Victoria Park High School

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Victoria Park High School
Vivite Fortes
Port Elizabeth
South Africa
Type Co-ed Public School
Established 1940
Headmaster Michael Vermaak
Grades 8 - 12
Enrollment approximately 1000
Yearbook "The Victorian"

Victoria Park High School is a co-ed higher education day school situated in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa.


Victoria Park High School is a co-ed higher education day school located in Port Elizabeth’s Walmer suburb. Founded in 1940, the school retains the founder’s emphasis on a concern for the development of all aspects of the child. Approximately 1000 students attend grades 8-12 and enjoy high participation in activities, sports and the arts. To maintain a favourable pupil/teacher ratio, the Governing body employs approximately 20 extra teachers. From 2010 the grade 8 classes will not exceed 29 pupils.


  • H.W. Arnott(1940–1947)
  • T.C Thorp (1947–1965 )
  • G.A.C. Pearson (1966–1982)
  • D. Blake
  • P. Hollely
  • Michael Vermaak (2003–present)


  • Vivite Fortes (Live Courageously) also translates to live,challenge and dare

Mission statement[edit]

  • This school is committed to providing facilities for a well-balanced education which concentrates on mind,body and soul, that will enable and encourage children to develop their full potential so that they can play a useful, fulfilling role in the community and the larger society. The three pillars on which the school stands: Academic excellence, Sound discipline and Passionate participation.


The school was established in January 1940, and was situated in the Dutch Reformed Church hall in South End. The first day saw an enrolment of 38 grade 9 pupils, one assistant woman teacher and Mr. H.W. Arnott, the Headmaster. It was he who came up with the school's motto, "Vivite Fortes", meaning "Live courageously". Sport was played on the fields of Walmer Rugby & Cricket Clubs, and two hired tennis courts in Second Avenue.

In 1941, a grade 10 was added, along with an extra teacher. When Mr. Arnott returned in 1945 after service in World War II, the school had moved to its present site at the junction of Victoria Park Drive and First Avenue Walmer, as well as having classes from grade 9 to Matric.

Mr. T.C. Thorp[edit]

The following milestones occurred during Mr. Thorp's time:

In 1948, the field at the back of the school was ready to be used for girls' hockey, and in 1949 for cricket. Two classrooms were also added in this year. The first three-act play was produced in 1950, a tradition that continued today. The Christian Union was also formed in 1950. 1953 saw the beginning of the school magazine in the form of a 6-page newsletter. In 1954, grade 8 pupils were moved from Primary to High Schools, increasing the number of pupils by 200. This year also saw the start of the annual one-act play competition; a selection of plays produced by the pupils themselves, a tradition that has been unbroken to the present day. During 1953-54, several new classrooms were built, and many alterations done. The school grew and in 1958, enrolment stood at 375 pupils. The Junior City Council was formed, and V.P. sent two grade 11 representatives, something it still does today. The Debating society was started in 1961.

In 1962, the school accommodated 460 pupils in all. The Superintendent of Education, Mr. D. J. Liebenberg, officially opened the school hall on the 25 July 1962. The hall was aptly named the "T.C. Thorp Hall". It was here that the first "Matric Farewell Dance" was held in 1962. In 1964, Mr. R.A. Viljoen joined the staff as a second Vice-Principal to support Mr. J.K. Wright. He left in 1969. Mr. Thorp retired in 1965, after 18 years of service to the school.

Mr. G.A.C. Pearson[edit]

When Mr. G.A.C. Pearson became Headmaster, one of the many changes he saw too was the start of the P.T.A., as well as the development of the school's playing fields at Third Avenue, Walmer. This new sports complex was opened on 20 September 1967 by Mr. Theo Aronson, and was later named the "Weinronk Fields" after Dave Weinronk, Chairman of the School Committee. 1970 was a benchmark in that V.P. reached its highest enrolment figure of 598 pupils. The first of the annual variety shows, Variety '71 was held in October 1971 and was a great success. Merit badges for academic achievement were introduced in '72, along with a new tuck-shop. Mr. Wright retired as Vice-Principal in 1973, and Mr. R.H. Parker took his place. 1974 saw birth of the school Interact Club, and in 1977 the school song was introduced with words by Ms Daphne ffoliott, a teacher of English at the school, and music by Grace Edelman. A Prefect's leadership course was also started. Art was also re-introduced as a senior exam subject. In 1978 the post of Vice Principal was abolished and in its place heads of departments were established. In 1979 the School Oratory competition was relaunched, while 1980 saw the establishment of a shooting range as well as the teaching of Business Economics as a senior subject. In 1981 new tennis courts and playing fields extended the Dave Weinronk complex.

