Jancine (Jan) Bridges (nee Goodwin), as the first teacher of Covenant Christian School at Belrose, holds a special place in the life of the School. Jan passed away on November 20th 2008 from breast cancer.
Earlier this year as part of Covenant’s 30th birthday celebration Jan took the opportunity to visit several senior school classes to share with them some of her memories. In 1978 as a 24 year old Jan Goodwin was interviewed as a candidate for a new Christian school starting in the Northern Beaches. The interview lasted all day! After that marathon Jan thought the job of foundation teacher would be too hard, but as the days went by she increasingly felt God's call to Covenant. Jan accepted the role and went on to serve for nine years as a teacher at the school.
Jan shared stories with the students of the early days highlighting just how far the school has come. On the first day in a rented church hall at Terrey Hills there was one class of 19 students. They ranged from Kindergarten to Year 5 but they had no desks or chairs. Along came a truck with kitchen tables on the back. When Jan informed the parent delivering them the tables and chairs were too big for some of the smaller children they found a solution. The legs of each table and chair were sawn off to a suitable height for each child.
When the school moved to its present site on Forest Way Belrose children wore gum boots and caught yabbies in the creek. Teachers were also asked to learn to drive the school bus. This bus had a top speed of 50km per hour and no power steering. When Jan was being taught to drive she managed to wipe out some fences at the school and was quite happy when she was no longer asked to drive!
Some current students also shared their memories of how the school has changed just in the time they have been here. Jan prayed for the students and encouraged them to listen for God's calling in their lives through reading the Bible and prayer.
Jan was passionate about Christian schooling and a valued member of the School Association. She was excited by the wonderful things happening at Covenant and its growth to over 750 students. In September she attended a Fundraising Dinner where the School Tour on DVD was launched. When the plans for the new Kindergarten to Year 2 Buildings were unveiled she stood and urged the 130 attendees to support the school in the complete Kindy to Year 12 vision. She was always ready to offer both encouragement and advice on how to improve the school she so loved. She encouraged staff and students to be faithful in their ”Covie Calling”.
In 1979 Jan celebrated the school’s first birthday with cupcakes for each student. Thirty years later Hospitality students used the school’s commercial quality kitchen to prepare 1,000 cupcakes in a continuation of the tradition she had started.
Jan lived in North Balgowlah. She is survived by her husband Trevor and her daughter Sonia who currently attends Covenant Christian School.
November 8th 1954 – November 20th 2008
Covenant Christian School's First Teacher 1978 - 1987
A memorial thanksgiving service for Covenant's first teacher - Jancine Bridges (nee Goodwin) was held on:
Date: Tuesday 25th November at Frenchs Forest Baptist Church, 617-619 Warringah Rd, Frenchs Forest Sydney.