Seeing the Ennerdale school kids of today walking smiling and playing while going to their different schools on the Mid-Ennerdale Avenues, I don’t think “Oupa Freddie Smith” knew that he would eventually lead a foundation of what Ennerdale is today. When he decided to move has family to Mid-Ennerdale back in the early 1940’s. What a long way we have come…”back in the days”… The lack of a school for children in Ennerdale back in 1941 was a sleepless concern to the parents. It had to take some hard working folks like, Mr J D Smith, Mr Dixon, Mrs L Prince and Miss A Smith then approached the then West Rand Education Department with the request to have a school established here, on our mother land “Grassie” as it was known back in the day.
They were told by the Department, a school could only be established once there were forty pupils to attend. This presented the community with a predicament as there were not sufficient children to comply with this minimum requirement. However, this hurdle was not going to damper the determination of the community to have a place of learning for their children.
After persistent efforts, Mrs Louisa Prince, was granted permission to start a “private school” until such time as the necessary quota of forty children was achieved. Faced with a shortage of qualified teachers, The school was nevertheless, started in February 1942, with the volunteer services of Mrs Louisa Prince and Miss Anne Smith.
Mr. J D Smith provided the veranda of his house which was used as makeshift classrooms and on rainy days, his living room was used as a classroom. The first fifteen pupils spread over the grade 1 (or sub-standard A as it is now known) to standard 3 classes. The teachers were responsible for the tuition of the pupils and the Education Department was responsible for setting the end-of-the-year examination as well as the marking of the examination scripts where after progress reports were issued.
The strain on the school necessitated Mrs Louisa Prince and Mrs Strachan to approach the Education Department to assist them with two additional qualified teachers. The authorities agreed to this request and to more teachers were appointed, Mr Pitt and Mrs Irene Pop. By this time the school enrolment exceeded forty pupils.
The school was growing and teachers were experiencing accommodation problems for new learners . However, a generous Mr. Wade, one of the parents, allocated a “shop-cum-school” with an adjacent tent to accommodate the overflow of scholars. The Ebenezer Church in Fourth Avenue as well as the Apolistic Faith Church then likewise offered their buildings to be used as classrooms.
By then, two additional teachers, Mr George Fredericks and Mr Moonsamy, joined the teaching staff and in 1948 Mr John M Diedricks became the school’s first official principal.
The classrooms were all scattered in the Mid-Ennerdale area, faced with more academic difficulties. Mrs Louisa Prince made representations to the Education Department to build a school in the area. The school , consisting of asbestos structures up to now form part of the buildings of Mid-Ennerdale primary school built in 1958.
From its humble beginnings when Miss Anne Smith and Mrs. Louise Prince acted as its first teacher, on the Smith’s plot in Third Avenue, up to the stern guidance of Mr. Diedericks, through to its higher grades, The Mid-Ennerdale learning centre has undoubtedly surpassed all expectations.