The arrival of two new pupils would not normally change the course of history. That is exactly what happened when Dr Bisset Berry arrived at the local Government school in Queenstown and demanded to enroll his daughter, Gwendoline Berry and her friend, Wilhelmina Browne.
“But this is a boys’ school. How can I admit them?” asked the highly respected principal, Mr Frederick Beswick. “I wish my girls to get the very best education possible,” said Dr Berry.
The girls were admitted. The date was August 2, 1875 – a date now celebrated as the anniversary of the founding of Queenstown Girls’ High School. In 1898 the girls and boys were separated. Miss Agnes Burt was appointed headmistress of the new girls’ school. She gave the school its motto; Veritas et Virtus. Zealous and strict, she won the admiration and affection of her girls. She even made a name for herself as a skillful centre striker. (When hockey was introduced in 1900). Her staff regarded her with awe as she appeared very stern.
There was great excitement when the school moved to its beautiful new premises in Frost Street in 1918. The school building has subsequently been extended, but the original character has been retained and the building is now surrounded by two girls’ hostels and spacious sports facilities which make up a convenient and beautiful campus.
In January 1991, formerly “Whites Only” schools were given the choice of enrolling pupils from other racial groups. Girls’ High seized the opportunity and became one of the pioneers of multiracial schooling. Today the learners of Queenstown Girls’ High School still benefit from “the very best education possible“. The high ideals spoused by the school are expressed in its Statement of Commitment.