Against All Odds – Ella Du Plessis At 50

ONE of the oldest schools in Namibia, Ella du Plessis High School has stood the test of time since it was first opened in Windhoek in 1964.

Established by the late A.J.F Kloppers, the school started with only 52 pupils at the old location. Today the school, which has since relocated to Khomasdal suburb, has an enrolment of more than 1 000 pupils.

In celebrating its golden jubilee, the school is inviting former pupils, teachers, principals and friends to their week-long celebrations.

Speaking in an interview, the current and eleventh principal of the school, Jakavaza Kavari, said despite various challenges the school faces, it is doing well.

“We struggle to get people to cover good things about our school, even though there are positive things happening here,” he said. His remarks possibly referred to newspaper reports about a pupil, who was shot dead by a security officer on the school premises last year.

Highlighting the school’s achievements, the principal said the school is doing well academically with some pupils scoring impressive results in their Grade 10 and 12 examinations.

He said pupils were also doing well in sports and the school had produced a number of great sports personalities such as boxer Tyson Ushona and Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti. The school also has one of the best choirs in Windhoek.

He said the automatic promotion of poor-performing pupils during the first years of high school, lack of parental involvement in their children’s performance, as well as poverty are some of the challenges the school faces.

“When you have (undeserving) Grade 10 learners who have been pushed up from previous grades, it becomes hard to achieve a 50% pass rate,” he said, adding that as long as this system is in place, the school will continue to struggle to get the best results in national exams.

Being the first non-racial government school of the then South West Africa, the school took in everyone, including the poor, and still maintains this principle of bringing in pupils from all backgrounds.

“We take learners from different backgrounds, so I sometimes have learners who come to school on empty stomachs and that obviously affects their performances,” Kavari explained.

He urged parents to play an active role in their children’s education, instead of simply dumping them at school and expecting the teachers to take care of everything.

The 50th anniversary celebrations will be held between 26 June and 7 July 2014. Various activities have been lined up, including a beauty pageant, cultural activities and sports tournaments.

The school will also host a gala dinner at the Safari Court Hotel and Conference Centre on 5th July to raise funds for a school bus desperately needed for school outings and sports excursions.

Tickets for the dinner are N$450 (individual), N$850 (couples) and N$5 000 (table for 10).

Former staff members, pupils and parents are encouraged to take part in the fundraising activities.

Any information regarding the anniversary celebrations can be obtained from Kavari on 0812511190 .

Source : The Namibian