SCHOOL girls wearing a different eye-catching uniform will soon be seen in the streets of Uitenhage. This is as Riebeek College Girls’ High School is phasing in its brand new chequered school dress.In Riebeek College’s 142th year of existence, principal Kieran Stear said it was time to change to a more flattering uniform. “I gave it a lot of thought. What makes a school stand out is when its uniform is different. The clothing shop sourced the material and I chose a design which I think stands out and goes very well with our blazer,” said Mrs Stear. “We have first shown the new design to our governing body who agreed on it and then to the staff who loved it. Finally I tested it on the girls and they went wild with excitement!”Riebeek College head girl, Zeenat Lukie said, “I really like it. It’s just sad that we as Grade 12s will not enjoy the privilege of wearing it.”What is of interest is that Mrs Stear’s mother-in-law and former principal at Riebeek College, Mrs Natalie Stear, was responsible for changing to the previous school wear.“It was put to me in a well-written letter by one of the pupils, Virginia Kopp, that they really did not like the then cream school dress. She included a design of a girl in a skirt and blazer and suggested it as the possible new school wear,” said Mrs Natalie Stear, who was principal at Riebeek College from 1988 to 2000. This new school wear was phased in by 1997. What needed to be incorporated in the change was that the Riebeek College coat of arms always had to be visible. Although the coat of arms was part of the uniforms since 1877, it was only officially registered during 2000 by Mrs Natalie Stear.“I phoned the former South African State Herald, Fred Brownell, who designed the new South African flag, to assist us in registering Riebeek’s coat of arms.“He said that they are very strict with designs and that the Riebeek shield had to have a straight top and that they will never allow writing inside the shield. “So, Ora Et Labora (Pray And Work) had to appear on the bottom of the shield,” said Mrs Natalie Stear.The emblem of the school, a bee, appeared in the centre of the shield, resembling spiritual belief as well as knowledge. “Change is inevitable, you have to consider the dynamic nature of anything, so it is with a school which continues to live, and therefore it must be subjected to change,” said Mrs Natalie Stear.As from this term, the Riebeek College new dress is officially being phased in. Riebeek girls have the option still to wear the maroon skirt and white top till they finish school or they can voluntarily wear the new dress. The 2020 Grade 8s will be the first class to all wear the new flattering chequered uniform.