Buildings a new chapter for school

2015-10-29 06:00
PAST. PIETER SMITH of Moreletapark in Pretoria at the opening in one of the amphitheatres at the Clarens Primary School.  Photo:  Amanda van Blerk

PAST. PIETER SMITH of Moreletapark in Pretoria at the opening in one of the amphitheatres at the Clarens Primary School. Photo: Amanda van Blerk

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THE Clarens Primary School has arrived at a new chapter in its history when new school buildings were opened on Monday, 12 October.

This historical moment led to a day of festivities at the school. The primary school was established as a two-man school in 1913 which had to cater for the small community of the young town made up of barely 30 households. The farm children from the area had to travel to school by foot, donkey cart or by horse.

For decades the old sandstone building was used as school facility where Masters De Leeuw and Van Zijl and Stoffel de Wit made their mark. Various other teachers taught the children to read, write and count.

The school grew to such an extent that the sandstone building later became inadequate. With the arrival of the millennium and a large number of black learners, temporary asbestos classrooms were used. Tuition continued well under the circumstances, but it soon became clear that the school would have to be entirely redesigned. Not only were learners being shown away, but the asbestos buildings also posed a health risk.

The construction of a new school could no longer be postponed. Representations were made, an architect was appointed and in 2013 construction began. The third term in 2015 came to an end sooner in order to provide the teachers and assistants the opportunity to tackle the big move.

A huge party was held on Monday, 12 October, the first day at the new school. It was like Christmas and the learners’ excitement could be heard from afar. For Annatjie Coetzee, the principal, the arrival of this important day felt surreal. After almost three years of building rubble and insufficient class rooms, she started wondering whether she would, just like Moses from the Bible, only see the planning without having the privilege of utilising the facilities.

After all the hard work she was finally able to lead her learners into the “promised land” – the Clarens Primary School – on a lovely summer’s morning. She invited Past. Pieter Smith of Moreletapark in Pretoria to oversee the opening and he inspired the learners to celebrate the new school they had so long been looking forward to. Smith’s message served as inspiration to the learners to do their best, since they were the future leaders. Just like Nelson Mandela, who had come from a small town, they who attend school in a small town can also one day become the leaders of the country, he said.

The school now has two gr. R classes with its own toilet facilities and a sick bay, as well as its own playground and amphi­theatre. There are two classrooms each for the other grades with their own toilet facilities, which are also wheelchair-friendly. The modern design includes a fully-equipped kitchen and dining facilities for the learners, as well as an amphitheatre where all the festivities started. In addition the school has a library, computer room, a modern science laboratory and tuck shop.

Their application to get financing from the Lotto was also successful and a new cultural section is being created with musical instruments, physical education equipment and art material. The school hall is still being built and should be finished by November.

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