John Graham Primary rings in 105 years

Grade 7 pupils participated in a blessing ceremony to celebrate the start of John Graham Primary School’s 105th anniversary celebrations. From left, are Shayla Kruger, Mia Wyngaard, Bethany Baros and Kigan Mtandwa. Picture: Supplied

John Graham Primary School in Plumstead is celebrating the 105th anniversary of its founding this year.

Last month it held a blessing ceremony and more anniversary activities are planned in coming months, including sports and cultural festivals, a founder’s day assembly and a thanksgiving ceremony.

According to principal Andre Engel, the school started, as Ottery Road Primary School, in a disused Wynberg factory. When it became too small to meet needs of the community, another school, York Road Primary, was built, in 1918, in York Road.

When William Jones, the York Road Primary headmaster, realised he had too few pupils, he ordered pupils from Ottery Road Primary to join the new school.

At the end of his tenure, the offer by authorities to name the school after Mr Jones was declined. Instead the school was named after the then chairman of the Cape School Board, Sir John Graham, in 1939.

In 1957, the John Graham Primary School moved to its present site in Milford Road, Plumstead, and the old building in York Road became what is now Wittebome High School.

Since then, the school has added a school hall and a computer lab and a court for netball, basketball, tennis, five-a-side soccer and mini-hockey. The facility is open for use by the public for a fee.

While the school has changed over the year, its values, according to Mr Engel, have not.

“Our values are embedded in our approach to education and are encapsulated in our slogan ‘We’ve got heart’. The word ‘heart’ is an easy reminder of our values: H for honour and integrity, E for excellence, A for our positive attitude and actions. R for reaching out, T for being a team player.”

John Graham Primary staff members are seen here after attending a blessing ceremony. Picture: Supplied.