While students around Perth returned to school for yet another year on February 3, two new Catholic schools opened for the first time.
St Elizabeth’s Catholic Primary School in Hocking and Mother Teresa Catholic School in Baldivis commenced classes for the first time, with many happy children taking the first steps of their schooling life there.
St Elizabeth’s began kindergarten classes with 15 students, although delays in the construction of the school site meant the first classes were held at St Luke’s Catholic Primary School in Woodvale.
Foundation principal Carmel O’Shaughnessy told The Record she expects the school site will be ready for use in second semester this year.
The need to relocate a flock of Carnaby Black Cockatoos which used the school site as a nesting place, as well as heavy rainfall, caused the delay in construction of the new school.
Ms O’Shaughnessy, who was principal of Sacred Heart College until July last year, said it had been a hectic few months setting up the new school.
“It’s been extremely challenging and a huge learning curve to say the least,” she said.
“The challenge is to keep a level head and not get bogged down in the little things… and not get despondent when you feel like you’re going around in circles and to keep optimistic.
“Given that we’re starting off site at St Luke’s, it’s still exciting knowing that we are a foundation staff, I’m a foundation principal and we’ve got 15 kindy students starting at a brand new school under the banner of St Elizabeth.”
Although there are already two other Catholic primary schools in the Wanneroo area, Ms O’Shaughnessy said the area’s Catholic population was growing.
“Both those Catholic schools have got waiting lists so there’s a big demand for another Catholic school,” she said. “I think there are a lot of Catholics in the surrounding Department of Education schools and I feel pretty sure that we’ll pick them up.”
On completion, the school will cater for children from pre-kindergarten (three-year-olds) to Year Six.
Last year, the school’s interim board members decided its motto would be ‘Semper fidelis’, which means ‘Always faithful’.
They also decided the school’s core values would be charity, service, humility and compassion.
Ms O’Shaughnessy said the school’s website will be constantly updated during the year as construction of the new buildings progresses. The school also plans to hold an open day in August.