Fairmont in the early 1980’s
Fairmont was originally known as The Eversdal English Medium School, and opened its doors in January 1977. The first Principal was Mr Clive Wigg. He started with a staffing complement of 17 teachers and 330 pupils. The three-storey building was far too big for the first intake of pupils so the top floor remained unused in the first year. There were no sports fields, no memorial quad, and the hall was still under construction. The pupils had no prescribed uniform. At the end of the first year, the school became known as Fairmont High School.
The school then became equipped with two tennis courts, two netball courts, two cricket nets, one field and a turf wicket in the centre of the only field. Learners proudly wore their brown uniform – very different from all the surrounding schools.
Mr Wigg wrote the words for the school song, and the school motto, ‘Stand Fast’, was proposed by his wife, Mrs Lynn Wigg, and accepted by the school community.
In 1979 there were 660 pupils. Three additional fields were completed and the first official cricket match took place against Bergvliet. The school also boasted a Drama Society, German Society, SCA, Science/Biology Club, Chess, Literacy Society, Debating, Athletics, Badminton, Karate, Hockey, Squash, Swimming, Tennis, Soccer, Rugby, Softball, Netball and Drum Majorettes.
In 1979 the first Dinner/Dance, with the theme Asterix, was held for the first matric class. A Sport Tour to York High in George was organised and the first Grade 10 Geography excursion took place. Over the years The Settlers and Fairbairn contacts were established. Today, there are Sport Days with many schools from the Paarl region, the Overberg and various parts of the Peninsula.
In 1983 the state provided a teaching force of forty-eight staff members and in 1986 there were fifty-nine state employed educators. Today the state employs thirty-nine educators, and the Governing Body of Fairmont, through school fees paid by parent(s)/guardian(s), employs forty additional educators.
Over the years a Recreation Centre (1986) was built which now houses the computer centre and additional classrooms. A shooting range was used for a number of years, and the pool was completed in 1987.
The original building, built for 720 pupils, became far too small for the 1200 pupils it had to accommodate and extensions to the main building were completed in 1994.
Many past pupils will remember the parking area filled with prefabs, the Grahamstown English Festival, the Grade 8 and 9 parent(s)/guardian(s) - Teachers Days, the Reading Period, Prefects Camps at Steenbras Dam, The Garden Club (a fancy name for Work Squad), the Autumn Walk, Big Walk, Spring Run, Big Knit, Diamond Rush and the spectacular Carnivals that were conducted in the past, and the six that we have recently had at the school.
In December 2002, Mr Wigg retired from teaching leaving behind a vibrant, active school. Mrs Müller, who had been teaching at Fairmont since 1985, took over as Acting Principal in January 2003 and in July of the same year was appointed as Principal.
The theme “A New Beginning” seemed to be most appropriate for 2003 and gave everyone something new to strive for. In 2004 the new theme, “Together we make a difference” was adopted, and the theme for 2006 was “Striving for Excellence”.
Then, in 2006, the school was struck with tragedies. We lost one of our Grade 10 learners, followed by the death of our principal, Mrs Müller, and then the untimely death of senior teacher, Mr Holroyd, all in a short period of time. But through all our loss and sorrow the staff, learners and parent(s)/guardian(s) stood together to work through these events and continue the journey along the road that makes the difference.
It was in 2006 that the vision of Mr Wigg, Mrs Müller, teachers and members of the Governing Body, past and present, became a reality with the commissioning of the building of the Multi-Purpose Centre. This double-storey building has stunning views of the surrounding mountains and is equipped with bathrooms and kitchens. The building was officially opened on 18 April 2007 by Mr Barry Volschenk, the Director of Educational Management and Development Centre of the Western Cape Education Department.
The current Principal is Mr R Dingley who shares the vision of his predecessors in striving to make Fairmont the school of choice in the Northern Suburbs.
Today we can be very proud of our school and its achievements. We have an indoor sports centre, eight tennis courts, four computer rooms with close to 300 computers on our network, five sports fields, a new library, an Astro hockey field, a modern café style tuck shop called Café Monty and many other facilities.
But, most importantly, we have a school where people care and where teachers go the extra mile to make the difference in our lives.