Learners, educators and alumni are paying tribute to Mr Peter Meyer, the former principal of Harold Cressy high school, who passed away on Saturday. Mr Meyer served as principal from 1990-1996 before his retirement. He also played an important role in the school’s contribution to the liberation struggle. He served on the Harold Cressy Bursary Fund for many years post retirement.
“His dedication and commitment to education and the welfare of learners at this iconic school exceeded 50 years,” the Harold Cressy Alumni Association said on its Facebook page.
As a teenager, Meyer attended Cressy during the years when Mr Edgar Maurice served as the school’s principal. After graduation from UCT and a year experience at Sinton High school, Mr Edgar Maurice hired both Peter and his brother Stan Meyer to teach at Cressy.
Former student, Hashim Nacerodien, a member of the Harold Cressy Alumni Association, described Meyer as a “true gentleman”. Nacerodien was a learner in Meyer’s matric maths class in 1972.
“I remember all those times that his little index finger would be pointed at us when we did something wrong,” he recalled fondly.
“Mr Meyer was ill for a while and we have missed him at many of our meetings. Many people don’t know that he has been very active in our bursary fund committee and the alumni committee.”
Nacerodien said Meyer was part of a group of teachers in the 1980’s who was suspended without pay for protesting against the injustices of apartheid.
“The teachers who worked and were paid shared their salaries with those who were part of the boycott. He was one of the active teachers.”
He added: “He was known as one of the ‘Magnificant 6’. These were some of the best teachers Cressy had, such as Mr Frdericks, Mr Ritchie, Mr Williams, Mr Adrian and Mrs Keys.”
On Facebook, former ‘Cressyites’ penned their thoughts on their beloved teacher. Many described him as “a true legend”.
“Rest in peace Peter Meyer, dedicated Maths teacher at Harold Cressy who could free – hand a perfect circle on a chalk board. Sincerest condolences to the Meyer family,” wrote Shafika Isaacs.
“He made it a point to learn and remember every kid’s name in the school. Gave of his personal time to convert our first lecture on Thursday morning into a double feature. They do not make that like that anymore!” said Ebrahim Jakoet.
“I will never forget this gem: ‘If you cannot say it in words then you know you do not understand it completely.’ And then he would make you say pythagoras out loud.”
“Maths was the subject I hated the most, but because of him I at least came to understand the concepts. I well remember those Saturday morning class. My deepest condolences to his family,” wrote Helen Carolissen.
Ghairo Daniels said: “RIP Mr Meyer, truly a gifted Master teacher (and loving disciplinarian) Cressyites during his tenure were so blessed with remarkable teachers of which Mr Meyer and his brother were a part. Heartfelt gratitude and condolences to his family and close friends.”
Terence Parker wrote “When one reflects on the many people who benefited from his excellent maths teaching to follow careers that have made a difference in the world, he will rest in peace! We salute you. Peter Meyer.”
“Mr Meyer remember those awesome chess matches. Rest in peace,” added Ganief Hendricks.
Other former students recollected their personal experiences with the astute maths teacher.
“I used to hate it when he ‘picked on me to stand and answer a question and he obviously knew I had no clue about the answer! I will always remember Mr Meyer’s last sentence in my autograph book…’ And remember Karen, Maths is not such a monster after all’. Sweet!” recalled Karen Kleyn.
“I will always remember his pose with a chalk being tossed in his hand ! A great Maths teacher RIP Mr Meyer,” said Andre du Sart.
“Thank you Mr Meyer for my maths and geography. Kiewiet and I had close shaves with you. But, you were the greatest (no irony intended). Your visit to Windhoek in 1995 I will always cherish as I cherish the privilege to have been at my true Alma Mater with You, Richie, Adriaans, and other greats as my teachers. I thank you most as a collective of the political values you have inculcated by the way you served us and conducted yourselves. Go well! Ata !hoe! (Nama) Vaarwel my teacher,” wrote Hewat Beukes.
The alumni association has been instrumental behind the establishment of the school’s multi-purpose hall, which pending approval from the city council, may be used for a memorial service for the late educator. A memorial plaque in Meyer’s honour will be soon be placed on the school’s Wall of Honour. VOC