Cannons Creek celebrates 25th anniversary

Cannons Creek founding teacher Hazelmay Duncan helps Grade R pupil Daniel Gopal to light a candle on the anniversary cake.

Cannons Creek Independent School celebrated its 25th anniversary, on Friday and Saturday, with a special assembly, acrobatics and dog shows, water-slide fun and a hockey game that drew in past-and-present pupils, staff and parents.

The Pinelands-based independent school was founded by the first principal, Carol Booth, along with four teachers, Nicola du Plooy, Kevin Wroth, Hazelmay Duncan and Lesley Jacobson, in 1997.

It started as a primary school, with 37 pupils at the Pinelands Club Hall, and added high-school classes after moving to its present location in 1999. Today is has 430 pupils and 62 staff.

Mike van Haght, who has been the principal of the high school since its inception, said: “I’ve been able to work with amazing pupils, staff and parents. We’ve achieved some really pleasing results over the years. I’ve got no regrets.”

He is retiring at the end of the year and said he was looking forward to seeing his replacement inject fresh ideas and new energy into the school.

Tracey Wahl has been the primary school principal since 2018. She served as deputy principal to Ms Booth for four years before the founding principal retired.

“Cannons Creek is a family, and we foster a nurturing environment for our pupils and teachers in which to thrive,” she said.

Teachers were encouraged to be creative in their teaching methods, and they worked in a relaxed environment and strove to make learning fun for all, she said.

Last Friday, guests from local schools, community leaders, past pupils, past staff and current parents attended a special anniversary assembly, and Ms Duncan lit a 25th-anniversary candle.

“Happy birthday, my dear Cannons Creek family,” she said. “This comes with many happy memories of our early days, as ‘we were growing’ and many good wishes for the next 25 years.”

Primary school teacher Sue Alston said she felt privileged to be part of the school, first as a prospective parent and later as a teacher. “This school has offered amazing opportunities to me and my children,” she said.

High School teacher James Currie said he had fond memories of taking the Grade 12s on their annual Adventure Week down the Orange River, while Ms Du Plooy said she had enjoyed the annual Grade 2 sleepovers at the school.

Gavin van Hacht, a professional photographer who matriculated from the school in 2003, said: “It makes me proud to see what Cannons Creek has become. The school is now a force to be reckoned with as an educational institution and is an entrenched part of the Pinelands community.”

With the 25th anniversary cake, from left, are Grade 12 head prefect Hannah Lewis, high school principal Mike van Haght, Grade 1 pupil Eli Naidoo, primary school principal Tracey Wahl, founding teacher Hazelmay Duncan and Grade 12 head prefect Kaylee Williams.
Grade 1 pupil Keira Nivison lights her candle on the anniversary cake.