Alex of Now: A Trip into the Future

Step into the Alex of today. No nostalgia here. What our grandchildren would see if they attended Alex now. Thanks to photographer extraordinaire, Margie Rudman, for the photos. I wonder what Cordingley would have done if he found Margie skiving off, not at her computer, and instead taking photos of the school?


  • Sadly, Alex no longer has a swimming gala. Casual swimming is held in the school pool
  • Alex focuses on water polo as the major water sport and hosts a large tournament each year
  • Hockey now played on astroturf
  • Hockey, soccer, rugby, tennis, athletics, netball, cricket for girls and boys


  • The old Typing, Domestic Science and woodwork rooms are all computer labs now of which there are 7. The school no longer offers those subjects
  • ·Alex has 4 fully functional Science and 4 life sciences laboratories. Practicals are no longer only demonstrated. Labs are equipped for learners to do group practicals and there are often practical exams as a component of the written exam.
  • Biology is now called Life Sciences
  • Natural Science in grade 8 and 9 is a combination of junior science and biology
  • Life Orientation encompasses a number of life skills which includes a small physical education component (NO formal physical education is offered anymore, so they might have 5 or 6 physical education lessons in a year). They use absolutely no gym equipment or mats or anything, rather fun activities on the fields. Learners have to pass Life Orientation in order to proceed to the next grade
  • ·Learners choose between English and Afrikaans or English and Xhosa

Terminology / nomenclature / political correctness

  •  Prefects are now known as Student Leaders
  • You don’t pass or fail: You proceed or are retained.
  • You may not be retained more than twice in any phase.


One has the choice of 35 societies to choose from.

  • All-4–Strings
  • Annibrand – Afrikaans  Club
  • AlexPress
  • Al-Ibsaan Society
  • BEAT
  • Chess Club
  • Choir
  • Computer Club
  • Costume Room
  • Dance Sport
  • Debating Dramatics D-Squared
  • Events Team
  • Fan People Society
  • Finance Committee
  • First Aid
  • Interact
  • Junior Drama Group
  • Library Assistants:
  • Masibuyel’embo
  • Maths Relay and Maths Scorers
  • Muslim Students’ Society
  • The President’s Award
  • Popcorn Club
  • Pop Music Society
  • Production Crew
  • Quiz
  • Science Club
  • Photography Club – Shutterspeed
  • Tenrec Hiking and Adventure Club
  • Toastmasters
  • The Voice
  • Video Club
  • Y.A.P.  (Incorporating NSRI)


Teacher in charge: Ms. Evan der Vyver.

Music is a world in itself, with a language we all understand Stevie Wonder

Music is a form of prayer, uniting people everywhere,

Transcending Language, Time and Race, Rhythm building at a pace

Will transform most any place into a holy, sacred space.

This is a society for the strings’ players of Alexander Road High School, but also for anyone else who would like to team about and participate in community-building projects through making and enjoying music together. We will socialize, watch music related movies, have fun workshops and spread beauty into the community in our city and region.

Join All-4-Strings if you:

  • Have a love for music
  • Have a love for people and children
  • Believe that one person can have the power to inspire and change the world
  • Can play the violin, viola, cello, double bass (or any other instrument) – but not excluding anybody else. We might just inspire you to want to start learning! Come and join us as we meet once a month.

Annibrand. Teachers in charge: Mr. M Stander; Ms. K Joubert; Ms. G Smit. Annibrand (aan die brand) is a committed Afrikaans group that serves the community in need. We help primary schools by collecting stationery, books and other relevant equipment in order to provide academic excellence.  Our aim is to promote Afrikaans in our schools offering extra classes, competitions and other enjoyable activities.

AlexPress. Teacher in charge: Mr. D Lavelle. The aim of AlexPress is to provide a newsworthy publication each term containing Interesting and enjoyable writing. It is also a platform for Alex pupils to voice their opinions. As such, it is a channel for communication in the school. Pupils are encouraged to submit their own pieces of writing for publication. Although there is an editorial committee in Grade 11, any pupil who wishes to do so may write articles or poems for publication.

Al Ihsaan. Teacher in charge: Ms. N Phiri. AJ-Ihsaan means ‘committed to doing right’ and ‘excellence in everything’. This is the aim of the society. The Ground Staff tea is an annual project when Alexans thank those people who do so much for us by presenting them with gifts.  Al-Ihsaan hosts quarterly birthday parties for the foster kids of the Department of Social Development. They are given gifts sponsored by members of our Alex family. We provide I-Care-Kits filled with toiletries to needy individuals. Our “Helping Babies Heal” projects helps to provide starter packs for abandoned babies. Snacks and personal items were donated to the Thuthuzela Care and Rape Crisis. Centre and handbags with essentials were handed to Bel Sheekom House of Restoration for women in crisis. Anyone who shares our ideals would be welcome to join the society.

