St John's College (Johannesburg, South Africa)

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St John's College
Motto Lux Vita Caritas (Light, Life, Love)
Established 1898
Students 1350
Grades Pre-Preparatory (0-3) Preparatory (4-7) College (8-12) Sixth Form ( Cambridge A Levels)
Location Johannesburg, South Africa
Colours Navy blue and maroon
Dayboy Houses Clayton, Thompson, Alston, Clarke, Fleming
Boarding Houses Nash, Hill, Hodgson, Runge
Fees R 156 630 p.a. (boarding)
R 92 790 p.a. (tuition)

St John's College is a private school for boys in Houghton, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa.


[edit] History

St John's College main Chapel. JPM.JPG
St John's College Bell Tower. JPM.JPG

St John's College was founded in Johannesburg on 1 August 1898 and is an Anglican school.

It was founded by Rev. John Darragh the rector of St Mary's Anglican Church, Eloff Street, Johannesburg. He persuaded his parish council of the need to establish an Anglican school for boys. His curate Rev. JL Hodgson was appointed the first Headmaster.

The first classes started in a house in Plein Street, Johannesburg with two desks and seven pupils aged six to 14. However the school was forced to close a year later at the end of 1899 owing to the outbreak of the Second Anglo-Boer War. St John's re-opened in 1902 two months after the signing of the peace treaty, and grew rapidly under Rev. Hodgson and eight staff.

Soon there were 180 boys which was too many for the Plein Street premises, and St John's moved to larger premises in a wood and iron building near the Union Grounds between Joubert Park and the old Wanderers (now Johannesburg’s main railway station).

However, the British colonial government under Lord Milner was ideologically opposed to private schools believing that they were not beneficial to society. Over the next few years the school’s enrolment plummetted as a result of policies introduced by the Transvaal administration, including the creation of public schools (such as King Edward VII School) within a short distance of their private counterparts. By 1903 45 state schools were open across Johannesburg.

In 1904 the St Mary’s parish was relieved of the responsibility for StJC which became a Dioscesan institution. However by 1905 St John’s was facing closure, and an approach was made by the Diocesan Board of Education to the Community of the Resurrection (an Anglo Catholic order of missionary priests and lay brothers) to take over the school. In 1906 Father James Nash became the new headmaster and oversaw the move north out of the city to the current site on 56 acres (230,000 m2) across Houghton Ridge.

In 1907 the School had opened in Houghton and accepted its first boarders. By then it had 100 boys, and four College houses had been instituted: Nash, Thomson, Alston and Rakers (which became Hill in 1910).

Sir Herbert Baker designed the new Hoghton school buildings and initially used rough-hewn quartzite quarried on the site, but subsequently rock was sourced from Krugersdorp and hand-chased by Maltese craftsmen. The school is arranged around a number of quadrangles, each with its cloisters. Leonard Fleming later worked with Baker on certain of the buildings.

The College has two chapels, a main one and a crypt chapel. Construction began in 1915 on the Crypt Chapel designed by Frank Fleming as a foundation for the main chapel. The Crypt Chapel seats about 100 pupils, and is adjacent to the Garden of Remembrance. Each House of the College has a week in which it is to attend the chapel service in the crypt.

Above the Crypt Chapel is the War Memorial Chapel. The superstructure was completed in 1925 and dedicated in 1926 to commemorate staff and pupils who fell in battle. Inside the War Memorial Chapel is the Delville Wood (All Souls) Memorial Chapel, which houses one of only five Delville Wood crosses in the world. It seats about 500 pupils, including staff, and has a fully functioning pipe organ and a choir gallery at the rear of the chapel above the main entrance. Its pipe organ is the largest of its kind in South Africa.

The War Memorial Chapel has an "M" engraved into one of its outside walls. This bears a great significance to the political and educational front in South Africa as it records Lord Milner's concession that his policy was wrong and that private schools had a place in society.[citation needed]

The Community of the Resurrection handed over their charge to the Diocese of Johannesburg in 1934, and in 1935 Rev S.H. ‘Nobby’ Clarke begins his 20 years as Headmaster.

In 1955 Deane Yates became the first lay headmaster. By then there were 664 boys, 375 in the College, 100 boarders in the Prep.

