Dr Philip Geldenhuys, Calling Education co-founder and former CEO of Community Keepers, saw the need for an alternative high school model to be established in Stellenbosch. After prayer and planning with friends, 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.
Calling Academy’s first learners on the school’s first day. Springbok rugby players Damian Willemse and Dillyn Leyds were present to hand the learners their ties while Mr Willy Maliwa represented the Western Cape Education Department.
Critical renovations on the existing building were required.
2015 – 2017
Werner subsequently resigned to head up this exciting project. On 1 December 2015, a first meeting for potential supporters was held. 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 model.
2016 – 2017
On 29 September 2016, the official launch of Calling Education was held at the Doornbosch Hall in Stellenbosch. 2017 was 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.
Many issues on the site needed to be addressed, such as improving the storm water drainage facilities. Volunteers from Paul Roos Gymnasium dug this trench and laid the pipe.
Construction vehicles starting the construction of the platforms on which the prefabricated classrooms were to be placed.
On 17 January 2018, Calling Academy opened its doors to 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 that the right problem statement was being addressed by the right model. The first teachers at the school were Mr Werner Cloete, Ms Hillian Roman and Mrs Anelet van den Bergh with Mrs Prudence Gabriels as receptionist. Calling occupied only two classrooms of the building while the other four classrooms were used by another small school.
On 9 January 2019, 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.
Pre-fab classrooms, a computer room and pathways were added at the start of 2020.
The excitement of the start of the final major building project mid-2021.
The end of 2019 saw a building project that ensured the addition of a computer room and two classrooms as well as a paved quad. 64 Grade 8’s and four new teachers further joined the school in January 2020 (Mrs Kate Niemoller in August 2019, Mr Reinhard Appolis, Mr NC Vermeulen and Ms Lita Hahn in January 2020).
A group of 62 Grade 8’s and two new teachers (Mrs Karen van Boom and Mr Sean Weber) further joined the school in January 2021. Kyra Barnard, a chartered accountant, joined the team in January 2021 as Financial Manager. Calling Teachers’ Academy was established with the first group of six interns join us for the year.
Gustav Roberts (SALT Architects), Rikus Serdyn (Steenser Construction), Erika Basson (Valiente Consulting), Werner Cloete (principal) and Andries Viljoen (AVCON construction) formed the professional team for the building project. As usual, Mr Willy Maliwa (circuit manager) was on hand to voice his support for the school.
A major building project has been completed.
2022 is a big year for Calling Education! The first group of Grade 12’s will complete their schooling careers at Calling Academy in Stellenbosch and a major building project has been completed. Five staff members were added to the Calling Academy Stellenbosch team (Jason Knoetze, Verity Slaverse, Yonela Mayile, Anwell Cupido and Kathryn Couzens) and four interns also form part of the Calling Teachers’ Academy.
A second Calling Academy opened in January – a dream come true! The town of Kroonstad was chosen after a period of prayer and deliberation by various stakeholders. On 12 January 2022, Calling Academy Kroonstad opened with 30 Grade 8 boys and girls and four staff members. The first principal in Kroonstad, Martin Botha, has a fantastic team in Poloko Mosesi (administrator), Carmen Whindus (teacher) and Janette Relling (teacher).
Kroonstad learners in uniform.