BEAT. Teacher in charge: Dr. L Emery. What happens  is a quarterly evening meeting where there is a backing band providing an opportunity for singers and instrumentalists to perform with them – or alone – in the Hall. At the same time, there are refreshments on sale, board games and cards are available: poets, dancers and soloists also perform.

Pupils are able to bring music DVDs to play as well. This Is a wonderful opportunity to be able to listen to and play or perform your favourite music. While in the company of your friends. Listen for the announcements but sign up today if you are interested.

Chess Club. Teacher in charge: Ms. M Benson. Alex has an active Chess Club of approximately 25 Club players.  We are fortunate to have a number of EP Players in our Squad, one of whom also represented South Africa at the World Youth Chess Championships 2018. We encourage all aspiring young Grade 8 and beginner chess players to the game to join the Chess Family at Alex. We have lots of fun with our many intra-School Mini Chess Tournaments taking place during Chess Practice times on a Tuesday and Thursday at 2.30. to 4pm in TDO. Choose which day suits you or even better join us for both practices.

Choir. Teacher in charge: Ms. S. Heunis. T h e best definition of a choir is a group of people experiencing the joy of singing and making music together. This is our aim at Alex. The Choir will give you the opportunity to    develop your singing talents as well as to interact with other people who share the same interests. We will sing songs to cater for all tastes and cultures. We meet on a Monday afternoon and a Tuesday morning before school. Acceptance subject to a successful audition.

The Computer Club. Teacher in charge: Ms. l Oosthuizen. This club is open to all Grade 8 to 10 pupils. It is a highly interactive club dedicated to providing pupils with opportunities to use technology in ways that they might not be able to during their regular Digital Technology lessons in class. Pupils will be introduced to systems technologies and coding. Pupils have the opportunity to develop their own skills and interests using applications ranging from coding to web design to creating interactive games. Club members meet once a week in the computer lab.

Costume Room. Teacher in charge: Mr. G Everard. The school holds s stock of valuable costumes which need to be organised, stored issued, repaired, cleaned and supplemented. These costumes are used to dress the cast members who perform in the various plays / drama events staged by our school. Pupils will be expected to work on a Tuesday afternoon and during certain breaks to assist with the issuing of costumes. As this is a service group, awards can be earned. At the same time, you will learn a lot and have a great deal of fun.

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Rehearsals started for   our Agatha Christie’s murder mystery. And Then There Were None, but it was sadly called off owing to Covid-19. We have just had auditions for our new musical production. Watch this space …

Our pupils regularly compete in the Port Elizabeth play festival. Local drama also has our pupils actively involved and Alex features prominently in the annual Showtime production. Everyone is welcome to join. Come along and have a ball!

Events Team: Teachers in charge: Ms. L Felix, Ms. T Horsley. F o r those of you who would like to learn more about the finer details of entertaining – this is your opportunity. Under the guidance of Ms. Felix, you will learn how to do creative table arrangements. Ms. Horsley’s group sees to the issuing of the kitchen stock for our many events. You will also be able to earn service points or even an award for Service by getting involved.

Fan People Club. Teacher in charge: Mr. B Long. The definition of a Fan Person is a fan boy or girl, especially who is obsessive about comics, music. or science fiction, games and gaming, people who love something so much that all the details matter. The Fan People society is s home for anyone who shares s love for all things geeky.  We create fun events where fans can enjoy the different forms of media. These events cater for three groups:

  • Pop culture – media about superheroes, fantasy, sci-fi. Events: Movie days, Cosplay, Theme quiz days
  • Console gaming – Xbox and PlayStation gaming. Events: Gaming Day or gaming tournaments
  • Tabletop gaming – Card games and board games. Events. Board game day, Magic Gathering tournaments

Finance Club. Teacher in charge: Ms. K Glover. The Finance Committee plays an integral part in the fundraising of Alex. It is made up of Grade 11 and 12 pupils. Our main tasks are organizing civvies days and school socials. The funds generated are disbursed to various sports teams and cultural groups for tours. The ideal member of our team is a creative thinker with good organizational skills. A little entrepreneurial interest will not hurt either. Grade 11 pupils are encouraged to sign up for the committee in order to make a real difference at Alex during their Matric year.