Today there are five stages to a St John's education:

  • The Bridge Nursery School was established in collaboration with Roedean School, in spacious grounds adjacent to both schools, This offers two classes for the three to five years old.
  • The Pre-Preparatory School is for boys who start Pre-Grade (Grade 0) at the beginning of the year in which they turn six.
  • The Preparatory School is for boys typically until the age of 12.
  • The College for boys, where the main point of entry is at Remove (Standard 6, now Grade 8) typically at the age of 12 (although a few vacancies do become available at other levels from time to time) and boys typically leave at the age of 18. There is an entrance test, and the applicant's interests and cultural activities, sporting achievements and general demeanour are taken into consideration. A confidential report from the pupil's preparatory school HEadmaster/ mistress is requested. Special consideration is given to siblings, sons of Old Johannians, sons of Clergy and those who come from a disadvantaged background
  • The VIth Form for both boys and girls offers a Sixth Form year to enable students to focus on three subjects of his/her choice in preparation for Cambridge A-level exams (written in November). The class numbers average between 60 and 90 boys and girls a year.
View of the North Facade.

[edit] Academics

IEB Results 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Number of candidates 120 124 127
Number of failures 0 0 0 0 0 0
University endorsement (%) 97 97 95 92 98 94
A aggregates (%) 27 35 33 30
A-B-C aggregates (%)
Subject distinctions 158 247 220 220
Number in top 50 7 2 2 3 3 3

[edit] Uniform and awards

Number 1s

The "Number 1s" uniform consists of charcoal trousers, a collared long-sleeve white shirt, tie in the school colours (navy and burgandy stripes), black standard-issue school shoes, black socks and a navy blue blazer. It may be supplemented by a charcoal v-necked jersey. It is required dress for formal events and is the official winter uniform.

Number 2s

"Number 2s" or "khaki's" consist of khaki shorts and a collared khaki shirt. Black standard-issue closed shoes may be worn with long khaki socks, or closed toe sandals. For formal occasions the school blazer must be worn. "Number 2s" are the summer uniform as an alternative to the "Number 1s" and are to help pupils cope with the extremely warm South African summer.

Scrolls (or half-colours)

These are only awarded to pupils with a minor sporting, cultural or academic achievement and are woven onto the school blazer, right underneath the school badge.

Colour blazers

These are awarded to scholars with major sporting, cultural, or academic achievement. It differs from normal blazers, because it is maroon with tiny navy stripes, with a golden eagle (the school's emblem) on the front breastpocket. Underneath the brestpocket, the type of achievement is woven on.

Honours blazers

These are awarded to pupils with any excellent sporting, cultural or academic achievement. It consists of tiny maroon and navy stripes, packed closely together. It also has a golden eagle stitched on the front breastpocket, with the achievement stitched underneath it.

[edit] Traditions

  • War-cry - the school has an elaborate war-cry system, some of which date back to the verb birth of the school. The war-cries are sung at the weekly Rugby fixtures, and accompany elaborate drum lines and movements. St John's has become known for its SJC warcry, in which the letters of SJC or the words of the school motto (Lux Vita Caritas) are spelt out by raising and lowering the blazers to reveal the white shirt underneath. This is just one of many war-cries, and one war cry practice a year, before the Derby match between local Houghton rivals K.E.S (King Edward VII School), the war-cry practice is moved up to the gate closest to their traditional rivals. The school then faces the School and the war-cries begin. It is a form of amicable intimidation, much like the Hakka of the All Blacks Rugby team.
  • Fagging - a modernised and controlled form of fagging is still in place. Examples of this are the fact that Juniors address seniors (Matrics) as "Sir". A remove may be commandeered to carry bags, acquire food from the tuck-shop,tie shoe laces or run various errands. The only form of acceptable punishments are "pages" (literally pages of writing on a Topic of the Matric's choice), an Eagle (A form of physical exercise involving the running up and down of the amphitheatre) or push-ups on the spot. A particularly unpleasant form of punishment in Winter is the "pond" punishment, where those found in contravention to any school rules are made to place their hands in one of the many ponds on campus. This is most detested due to the icy nature of Highveld winter mornings.
  • Various corridors cannot be walked through at certain times, silence is required at all times in the Passageway between the Memorial Chapel and Darragh hall (Dining Hall). There is a Matric Lawn, a matric only privilege.
  • New Boys Test - a test on entry to the school, of the schools history and traditions is required for all new boys in any age group. The pass mark for this test is set at 80%.
  • Hard Labour - a form of punishment which takes place on Friday Nights (Prefects), or on Saturday Afternoons (House-master's)where students are required to either do some form of manual labour or physical training (PT).
  • Afkak - a more rigorous form of hard-labour (for boarders) which takes place in the early hours of the morning.
  • Weekly Formal Assembly which takes place in the open-air amphitheatre (the foundations stone of which was laid by Prime Minister Jan Smuts). Bashers a(traditional straw-boat hat) are required for Matrics.
  • Jocular Thursday - No longer exists, although may be reintroduced in the future.

[edit] Notable alumni

[edit] Memberships

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

Coordinates: 26°10′35″S 28°03′27″E / 26.17639°S 28.0575°E / -26.17639; 28.0575

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