Marine Primary School in Ocean View celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
The guest list for the school’s thanksgiving ceremony on Thursday November 25 included retired teachers and Abraham Jenneke, the principal from 1975 until 1993.
The current principal, Wayne Lawrence, said Mr Jenneke had served the school diligently and the school was honoured to have him as a guest.
The school opened in January 1971 with 18 teachers, 533 pupils, and three support staff.
The first principal was J Dietrich with Mr Jenneke as deputy principal and C Weber as vice-principal.
More classrooms and a kitchen were added to the school as it expanded to accommodate a growing community.
“We have since added another Grade R classroom to accommodate 80 English and Afrikaans pupils,” Mr Lawrence said.
Today, Marine Primary School has 1 400 pupils from Ocean View, Masiphumelele, and Red Hill.
Mr Lawrence has been in education for 31 years. He started his teaching career in 1990 at Mondale High School in Mitchell’s Plain where he was deputy principal for 10 years.
He was appointed as principal of Marine Primary School in April 2010.
Covid-19 had been the biggest challenge in his career of more than three decades, he said.
“The pandemic certainly brought along a number of challenges, such as rotational timetables due to classrooms that were not big enough to accommodate 40 pupils and social distancing.”
Another difficulty, he said, was pupils dropping out after falling victim to substance abuse and gangsterism.
“Parents play a pivotal role in ensuring that pupils stay focused and attend school regularly,” he said.
Mr Lawrence said he was “blessed” with dedicated, and loyal teaching staff who had the welfare of the community and especially the pupils at heart.
He said his vision for the school in 2022 was to restore its pride and dignity.
“The community of Ocean View has changed over the past 20 years as poverty increased and as substance abuse and gangsterism became more prevalent.”
The school had suffered many break-ins and acts of vandalism over the years and it was “very disheartening”, he said.
“It is my hope that the community will take ownership of the school and protect it from vandalism and crime.”
Acting deputy principal Hajira Bean, herself a former pupil of Marine Primary School, said: “I love Marine Primary because our school embraces diversity. My passion is to uplift others and mentor novice teachers to enable them to reach their full potential, and the school affords me the opportunity to do what I love most – moulding young minds and laying a solid educational foundation.”
Western Cape Department of Education spokeswoman, Bronagh Hammond, said: “May the school grow from strength to strength and continue to provide quality education for every child, in every classroom.”