EVELINE HIGH SCHOOL 100 YEARS OLD !!          - 6/7/2010      <--Prev : Next-->



I spent a glorious morning last week wandering around my old school Eveline High School in Bulawayo. It was enchanting, every brick, every tree, every pathway, every classroom has been indelibly printed on my mind for centuries (or so it seems !!). There were even some quivering students sitting on that dreaded bench outside the office of the Headmistress !!

That massive quadrangle in the very centre of the school, is the same as it was so many years ago when we all lined up as new form ones, to be told which class rooms we were to go to !! That giant gnarled knotted fig tree in the centre of the quad is still there. If my memory serves me correctly, the boarders would line up under that tree to get their cups of juice/milk and sandwiches at break time !!

It was in these draughty corridors that we would line up to get our polio vaccines, a teaspoon of bright red syrup served on a sugar cube .....

There was my form one classroom on the northern side of the quad, where Paddy Vickery would read the "Wind in the Willows" to us in that melodious voice of hers. In those days she had red curly hair and freckles and a smile that made one's heart soar with undying devotion. There next door was my form two class : it was during that year that I had my appendix out and when I got back to school I had been elected Form Captain !! In Forms three and four we moved to the southern side of the quad, and for M Level we moved to the room behind the library.... All of these classrooms had high up sash windows to prevent the students from distraction by passers by. The rooms were large, with high beautifully decorated pressed ceilings; the bricks of the classrooms were giant red sandstone at the base and red brick on the outside. A giant blackboard stetted from one side of each classroom to the other, and apart from the teachers desk, the rooms were crammed with double wooden desks. Woe betide any girl who wrote or carved graffiti on her desk !!

The Sixth Form block is still there (that's where BOYS were allowed to join us for lessons), although now the sixth form block is the Agricultural Department There was the blackboard where Miss Battiss would make us conjugate our Latin verbs. (amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant...)

However we would cannibalize it to "Amo amass, I loved a lass And she was young and tender Amant alas She fell on her a ...... and cracked her head on the fender...... " Apologies to Miss Battiss who of course is still around and will be at the centenary celebrations at the school on 27 July this year.

Over there was the domestic science room where we made apple crumble and rock cakes until we were herded off to the sewing room to make those giant turquoise broekies that we made the first and only term thank goodness. How well I remember Miss Cecelia Horn, our history teacher also deputy head, as she would take us down the long avenues of British and European history, with enthralling tales of Gladstone and Disraeli and Prince Otto Von Bismarck who said, and I quote "Laws are like sausages, it's better not to see them being made !!"

And who could possibly forget the glorious French Teacher Mrs Bennett, who kept us spellbound with her long perfectly manicured nails, her fabulous chic clothes and her fascinating throaty french accent. Mrs Celia Davies was also a brilliant English teacher and our fabulous maths teachers in my years were Mrs Watson and Mrs Downing.

There are the new modern science laboratories, with nice big windows so we could gaze outside while pretending to learn about funny stuff involving bunsen burners, pipettes and test tubes..... We learnt a lot under the firm tutelage of Mrs Joyce Sherlaw who took thousands of young Eveline ladies through their O level Biology examinations. There were the two beautiful old buildings still used as art rooms, where we could splash about behind our art aprons, to our hearts content.

I did not visit the pool or the fields as these would have made me sad, there is a general air of neglect about the buildings, but not so amongst the teachers and staff !! Friendly, super efficient, smart and bright, I was invited into that hallowed of all rooms - The Office of the present Head Mistress. Mrs Rosemary Moyo who was sitting at the desk where the revered past HM - Miss Winifred Powell used sit most regally.

All six foot of her with that stern grey bun at the back of the head. I could almost visualize her sitting there surrounded by the tomes from which she would prepare her morning assemblies !! How well I remember many of her favourite passages from the scriptures and her favourite poets - Thomas Traherne: "You never enjoy the world aright, till the sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars."

The Alfred Beit Hall is still there, all the honors boards hopelessly out of date, the gallery now has padded blue plastic cushions and that was probably the one and only difference !! In the old days the hall doubled as the gym, and all of the parallel bars and beams are still there. I could almost picture Miss Dreyer and Miss Wigg urging us to climb the parallel bars, swing on the ropes, and then allowing us to play that most fabulous of all end of term games "Shipwreck" There was the grand piano in the corner of the stage where Mrs Dawes would thump out "I vow to thee my country " and "Jerusalem" every end of term and on high days and holidays.

I still have my Little Prayer Book, woe betide anyone who did not bring her "Little Book of Hymns" to assembly every day !! The library was not as I remembered, Mrs Brebner of course was not there, and the books and book shelves looked less colossal and imposing than they did when we were small and Christmas trees were tall. I never visited the hostels, Langdon, Mackintosh and Northward - thats for another time, but why don't you make a date for the Centenary Celebrations? All are invited, old girls, very old girls, young girls too. Eveline High School opened one hundred years ago on the 31 July 1910 and will celebrate its Centenary on the 30th of July 2010

Watch this space for more details or telephone the Headmistress Rosemary Moyo on 263 9 60800 or Deputy Head Mrs Martha Chinhara on 263 9 60562.

e mail evelinehigh@gmail.com or rosmoyo@gmail.com See great photos on the Morning Mirror website