Eunice History

Originally named the Oranje Vrij Staat Dames Instituut, the school was founded in 1875 on the initiative of the Dutch Reformed Church. Steeped in the history and spirit of the old Free State Republic, the school has a long tradition of excellence. It is one of South Africa’s best known girls’ boarding schools.

The name Eunice is a biblical reference to the mother of Timothy in the New Testament. It is a Greek word meaning “happy victory”. For over a hundred years Eunice was situated in the centre of Bloemfontein, alongside some of the city’s oldest and most famous buildings. Today it boasts a modern school in spacious surroundings bordering on the equally well-known Grey College and the University of the Free State. Eunice was awarded the National Education Excellence Award for the Top Performing Public School in 2015.

Eunice’s Mission

Eunice’s vision is to be a first rate, world-class high school which proudly affirms its longstanding standards, values and tradition and which is committed to academic excellence, quality teaching, social responsibility and multiple opportunities for all-round development.

Eunice School Song

Though all around has changed
since her cornerstone was laid
The spirit of Eunice
has never been dismayed

The future will not fright her,
she fears nor change nor strife
For she dwells beside the waters
of wisdom and of life

Eunice, Eunice, no other school so dear
Oh may she grow and prosper from year to changing year

For with her honour trusted
her children will go forth,
To meet life’s grand adventure

And With the torch she gave them
They light the darkest way
While the love that knits them to her
GROWS deeper day by day.

Eunice, Eunice, no other school so dear
Oh may she grow and prosper from year to changing year

Founding Ideals 1875

Ps 144 v 12 – “That our daughters may be like cornerstones, polished after the similitude of a palace”
“Vincit qui se vincit”

Let’s Celebrate the Eunice Ethos

Over the last 38 years Eunice has strived to give its new campus alongside Grey College the character of a school which has served many generations since 1875. It wasn’t an easy move from town, especially for old girls, but so many Eunice stalwarts have worked hard to develop our buildings and grounds into a quality school complex which adds much needed style, character and refinement to Jock Meiring Street!

But, in a modern world, it is not just grounds, facilities and technology that need to constantly be upgraded, but much more critically, it has been Eunice’s ethos, its traditions and its spirit which has grown with age in a world class school which reflects both a new century and a new democratic South Africa.

What is the Eunice ethos?

  • Firstly, it’s one of EXCELLENCE. You witness it in our record, in our experience and expertise and in our commitment and our willingness to go the extra mile.
  • It’s one of EXPECTATION. You feel it on your first day at Board Medal Assembly.
  • It’s one of CAN‐DO FEMININITY. We’re girls. We can do and can be anything we want to be.
  • It’s one of OPPORTUNITY. That’s Eunice’s hallmark. A busy school with a full programme. Full of opportunities.
  • It is one of INNOVATION. You see it in our approach to theatre, to the Christmas Market and to Hostel fundraising.
  • It’s one of INDIVIDUALITY. You hear it in how our girls describe their Eunice experience.
  • It’s one of JOY. You can feel the schools’ personality in the way our girls love to give colour and character and fun to a school day.
  • It’s one of QUESTIONING. It’s how we teach and how we encourage a critical attitude and how we expose our girls to speakers of all persuasions.
  • It’s one of SERVICE. You cannot deny the schools’ inclusive emphasis on reaching out in sincerity and generosity.
  • It’s one of STYLE. You cannot but notice the style Eunice gives to occasions throughout its calendar.
  • It’s our CAMARADERIE. You see it not only in the making of lifelong friends, as is the case in most schools, but in the way our girls support each other in the real business of classroom learning.
  • It’s one of RESPECT. You see it in 60 seconds flat in any visit to Eunice House.
  • It’s one of DIVERSITY. Eunice has always strived to find common ground and to promote understanding in times past between English and Afrikaans girls and in times present between all South Africans in our rainbow society.

We see it in these pages. Every smile has a story. We have something special. Let’s celebrate it.











Kopje to Quad

The kopje at the old school is firmly etched in the memory of all our ‘older’ old girls. A feature of the kopje was the statue of Miss ELM King, Eunice headmistress (1913 -1924), who was the author of the school song.

There, on the kopje, she saw the boys catching a quick visit. Today she enjoys a central position in the fountain of our new quad. Here she listens to our girls’ animated conversations, inner thoughts and wishes.

The statue is symbolic of the verse in the school song (written by Miss King) “She dwells besides the waters of wisdom and of life.”

Any ‘older’ old girl visiting the school will feel proud that Eunice’s spirit and tradition have certainly survived the move to the new school.

The wings which make up the hostel – Eunice House – are known as Lower House, Eirene, Retiz, Upper House, Mimosa and Kopje. The school’s road and walkway system boasts King Crescent, Posthumus Drive, Sandal Walk and Meiring Avenue.

The School that Captures Uniqueness

Eunice High School’s long standing tradition of excellence is the result of our unique staff, learners and parents collectively supporting, upholding and contributing to the myriad of activities and opportunities offered at our multi-faceted school.

“Happiness is not pleasure – it is victory” – Zig Ziglar. We are committed to the realisation of every learner’s potential – be it in the classroom, on the sports fields or on the stage – as it ensures that Eunice, true to her name, is the place of “happy victory” for her proud learners.