Dance Sport. Teachers in charge: Ms. K   Reynolds, Ms. R.  Smith Ms. B.  Dalton. Dance Sport is a fun and exciting club for anyone interested in Ballroom and Latin American dancing or for anyone who would like to meet and socialize with Alexians from all grades. Practices take place on Thursday evenings: 18h00 19h00: Beginners; 19h00 – 20h00 lntermediates; 20h00- 2·1h00: Advanced. The cost is R58O-OO per person for the year as well as a once-off R50 fee for registration. It is important to get as many guys as possible to join so, if you sign up with a partner, all the better. So come along and join the fun. For further information, check the Dance Sport notice board outside GF18. Other highlights Include the inter schools’ competition, optional dance exams and the Grand Ball. 

Debating. Teacher in charge:    Ms. J Long. Are you tired of your mundane and uninteresting conversations in the classroom and on the field at break? What you need is a good dose of argument. Join P.E.’s best Debating Society and experience intellectual, comic and invigorating debating at its best. What is it?  A debate is a formal discussion with an argument either for or against the topic. The most convincing argument wins the debate. When do we debate?  All debaters meet every Monday and Thursday. We have league debates fortnightly against various schools in P.E. and Uitenhage. We also attend workshops and have our own Debate Fest once per year. Anyone can join. The more members, the better the arguments!

D-Squared. Teacher in charge: Ms. I Conradie. This is a club geared to developing skills in design and drawing. The drawing skills practiced in this club will pique the interests of learners who have an interest in landscape, architecture, interior and mechanical designs.

Dramatics. Teacher in charge: Mr. G Everard. Drama is alive and well at Alex. Not only do we offer Drama as a subject to Matric  level, but we also encourage  our pupils to participate actively in the various opportunities afforded them to get on stage  and put it all into practice. We host an annual inter-house one act play competition in the Third Term. These plays are (often written and) produced by the pupils themselves.  Alternate years see Alex producing musicals. In 2009 we had the SA premiere of the schools’  version of the world famous Les  Miserabales which was sold out at every performance and walked away with ten awards at the Showtime  Awards evening. 2011 saw the Alex family on stage again with our very own musical revue Kumbula! Remember! 2013 had Port Elizabeth audiences flocking to our award-winning production of Hairspray! In 2014 we did something different with a farce, Noises Off. In 2015 Alex celebrated its diamond jubilee year, with the production of Shrek the musical and in 2016 we staged The Crucible. 2017 saw Alex put on our very own The Addam’s Family and in 2018 saw a production of Romeo & Juliet in 2019 we produced a magical musical.

First Aid Society: Teacher in charge:  Ms. L. Sutherland. The First Aid Society serves the school by being present at all sports matches and other functions or outings where there may be a need for First Aid. Through serving the school, these young people are equipped with the lifesaving First Aid skills and confidence needed to react effectively in an emergency situation. They undergo official training by the St. John’s Ambulance and the certification that they acquire is recognised internationally.

Interact. Teacher in charge:  Ms. K.  Glover. The aim of Interact is to help, serve and care for the community. We are involved in many fund-raising activities for those who are less privileged than we are. Each year we adopt a main project, but we help wherever our help is needed. We live by our motto, Service above self”. The group does not have a limit on numbers but traditionally it consists of members from grades 9 to 11.

Junior Drama Club. Teacher in charge: Ms. C.  Stronach. It’s play time. Drama lessons with a fun twist. Learn the basics of movement, dance techniques and various dance styles, including how to prepare for a dance audition.

 Library Assistants. Teacher in charge: Ms. B. Olivier. A Library Assistant must be available to offer up two or three breaks during the week and before school to assist in the library. He / she should display the following characteristics: friendliness, responsibility, punctuality and efficiency. Must be avid readers. Duties include issuing and returning books on the computer and keeping the library in tip-top shape. In helping pupils to obtain information for their various projects, much satisfaction can be gained particularly if the library assistants have an interest in reading or computers themselves. The opportunity exists for Library Assistants to assume leadership positions as early as grade 9. Service awards (scrolls and colours) may also be earned. Team spirit is built, not only during working hours, but also at occasional informal socials.

