The rugby squad has now been in Australia for four days and it has been quite a trip so far. The boys landed in Sydney and after a two-hour bus ride arrived on the Central Coast. After a quick lunch, the team hit the paddock for their first training session. While seeing the sun was a joyous occasion for the water-logged and snow-weary Vancouverites, the boys were not so keen about the temperature being ninety degrees.
The House System at the Morven Campus is comprised of six houses that compete in inter-house competitions across each of the Four Strands (Academics, Athletics, Arts and Service). Each house is co-ed and comprised of students and faculty, led by a Head of House (faculty) and two elected Grade 12 House Captains.
The competitions foster school spirit, solidify a sense of belonging and create meaningful relationships to enrich a student’s experience at Collingwood. The house with the most aggregate points at the end of the school year is awarded the prestigious Wright Cup.
Byrd House – named after the First Chair of Parents’ Council
Liz and Ed Byrd were founding parents. Ed sat on the founding Board of Governors and Liz was the founding chair of Parents’ Council and subsequently went on to sit on the Board of Governors for eight years. Liz spearheaded many of Collingwood’s early fundraising efforts, including the original dinner that led to the formation of Parents’ Council, and was an active volunteer for many years. Liz and Ed’s daughter, Sarah, was Head Girl in 1995 and sat on the Alumni Association Executive Committee following her graduation.
Geer House – named after the First President of the Founding Board of Governors
A founding parent, Nick Geer was the first President of the founding Board of Governors and chaired the meetings of the Board. He has been described as a “trailblazer,” “a desperately-needed leader,” and “the bulldozer who would push Collingwood School into business.” Subsequent to his many years on the early Board of Governors, Nick returned to Collingwood to sit on, and then chair, the Collingwood School Foundation. He later returned to the Board of Governors for the second time and served until 2011. Penny Geer sat on the founding Parents’ Council and was an active volunteer for many years.
Groos House – named after the First Founder
Laura Groos, the “First Founder” of Collingwood School, was the driving force behind the idea of starting an independent school in West Vancouver. She was also responsible for recruiting David Mackenzie, the school’s first headmaster, and for naming Collingwood School. Laura was actively involved in supporting the school for many years while her two children attended Collingwood and remains a staunch supporter of the School.
Houssian House – named after the school’s “First Couple”
Joe and Joanna Houssian were founding parents and is regarded as Collingwood School’s “First Couple.” Joe served on the founding Board of Governors for three terms, guiding Collingwood through troubled waters from the initial school board turf wars to the rezoning and rebuilding tussles with West Vancouver Council. Joanne was a member of the founding Parents’ Council and later sat on the Board of Governors and the Foundation Board. Joe and Joanna were involved in fundraising efforts, both as volunteers and major donors, for much of the school’s history.
Mackenzie House – named after the First Headmaster of Collingwood School
David Mackenzie re-opened Brentwood College in 1961 and ran it until 1976 when medical issues forced him to retire. After losing his first wife to cancer, embarking on international travels and re-marrying, he was contacted by Laura Groos in 1983 about starting Collingwood School and he worked tirelessly to help the founding parents form the School. His reputation, experience and unwavering commitment to launching Collingwood were critical elements in the school’s successful beginning. He was Collingwood’s first Headmaster and saw the school through its first few years, retiring in 1987.
Senft House – named after the first chair of the Collingwood School Foundation
From the time the Senft family joined Collingwood in 1985, Jeannie and Rod Senft were involved in guiding and supporting the School. They were both members of the Board of Governors for years and were very generous donors and volunteers. Jeannie Senft was the driving force behind the creation of the Collingwood School Foundation and was its first Chair. Their two sons, Riley and Derek, were both Head Boys. Long after their three children left Collingwood, the family continues to support the School in many ways.
Heads of House