School turns 125

Rustenburg Girls High School pupils and staff forming the number 125 to celebrate their landmark anniversary.

Rustenburg Girls’ High School pupils celebrated the school’s 125th anniversary last month, forming the number on a field.

The history of the school dates back to 1893 when a group of people, led by the Reverend BP Marchand, secured a portion of the Rustenburg Estate for a girls’ school.

Classes started in January 1894. The school, in Main Road, Rondebosch, was originally called Rondebosch Girls’ High School.

The high school and junior school were together until the high school moved to its current Campground Road premises in 1932.

In recent years, the school has installed a new water-purification plant and solar panels and the principal Michael Gates hopes to soon get it off the grid.

Mr Gates is the school’s 10th principal, and the first man to fill that post. “I insist that all my staff attend staff meetings regardless of their status, everybody should be informed as to what is going on as part of the vision,” he said.

Elizabeth Theunissen is the longest serving staff member, having worked for 40 years as part of the household help in the girls’ hostels.

Biddy Ryan matriculated at the school in 1977 and went on to teach there for 30 years.

“There are more male teachers here than before, also the first male headmaster and the curriculum is more open, where pupils can choose any combination of subjects,” she said.

Last year, the school started its “dialogue days”, which are held three times a year and give the girls and staff a chance to talk about important societal issues.