And to celebrate, the college officially opened three new buildings: the Kolbe Centre, Marian Centre, Nolan Centre, and the Lavalla Centre.
Also during these celebrations, was a time of reflection as a presentation full of photos and information covering the past 30-years was presented (watch the video above).
This event was attended by the Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge, Mt Maria College, Petrie Principal, Mike Connolly, Federal Member for Dickson, Peter Dutton, Moreton Bay Regional Councillor, Denise Sims and Br Neville Solomon, Regional Director, Marist Schools Australia, Brisbane along with other guests, staff and students.
The Brisbane Archbishop talked about how welcoming Catholic schools are when it comes to giving a great education to everyone.
“Whoever those kids are and whatever their background, they’re all welcome at our schools,” the Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge said in a video interview.
Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark ColeridgeCLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD VIDEO
Mt Maria College, Petrie Principal, Mike ConnollyCLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD VIDEO
Federal Member for Dickson, Peter DuttonCLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD VIDEO
Moreton Bay Regional Councillor, Denise SimsCLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD VIDEO
Br Neville Solomon, Regional Director, Marist Schools Australia, BrisbaneCLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD VIDEO
Main Video Transcript
Markus Ebeling:Good morning and welcome. My name is Markus Ebeling, I’m the Deputy Principal at Mt Maria College Petrie, and I’ll be your MC for the morning.
We gather here today to acknowledge 30 years of sharing the journey that is Mt Maria College Petrie. We give thanks to God for our new buildings, the Kolbe Centre, Marian Centre, Nolan Centre, and the Lavalla Centre.
On behalf of the community of Mt Maria College Petrie, we would like welcome His Grace, the Most Reverend Archbishop Mark Coleridge, the Honourable Peter Dutton MP, Federal Minister for Dickson and Minister For Immigration And Border Protection Mr Paul Allen, Director School Services South, Brisbane Catholic Education, Brother Neville Solomon, Regional Director Marist Schools Australia, Councillor Denise Sims, Division Seven Moreton Bay Regional Council, Mr John Dangerfield, President of the Parents and Friends Association, Mr John Parkinson, Principal Our Lady of the Way School, distinguished guests, students, staff, parents, and friends. Welcome to this very special celebration.
1987 saw the opening of Kolbe College in Petrie in honour of St Maximilian Kolbe. He was a great man of faith and conviction who gave his life for another during the Second World War. His legacy and story continues to inspire. With the name change in 2003, the College now embraces the story and spirit of two great saints of the church, St Maximilian Kolbe and St Marcellin Champagnat.
One consistent feature of both of these men was their devotion to Mary, our good mother. This focus and devotion to Mary has been present in Kolbe College since the beginning some 30 years ago, and will continue well into the next 30 years and beyond. At Mt Maria College Petrie, we Lead By Example.
I would now like to call upon Saraiyah Pilot for acknowledgement of country.
Saraiyah Pilot:We acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians, the Turrbul people, who have walked and cared for this land for thousands of years. We pay our respects to the elders past, present, and future and we thank them for sharing their culture, spirituality, and way of living with the land in this place we all now call home. Let us observe a moment of silence to reflect on the millions of footprints that travelled the dreaming pathways and our own loved ones who have gone before us.
May we continue to walk gently and respectfully together with each other.
Markus Ebeling:Please stand for the blessing ritual.
Mark Coleridge:In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, peace be with you.
Crowd:And with you.
Mark Coleridge:This morning, we come together as a catholic community of faith to ask God’s blessing on the new and refurbished buildings of the College. May those who use and enjoy these new facilities, both now and in the generations to come, be illuminated by the light of knowledge which will inspire them to follow in the path of Jesus.
The Lord himself stands among us. He’s not once upon a time, he’s here and now. So let’s sit a moment of silence, greet him who greets us, and then we’ll pray out of the silence.
God of love and wisdom, we gather here to celebrate and to thank you for the gifts that you have given to Mt Maria and the College community during its 30 year history. May we through our words and actions be truly worthy of your love and kindness. We pray that all students, teachers, and parents of Mt Maria College will open their hearts to the word of Jesus so that they may truly live the motto of the College, to Lead By Example. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
The Lord who’s with us is the one who speaks to us, so let’s listen with the ears of the heart as Jordan I think it is, is going to read to us the words of Jesus. Let’s be seated as we listen.
Jordan:A reading from the gospel according to Matthew. “You are the light of the world. When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up to the Mtain. And after he sat down, his disciples came to him then he began to speak and taught them, saying, ‘You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything but is thrown out and under the foot. You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lamp stand and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.’ The word of the Lord.
