Hopefield High School - West Coast School of Choice

~ The Past and Future of HSH ~

Every HSH learner can be proud to be part of the ongoing history of Hopefield High School.

The grain store became the home of the school when it spilled over its facilities in the late 1870's.

The History of HSH (1855 - today!)

From 1708, when the first farms were allotted in the Hopefield area, to 1851, more well-off residents made use of absconded sailors and roving teachers to bring an occasional measure of education to their isolated children. The girls received a better education than the boys, who were actively helping with farming duties. The farmers didn't value education, especially since rumour had it that the slaves at the Cape, who were becoming quite educated via daily tuition, were seen to become "lazy workers"!

In the mid-1850's, schools customarily fell under the mantle of the Dutch Reformed Church and the newly created Hopefield parish worked hard to try and establish an educational role. However, only in 1853 did the church appoint the parish clerk, Mr J. H. Janssen, to double as a teacher (at a salary of R150/year). He worked at and under the auspices of the church and his main aim was to prepare learners to the point of their church confirmation.

In 1855, the Government School in Hopefield had its humble beginnings with the appointment of Mr J. H. Janssen within the official framework recommended by J Rose-Innes, then Superintendent-General of Education. In 1865, Mr Janssen requested the addition of an English class and he donated his own classroom for this purpose.

Records show that in 1879, 202 of the parish's kids (extending to Vredenburg) attended school occasionally, while a further 421 kids never did. The school was fully integrated at this time, and growing. The school spilled over into the grain store.

History of Hopefield School - continued...

Mr Janssen was succeeded by Mr Bresler as principal in 1889, when another teacher, Mr William Hugh Wilson, also joined - the latter was reputedly fond of using the rod and he seemed to have ended his teaching career under a cloud.

Mr Bresler was succeeded by Mr P. Roux in 1922.

Mr Roux was succeeded by Mr A. W. Smit (1923-1945) ringing in a new era of expansion. Under Mr Smit's leadership, the school was incorporated as a High School in 1923.

Mr Smit was reportedly a fiery redhead with a soft heart and he still taught English, Afrikaans and Latin over and above his duties and could make the solution to a maths problem sound "as easy as eating cake". He also actively visited other schools in the area at the end of each year to convince parents to send their kids to Hopefield - a man who understood the importance of marketing!

The Boys Hostel had its humble beginnings in a "poor hostel" created in 1928 to help make schooling accessible to under-privileged children. The name of the hostel was later changed to "Voorreg" (meaning Privilege) and again in 1950 to Huis Walters, as it is still known today.

The girls hostel, still known as Huis Eureka, was completed in 1939.

From 1945 onwards, the school continued to grow from strength to fabulous strength under the Headmastership of influential educationists like A. J. Sadie, A. W. Retief, A. L Botha, N. W. Du Bois, H. J. Neethling and J. Cawood. The most recent principal to retire from HSH was Mr Marius Hitge, whose wife, Dianne, remained on as a teacher at the school, retiring only in 2017.

Visit the school's museum to see loads of photos and artifacts from the past, and learn about the ghost of a past science teacher who reportedly roams the school... :)

Historic photo of Hopefield High School Building and historic Photo of Huis Walters Hostel

HSH: present & future

The school has been under the leadership of Mr Wehan Fourie since 2010. He is supported by an exceptionally well qualified Teaching Staff and a passionate, committed Governing Body.

Learners attend from far and wide, but mostly from the West Coast areas of Hopefield, Langebaanweg, Langebaan, Saldanha, Vredenburg, Velddrif and Laaiplek. The school truly offers a social and economic anchor to the town of Hopefield.

For more fascinating history about the town, please visit the History of Hopefield or enquire at the school library for books like "Hopefield deur die Eeue" by J. A. Baard (1986).

In the last year or two Hopefield High School has become known as the School of Choice on the West Coast and even at far-off sports meets teachers will hear how the school is introduced as the school "with all eyes on it".

Since the school has been totally oversubscribed in recent years, one of the biggest challenges it faces, is to keep its relatively small family feeling and smaller classes, while continuously improving its financial, academic, cultural and sport achievements.

This then is exactly what the School Leadership hopes to attain: to lead Hopefield High School into the future with improved facilities, technology and results - without growing school numbers too much.

Such a goal inevitably places stress on the financial resources of a school that receives paltry support form the Department of Education (only about 3-4% of operating costs over the past couple of years!). This means that the school will have to rely on its fundraising and sponsor membership programs to implement its strategic direction.

History of Hopefield Primary School
The Hopefield High School Museum offers photos, relics and amazing stories.
Hopefield High School history is rich in image, story and success!