Harold Cressy High School is a secondary school situated at the foot of Table Mountain, in the former District Six of Cape Town.
It started in 1951 as Cape Town Secondary School, in three prefabricated rooms in the backyard of Hewat Training College, a teachers’ training college established in early 1950. It was renamed after Harold Cressy, the first black university graduate in South Africa.
Edgar Maurice served as principal teacher from 1952 to 1963, and his successors were Victor Ritchie (1963-1990), Peter Meyer (1990-1996), Lionel Adriaan (1997), R Hendricks (1998-2004) and Khalied Isaacs (2006-2014).
The school has a consistent record of success and stability, with a carefully nurtured system of values; a culture of focused teaching and learning; excellent teamwork; unity and definiteness of purpose. The fight for human rights is deeply ingrained in the school’s legacy and forms part of its proud heritage.
From its founding, Harold Cressy High School grew in prestige and stature over the years, and was recognised as one of the top high schools in the Western Cape. This legacy has grown as, for six decades, the school has produced some of the brightest and most astute political, mathematical, medical, scientific, musical, financial and artistic minds in the country.
The present school is now in a renovated and reconstructed building, and enjoys facilities which are an improvement on the very crude conditions that prevailed for the first 41 years of its history. These conditions and the oppressive political system were never used as an excuse by teachers and students for not delivering their best results. The difficulties were regarded as challenges to be overcome. The school’s motto, Volenti Nihil Difficile, translated from the Latin as “To those who are willing, nothing is difficult” serves as a source of inspiration to its current students and teachers, and continues to drive the activities and lives of its alumni.
Harold Cressy High School is providing a very special and successful brand of values-based education, which generates actions and life-skills in accordance with a system of values and in harmony with timeless, universal principles. It is an education firmly rooted in a steadfast determination to maintain the school’s hard-won status as a Professional Learning Community. It is an education flowing from a conviction that every child CAN be helped to realise his/her full potential. It is an understanding that nurturing this potential requires lots of enthusiasm, combined with persistent effort from both teachers and students. It is a realisation that TRUE SUCCESS never comes easily: it comes with the miracle of hard work.
Written by V.J. Richie