Grassdalians keep memories alive on Facebook

Grassdalians of Grassdale High School, in Grassy Park, are reliving their school days by posting memories and old photographs on a Facebook page.

Former and present pupils regularly share their memories of their school days, going back to Grassdale High’s beginnings in 1983.

The page has been administered by teacher Peter Hendricks, and his colleague, Geraldine Ganess, since 2016.

“Everyone who shares the passion for their school is welcomed to join,” Mr Hendricks says. “The aim is reconnecting with classmates, teachers and reliving childhood memories.”

The Grassdalians have been finding lockdown the most opportune time to get “closer with each other in spite of having to be apart”.

The page now has 2 139 members.

Former pupil Masnoena Williams (nee Jacobs) started as the new girl in 1996 in Standard 7 when Samuel Cupido was the principal.

“It was a year of adapting to my new environment and classmates. It was only in Standard 8 to 10 when my real years at the school started.

“I was one of those young ‘matured’ Muslim girls that got engaged in Grade 11 (the grade system started in 1998) and planned to wed in 1999, with another ex-Grassdalian. So I would have been a drop-out and at the same time an A student. An agreement was made for me to complete school first and was Mr Cupido happy about this decision.”

But then Mr Cupido called her to his office.

“I was like ‘what now? He is probably going to give me a long lecture about marriage’.”

But to her surprise, she says, he told her not to wait to have children and that there was still a lot that she could achieve and marriage needn’t stop her.

“And it didn’t,” she says. “Today I have two beautiful young adults and I still achieved my tertiary education goals. I’m a forensics analyst for 12 years now and my youngest child is currently attending Grassdale”

She paid tribute to Mr Cupido who died in 2012. “A legend, Mr Cupido, we know you only had our best interest at heart and we thank you and love you.”

Ms Williams also recalled Mr Koen and his bilingual biology lessons.

“Boy! Did he do a brilliant job. Doing the reproductive system in ‘Englikaans’ was the best and the way he brought the knowledge across was like a ‘lekker’ story. So did Mr Du Plessis when he taught me history in Standard 7 – real storytellers.”

Mr Van Harte was her English teacher for three years and during one of those years, Richard Rive’s Buckingham Palace was their setwork.

“I thought ‘oh my word, for real English from England’, just to find out it was about District Six.”

Carlynne Johnson-Loverlot, who was at Grassdale from 1995 to 1999, also speaks highly of Mr Cupido.

“The late and great Mr Cupido ensured that our roots were solidly grounded. He ensured and made it his duty to see each learner pass and instilled discipline at the school”

Heather Krieger taught at Grassdale from 1990 to 2006.

“I have so many funny and sad memories to share but remember a time, in class when I always had soap and a towel to wash my hands after every class. One day, I was washing my hands in the basin in the lab as a class entered, girls first. One girl said to her friend, loud enough for me to hear, and probably intending for me to hear: ‘Ge! Sy was nogal haar hande met Sunlight seep!’ Her friend answered, ‘Nieee! Sy gebruik sieker toggie Sunlight seep by die huis nie. By die huis, gebruik sy seker Dove.’

“The first one then said in a very boisterous voice: ‘Nee! Dove is nie seep nie, Dove is three-quarter moisturiser!’”

Mr Hendricks says teachers’ and pupils’ memorable moments are being compiled in a book by the Proudly Grassdale Committee.

The school will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2023. Visit the Grassdalians Facebook page or email for details.