A Journey of Remembrance
The Early Years
The School was built in 1955-56 as a High School to serve the population of Bergvliet and the newly developed township of Meadowridge.
The School’s first Standard 6 (Grade 8) class of 78 pupils was enrolled in 1957, with Mr P.A.M. van der Spuy as its first Headmaster with two assistant teachers. The School Badge, designed by Rev. Jeffcoat, was proudly worn by the new pupils. The buildings were officially opened on 15 March 1957 by Mr Norman Henshilwood who was then the M.E.C. in charge of Education. This date is now our Founder’s Day.
Within a year school sport started and the three school houses were introduced, Eksteen (red), Hertzog (Blue) and Jeffcoat (Light Blue). The first PTA was also established in 1958. The School magazine made its debut appearance as did the first Prefects.
Over the next few years the school fields were developed with pupils being roped in to plant grass. And in 1960 Colonel Whittingdale presented the school with a sundial, which today still resides in the Sundial Quad next to the Staffroom.
1961 was a big year of firsts with the first matric class, the first Head Prefects, Tim Overton and Margaret Firth, the first matric dance and the first Interhouse athletics. The following year the past Pupils Union was formed.
The Class of 1963 presented the School with the Front Gates of the school which are still in operation today. The School Magazine was named De Vliet, but sadly this name seems to have slipped out of use nowadays.
The first school hall was opened in 1965, which was later to become the current Gym Hall as it is known. Many a matric dance was enjoyed in the Hall.
The prestigious Lionel Morgan Trophy was donated in 1966.
As the school increased in size new classrooms were added and in 1969 the Woodwork rooms and a new staffroom were constructed. The first Principal, Mr Van Der Spuy, retired and he was replaced by Mr C. P. Fourie. Unfortunately Mr Fourie took ill shortly after becoming Principal and passed away soon thereafter. Mr A. J. H. Smith officially took over as Principal in 1972. Boys’ hockey was added to a growing list of sports available at the school in 1972. It proved to be a great decision as the School has produced many Provincial and National players over the years.
Thirty years on
The 80’s heralded a period of significant facility development with the construction of the Technology Block, the P. A. M. Van Der Spuy Auditorium and the new library. Almost 40 years later the school is currently upgrading these very same facilities to bring them into the 21st Century.
In the late 80’s two of Bergvliet’s flagship projects were established. The Recycling Project and the Continuing Education Programme. Both projects were significant community support initiatives which have brought many accolades over the intervening years. The Recycling project was eventually re-located to Bergvliet Primary School in 2015 but the CEP is still going strong.
The Open Schools Vote in 1990 heralded an exciting new era and as a result of that vote Bergvliet High today is a cosmopolitan community school embracing diversity in every respect. In the early 90’s, Mr Smith announced his retirement after some 25 years at the helm. He was replaced by Mr P. Robertson.
International tours by the Drum Majorettes to Nice, France and by the Hockey teams to the Netherlands, were enthusiastically supported. Also in the 90’s soccer was made an official school sport despite long standing resistance from the rugby fraternity. Both sports have co-existed quite happily since then.
Fifty years and counting……
In 2005 Mr V. K. Wood was appointed Principal after the retirement of Mr Robertson. By the turn of the decade Mr S. D. Price took over as the 6th Principal, as Mr Wood moved to head up Bishops. In 2007 the school went into party mode as we celebrated our 50th anniversary, with many events happening throughout the year, notably the Cricket Tour to the UK. The prestigious Astris Award was introduced in the anniversary year and has been a wonderful way to acknowledge the achievements of past pupils and teachers alike. A big decision was taken by the SGB to change the School uniform into one which reflected the modern South Africa and made wearing a uniform a more acceptable thing to do. Bergvliet High also became the first school in Africa to embrace Interactive Whiteboard technology throughout the school and the School has led the way in this field for over a decade. In 2009 the inaugural Battle of the Books was a huge success and has grown into an annual mega-event.
