James Nash students seize golden opportunity
IT IS not every day school students get to pan for gold between classes, but that is exactly what happened at James Nash State High School yesterday.
The school of 1275 students celebrated its sixth James Nash Day - an annual day designed to promote student pride and reflect on the school's historic ties to the community.
James Nash State High School takes its name from Gympie forefather James Nash; an early prospector who discovered gold in Gympie in1867, leading to the town's birth and saving Queensland from financial ruin.
James Nash principal Darrin Edwards rubbed shoulders with students yesterday during a gold panning exercise led by volunteer Shane Jocumsen.
As Mr Jocumsen imparted the tricks of the trade to the young students, the sound of pans scooping large basins filled with water was occasionally broken by the discovery of a speck of gold.
"It's real gold we bought," Mr Edwards said.
Though far too small to fund a first car or trip abroad, it was still enough to spark a glimmer of the excitement felt by James Nash 148 years ago.
"James Nash is one of two schools in Queensland named after someone," Mr Edwards said.
"The day is important for us to celebrate our principles and links to history," he said.
"We have a day of activities and some involving staff and students, so there's a lot of enthusiasm."
The enthusiasm could be heard from the school's multi-purpose shelter during an all-school parade when school captain Lachlan Humphries braved the heat and vintage garb to dress up as James Nash himself.
"I was roped into it," he said laughing waiting in the wings before making his grand entrance as master of ceremonies.
"They voted and I was it."
Meanwhile, James Nash Day also incorporated Harmony Day from the previous week and yesterday's National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence.
Students wore t-shirts proclaiming their stance against violence and bullying and asked their peers to sign declarations ensuring James Nash remained a safe environment.
Student Kirsten Moreland said there was "no room" for bullying and violence of any description at James Nash. "It's important we have a safe environment and set a standard," she said.
Another highlight of the day was former student turned teacher, Jaclyn Tompkins, speaking to the school assembly about her many memories of attending the secondary school.