MALALANE – The ringing of their new bell marked Riverview Prep School’s milestone 21st birthday last Wednesday.
Founder parents, pupils and their parents, former and present staff attended a thanksgiving service and the unveiling of an arch bell tower presented to the school by the parents of 2018.
The Ven Roland Carle from the United Church of Christ the King, opened the proceedings with scripture reading and prayer.
Principal Gareth Dry said the school was built on the foundation of love and that one of the school board’s aims is to never lose the fantastic sense of family and love Riverview has. Dry stated that the school is governed by the incredible love of God. “It doesn’t matter what we do, we can always come back to God, regardless,” he said.
The children interacted and “helped” him with the speech, drawing chuckles from parents.
The idea of love was also reinforced by the fact that their birthday was celebrated on Valentine’s Day.
Dry said the idea for the arch bell tower came to him through prayer. His wife, Wendy is an architect and designed the structure and the parents generously donated the materials.
It was constructed in two weeks as a monument to the love of the school.
The bell is rich in symbolism and Dry hoped that the sound would remind everyone of love, this day and every day at the school.
One of the grade sevens read a poem about a bell and then one of the school’s first teachers, Gill Brokensha, told the story of the school’s history.
Riverview Prep School was founded by a group of parents and opened on February 14, 1996 at Tulloh Estate near Hectorspruit. The beautiful double-storey house on the banks of the Crocodile River housed 57 pupils and four teachers.
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Pupils and parents could submit suggestions for the school’s name, house names, school badge and motto and then vote for the best ones.
Just over two years later, the school had outgrown the building and the current premises proved the perfect solution.After three months of construction, over a hundred pupils moved to the new buildings, where the school has grown and changed further.
The school thanked everyone for their contributions to the successful event ranging from donors to teachers. The ribbon to the tower was cut by one of the founding parents and board member, Collin Rhodes.
This year, the grade sevens pledged their commitment to the school and received a “mentor” badge. They will show other pupils how to live and love and help them.
Each of the founding parents and the learners then had the opportunity to ring the bell, to many of the young pupils’ delight.
Everyone enjoyed a slice of birthday cake, before pupils and staff spent the rest of the morning enjoying the jumping castle and various other games and activities.