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Jeppe High School for Girls will celebrate its centenary in 2019, having separated from the Boys’ school and acquired its own premises in July 1919.
The new red brick building initially comprised only the central wing of the present main building. By 1930, the Hall and East and West wings had been added, together with a library and laboratories; the gardens had been terraced and the grounds converted into playing fields. Trees had also been planted in the upper and lower grounds and the swimming pool was opened in 1929. A major addition to the Girls’ School took place in 1957 with the building of the east block that provided laboratories and art and geography rooms. Extensive additions were made from 1984 to 1986 with the erection of the new block south of the main building. Here new laboratories and classrooms were provided. Conversions took place in the main block to supply a larger library, six music rooms and space for an audio-visual room as well as suitable offices for the secretarial staff.
The school encompasses so much more than the physical buildings. There are the fine traditions, the standards, the words of wisdom that have reverberated in the hall and classrooms over the years, the shouts of anguish and cheers of joy on the sports field noting endeavours and congratulating excellence. The school is about the committed staff, parents and learners who have fought to ensure that high standards are maintained. It is about the many young women who have on leaving school excelled in the fields of medicine, accountancy, science, engineering, the arts, law, sport and education, serving and leading their country.
The school is also not only about the past. It is about the present and the future. As South Africa has changed around it, the school has also been challenged to meet the needs of its diverse community. Despite many difficulties the school continues and will continue for many years to come to produce young women of high calibre who have learnt to respect, tolerate and understand others. They will carry this heritage through to future generations.
Jeppe was invited by the Department of Education to become part of the Dinaledi Schools project in 2007. The project is aimed at driving maths and science in multi-cultural schools to increase the skills of the country’s future workforce.
One of the main advantages of the project, according to Headmistress Ms Gonçalves, is the sponsoring of two extra teachers – one for maths and one for science. “This enables us to make the classes smaller for special focus.” The project also provided an electronic maths board for a classroom.
The school has been recognised for its wonderful overall pass rates, and for maths in particular. 2008 was a milestone year in that it was the first time that all learners were expected to write either Maths or Maths Literacy in Matric.
All Matric Maths learners also write Maths Paper 3 which covers Grade 10 and Grade 11 work.
Jeppe Girls was rated the top school in Gauteng in a survey conducted by the Beeld newspaper (29/1/2010) and consistently features in the top feeder schools of Wits University.