Pretoria Secondary School solved a major problem in January 2003. At the end of November 2002 the Department of Education realized that there were between 250 and 300 Grade 7 learners that could not be accommodated in Grade 8 of the following year. They approached Mrs Columbine Commaille, the Deputy Headmistress of Pretoria High School for Girls, to help with this problem.
The Solution was to open a school in the Sunnyside area. But a few challenges stil loomed, as there were no premises in the area and the school had to open on the first day of the next year.
Then the wheels began turning. Ten staff members that were seconded from other schools cancelled their December holidays to plan for the coming year.
With the help from Mr Noah Kiewiet and Mrs Johrina Human from District D4, temporary premises were found. These premises were not large enough to accommodate the number of children and was shared with Pretoria Hospital School and Oost Eind Primary School.
On 13 January 2003, the school opened its doors for the first time. There was an ocean of administrative problems to be solved: class lists, time tables, substitutes for teachers etc. But the staff was determined to make this work.
The First Day
On 15 January 2003 the handheld school bell rang for the first time. The first class consisted of 210 boys and girls in their old primary school uniforms. And so Pretoria Secondary School had officially been born.
On that morning Mrs Commaille read, from Jeremiah: "For I Know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you; plans to give you hope and a future." And what a plan he did have.
The school was plagued by a menagerie of problems at its start. One bathroom for all students; No drinking water, desks, support material and too few classrooms; But by 9:00 that first morning, every child in the school was being taught by a teacher.
A Proper School
Other schools in the area started to donate supplies as they could spare it. Pretoria News and Eskom became involved. Their generosity allowed the school to by text books, equipment, furniture, dictionaries and electronics could be bought. The Department started to help with the schools infrastructure and the school uniform was outsourced. Finally the students shed their primary school clothes and put on their new grey, navy and red uniforms. A sense of pride pervaded. They were a proper school now.
School's First Steps
Mr Fred Bronwell, the chief architect of the South African flag, developed a beautiful coat of arms and motto for the school: "Together we build". Mrs Commaille and Mr Lionel Nkosi wrote and composed a new School Song, based on their motto. Soon after the school had a legally constituted Governing Body
The school entered two young teams in the Pretoria PEMHSAA athletics meeting and won five medals. The Cross-country championships delivered two trophies. " "The Bitter Blue Butterfly", the schools very first musical play, written by Mr Rufus Muller, was a roaring success and oodles of fun for the students.
At the end of that first year the school had lost only five students, and only four learners had to be retained in Grade 8. All others would be back in Grade 9 the next year.
The School has developed steadily from that rocky start, and we trust that it will go from strength to strength in the years ahead.
We will always look back on these early days as source of inspiration for the future.
"Take from the past that which is good and build thereon for the future."