It was on Tuesday January 29, 1996 that St. John the Baptist Catholic school was born. The Society`s priory in the Johannesburg had already existed since 1986, at first in Randburg, then from 1992 in Roodepoort, where the town school had been purchased and converted into a church and priory. However, there were still several classrooms available. Some of the families had dreamt of a school. In fact it happened very rapidly, and was put together by Father Sebastian Wall in the period of one week, starting with one trained teacher and nine students, from first to fifth grade. The Prior, Father Gerspacher, tells of how he came back from two weeks in Cape Town to find out that his quiet priory had been transformed into a busy school, but was delighted with it. Thus was accomplished the mission contained in the Society`s statutes: “Schools, truly free and unfettered, able to bestow on youth a thoroughly Christian education, shall be fostered and, if need be, founded by the members of the Society. From these will come vocations and Christian homes” (Statutes III, 4).
St John the Baptist Catholic School is a Private School that embraces Traditional Catholic values and teachings. It is in how the students are required to dress and behave. It is in how we teach and the fact that the Mass and Religion classes are part of our weekly schedule for students. It is in how we deal with the inevitable problems that will arise and how we celebrate the joys and accomplishments that are part of any school year.
We want our children to go out into the world as strong, moral adults, who know who they are and what they stand for and have a strong Faith.
St. John the Baptist Catholic School's purpose is to form good Catholics submitted to the reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the spiritual, moral and physical spheres, who are also good citizens of South Africa. School children are expected to do their best work and through class teaching and individual guidance achieve a high academic standard. The school insists on good manners and disciplined behaviour to develop the children’s character and sense of moral duty. Parents are expected to contribute to this goal by providing a wholesome home environment.
The purpose of the uniform is to make the children look dignified and give them a sense of self respect, self-confidence and pride in the school. A uniform list is supplied for the parents. The uniform should be worn to and from school and at all school functions including School Mass. This means boys will wear their blazers until they have left school premises. Girls will likewise wear their jackets while on school premises.
Children are expected to obey those in authority and to be well-mannered and cooperative at all times. Any disciplinary action deemed necessary will aim to help the child to learn to distinguish between doing right and wrong and thus to train the child’s character. Parents are notified by letter for bad conduct affecting the school, for missing school Mass, and for other serious offences. After a warning, punishments may include suspension or expulsion. In its approach to discipline the School will conform to Catholic tradition, as expressed by Pope Pius XI, “Disorderly inclinations must be corrected, good tendencies encouraged and regulated from tender childhood, and, compulsory above all, the mind must be enlightened and the will strengthened by supernatural truth and by the means of grace, without which it is impossible to attain the full and complete perfection of education intended by the Church, which Christ has endowed so richly with divine doctrine and with the Sacraments, the efficacious means of grace”. (Divini Illius Magistri)
The pupils are taught according to age and ability. Progress is monitored regularly and written reports are sent to parents twice each year. The guidelines set by the Department of Education are followed insofar as they are helpful. The subjects taught are Religious Instruction, English, Mathematics, Afrikaans (or Zulu), History, Geography, Science, Music, Art and Physical Education.
The patron of the School is St. John the Baptist, the Precursor of the Lord, whose feast is celebrated on the 24th of June. As St. John showed others the Lamb of God, it is the aim of the School to show the Christian virtues to the children who attend and to help them to serve Our Lord in all aspects of their daily lives. The School coat of arms contains the School colours: black (the cross), white for purity and red for martyrdom. This coat of arms, which is worn in the form of a badge on the blazer or jacket, should encourage the children in a spirit of self denial and self-sacrifice. The four symbols represent the life and death of St. John viz, his food - locusts and wild honey (the locust and the bee), his martyrdom (the sword) and his mission - baptism (represented by the shell).
Priests of the Society of St. Pius X supervise the Catholic instruction of the children. Children are prepared for reception of the Sacraments and boys are taught to serve Mass. The imparting of a Catholic education is the raison d’être of the School and there are no exemptions for any child from religion class. A child whose behaviour threatens the religious atmosphere of the School will be expelled. Parents are encouraged to accompany their children to Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation. Children are required to attend the 7:15am School Mass once a week. The children are given regular opportunities to receive the sacrament of Confession. “Children,” says St. John Chrysostom, “are like a new wax slate which educators (including parents) find easy to write on. Thus it is important that the writing on this slate is true for, when they are older, the wax becomes hard and it is difficult to change what has been put there.” It is the prime objective of the School to place in the minds of the children as a first impression the doctrine of Jesus Christ and show them ways in which they can put this doctrine into practice.