Crowd:Thanks be to God.
Mark Coleridge:Today, we’re going to do two things. We’re going to bless and then we’re going to open these new and refurbished facilities. Now, everyone does one of those, but not everyone does both of those, but we’re going to do both. Everyone opens new and refurbished buildings, it would be crazy not to open them. So we will open the new buildings officially.
But the thing that others don’t do but we do is bless these new and refurbished buildings. That’s one of those funny catholic things or Christian things, to bless things like new buildings and facilities. Now why do we bother to bless them and even throw a bit of holy water around as I shall do? It’s our way of saying that these new and refurbished buildings, that this whole school is holy ground.
It doesn’t look particularly holy, it looks like a school. Just another school. But we say no no no, don’t be fooled. This is holy ground, and it has been holy ground for 30 years. Whatever the name of the College has been, whether it’s been Kolbe or Mt Maria, we say it’s been holy ground 365 days a year for 30 years. That’s a long time.
And why is it holy ground? Because here Jesus Christ himself, not once upon a time back there but here and now, he teaches the young what it really means to be a human being. Now that sounds easy, I used to think it was easy when I was young, but I think it’s the greatest learning of all. To learn to be a real human being, not with a heart of stone, but with a heart of flesh.
A real human being like some of these people on my right, the mother of Jesus, Marcellin Champagnat the founder of the Marist Brothers, and St Maximilian Kolbe who died in the death camp at Auschwitz in 1941. They put him in a starvation cell and eventually gave him a lethal injection just to finish him off.
What do we see in those three people? Mary, Marcellin and Max, we see human beings as God intends us to be, but you’ve got to learn that and that’s what you learn here at Mt Maria College, and the young have learned that through 30 years and it’s holy ground.
For it to become holy ground, you’ve got to drive out the evil spirits, and that’s what the holy water’s about. What do I mean by evil spirits? Things like fear and anger and violence and depression, all those things that turn the human heart into a lump of stone. Well you weren’t created to be a zombie with a heart of stone, you were created to be a human being fantastically alive with the life of Jesus, which is the life that’s bigger even than death.
So that’s why today we not only open the new and refurbished buildings, but we also bless them. Let’s pray then to the God who listens. God speaks, but God also listens so I invite the readers to join me here at the microphone.
God of love and wisdom, we ask you now to hear us as we place our hopes before you. Guide us through your love to be a community illuminated by knowledge and wisdom. We pray that all who journey through the new and refurbished facilities will be inspired to follow in the truly human path of Jesus Christ crucified and risen we pray.
Reader 1:For the church, that all who are baptised may renew their commitment to Christ. For this we pray. Lord hear our prayer.
Crowd:Lord hear our prayer.
Reader 2:In this, the 30th anniversary year of the College, that God may continue to bless our works as educators and learners. For this we pray. Lord hear our prayer.
Crowd:Lord hear our prayer.
Reader 3:For those by their hard work and contributions helped develop these buildings and facilities, we pray to the Lord. Hear our prayer.
Crowd:Lord hear our prayer.
Reader 4:For those students, teachers, and others who will use these new buildings and facilities, that they may be inspired by the light of knowledge. For this we pray.
Crowd:Lord hear our prayer.
Reader 5:For the parents and guardians, that they be guided by your love to nurture in their children a sense of wonder, recognition, and respect for your creation. For this we pray. Lord hear our prayer.
Crowd:Lord hear our prayer.
Reader 6:For the teachers and school officers, that they recognise the unique gifts and talents of each student at Mt Maria and help to develop these to their fullest. For this we pray. Lord hear our prayer.
Crowd:Lord hear our prayer.
Mark Coleridge:So let’s ask God to bless the buildings and facilities and to bless all of those who will use them both now and in the future.
Lord in your mercy and love hear our prayers. We dedicate these wonderful new and refurbished buildings and facilities to the growth in wisdom and faith of the young people, both present and future who form the Mt Maria College Petrie community. May it become a place where students, teachers, and other staff inspired by your teachings of justice, understanding, wisdom, and love will share the Christian vision of life. As a school community, may we always be inspired to follow in your light in what we think, what we say, and what we do. We ask this through Christ our Lord, amen.
God of mercy and truth, you sent your only son to be our saviour and our teacher. He it is who calls us together as his church to carry on the work of salvation. We ask you now to bless us, to bless these new facilities, and to bless all who will use them. May all who come here know the presence of Jesus Christ, hear his voice, experience the joy of his friendship, and grow in his love. This we ask in his name, Jesus Christ, Lord of this College and Lord of all life forever and ever.
