The cruse of oil, the lamp of knowledge, represents the intellectual side of school life, while cultural and sporting activities are symbolised by a ship, representing the first four ships of Canterbury, from which arose the names of the original four houses, Cressy, Charlotte Jane, Randolph and Seymour. This lymphad brings to mind the happy associations of co-operative effort and team, rather than individual, achievement, and the association with the first four ships has the accompanying thought of our part in the educative life of our city... and reminds us we have a responsibility in the future development of our province. The fourth section is devoted to three Bars Wavy, referring not only to the river Avon, our near companion, but also to our beautiful grounds with their many trees and green playing fields.
Motto - Summa Sequere
The motto, 'Summa Sequere' translated as 'Aim at the highest - seek to attain the best`, embodies the fundamental aim of our school life - to show all who pass through the school that the greatest satisfaction can be gained, not by seeking hollow pleasure, but by devoting ourselves wholeheartedly to whatever we undertake, and by appreciating what is deepest and most worthwhile. May 'Summa Sequere' not only inspire pupils while they are at school, but may it influence their thoughts and their steps long after school days are over." These sentiments seem a little strange to the modern reader, but they were deeply held by the school community at the time. Abridged from the 1949 School Magazine, via "School By The River" the 75th Jubilee book.
In 1918 the Board of Governors of Christchurch Girls' High School bought three and a half acres of land at Avonside. In the cottage on that site, two classes of forty students began their schooling in January 1919.
Girls studied on the Avonside site for their first two years of high school and then went to the Armagh Street site.
In December 1927, Avonside Girls' High School became a separate high school.
The first Lady Principal was Miss K.M. Gresson MA. She was an experienced teacher of French and had studied at the Sorbonne.
In 1928 there were 93 girls and 1930 saw the first Sixth form class.
A number of students gained University Scholarships in those early days. These successes marked the beginning of the school's fine academic tradition.
A tradition of sporting excellence began early too. Tennis, swimming,life-saving, cricket and tramping were popular sports from the beginning.
Avonside today is an innovative, modern school within a traditional framework.
Our history provides a sound foundation for an exciting future