A modern 21st Century School…..
As the 21st century moved into its second decade, the Music Department undertook one of the most ambitious tours ever undertaken by the school to the Tutti World Music Festival in Beijing, China. It was a cultural experience of note which will live long in the memory of those lucky enough to go.
The Garden of Remembrance was established in the North Quad as the school lost several pupils and staff within a short period of time which was a devastating loss.
In 2012 the long awaited (15 years) Astro was opened and instantly became the most famous Astro in the country with its blue turf instead of the standard green. Bergvliet High showed yet again that we could take an old idea and make it fresh and exciting. The “Smurf Turf’, as it is affectionately known, continues to attract a lot of comment and attention.
Principal Stephen Price penned his Open Letter to President Zuma for the Valedictory Class of 2012, which went viral around the country and the world. It added weight to the growing public opinion that Bergvliet High School was not only at the forefront of educational leadership in the local community and the province, but in the country too.
In 2013 past pupil, Matthew Silver-Vallance made world headlines with his plan to float suspended from helium filled balloons from Robben Island to the mainland at Blouberg. The School celebrated his project with a Balloon Day by forming a living South African Flag with pupils holding coloured balloons.
The Recycling Team added to their numerous accolades over the years by being awarded 3rd place in national Climate Change Leadership Awards. This was just reward for years of dedication and sacrifice by Willie Webb, Leslie Watson and their team of volunteers.
The highly regarded Music Department spanned in the help of over 100 learners and staff to perform one of the biggest cultural performances undertaken by the school at the High School Jam at the Grade West Arena. All the hard work paid off as they walked off with the first prize. The Visual Art Department, not to be outdone collaborated with the local primary schools to create the inspiring Constantia Valley mural which was on display at the local Blue Route Centre. It received rave reviews from the local community.
In keeping with the School’s innovative and progressive approach to education, the school management did away with DT and introduced a progressive discipline model based on changing behaviour rather than simply punishing behaviour. This has seen a marked reduction in stress levels amongst pupils and staff, as well as promising gains being made in the changing behaviour strategy.
In 2018 the old prefect system underwent its full circle metamorphosis from Prefect body to SRC, to RCL, to Senior Leaders and back to Prefects. The School now has the RCL, which represents the pupils on the SGB and looks after pupil welfare, whilst the Prefects, under the leadership of the Head Prefects, assist in the management of the School.
The School also unveiled its largest and most expansive project to date. This development included 6 classrooms, a new art room and drawing room, a Multifaith prayer facility, an extended science lab, expanded disabled access to the buildings, a refurbished library, a new front foyer and toilets to the P.A.M. van der Spuy Hall, an astro changing facility, a dedicated music block inclusive of an office, kitchen, store, 7 individual practical music rooms, a sub divisible hall and an outside amphitheatre.
The History Department undertook an exciting tour to Vietnam, which was another first for this department. A world of memories were made and bucket list moments were ticked off as each tour participant had their eyes opened to the cultural, geographical and socio-political experience of a lifetime.
Bergvliet High School is a co-ed, community school catering to the needs of families in the southern suburbs. Situated in the heart of the Constantia Valley, Bergvliet High has been the heartbeat of this community for over 60 years. The School has developed strong bonds with the community that will last a lifetime.
Bergvliet High has a proud history and a proven track record of exceptional academic performance over six decades. The School is a modern 21st Century South African School that embraces the spirit of transformation to its fullest. Families from across the Peninsula, the greater South Africa, all corners of Africa and the World, bring a wonderful and vibrant diversity to our School. Through our diversity, we draw on the cultural, ethnic and religious experience of our children and weave it into the tapestry of our history….and our future.
At Bergvliet High we value inclusion and the appreciation of gender, age, culture, race, religion, disability, economics, language and nationality which all, in turn, make this school a cosmopolitan environment which we celebrate every day.