1978 - 1987
St Mary’s marks its 90th anniversary.
The Soweto uprising of 1976 is a protest against the government’s policy to introduce Afrikaans as a medium of instruction. In 1979, Mrs Pitt admits into the school a teenager who has lost almost two years of education in Soweto. As an adult, this black student is to write: “Mrs Pitt was an awe-inspiring woman who was prepared to put her job on the line and accept this teenage black student who was part of the Soweto student uprising. How brave of her. However, that was so much like Mrs Pitt.” Ironically, her favourite teacher is her Afrikaans teacher.
The St Mary’s swimming team wins the inter-high gala, marking the beginning of a run of 12 years of domination. St Mary’s continues to be a leading swimming and diving school.
Mrs Rossouw becomes headmistress of the Junior School when Mrs Whitford retires. The Junior School is expanding, with the addition of a classroom, a computer room and a whole new pre-grades section.
A gym and two glass-backed squash courts are opened.
Rebellious youths bring education to a virtual standstill in township schools and black pupils at St Mary’s are at risk of intimidation.
The school adopts tighter security measures in the light of the low-grade civil war in the country. Everyone evacuates to the hockey field when there are bomb threats.
Despite the now formidable strength of the 1st hockey team, the staff can still beat them – with a bit of help from the umpires.
The school defies the law to admit its first black pupil