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߲Ƶ Traditions

߲Ƶ Traditions

The land on which ߲Ƶ’s College now stands was once a pioneer cattle farm before Humphrey Firkins, with his wife Goda, fell in love with the 60-hectare Coomera River waterfront property. Mr Firkins was so taken by the vista of the wildflower covered landscape, including gladioli and tulips, that he named the farmhouse they built ‘Flowerbank’. The farmhouse was located on top of the hill about 1.5km from Reserve Road. Mr & Mrs Firkins saw Flowerbank as an idyllic retirement escape and an opportunity for Mr Firkins to fulfil his long-held ambition of creating a deer farm. Where hundreds of children now run around and play, there was once 400 head of deer roaming the property. The lagoon, which is now a spectacular College feature, was dug out by Mr Firkins himself from the land’s swampy sections. Mr Firkins was in the process of signing a contract with a Sydney-bred Property Developer Bob Ell (Leda Construction) who wanted to build a residential estate when he heard there was interest from former Gold Coast Mayor Lex Bell, local developer and identity Lester Hughes and Anglican Catholic Bishop Albert Haley in buying and using some of the land for a school. Mr Ell allowed the founding College to use the Flowerbank Estate buildings, including a second house built for Mr Firkins’ daughter’s family, until the new campus could be developed.

Foundation Headmaster Brian Rowe was Head of Somerset College; Junior School when he successfully applied for the newly created ߲Ƶ’s College position. Mr Rowe said “The College would not have been able to start in 1996 without the generosity of Leda Developments. Today, we pay respect to Leda Developments by naming a building after them.
Headmaster Brian Rowe and his staff had to be creative and show true pioneering spirit in turning the farmhouse and other buildings, including a demountable classroom, into a functioning school.
The Goda Foundation Chairman Humphrey Firkins enjoyed seeing their quiet family home come alive in the transformation. “We found it amusing to walk in and see someone conducting a class in what used to be our bedroom” he said. Foundation student and now Lead Educator, Sam Cleary, remembers his Year 7 class being conducted in the former double garage. He remembers children sitting on carpet squares in the garage for assemblies.

First Year 1 Classroom on the right, 1995

“Windows had been installed but you still couldn’t hide the fact it was a double garage,”Mr Cleary said. “The bathroom became the art room because it had a sink, and you could wash your hands. The basement was Humphrey’s wine cellar, but we used it to store chairs and desks”.
The original Flowerbank was a 120 square metre house with four bedrooms and a large entertainment area. Humprey and his wife Goda were drawn to San Diego, and to the wonderful buildings created by a priest, Juniper Sera, who was responsible for the Spanish mission style of Southern California and New Mexico.
Over the years construction work took place with thanks to Mr Firkins who paid the $100,000 cost to move Flowerbank to a new site on the College grounds. The house was slowly dismantled and moved in sections to be reconstructed to form part of the Goda Firkins Auditorium on the new campus.  Mr Firkins also paid for the buildings to be air-conditioned.
Over the first decade (1996-2005) the College experienced difficult times but with the College community rallied strongly and the College became financially stable. The strong vision for ߲Ƶ’s College prevailed and resulted in the wonderful community we have today.

߲Ƶ’s Day Tradition

The true Feast of ߲Ƶ’s is on 26 December, Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) The well-known Christmas Carol ‘Good King Wenceslas’ refers to the king looking out on the Feast of ߲Ƶ “when the snow lay round that”. However, whilst celebrating on 26 December, and in no way meaning to remove the significance of the Feast of Stephen, we as a College celebrate ߲Ƶ’s Day in September each year. This allows the College to celebrate whilst school is ‘in session’ and not ‘on holidays’ which allows us the opportunity to reflect on our origins and special traditions. It was 18 September 1995 when the front double doors of the Firkins residence on the property ‘Flowerbank’ were opened for the first time as ߲Ƶ’s College.
The first employee of the College was Cathy Modini. Cathy began employment on Monday 18 September 1995 and whilst Foundation Headmaster, Mr Brian Rowe was present from 18 September, he did not officially begin his employment until Monday 25 September 1995. The job that confronted Mrs Modini and Mr Rowe was immense. No furniture, electricity, telephones, computers, stationery, classrooms and in fact no teachers with the school when it originally opened on 1 February 1996, just four months later. History shows that on 1 February 1996, ߲Ƶ’s College did begin as planned with a small but emotive ‘Blessing and Dedication Ceremony’. It attracted 166 students from Preschool to Year 7 for its foundation year. This was an outstanding (and encouraging) initial enrolment and the College had only opened its doors 138 days prior. Some schools call this day ‘Foundation Day’ others ‘Founders Day’. For the ߲Ƶ’s College community, we naturally celebrate our origins each September and warmly embrace the day as ߲Ƶ’s Day. Each year on ߲Ƶ’s Day, we announce the recipients of Sedes Honoris – Seat of Honour.

߲Ƶ’s Day – Dash for Wings Tradition

߲Ƶ’s College has established an exciting tradition called the ‘Dash for Wings’ which is held on ߲Ƶ’s Day each September. The ‘Dash’ is performed by a male and female representative from each of the four houses in a timed, match-race format. The course is approximately 300m and encompasses parts of the manicured quadrangle.
Enormous support abounds from the vocal student body as cheers rise up from the verandas in an amphitheatre – style seating, which lends to the exciting spirit generated by all involved. It is a favourite on the events’ calendar for students as they watch peers dash around obstacles to secure the impressive ‘Wings Trophy’. The ‘Dash for Wings’ will be a highlight in the College calendar each year and remembered fondly by Old Scholars as they reflect on their time at the College.

Sedés Honoris – Seat of Honour Tradition

Located in the Main Administration Building Foyer. The honour of having their name on the “Sedés Honoris” Seat of Honour is awarded to the student who best epitomises the spirit and soul of ߲Ƶ’s College. The student demonstrates strength of character and upholds the College values of Perseverance, Responsibility, Integrity, Diversity & Empathy otherwise known as PRIDE.
In addition, the recipient of this award is a student who is committed to, and an active participant in College life, whether it be on the sporting field, in the classroom, on the stage or in the community (or a combination of one or more). It is a person who makes their peers sit up and take notice of them, someone who is admired by all. Sedés Honoris is a highly prestigious award acknowledging an outstanding young person and is awarded on ߲Ƶ’s Day in September each year. It is a day of celebrating the College’s unique culture and identity. The recipient will have their name placed on a small shield on the chair which was chain-sawed from the trunk of a Queensland Blue Gum from the Reserve Road original site. The chair was created by a Foundation parent, Mr Bob Collins for the Inaugural Spring Carnival, September 1996.