Tremaine van Aardt
HALF a century down the line and Hillcrest Primary School Helenvale is still in the business of laying firm educational foundations for the children in and around the largely impoverished area.
Formerly known as Gelvandale No 3, Hillcrest opened its doors in 1963 with 11 teachers and 503 pupils. Today the school caters for 1172 pupils and 33 teachers as well as a permanent caretaker.
Minnie Trimalley, who has the longest service among the current teachers, said it was through love and dedication that the school was still managing to serve the community.
“The school was opened as a result of the group areas act which forced the schools in South End to close.
“Despite difficult circumstances and a low social morale, the staff accepted the challenges and with the support of parents our doors are still open today,” Trimalley said.
To cope with the large numbers of pupils the school soon had to split – teaching one half in a morning session and the other in an afternoon session.
To resolve the problem, Republiek Primêr was established and all the pupils attending the afternoon session were transferred to the new school.