Livingstone High principal Theo Bruinders, passed away after teaching at the school for 35 years.
Mr Bruinders, 60, will be laid to rest on Saturday June 30, after his sudden death last Wednesday. Deputy principal Ashley van der Horn said a colleague had taken Mr Bruinders home on Wednesday June 20, as he had not been feeling well. He passed away at home later that day.
“We received the sad news of his passing before the school day ended, leaving staff members and pupils in a state of shock,” he said.
Mr Van der Horn said tributes had been pouring in from former staff and pupils, locally and abroad and that the school would hold a memorial assembly in the new term.
Mr Bruinders, originally from Knysna, started his tenure as an Afrikaans teacher at Livingstone High School in 1982. He was promoted to head of the Afrikaans department in 1985 when Reginald Abrahams was promoted to deputy principal.
In 2002, Mr Bruinders was promoted to deputy principal of the school, and in 2011 he became the principal.
Mr Van der Horn said Mr Bruinders often referred to the school’s pupils as his “sons and daughters”.
“His passion for Livingstone burned fervently in his heart. He lived and breathed Livingstone. He pored over the results of all his pupils, analysing strategy after strategy in order to assist pupils to attain their best results.”
Mr Van der Horn said the schools pupils and academic performance were an integral part of Mr Bruiders’ being right up until the end.
“He embodied the essence of our mission statement that strives for academic excellence and critical thinking in order to ‘contribute meaningfully to the development of a just, non-racist, non-sexist, democratic society’. Mr Bruinders assimilated the motto: ‘nulla vestigia retrorsum’ (advance) and made it his own dictum,” he said.
“We salute Mr Bruinders for his contribution to education in South Africa.”
Mr Bruinders turned 60 in December and planned to retire at the end of the year. He leaves behind two children, Robyn and Leigh Bruinders.
His funeral service will be held at St Albans Church, Alice Street, Goodwood at 9am with a viewing from 8am.