Begun as a project to mark the first 100 years of the school, the centennial gates still stand sentinel to the school's main entry. The gates, paid for with funds left from the centennial celebrations, carry the school's crest created by Headmaster Bill Leith. The gates were begun in 1966 and officially opened in October of that year. Walls embedded with local river stones stand either side of the gates, which are now almost fifty years old.
The School Crest
Headmaster Bill Leith drew up the school crest for the 1964 centennial. He aimed to encapsulate something of the history of Fernside and the essence of the district.
The Fern was used as a basic motif. The pouaki - a rock drawing of the Maori bird of prey - represented Maori involvement in the first settlement of Canterbury. The two rams in the chevron marked Torlesse's Fernside run and Chapman's Springbank, the first two runs in Canterbury. The sheaf of wheat flagged the role of cropping and its part in the economic recovery of the 1960s and the diversity of the farming was reflected in the green and blue colours.
The school bell dates back to 1899 and is now part of the leaving ceremony for each Year 8 pupil who marches out of Fernside School and into the world.
The school has certainly had its money worth from the 6 pound 16 shillings spent by the Canterbury Education Board for a bellicose and flagpole in July 1899. A new bell was hung for the centennial after the original bell was removed during WWII and today still hangs below the flag in the playground. Today each school leaver rings the bell on their last day of school, and in recent years classes have signed each other's school polo shirt.