To The School Community....Past, Present and Future....
The School was built in 1955-56 as a High School to serve the population of Bergvliet and the newly developed township of Meadowridge.
The School’s first Standard 6 (Grade 8 )class of 78 pupils was enrolled in 1957, with Mr P.A.M. van der Spuy as its first Headmaster with two assistant teachers. The School Badge, designed by Rev. Jeffcoat, was proudly worn by the new pupils. The buildings were officially opened on 15 March 1957 by Mr Norman Henshilwood who was then the M.E.C. in charge of Education. This date is now our Founder’s Day.
Within a year school sport started and the three school houses were introduced, Eksteen (red), Hertzog (Blue) and Jeffcoat (Light Blue). Eksteen and Hertzog were local Dutch farmers with, as mentioned above, the Reverend Jeffcoat, being an Church of England Anglican minister.
Competition between these houses was fierce and Athletics day was always a day when pride and emotion ran high. The feats of our many athletes throughout the schools history are recorded on our walls, in our magazines and school records.
In the mid 80’s, with increasing numbers in our school, a fourth house, Purcell, was introduced. With the Music Department being a powerful lobby at school at the time, the influence to name the new house after the English composer, Henry Purcell proved irresistible and so it became part of our history.
Competition remained fierce as four houses battled for supremacy on the track. By this time, cultural events too were included in the interhouse competition, with the Interhouse One Act Plays being the Crown Jewel.
The Open Schools Vote in 1990 heralded an exciting new era and, as a result of that vote, Bergvliet High today is a cosmopolitan community school embracing diversity in every respect.
As the school headed into the 21st century, the school population swelled to 1100 learners, who joyfully represented the ever increasing diversity of language, religion, economic, racial and ethnic composition on our campus. It was, and still is, a time of great change and a time that I, as past pupil and current principal, take immense pride in continuing and indeed, expanding.
Four years ago we mooted the idea of changing from a Grade focussed system to a House focussed system. Grades had expanded to well over 200 and the 4 Houses were over 270 each. As we couldn’t add more grades to the school to create more manageable groupings, the focus moved to the Houses. If we increased the number of Houses to accommodate 150 learners each, we could ensure that learners didn’t fall through the cracks when it came to pastoral, academic and behavioral care.
The learner and staff body was consulted over an extended period and it was decided that, whilst we intended to increase the Houses, it was an opportune time to change the House names which, in this day and age, represented aspects of our country’s history that we felt no longer represented the character, ethos and values of the school.
The feats, however, of those athletes and thespians of the past would never be diminished through the proposed name changes….change doesn’t erase history or tradition, it simply provides an opportunity to create new history more relevant to our current social makeup.
So, through a long period of consultation, it was decided to expand the number of Houses to 7, all with new names.
The word Astris in our school motto, Sapiens Domintabur Astris, means Star and so a star theme was chosen by the learners and staff as the basis for the House names.
Seven star constellations or parts of constellations were chosen for the House names. Mythical and real animals were linked with the constellations. We also used both Classical and African languages for the names.
Phoenix, the mythical bird symbolizes birth, death, and rebirth, as well as eternity, strength, and renewal. The whole idea that this mythical bird is reborn from the ashes of the flames of death signifies a journey through fire or adversity, a journey which we felt reflected the experience of our families at school and indeed our country. The colour of this House is Yellow.
inDosa... Nearby Orion lies Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky. The Zulu had various names for it, such as inDosa and inDonsemasuku, meaning “straining, or pulling”. To the Zulu it symbolizes the straining of the morning light against the darkness which, we again believe, represents the struggle of our nation against the darkness of the past. The colour green was chosen for inDosa.
Draco is a constellation in the far northern sky. Its name is Latin for dragon, another mythical creature. In the myth, Draco represents Ladon, the dragon that guarded the golden apples in the gardens of the Hesperides. It is this protector role which inspired the choice of Draco. Whilst fierce and daunting to others, the dragon is fiercely loyal to its keeper. In our context, it is the loyalty to and the pride in our school, which we wish to nurture in our learners. Red was the obvious choice for this house.
Aquila is a constellation on the celestial equator. Its name is Latin for 'eagle' and it represents the bird that carried Zeus/Jupiter's thunderbolts in Greek-Roman mythology.....again the strength beauty and power of the eagle was chosen to represent the fierce determination of our learners to rise above their circumstances and change the world. Black is the colour of Aquila.
Vega is the brightest star in the Lyra constellation and the fifth brightest star in the night sky. Vega's name comes from the Arabic word "waqi," which means "falling" or "swooping." The African peoples described the constellation of Lyra as a Swooping Eagle rather than a lyre, a musical instrument. The swooping eagle combines strength, vision, grace and purity ....all characteristics we seek to instill in our learners. Royal Blue is the colour of Vega.
Dinaledi simply means “stars” in Sotho, Tswana and Pedi. Stars play a pivotal role in the African cultures heralding weather changes, seasons of harvest and a myriad of cultural events. The animal linked to this house is the bull or cow, which is a sacred animal in many African and world cultures. We believe that, in life, there is a season for everything and Dinaledi, the stars, guide us through these seasons. Orange is the colour of Dinaledi.
Tau is the Sotho word for Lion, the undisputed King of the African plains. Tau (Leo) is the Lion constellation. Again, the Lion is predominantly a predator but within its pride it is the protector of the females and cubs. The pride operates together with each member playing a pivotal role in the survival of the group. Tau brings the synergy that we are better together than as individuals. Light Blue is the colour of Tau.
We trust that our staff, our learners, our parents and indeed our past staff, pupils and parents, will embrace these changes….the names, the symbolism, the diversity, the colours, the stars, the values, like the stars, all align with how we see ourselves as a school. Embracing our cultural diversity to work together to ensure both our individual and group success.
We hope that the stars of our past will align with the stars of our future because the stars that guide us now, are the same stars which guided you in the past.