John Graham celebrates 100 years of teaching

As part of its Founders Day celebration, the school recreated a classroom from 1918. Here is Ms Sumaya Adams, a Grade 4 teacher dressed up in clothing from 1918 in the schools A look into the past classroom.

John Graham Primary School in Plumstead is celebrating its 100th anniversary and yesterday, Wednesday April 18, marked the milestone with a special Founder’s Day celebration.

Principal, Beverley Johnson said the original building was opened on April 17, 1918, the second Wednesday of the second term. The chairman of the Cape school board, Sir John Graham officially opened the school.

Duringthelast months of the First World War the influenza epidemic took its toll and the school was closed during October and part of November as it was used as a hospital.

In April 1939 the school was named John Graham Primary after Sir John Graham. It adopted the motto of “honour and integrity”. The current building was opened on the second Wednesday of the second term in 1957.

Julie Fleming, who has been teaching at the school for the past 28 years, says it has been a privilege to teach there for so long.

“In many ways it’s still the same school as when I started teaching here although in other ways it’s completely different. What has remained constant is the desire of the teachers to maintain the standard for which the school has always been known.

“It’s a group of very motivated and committed teachers who really do go the extra mile and in many ways I’m happier here now, than when I was younger,” says Ms Fleming.

“We lost our dear past principal Noel Wise last year but his legacy lives on at the school. Our present principal for 10 years, Beverley Johnson, has grown compassion in the children and strives to make them aware of how privileged they are to be at a school like John Graham.

“Her genuine love for the children is evident to all,” says Ms Fleming.

Residentschool counsellor Leo Sefoor has been at the school for eight years.

“The staff has loads of passion with each child.

“The school maintenance staff work very hard to keep the school very neat and tidy. Very few schools in the Western Cape have such clean grounds and clean ablution facilities,” he says.

MrSefoorsays the school is actively involved in the community and its Care Group regularly supports underprivileged schools and organisations with goods such as groceries, toys and even Easter eggs over the holidays.

The pupils are encouraged to live up to the motto on their school badge, “honour and integrity” by doing the right thing when no one is watching.

The school has been declared a no- bully zone and pupils
have joined a “dare not to swear” campaign.

Apartfromthe Founder’sDay celebration, the school has planned a gala dinner for past John Graham pupils.

They would like to get as many past pupils involved with the 100th birthday celebration as possible and are inviting past pupils who would like to get involved
with the school’s birthday celebrations or wish to be added to the school’s mailing list to email

On Saturday August 25 the school is hosting a five-a-side soccer tournament at Lansdowne Fives Court. There
will be a junior (girls/boys between the
ages of 11 to 14)
and senior (men/women) division. Winners will receive trophies and medals and all participants will receive certificates.

For more information or to register a team contact Page at

Past principals

* 1918 to 1931: William Jones

* 1932 to 1945: James Arthur Hawke

* 1946 to 1970: Arthur Rabone

* 1970 to 1981: Laurence Thompson

* 1982 to 2007: Noel Wise

* 2008 to present: Beverley Johnson

More pictures on page 11