Masibuyel’embo. Teachers in charge: Ms. B Scout, Ms. U Makinana. Masibuyel’embo is a Xhosa phrase meaning ‘to go back to our native roots’ calling our learners back to their customs, traditions and cultural activities. This is about taking and expressing pride in who we are. promoting Ubuntu (an abstract noun meaning humanity)

Maths Relay and Maths Scorers.  Teacher in charge: Dr. L Emery. Maths Relay is a team event, which takes place 8 times a year also includes an inter schools’ Maths Fair a n d Prize giving at the end of the year. A maximum of 4 people participates per team. There are Junior and Senior teams. Maths Scorers take part in the Maths Relay 6 times a year and assist with setup and scoring at the events. Maths Scorers will also help out at other events including the UCT Maths Competition and other Maths Fairs.

Muslim Students Society. Teacher in charge: Mr. R. Baartzes. This a society to help take care of the needs of the Muslim students at Alexander Road High School. It is a non-profit society aiming to gain its rewards in the hereafter. The society is committed to:

  • Developing and maintaining an environment where Muslims can practice Islam comfortably.
  • Creating a space where students can learn about Islam, not only Muslims.
  • Creating a dialogue to decrease the misinformation about Islam.
  • Encouraging students to take part actively in community uplifting projects. 
  • Involving parents / guardians in the religious development of their children at the school   

 Photography Club -Shutter Speed. Teacher in charge: Ms. J. Long. The Alexander Road High School photography club (Shutter Speed) is a society whose aim is to capture the life and times of Alex. Our photographers are on the ground taking good quality photographs at all school events. These photographs will be used for the school magazine, social media and the newspaper. Members of the club will also get the opportunity to attend workshops where they will have the opportunity to improve their photographic skills. Open to all.

Popcorn Club. Teacher in charge: Mr. G Everard. We will meet once a month to watch movies together, old and new, classic and cult, comedy and drama, compare originals and remakes of the same movie. We will visit art gallery exhibitions, see plays and musicals and music concerts.  After each outing, we will have a discussion about the movie or happening, express our opinions, likes, dislikes, praise and criticisms, increase the knowledge base from which to draw when needed. We welcome any AleKan (or staff member) from Grade 10 -12 who is 16 years of age or older.

Pop Music Society: Teachers in charge: Ms. D Everard; Ms. D McCoy. Inviting all musicians who wish to play music in ANY popular or contemporary music styles. Instrumentalists, singers, rappers, D.J.s and producers are all welcome. Bring your creative talents and let’s make some music together.

The President’s Award: Teacher in charge: Ms. A Miller. This programme is an international award programme for young people founded by the Duke of Edinburgh. The South African patron is Mr. Nelson Mandela. The different award categories / levels exist: Bronze, Silver and Gold in each category. There are four sections to be completed:

  • Physical recreation: Take up a physical activity and show improved performance.
  • Skills: Choose a hobby or job interest and improve your skill
  • Adventure activities:  Partake in basic planning and carry out hikes or approved adventures.
  • Community service: Choose a service and train or give service over a period.

This programme is voluntary, fun, rewarding and can open doors to many opportunities. It is a challenge to change your life. Pupils need to be at least 15 years old in order to participate in the programme.

Production Crew: Teacher in charge: Mr. G Everard. The Production Crew at Alex is a society that takes care of the technical elements of theatre such as sound, lighting and backstage work. The involvement of the pupils in this integral part of the school’s cultural life really enhances every aspect of our productions. Ideally the Production Crew should consist of about 10 – 16 pupils from Grade 8 to Grade 12. Full training in every sphere of fascinating work will be given.

Quiz. Teacher in charge: Ms. G Smit. The aim of the Quiz Group is to foster an appreciation of general knowledge and an awareness of current affairs in an exciting and interesting way through participation in league and knockout competitions, Olympiads, and internal inter-house competitions. Number of members: Although more members are encouraged to participation, teams comprise four members, plus reserves, senior and junior.

Science Club: Teacher in charge: Mr. C. Oosthuizen; Ms. M Hough; Ms. C Rademeyer. Leaners are exposed to science in action. The focus is to realise that there is much more to science than just everyday school work. Hands-on activities are arranged. Experiments in Chemistry and Physics – focusing on safety and correct skills. Audio-Visual material is in the form of DVDs for non-practical science club questions. There are often excursions where science in industry is observed. An annual breakfast, the International Mole Day, celebrates the importance of chemistry in the world.

Tenrec Hiking and Adventure Club: Teacher in charge: Ms. M Benson. Tenrec aims to encourage all Alexians to appreciate the environment by getting involved in outdoor activities like hikes, camps and adventure trails. There are also fun activities that involve the community and stimulates care for our planet. Social events may be occasions to share with clubs from other schools. The Club does not require active membership, but pupils may put their names down for any outings or activities that come along. If pupils wish to be actively involved, this is encouraged.