Let’s stand as we seek blessing into the future. The Lord be with you all.
Crowd:And with your spirit.
Mark Coleridge:May God the Father of all goodness who commanded us to help one another as brothers and sisters bless this land with his presence and look kindly on all who enter this holy ground, amen.
And may the God who is peace and joy and love bless you all, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Let us bless the Lord, thanks be to God. And let’s sing and ask the mother of Christ to protect this College.
Markus Ebeling:Thank you your grace. As mentioned, we will now move on to the civil part of today’s ceremony. To officially unveil the plaques that will be placed on our new buildings, I call upon His Grace the Most Reverend Archbishop Mark Coleridge, the Honourable Peter Dutton MP, Mr Paul Allen and Mr Michael Connolly. Could the gentlemen please step up to the unveiling plaques?
Thank you gentlemen. Sorry Mr Dutton, I’d now like to call upon you to deliver your official address.
Peter Dutton MP:Thank you very much, good morning ladies and gentlemen. Good morning students of Mt Maria. Can I firstly acknowledge your grace, thank you very much for being here this morning Archbishop, I’ve been coming to this school for about 16 years so not all of the 30 years, although my appearance might indicate otherwise, but I’m not sure that we’ve had the Archbishop visit before and it’s a wonderful occasion. It’s greatly celebrated by the school community here.
Can I also say thank you very much to Mr Connolly for his leadership here at the school, to brother Nev who has a back seat today, normally has some work to do but in the presence of His Grace he’s got an easy morning. Father, it’s wonderful to see you. As well Mr Allen. To all the members of the P and F in particular today, the members of the school community, I want to acknowledge the work of a very hardworking community over a long period of time. This church, this local community, this school has risen from humble beginnings and it’s a wonderful place of learning as his grace pointed out during the course of his remarks.
I’m very pleased that the federal government’s been able to contribute about half a million dollars to the project, and that complements the money that has been contributed by the state government that importantly has been contributed to by the local community through fundraising efforts and contributions of parents as well.
I always take the opportunity when we visit schools to remind students of the sacrifice that their parents make. Not just in a financial sense, but in the way in which they provide you with the guidance and support to learn here, but most importantly to learn at home as well. We’re blessed that they make the sacrifice to send you to a school like Mt Maria and we’re fortunate to have these new facilities here. But most importantly, it supplements the work of the leaders here within the school and within the local church community, and with their support you have a great opportunity to start a wonderful life in a country like Australia.
So thank you very much for the opportunity to be here with you today and to officially declare open. I’m not sure Your Grace that we’re in the correct order there, but Mr Connolly, in drawing back the curtain, maybe some name changes on the panel is required. I think he in fact officially opened, so that’s fine.
But it’s great to be back at the school and I thank you very much for all of the effort that’s gone into getting to this point. There is an enormous amount. There’s Mr Dangerfield and his predecessors, others that are involved in the P & F. It’s an enormous amount of support and sacrifice that they do make on top of their other responsibilities in life to make the school a wonderful place, and for that today we should be very grateful. Thank you very much.
Markus Ebeling:Mr Paul Allen? Thank you.
Paul Allen:Thank you Markus, and I think I got a promotion there for a couple of seconds didn’t I? But it’s just great to be here, and I’d like to acknowledge the Reverend Mark Coleridge, Archbishop of Brisbane, the Honourable Peter Dutton, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection and Federal Member for Dickson, representing the Senator Honourable Simon Birmingham, Federal Minister for Education. Father Chima, Parish Priest of the Petrie Catholic Parish, Brother Neville Solomon, Regional Director Marist Schools Australia, colleagues from Brisbane Catholic Education Schools and officers, distinguished guests, staff, and especially the students of Mt Maria College.
I actually thought there was no students in here when I first came in it was that quiet, so I don’t know what they’ve said to you, what they’ve done, but you’re very, very well behaved and yes, well done. Look, I’m very pleased to be with you here this morning, it’s my first visit here believe it or not. I spent the last probably seven years as Director of School Services South, so I knew the south schools very well.
And we’ve got this funny thing in Brisbane haven’t we, that we have this thing called the Brisbane River. And of course if you live south of the Brisbane River, which I do, or if you live north of the Brisbane River you don’t know much about either if you don’t live there. So I’m just delighted to be here today, because it’s always a school that I’ve wanted to visit. And so, very very happy to be here and I really can’t wait to have a good look around the place after we finish here today.
And of course, we’re blessing today and opening some wonderful new facilities for you, the students of this school. But also, I bring with me the best wishes of our Executive Director Pam Betts who obviously sends her apologies today and would’ve loved to have been here.
