By Matthew Lau
Hammond Park Catholic Primary School has farewelled 10 pupils who exemplify the young school’s values and ethos.
The maiden batch of pupils graduated on Friday 30 November and are ready to embark on secondary school. Father Dat Vuong celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving in the school’s assembly area that afternoon.
“We are not saying goodbye, we are bestowing God’s strength upon them as they move on,” the Yangebup Parish Priest said.
Later that day, a sundowner took place on the school grounds. The final day for the Year 6 class of 2018 will be on 7 December.
Seven of the 10 graduates will join Emmanuel Catholic College, two for Atwell College, and one will attend Christian Brothers College in Fremantle.
Archbishop Costelloe SDB officially blessed the primary school on 18 November 2014.
Foundation Principal Chris Cully told The eRecord of his delight in seeing how his Hammond Park school has blossomed over the past six years.
“We are very proud of our first graduating group. The school enjoys a good reputation in the community; the school is under the pastoral care of [Yangebup] Parish,” he expressed.
“It is an absolute honour in any educator’s career to be called by God to accept this responsibility of developing a Catholic community.”
To start from scratch to what the school is today, he said, is a huge achievement both for the Church and for the community.
“All of that cannot be achieved unless you have a good team around you – it takes a village to build a school.”
Mr Cully ensures Hammond Park Catholic Primary School follows the Archbishop’s mandate of being “a good school where Jesus is known, is named, and is present”.
The footprint that has been established here gives the place its purpose and value within the community, it is a school where faith is central and religion is not a side-line,” he continued.
“It is the very reason we exist. The reason we are called into the community is to guide young people to learn and share in the faith.”
Assistant Principal Dr Jacinta Petersen planted the seed for the “Pillar Project” initiative last year, which focusses on four key areas of leadership: Care, Education, Faith, and Future
“Through this project, our graduating Year 6 class of 2018 have demonstrated the virtues such as: compassion, resilience, perseverance, and respect,” Dr Petersen said.
Year 5/6 teacher Donna Bathols took up the baton when she came on board earlier this year, guiding her pupils to personify the pillars of this inclusive leadership model.
Those who were not elected as pillar leaders adopted the role of student leadership.
“Each of the students did a project in relation to each of the pillars,” Mrs Bathols explained.
“This model moves away from the idea of ‘one head boy, one head girl’. I feel it has given them all an opportunity to step up, rather than just a select few.”
The primary school staff believe the Pillar Project places graduates in good stead for their future endeavours.
The 2018 Pillars Certificate was awarded to Sneha Joshy who had consistently demonstrated all four pillars in her daily school life at HPCPS.
To further prepare the Year 6s for secondary school life, Hammond Park Catholic Primary School collaborated with Emmanuel Catholic College to form a transitional curriculum in the third and fourth terms of the year as a “rite of passage”.
“The close working relationship between Emmanuel Catholic College and ourselves is the most beneficial I have ever experienced,” Principal Cully added.