Students, teachers, parents and friends of the new Catholic primary school at Hammond Park were this week told by Archbishop Timothy Costelloe that in order to provide young people with the best education possible, the question of God cannot be ignored.
“How could you give the best to your children,” the Archbishop said, “and not give them the opportunity to come to know God, and how much he cares for them.”
“This school exists for that reason.
“Our schools, our school here,” said the Archbishop, “isn’t just a Catholic school because we have a few religious education classes, scattered throughout the week.
“Our schools are Catholic schools because they are built on a foundation of belief that in the end might never make sense if God is not at the heart of it.”
The school was officially blessed by Archbishop Costelloe and opened by Catholic Education Office Executive Director Dr Tim McDonald on Tuesday, 18 November in the presence of more than 150 students and members of the school community.
Students from neighbouring Mater Christi Catholic Primary opened the celebrations singing Advance Australia Fair, and local Aboriginal elder Marie Taylor performed a traditional smoking ceremony, encouraging all those present to participate.
Crosses marked with icons, which were blessed by the Archbishop, were also hung inside the new classroom facilities by foundation Principal Chris Culley, with assistance from students.
In blessing the new facilities, the Archbishop questioned students about their willingness to do the best they can in looking after each other, in learning and studying as hard as they can and to enjoy themselves in the playground and in the classroom.
The students responded with an overwhelming yes, leading the Archbishop to address the parents and teachers, acknowledging that one of the best tasks undertaken by the Church today is the education of young people.
“It is really a very exciting thing to see these new schools opening up, full of enthusiasm and hope for the future,” the Archbishop said.
“We want this school to be the best school it can possibly be so that it can provide the best education it can possibly provide for your children.”
Principal Chris Culley gave thanks to all those involved in the building project, including local parish priest, Fr Bryan Rosling.
In his speech commending the new facilities, Dr McDonald said the new building development is the culmination of the hard work of many people in building a vibrant school culture and enriching facilities for students to be the best they can be for the present and the future.
“I believe these buildings are a great example of how innovative building design, focused on flexible learning spaces, tangibly supports best practice and enhances 21st-century teaching and learning,” he said.
The total cost for the project was approximately $7.9 million, of which the Australian Government provided for more than $1.7 million in capital grant and approximately $6 million via a State low interest loan.