Cornwall Hill College principal Keith Viljoen, prep school principal Maurice Dicks, pre-school principal Carla Greenland and executive principal Leon Kunneke during assembly at which the school’s clubhouse was named after the Bolus family. Pictures: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)
NEARLY two decades ago, the Bolus family was involved in a horrific car accident which killed all but one member, who was in pre-school at the time.

The September 2000 accident claimed the lives of father Gerrard, mom Janine, brother Joshua and sister Tatum. The only survivor was Hannah Bolus.

The Bolus family was one of the first to enrol children at Cornwall Hill College in 1998.

And, in honour and celebration of two decades since its establishment, Cornwall Hill College paid a special tribute to the family by naming its clubhouse after them.

Hannah was part of the celebrations at the school and looked visibly touched by the school’s gesture towards her family.

Executive principal Leon Kunneke described the Bolus family tragedy as a huge loss for the community and school. He said the family were deeply invested in the school. “They were one of those families that wherever they went they brought light, love, and smiles. The father was one of the first board members of the school council and board of directors.”

The family already have a sports field named after them at the school. Hannah officially opened the new clubhouse in honour of her family.

After the sentimental start to the day, the mood was turned up a notch with live performances. The senior orchestra and pipe band kicked things off with a spectacular musical piece, followed by a musical item from the pre-schoolers at the school, which put a smile on everyone’s face. But what really got the packed assembly grooving was the senior marimba band with their rendition of the song Wild Thoughts by Rihanna.

The school's history goes back years. During the 1898 South African war, the Duke of Cornwall’s Prince of Wales Regiment built a fort on the highest hill south of Pretoria on a farm owned by the Van der Byl family.

Over the years, the hill became known as Cornwall Hill; in the mid-1990s the hill and surroundings were turned into a luxury housing estate named Cornwall Hill Estate. The Van der Byl family donated some of the land for the building of a new private school, Cornwall Hill College.

To maintain the connection with the past, the founders of the school decided to use symbols associated with the duke and his regiment. The bugle on the crest represents the infantry bugle; the college coronet represents that of the duke and the college tartan is his hunting tartan.

The motto "singuli omnes” is Latin for “one and all” and is the motto of the duke and his regiment.

Building operations commenced during 1997 and in January 1998 the doors opened to some 380 pupils, ranging from Grade 0 to 9. The current enrolment is in excess of 1700 pupils spread from Grade 000 to 12.

Despite having only been in operation for two decades, Cornwall Hill College has three interesting historical ties with events dating back to the late 19th and early and mid-20th centuries. The first two events are directly associated with Cornwall in England, while the third situation ties in with local history.