The Vine School marks a decade with music, cake

The Vine School principal Ian Smith with Emily du Plessis who blew out the birthday candle.

The Vine School celebrated its 10th birthday on Monday, keeping with its tradition of music, cake and having the youngest pupil blow out the candle.

The school is a decade old, but it has 34 year-old roots, having started out as the John Wycliffe Christian School (JWCS) at the St James Church in Kenilworth in 1991. It moved to its Wynberg campus in 1991 and then in 2009 to the present campus in Denver Road, Lansdowne – once the home of the All Saints School.

The name was changed in 2012 when the school became an entirely new organisation, explained principal Ian Smith, who steered the school through the transition to The Vine School. The staff and pupils of JWCS remained at the school during the transition phase.

“Thirty-four years ago, three families – the Warton family, the Adams family and the Mulligan family started JWCS and in 2012, still in keeping with its Christian roots, the school changed its name to The Vine School in Lansdowne,” said Mr Smith.

He has served as the only principal at The Vine School since 2012. During the JWCS years, several men served as principals – Neil Ackerman from 1990 to 1995, Jan van Rijswyk from 1996 to 1998, Neville Ontong from 1999 to 2003, Jeremy Thompson from 2004 to 2007 and Phillip Engel from 2008 to 2009.

Traditionally the school celebrates its birthday by listening to classical music, and this year was no different. Darryn Braaf, who teaches music at the school, played the violin during a morning assembly on Monday. The staff, pupils and guests enjoyed cake and, also following tradition, the youngest pupil, Emily du Plessis, 4, blew out the candles.

“Here’s to another 10 years of shaping hearts and minds,” said Mr Smith.

From left, are John Wycliffe Christian School’s (JWCS) co-founders Chris and Sarah Warton and Susan and Brian Keegan, The Vine School co-founder Margi Bate, and JWCS co-founders Judy and Trevor Adams.
Darryn Braaf, an independent music teacher, played the violin at a special assembly on Monday to celebrate the school’s 10th anniversary. He is seen here with, from left, Thierry Mpando, Ethan Herring, Amy Louw, Akhan Harris, Grace Mulligan and Katherine Scott.