The CROSS – St Francis College, though not a Catholic School, was named with the Prayer of St Francis of Assisi in mind: ‘Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace’.
The DOVE – The dove is a symbol of peace. When St Francis College was established in 1989, the atmosphere in the townships was one of violence and we wanted to establish a safe place for children to learn in.
The BOOK – This book symbolises learning. We wanted meaningful learning to take place for all children.
This school was established in 1989 by a number of parents led by Mrs Dian Cockcroft. Their reason for opening such an institution was to create a safe and and caring environment in which meaningful learning could take place for learners.
If you cast your mind back to 1989, you will remember that in South Africa black children could not attend any school of their choice and you will also remember that violence at schools in the townships was rife. Mrs Cockroft had been involved in teaching black adults since 1975 and experienced the struggle of 1976 and was therefore familiar with the problems faced by many township schools.
Not only was St Francis established to provide quality education for children, but also to provide a peaceful, safe environment in which meaningful learning could take place.
For 15 years the school operated from a derelict building behind the Benoni Railway Station. After many years of struggling under extremely difficult conditions, they were fortunate enough to move to a wonderful building in Park Street, Benoni, (the old Hillel School) in 2003.
St Francis College is not a Catholic School despite the intimation of the name. However, the school is based on Christian principles with respect for all other religions. The name was chosen because of the opening words of the Prayer of St Francis of Assisi: 'Make me a channel of Your peace...' (which is now the school song).