Schooled at Mt Somers

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By Mick Jensen

Izaac Huggins Jessett is the fifth generation of his family to attend Mt Somers Springburn School and enjoyed his first official day on Monday.

Izaac, who was five on October 5, is following in the education footsteps of dozens of family members on the Gifkins side of his family.

His family connection to the school goes back nearly 100 years and in more recent times includes his mother Samantha Jessett, grandad Leslie Huggins and great grandmother Phyllis Huggins.

Mt Somers pioneer William Gifkins was the first to establish a family footing in the foothills settlement.

He married Harriet Hudson and their sixth child of eight, Francis, was on the Mt Somers School committee in the 1920’s.

Francis had six children at the school including the eldest Pendle.

Pendle’s daughter is Phyllis Huggins, who started at the school in the mid 1940’s.

“We only had two classrooms in my day and now there are five,” said Mrs Huggins, who has been a bus driver, caretaker and cleaner at the school.

She, like her son Leslie, who attended from the late 1960s, and grand daughter Samantha who was a pupil in the mid 1990’s, enjoyed her school years and the advantages of a country school education.

Leslie was later on the school board of trustees, as was his wife Rhonda, who has been a teacher aide at Mt Somers Springburn for the last eight years.

Izaac Huggins Jessett is the 100th pupil on the current school roll and the school is thriving.

Unlike the previous three generations, who all walked to school, Izaac lives a bit further out and enjoys a short bus ride.

On his first day, he especially enjoyed his lunch time run around in the large school playground.

The original Mt Somers School was built in 1879 on the corner of a three-acre section of land and consisted of one room.

The current site opened in 1920. Mt Somers School merged with Springburn School in 1997.