1 of 2 Making a difference in the lives of the children in their care is what Belmor Primary School believes in as they celebrate their 40th anniversary this year. The Hanover Park school started out in 1979 with over a thousand pupils bused in from all over Cape Town who were only Afrikaans-speaking. Back then, the school was known as the Hanover Park 5 school – an Afrikaans-medium school which at the time had two shifts; one in the morning and another in the afternoon. It was headed by principal Fred Carolus, followed by Henry Pretorious, then Shaheen Galant, and now Carol Poole who took over the leadership in 2008. Ms Poole described the school as a family unit which focused on pupils’ holistic development by not only focusing on good grades, but also instilling life-long values in pupils. She said it was senseless to produce a pupil with brilliant marks, but no values.The school is now a dual language one, with English and Afrikaans both being first languages. Children enjoy extramural activities such as soccer, athletics, marching and drilling, chess, netball, arts and culture, drama and dance, and music, on Wednesdays. The school also participates in the annual GROWSmart competition, hosted by the Western Cape Education Department, which focuses on literacy, maths, science, story writing, and debating, and this year and last year the stories of three pupils were published in the competition’s storybook. The school also walked away as the winners of the literacy competition in 2008.Ms Poole said that every day has its own challenges but they take it one day at a time. She said the school’s mission is to give pupils the best education that they can despite the difficult circumstances. She said it was important for the school to give pupils a platform to grow and become the best versions of themselves while preparing them for high school and tertiary education and the community out there.“We are producing good pupils who are doing well at tertiary institutions and entering into top careers. We are proud of them for their hard work and our ultimate goal is to produce well-rounded pupils who are ready to serve our community and country, said Ms Poole.She said some of the challenges at the school remain insufficient parent participation and the growing ratio of pupils to teachers, which made teaching in the classroom a bit more difficult.To combat low literacy levels, the school will be offering literacy workshops to parents and pupils next year. With the mantra “Enter to learn, Leave to serve”, and the motto by “Light and Labour”, Ms Poole said the school’s aim was to keep succeeding both academically and through growth within pupils. “Although we face challenges we can still grow and become knowledgeable and become great things. Teachers and pupils create a family ethos at the school and as teachers we must set an example for our pupils,” said Ms Poole.She said what kept her motivated was her passion for teaching and her hope to inspire others. Looking back, she thought of a funny memory when children were bused into school and there was one bus known as the “Joburg” bus. This made her wonder from where the children were coming but it was actually a bus from Philippi where the driver picked up children from a shop named “the Joburg shop”.“It was so funny because they had told me that children were coming from far and I wondered where these children were coming from only to find out that it was from Philippi and not (the actual) Joburg,” she said.One of the school’s greatest achievements was when four of their Grade 6 pupils were chosen to attend the Oprah Winfrey School. They matriculated in 2012. Ms Poole said she was very proud of the school’s achievement as they had worked hard to get where they are. She said the school’s goal was only to become better. Beverley Philander, a Grade 1 teacher who has been teaching at the school since 1979, said she was proud of the school’s achievements and was excited about its future. “We are a family at Belmor Primary School and my pupils and colleagues are the ones who keep me going. “Their love and friendliness bring me back every time and even if I am absent for just one day I miss the school.”The school celebrated its 40th anniversary with a supper at The Barons Estate on Wednesday October 23 with parents, friends, staff, and previous staff members.Lionel Daries, chairperson of Belmor Primary’s school governing body, said the school has remained in a good condition despite 40 years of existence.“I feel quite proud to be part of the school. Belmore has always been known as the best school in Hanover Park. I’ve been a part of the school for 10 years now and my grandchildren attend the school now. I am happy to be a part of the Belmor family,” he said. Pictured in front of Belmor Primary School, from left, are, Beverley Philander, Lionel Daries, and principal Carol Poole.