Is it possible to make a truly excellent education available at a fee affordable to those from low income communities? How does a school with an authentically Christian ethos position itself in modern society in terms of personal mentoring and cutting-edge educational initiatives? In what ways can the inspiration so desperately needed in the South African education landscape be provided? These questions led to Calling Education being established.
Dr Philip Geldenhuys, co-founder and former CEO of Community Keepers, saw the need for a high school in Stellenbosch that can address these issues. After regular prayer with friends about the possibilities, Philip approached Werner Cloete (who was teaching Physical Science at Paul Roos Gymnasium) and Willem Meyer (Founder of Campitor Agribusiness Investments) to help conceptualise this new school.
Werner subsequently resigned to head up this exciting project. On 1 December 2015, a first meeting for potential supporters was held at the Digtebij Estate outside Stellenbosch where the broad plans for the school were laid out. In April 2016, John Yip and Thumakele Gosa were added to the board of directors. Werner still taught in a part-time capacity while continuing the research and development process. Articles were studied, schools were visited, interviews were conducted, conferences were attended and the emerging model was refined through countless conversations. This process laid an outstanding foundation for the concepts that now feature as part of the Calling Education model.
On 29 September 2016, the official launch of Calling Education was held at the Doornbosch Hall in Stellenbosch. 2017 was to be the year of final preparation for this unique school. In April and May 2017, the first information session for prospective parents was held at Rhenish Primary School, followed by further information sessions at AF Louw Primary School, Idasvallei Primary School and the Legacy Centre in Kayamandi.
On 17 January 2018, Calling Academy opened its doors for 60 Grade 8 boys from 13 different primary schools at the former Vlaeberg Primary School. The fact that the school was at capacity from the beginning is indicative of the fact that the school serves the right need with the right model. The first teachers at the school were Mr Werner Cloete, Ms Hillian Roman and Mrs Anelet van den Bergh. Mrs Prudence Gabriels was the first receptionist. Calling occupied only two classrooms of the building while the other classrooms were still occupied by Mount View private school.
On 9 January 2019, the 2018 class of 60 Grade 8 boys moved to Grade 9. Calling Academy enrolled another 64 Grade 8 boys at the start of 2019 and gained access to the whole building. Three new teachers, Mr Raoul Hamman, Mr Jannie Kirsten and Mr Samora Menze also joined the school. Mrs Nerine Louwrens joined the admin team. Mr Aiden Meyer and Mr Steve Qangule came on board in April 2019 as teachers’ assistants.
The end of 2019 saw a building project place that ensured the addition of a computer room and two classrooms as well as a quad. 62 Grade 8’s and three new teachers further joined the school (Mrs Kate Niemoller in August 2019, Mr Reinhard Appolis, Mr NC Vermeulen and Ms Lita Hahn.).