Westview School celebrates 55th anniversary

2016-04-20 06:00
Westview School invites past pupils to attend a reunion on Friday, May 6. Photos:  Morné Du Randt

Westview School invites past pupils to attend a reunion on Friday, May 6. Photos: Morné Du Randt

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A DINNER, dance and walk down memory lane can be expected at Westview School’s past pupils’ reunion which takes place Friday, May 6, as part of the school’s 55th anniversary celebration.

Westview is one of only three special schools in the Eastern Cape. The school strives to prepare pupils to enter the labour-market and utilise their potential.

Westview School’s principal, Johan Hermé Zietsman, who has been principal for 20 years and has served the school for almost four decades, said he is proud of the past pupils as the majority of them have been successful in the job market.

“The official opening of the school was in 1961 on May 5 and that is why our birthday celebrations will be on May 5 where we will have something for the children.

“The Friday (May 6) evening we’ve got the reunion with all the old scholars. This is not a reunion for a particular year group – all past scholars can attend as we are celebrating 55 years,” Zietsman said.

He added that there is a demand for schools where pupils are taught how to enhance and develop their skills. He also mentioned that Westview currently has 721 pupils and 48 teachers.

“Every year we get around 550 applications for grade 8 and we can only accommodate around 180 – 200, so that means there is such a demand for skills education.

“This is a school for skill so we don’t follow the normal curriculum like the mainstream schools. We’ve got learners for only grades 8, 9 and 10 here. After grade 10, they have to go into the job market,” Zietsman said.

Westview offers a wide variety of learning areas and skills including panel-beating/spray-painting, hairdressing, woodwork, nursing, motor vehicle repairing, welding, hotel keeping and catering, entrepreneurship and dressmaking, and signwriting.

The school bell rang for the first time at Westview on Wednesday, January 18, 1961. The school building had not been completed at that stage but there was enough space for 183 pupils and 15 teachers. These teachers started teaching without a desk or any stationery.

The school building was completed by the end of March 1961 and it was officially inaugurated on May 5 of the same year by D.J Liebenberg, the Superintendent General of Education at the time.

The school could only accommodate 240 pupils in those early years and many applicants could not be accepted. In 1972 the school was enlarged to accommodate 480 pupils. The school currently has more than 700 pupils.

Westview’s reunion starts at 6:30 for 7pm. For more information or to purchase tickets for the reunion, contact Westview School on 041 365 1223.

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