A LAND MARK
THE CONVENT OF ST THOMAS AQUINAS
On the 25th of June, this year, the Convent of St. Thomas Aquinas will celebrate its Silver Anniversary. For twenty-five years this school has been in existence here, and it has verily become part of the town. The present building was opened on Sunday, June 15th; 1924, by His Excellency the Governor-General, the Earl of Athlone. T
he building then comprised of six classrooms, seating forty pupils each, and accommodation for a hundred boarders. The Earl remarked on the beauty of the building and the generous provision made for the pupils. Later, when the machine of learning had been well run-in, music and singing lessons were given to the pupils. The rooms necessary for this being erected behind the main building. Through the years the Convent’s pupils have taken top honours in their music examinations.
In all eisteddfods and similar competitions the pupils have taken many prizes. Some remarkably good vocalists and instrumentalists have been produced by this school. Classes from primary school to matric and national commercial matric are given at the Convent. So far all examination results have been very favourable indeed. Elocution and dancing classes have been introduced. The result of these were seen at last year’s eisteddfod and the recent concert.
For those who favour a life of art, instruction in painting, oil and watercolours, is available. At the eisteddfod last year, St. Thomas’ Convent secured seven of the cups and numerous diplomas. The Milne Cup for the most outstanding elocutionist, and the cup for the best instrumentalist have found their way to No. 48, Allenby Street. During the war years this school did very valuable work. It not only won first prize in the Transvaal inter-high school knitting competition, but dispatched numerous parcels to those who needed them at the front, through the medium of the Red Cross. Large contributions were sent to the U.N.A.C. and war funds, and woolen clothes to children in Europe. It can well be said that the Witbank Convent has a distinguished “war record.”
A scrapbook made during the Health Week last year by the scholars was, at the request of the Red Cross Association, sent to Geneva, where the book was exhibited at the association’s International Headquarters. Academically, the Convent has proved itself capable of holding its own with any other school in the district. Compositions from this school entered in competitions such as the essay-writing competition of the “Annual Bird Show,” usually takes a prize. There is a very wide range of subjects, such as German, Latin, Geography and Botany, from which the pupils are allowed to choose their subjects for their matriculation examination.
Facilities are made for the pupils as far as sport is concerned. Swimming is perhaps their strongest sport. The van Rensburg Shield for inter-high school swimming (girls) has been repeatedly won by them. Hockey teams have played against opponents from near and far, each year, and tennis is also encouraged. The immensely popular softball has also recently been introduced, and receives a lot of support from the girls.