from the school.

“We travelled to the aquarium and used what we saw in our work lesson. That was so much fun. I love playing netball at the school, I started when I was 10. I will miss this too. The teachers have helped us all to be the best we can be,” she said.

Pastor Owen Wilson, who was the guest speaker at their celebration, encouraged them to leave a legacy and live the legacy. “Forty years is a long time. This school paves the way for your future wherever you choose to go. I wish the school well, this is a milestone,” he said.

“Whatever you do, be a proud Hillsider. Love your school and realise the value of the school. We need to be taught so that we can fulfil our way in life,” said Mr Meyer.