Toastmasters: Teachers in charge: Ms. R Woods; Ms. L Felix. Toastmasters is an internationally recognised course in the art of communication and leadership. By participating in the course, individuals will learn the following:

  • To overcome the nervousness which everyone naturally feels when asked to speak before an audience.
  • To organise and present your ideas logically and convincingly.
  • To offer helpful advice that will help others to improve their speaking and leadership skills.
  • To participate in and even lead group discussions and meetings.

Video Club: Teachers in charge: Mr, G. Everard, Mr. P McEwan. Explore the possibility of making videos at school. We want participants who are able to use their own equipment. We are keen to make instructional science videos and to shoot practical demos that could assist learners. These may be made available on the internet. Learnings would assist in planning, filming and editing the demonstration videos. A new development this year will be having our own video editing suite.  

The Voice: Teacher in charge: Ms. M Simpson. We are the Christian Society at Alex. The aim of The Voice is to be a Christlike voice and example at school. WE want to provide opportunities for Christian growth through fellowship. Bible study (cell groups), prayer, outreach, praise and worship and through having fun times together. We feel the need to share the love of Jesus Christ.

Young Animal People: YAP (incorporating NSRI). Teachers in charge: Ms. K Joubert Ms. D Strydom.  YAP aims to make the pupils of Alex more aware of the problems and difficulties that face animals and animal organisations in Port Elizabeth and in South Africa. Each year Alex pupils are encouraged to raise as much money as possible to aid the NSRI. We hold numerous fundraising events throughout the year and we are usually very pleased with our fundraising efforts and with the help that we can extend in this way. YAP and NSRI can only survive if the Alex pupils support this worthy cause and help us to help those who cannot help themselves.

Physical facilities

The ubiquitous Covid-19 accessory, not with 70% alcohol mix, but directions as all passages are uni-directional for the duration of the pandemic
This deck  is where the cars used to park to watch school sport on the rugby field. I’ll have a Bacon King Junior Burger with chilli cheese chips. PLEASE.

Upgrade from the tuck shop under the hall stage. It’s called the Heart Centre where learners meet at break
The quad where we used to park bicycles is now full of prefab classrooms with a third wing added to the left on top of the old parking area. According to my info, nobody cycles to school anymore. Cordingley insisted that cycles walked down to 2nd or 3rd Avenue.
The old physical education quad is now a place for learners to relax
School pool was not there in our days. Alex provides formidable waterpolo teams
New prefabs built on tennis court outside the hall. What would Bob Welsh say about his court.

Additional information supplied by David McCoy

Alex has also become known for its cultural offerings. In no particular order:
The drama department boasts three full time teachers. Every second year Alex puts on a musical that wows audiences and critics (with live orchestra, naturally) with students of the school involved in all aspects, from making the sets, props, costumes, lighting and sound, orchestra members and of course the acting and singing. The other year sees a dramatic play with no less work!
The art department consists of two full time teachers. Their students creations are on display in the passages of the school and every year the hall is transformed under the teachers guidance for the matric farewell dance.
The music department consists of eight(!) full time teachers, offering individual lessons in clarinet, saxophone, flute, violin, viola, cello, double bass, piano, trumpet, trombone, horn, euphonium, tuba, voice, drum kit, percussion and music production. These students play/sing in either the Concert Band, Wind Band, Big Band (Jazz), String Orchestra or Choir, which put on regular performances through the year.

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  1. Thanks for a great article to keep the interested Old Alexans up to date.
    I know you can never include everything, but Alex has also become known for its cultural offerings. In no particular order:
    The drama department boasts three full time teachers. Every second year Alex puts on a musical that wows audiences and critics (with live orchestra, naturally) with students of the school involved in all aspects, from making the sets, props, costumes, lighting and sound, orchestra members and of course the acting and singing. The other year sees a dramatic play with no less work!
    The art department consists of two full time teachers. Their students creations are on display in the passages of the school and every year the hall is transformed under the teachers guidance for the matric farewell dance.
    The music department consists of eight(!) full time teachers, offering individual lessons in clarinet, saxophone, flute, violin, viola, cello, double bass, piano, trumpet, trombone, horn, euphonium, tuba, voice, drum kit, percussion and music production. These students play/sing in either the Concert Band, Wind Band, Big Band (Jazz), String Orchestra or Choir, which put on regular performances through the year.


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