Benoni High School
- Learning Centre
- Sporting Prowess
Going beyond the classroom to give students more than a sporting chance
Rated as one of the top ten schools in Gauteng and the top English-medium government school in the province, Benoni High continues to offer an excellent standard of education to its 1,500 culturally diverse students.
The school sees its role as assisting to form well-rounded and holistic individuals. As a testament to this ethos, the school has maintained an exemplary academic record. One of South Africa’s strongest performing schools, Benoni High School hasn’t had a student fail their leaving exams for 40 years.
Founded in 1922 Benoni High School maintains and cherishes a rich history and strong sense of tradition. The school pursues excellence in academic, sport and cultural activities and our motto – Quam Optime – is an important part of the lifeblood of our school. Learners and staff are encouraged to strive to achieve in everything they do.
The school’s academic programme has recently been expanded to include engineering and graphic design with a view to giving students a head start in these disciplines before they go to university. There is a compulsory enhancement programme before school for students who are not achieving at the level they should and a comprehensive programme of after-school enrichment courses that are open for all to attend.
Through its Representative Council of Learners (RCL), Benoni High School offers students the opportunity to develop real leadership skills while upholding the school’s moral and social values. The RCL meets weekly with the school executive and governors, and has significant input into the school’s extracurricular programme and its code of conduct.
The school tries to inculcate the importance of self-awareness, self-discipline, good manners, respect and pride. The ‘Madd’ Society (Music, Arts, Drama, Debating) is very active and pupils are afforded the opportunity to write, produce and direct their own plays annually. The school has an exceptional choir and our debaters and public speakers regularly win bursaries to study overseas.
The Benoni High Pipe Band participated in the World Pipe Band Championships in 2009, in Glasgow. They came home as World Champions, the first and only South African band to do so. Lack of funding prevented us from returning to defend our title. We did however, compete in the South African Championships winning consecutively since 1992, a record which will be hard to beat.
At Benoni High School we continue to challenge the mundane and seek to be more educationally innovative to bring all our pupils to excellence, according to each individual’s potential.
Quam Optime – Better than the Best
Having established a reputation for academic excellence at secondary school level, Benoni High School in the South African province of Gauteng is now branching out into further education with a new learning centre. Offering university and diploma courses, this will provide pupils with the chance to continue their studies without having to move away from home.
The centre is due to open at the school this year. It will offer BA, BSc, BCom courses and degrees in education as well as diploma courses in Project Management, Human Resources and Management Practices. Operating after-school hours, students will be taught via a combination of on-site lectures and interactive distance learning.
‘It’s going to be a vast and very involved programme, one that will be both exciting and challenging for our youngsters,’ says the school’s Principal Jake Ceronio. ‘It’s a wonderful opportunity for them and for us, and something that we’ve been aspiring towards and working hard to bring to fruition for a long time.’
Bringing education home
Benoni High currently has a student body of around 1,500, roughly 80 per cent of which go on to tertiary education when they leave. As it stands, students wanting to continue their education either have to move away to live in university residences, or take return journeys to cities such as Pretoria or Johannesburg. The new learning centre will enable them, instead, to gain further qualifications without the expense of studying far from home.
In addition to the new learning centre, the school’s gymnasium has also been accredited as a training centre and employs two sports scientists. This means former students studying for degrees in sports science can now return to the school for their practical year.
‘Although our primary focus is very much academic, we recognise the importance of extracurricular activities,’ says Ceronio. ‘We believe there are lessons to be learnt away from your desk.’
That said, Benoni High’s new learning centre is an exciting and important development for a school that is constantly evolving in order to remain at the forefront of its field. By moving into further education, and continuing to emphasise the importance of extracurricular activities, it offers its students the best opportunities to succeed, both in the classroom and beyond.
‘Participation in extramural activities helps students to perform academically,’ says Principal Jake Ceronio, who has been at the school since 1991.
The comprehensive extra-curricular programme includes rugby, soccer, cricket, athletics, hockey, golf, equestrian, cross-country, netball, sailing, tennis, softball and swimming, which compete at the highest level.
The school is renowned for its sporting successes. Its gymnasium is accredited as a training centre, which offers a broad range of team-oriented and individual pursuits, and two full-time biokineticists to work with individuals and teams to develop warm-up and training programmes.
A number of sporting academies in rugby and athletics have been created with the intention to expand to include cricket, swimming and netball. The rugby academy is well established with an international coach and the training programme has been extended to surrounding primary schools to coach them in the skills required at high school level.
Ceronio explains that the emphasis on physical education is not just important in terms of success on the playing field, but that it also plays a crucial role in the school’s academic achievements. ‘There has got to be a good balance between sport and academics,’ he observes. ‘We believe that schools that do well at sport also do well academically. It means that children are more focused, attentive and ambitious in their studies.’