Alumni as well as former staff and parents from Arcadia High in the northern areas, gathered at a thanksgiving service on Sunday to celebrate the school’s 40th birthday this year.
Arcadia High School, which celebrates the milestone birthday later this year, held the packed thanksgiving service at the West End community hall.
The function was held in honour of the school and all it has done for the West End community over the last four decades, and also to recognise the integral role its teachers have played in keeping the school afloat, despite the circumstances they find themselves in with a lack of funds and adequate infrastructure.
Principal David Gregory Prince, who is in his second year at Arcadia High, says the school has had a major impact on the community.
“The number of successful professionals the school has produced can be attributed to the strong family structures the school possessed in the early days. In the last couple of years however, we have been trying to regain the glory days of old,” Prince said.
The school has 1 040 pupils and 32 teachers.
It offers a very active sports programme, including volleyball, netball and soccer, and their main sport, rugby.
Among some of the outstanding sportsmen and women produced by the school were Senior Public Prosecutor Clive Kilian and Denzel Bezuidenhout, who both attained Eastern Province (EP) colours for soccer, Burton Forbes, who played EP cricket, and Brian Matthews who played EP rugby.
Teacher Joan Cairncross, 49, who has been at the school for thirty-odd years, said she was proud of everything the school had achieved.
“I have seen a lot of changes in my time as a teacher here,” Cairncross said. She also insisted that “parents need to get more involved in their children’s education”.
Another teacher who has been at the school for many years is Ulric Machiu, who has 36 years of teaching behind him.
“It is a great achievement for the school to have reached this milestone,” Machiu said.
“We need help from the department to give us more teachers in order to ease the number of pupils per classroom,” he said.
Head girl Lindie Leeuwskieter, 16, said she was proud to have been part of the 40th birthday celebrations.
“The school has been a big part of our community for a very long time, and to see the successful people who have attended our school gives me hope that I can also make a success of my life,” she said.
Head boy Ryno Ferndale, 18, said he was also excited to have been part of the celebrations.