Not only is it a privilege for me to be at the helm of such all-round “happy victory”, it is also an honour to lead a school that is synonymous with high expectations, multi-talented diversity and all-round excellence. Eunice’s victories are truly anchored in the echo of our founding ideals: “That our daughters may be like cornerstones, polished after the similitude of a palace”. This is the echo that is a resounding reminder of past achievements and offers a glimpse of what the future holds.

Eunice is and will always be the school where learners have faith in the possibilities of the future. It is here that they experience their greatest teenage victories – where they conquer the world through conquering themselves.

Many Accomplished Leaders in Hot Seat

New headmistress, Zinnette de Wet, is the fourth Eunice principal since 1942. She began her leadership of that privileged hot seat in February. A champion of girls’ schools education, De Wet was formerly deputy-head at Potchefstroom High School for Girls where in earlier days Eunice old girl, Moira Thatcher, was headmistress.

Eunice was founded in 1875 by the Dutch Reformed Church in response to the establishment just months earlier of the Anglican St Michael’s School and the Catholic Greenhill Convent. Not generally known is that Elizabeth Laird, Eunice’s first principal, brought out from Scotland, resigned to marry the director of Education, Dr John Brebner. So she was Mrs Brebner and when she died, he married the third Eunice principal, Miss Van Pommeren.

Perhaps the best known headmistress is Miss E.L.M. King, who made a name for herself as an artist, poet and a great educationalist. She guided the school through its major crises: the fire which gutted Eunice House, the First World War, and the Spanish flu epidemic. King wrote the school song, No other school so dear, which is still sung today, and her sister, the artist Bertha Everard, designed the school banner.

Many ‘older’ old girls will remember Adele de Jager (née Murray), a Rhodes graduate who came to Eunice from the Central High School in Bloemfontein in 1942 and stayed until 1968, despite failing health. She developed the school’s facilities and numbers and was vehemently opposed to the enforcement of mother tongue instruction in the senior schools in the late 1940’s which changed “the very nature and soul” of Eunice.

She also introduced the prefects’ induction ceremony which remains unchanged to this day. Old girls in their late forties and fifties had their schooldays dominated by the legendary Miss Vos, a brilliant history teacher, parttime John Orr’s model and friend to many a girl with one recordmark too many. Besides that deep voice and that sense of fun, Miss Vos will be remembered for pioneering and moving Eunice to its “new” position alongside Grey College.

For almost three decades, Paul Cassar, first “gentleman headmistress” and longest serving Eunice head, guided the school into its very successful modern era as the Free State’s top school and a national competitor in many varied fields.

Old Schools have Close Ties

Eunice has close ties with Bloemfontein’s other top schools. Eunice and Grey shared the same governing body for many years. Grey boys struggled to pronounce “Eunice”. They called it “You Nice Girls!”

Jock Meiring was principal of Grey while his sister, Minnie, was headmistress of Eunice, both children of Maria Meiring, principal of Eunice from 1881-1885. Gwen Storey was the first principal of Eunice Primary while her brother Oubaas Storey, was headmaster of St. Andrew’s. Gladys Steyn, daughter of Pres. Steyn, was a Eunice girl who went on to become principal of Oranje, as Gwen Gallow later became head of St Michael’s. The Eunice infant school – an early addition of the Ladies Institute – was the beginnings of the President Brand Primary School.

In Grey’s 150th celebratory coffee table book, Mr Paul Cassar writes: “It was the principal of Grey, Rev. Gustav Radloff, who in 1872 took the lead in the establishment of a girls’ school in Bloemfontein. The public meeting called to found the Oranje Vrij Staat Dames Instituut ‘Eunice’ was held in the Grey College building. In 1876 Dr Brill the principal of Grey conducted examinations at the Dames Instituut. So Eunice was not only ‘fathered’ by Grey’s principal but also born at Grey. A noble birth.”

It’s a Eunice tradition to invite old girls to address the school. Their willingness to return and to share, their obvious connection to current girls and their unique experience of life after school offer so much richness and inspiration. Among them recently were:

  • Margaret Wessels (now Nienaber) Matric 1991, CEO of Standard Bank Private Bank, and past president of the Insurance Institute of SA always makes a great impact.
  • Kate Roberts, Matric 2000, is recently retired as a competitive triathlete after winning silver at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and representing her country at the Olympics.
  • Motselisi Molapo, Matric 1994, is Senior Manager at Anglo Gold Ashanti.
  • Jolynn Minnaar, Matric 2006, who has been acknowledged worldwide for her work using film and camera to tell stories that matter. Her film ‘Unearthed’, challenges the assertion that hydraulic fracking is a safe, time tested technology. And questions whether shale gas in her home region – the Karoo – is the solution for our energy hungry world.
  • Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio ( matric 2003), SA’s current Sportswoman of the Year who has followed up her road cycling bronze at the Commonwealth Games with a string of victories. Ashleigh trained as a chemical engineer at Stellenbosch University.
  • Lara Grobler (Matric 2003), Eunice headgirl, Anglo American bursary holder, SA U18 hockey captain and CA making her mark in corporate finance at Investec.