Mr David Blake[edit]

In 1982, after 17 eventful years, Mr George Pearson retired as principal and was replaced by Mr David Blake, who held a Masters Degree, as well as being a top-class sportsman representing Eastern Province at hockey. In 1984, there was a record number of Std 8s, 234 in all, who were divided into 9 classes, and total enrolments reached 885, an annual increase of 130. Four additional prefab classrooms had to be erected quickly. Numbers continued to rise over the next few years and had reached 935 by 1988, with a staff team of 54 as well as a lab assistant, three secretaries, a media assistant, a caretaker and six ground staff. 1984 also saw the completion of long-awaited extensions and renovations to the school: Victoria Park now boasted the finest facilities in the country and was arguably the fastest growing school in S.A. However, the year was a sad one with the passing of the school's founder, Mr Herby Arnott. After 1982 there were many administrative changes: the introduction of the Standard Head system, a "Gifted Child' Extended Learning Programme, conversational Xhosa, as well as a formal valedictory ceremony for school leavers and an initiation programme for newcomers. In 1985 a grand piano was purchased as well as a TV set for the Media Centre. Additional prefabs were erected and the new sports field was named the Wright Field. By 1988 Xhosa had become a full subject and Home Economics and Business Economics were offered at the Higher Grade. The re-established P.T.A. introduced the 100 Club, which is still flourishing. The computer age became a reality in 1986 when seven I.B.M. computers were installed, with another eight the following year. This was also the year of "Stage-struck”, a memorable revue produced by Mr Michiel de Beer. Another development was the nine-day school calendar. A successful series of staff development seminars placed V.P. in the forefront of staff development programmes in the Eastern Cape. In 1987 a second TV was bought, the "Quarterly Review" was published for the first time and the Botanical Reserve was established as a problem-solving project. Athletics were held at the Westbourne Oval and a swimming gala at Newton Park Baths, 1988 brought yet more changes. A senior Deputy, two Deputy Principals and 14 Heads of Department joined the Principal in running the school. A computer for school administration was installed in the secretaries' office. It brought computerised reports and a fully computensed marks system. The last two years of the eighties saw a stabilization in enrolment and a large number of pupils following University Exemption Courses. A key area of the school programme that flourished was in the arts. The standard of drama had risen considerably with both the One-Act Plays and an annual full-length production. Art was thriving and there was a major growth in interest in music, with a brass band of more than 20 players performing regularly. By the dawn of the Nineties, with its large staff, fine facilities, up-to-date technology and commitment to a balanced educational programme, V.P. had advanced considerably from its humble beginnings, and in its 50th year, the school served the community effectively and was proud of being amongst S.A.'s best high schools.

Clubs and societies[edit]

Cultural Societies[edit]

Service Clubs[edit]

  • Interact (Grades: 10-12)
  • Junioract (Grades: 8-9)
  • TAG (Teenage Action Group)
  • TADA (Teenagers Against Drug & Alcohol Abuse)
  • LIFE(Life is for everyone)
  • PAW (Protecting Animals Worldwide)
  • ACC (Aids Care Committee)
  • Blood Peer Promoters
  • First Aid
  • ECO (Environmental Caring Organisation)
  • Sound and Lighting Technicians

Leadership Groups[edit]

Councillors(School Prefects)


The following are sports played by both gentlemen and ladies at Victoria Park High School:


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°58′32″S 25°36′48″E / 33.9756°S 25.6133°E / -33.9756; 25.6133