A whole-hearted centenary celebration at Western Cape Preparatory School

| March 23, 2015 | 0 Comments

The opening of a magnificent centenary pavilion in 2012 and the launch of the centenary trust in 2013 heightened the excitement and expectations for the centenary year, 2014, at Western Province Preparatory School (WPPS) in Cape Town. In January 2014, the archbishop of Cape Town, Reverend Thabo Makgoba, led a rededication service at St John’s Church. The Grade 6 and 7 boys led a procession from school, waving flags and following the route that the boarders used to take on their way to Sunday service.

On Founders’ Day, 3 February, the entire school assembled on the steps of the Mount Royal main building to receive principal Mike Hosty, who arrived in a specially decorated helicopter, piloted by chairperson of the board, Neil Warren. Having delivered the cupcakes he had ‘gone to fetch’, Hosty called forward the school’s three longest-serving support staff members — Sabina Tambour, Margie Biggs and Mary Valentine — whose years of service by a happy coincidence totalled 100! They were whisked away in the helicopter for tea at the V&A Waterfront.

That evening, close to a thousand people gathered on the Mount Royal field for a family picnic. To start the proceedings, in an attempt to gain a Guinness World Book record for the most number of marimbas played together at one point in time and place, 98 boys, including some recent past pupils, played African marimbas — a wonderful sound enthusiastically received by the crowd. The record has since been ratified. Famous alumnus Mark Shuttleworth then launched A Prep School and its People, a book relating the history of the school. He spoke of the significant influence his time at WPPS has had on his life.

In March, another famous alumnus, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, was the keynote speaker at the centenary banquet, a sumptuous and wellsupported event. It was attended by many old boys, who were delighted to reconnect with old classmates.

An interschools rugby festival was hosted by WPPS in April, with 12 teams competing, including schools from KwaZulu-Natal and Johannesburg. It was a successful event, with many new friends being made in the course of the week.

The house plays staged in August had a special centenary slant, with four one-act plays written to reflect various humorous episodes in the history of the school.

For many, the wonderful concert in the Cape Town City Hall in September was the highlight of the year. Every boy from Grade 3 upwards was involved, and they were joined by staff, staff partners and past pupils in a triumphant celebration of the musical life of the school.

The creativity and versatility of the boys was displayed in the centenary art exhibition held in the pavilion on-campus in the fourth term. Knowledgeable Grade 7 boys guided the guests around the artworks, explaining techniques.

In November, the new aquatic centre was opened — the first completed project of the centenary development plan. The boys competed in a series of matches against the South African College High School (SACS), and an exhibition game saw a team of old boys compete against the University of Cape Town.

As the year drew to a close, a lasting memento was being constructed in the form of a pathway alongside the Mount Royal field. Families past and present contributed towards bricks, inscribed with their names and the dates when alumni attended WPPS. This path is a visible record of those who have been part of the school.

The centenary year was declared an outstanding success, bringing together multiple generations of the school family. The WPPS school song exhorts, “Let’s celebrate our school” — and they did!

Category: Autumn 2015

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