Pupils, former teachers and principals and current staff of Hillwood Primary School in Lavender Hill celebrated the school’s 40th anniversary in style on Saturday.
Those in attendance took a walk down memory lane and honoured the pioneers who laid the foundation for the school, which was previously known as Lavender Hill Number 1 because it was the first school in the area where people were sent to live under apartheid’s Group Areas Act.
One of the first pupils Roslyn Liemens, who is also currently a teacher at the school, remembered the very first day the school opened in 1977.
“We lived in Dover Court and I remember running to the school that sat on top of a hill with no other buildings around it, just bush but we felt safe.
“Now I am a teacher at the school and although we’ve come a long way we also have many struggles such as dealing with the gangsterism and shootings, drugs and poverty but we have overcome so many things over the past 40 years and God has blessed us and we are ready for the next 40 years,” said Ms Liemens.
Former deputy principal Sandra Daniels said the school’s motto Perseverando, which means to persevere, has applied to all teachers and staff at the school.
“We as teachers were often asked aren’t you afraid to teach in Lavender Hill. We can’t deny there’s been many tears and lots of frustration but all the past and present staff and stalwarts were committed and prevailed,” said Ms Daniels.
She added: “Many successful members of society have come from Hillwood and pupils have excelled and exceeded expectations because teachers always instilled in them that it doesn’t matter where you come from you can still strive and be successful. I hope Hillwood grows from strength to strength. And continues to be a beacon of hope in Lavender Hill for the next 40 years and be-
Current principal Gavin Alkana, who grew up in Lavender Hill and attended neighbouring
school Levana Primary, said although the school is moving forward, it’s important to remember the past.
He thanked all those who played a part in building Hillwood’s history, including parents and staff. “For the next 40 years we hope to produce more re-
sponsible citizens of South Africa. We have challenges and weaknesses but our strength out-
weighs the weaknesses,” said Mr Alkana.