In the spirit of reconciliation also, I acknowledge the wisdom and custodianship of the traditional owners of the land on which we gather.
And today is doubly special, we also celebrate the 30th birthday of this College. So those of us, particularly those with a bit of grey hair, remember the past clearly and fondly, and are perhaps better equipped than the younger people here today to know how well the past informs the present and how the present shapes the future. This is what history is all about. It is great to be here to have only a very small part to play in celebrating this blessing and opening in such a significant event in the Mt Maria College story.
And the Marist charism which Archbishop Mark mentioned is central to your school’s story, and it’s good to have Brother Neville here today representing Marist Schools Australia. A school’s distinct identity comes from the telling of stories, particularly those which find expression through an ethos or a charism, and you’re very fortunate to know the values and stories of those two great people that have been already mentioned today, Maximilian Kolbe and Marcellin Champagnat. Their stories are well worth revisiting, and I’m sure you do time and time again.
So today, we open new and refurbished buildings and spaces for student learning, and it’s great to think that generations of students will come to know them as you have. I congratulate Principal Michael Connolly, designers, builders, and all that had the vision to see these projects come to fruition. It’s hard work, not just for the Principal and others in the school and the staff, but for the students as well. When you have building projects going on, there’s all sorts of different things happening, so my congratulations for that.
And thank you Archbishop Mark for leading us in prayer this morning, and thanks to all who prepared today’s liturgy and have participated so well.
Sometimes, I’m just thinking too, Archbishop Mark as you were speaking, and I just want to let you know that Archbishop Mark is a great supporter of catholic education. So time and time again, I go to different things that Archbishop Mark’s at and time and time again he speaks very highly and is so supportive of us, and all the work that we do in Brisbane Catholic Education.
So I’d just like to say a big thank you to that, and it’s also … It’s a bit like, I know we’re in the lead up to the sporting final seasons aren’t we? Are you all following the finals of the different sports that are happening, and particularly the football codes and as we go into that September it gets a bit warmer. We know that those football codes, the finals keep getting near us. My problem is I live at the Gold Coast and I follow the Gold Coast Titans. You feel sorry for me? I hope you do.
The other side that I follow, and I know Archbishop Mark does too, is the Queensland Reds. So you’re feeling even sorrier for me now? But anyhow, just getting to what I was going to say is that Archbishop Mark, I sometimes think of, you know how sporting sides have a number one ticket holder? Well Archbishop Mark, I think you’re our number one ticket holder. So that’s been declared today. I don’t know what you get for that, but anyhow. It’s been declared today at Mt Maria College. So thanks anyhow for the continuing and ongoing support that you give us.
And we are a system of 139 schools and 72,000 students, so that’s quite significant. So, and as a system, as Brisbane Catholic Education, we rely heavily on and are very grateful for the support of Government for our capital and recurrent needs. And today’s ceremony provides us with the opportunity of acknowledging the Australian Government’s contribution of close to $1 million for these projects at the College. So Mr Dutton, I’ll be grateful if you could convey our appreciation to the federal minister for this funding. We really appreciate it.
The State Government also contributed significantly to these projects to the tune of $2.1 million dollars, and we’ve written to the Minister for Education, the Honourable Kate Jones, to express our gratitude for their support. I also wish to acknowledge the community of Mt Maria College for your financial support of just over $1 million for these projects.
So students and young men and women of Mt Maria, that’s your parents putting in hard earned money towards the cost of these buildings. So when you go home tonight, thank your parents for the contributions that they’ve made. And I think this is indicative of the families, your parents, and their commitment to catholic education for yourselves and we thank them for that.
So lastly, enjoy your day today. These are important days in your individual journeys and in the bigger journey of this great community, so I’d just like to wish you every blessing to each of you for the future as you continue, as your motto says, to Lead By Example. So Happy 30th Birthday, well done. Thank you.
Markus Ebeling:Thank you Mr Allen. I’d now call upon Mr Mike Connolly to deliver his address.
Mike Connolly:Thanks Mr Ebeling. I’d like to acknowledge the Turrbul people who are the traditional custodians of this land. I’d also like to pay my respect to elders past and present, the Turrbul nations, and extend that respect to other aboriginal people present here today. Your Grace the Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Brother Neville Solomon, Regional Director of Marist Schools Queensland and Northern New South Wales, Father Chima, Parish Priest of Petrie, the Honourable Peter Dutton MP, Federal Member for Dickson, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. Councillor Denise Sims, Division Seven Moreton Bay Regional Council, Mr Paul Allen, Director, School Operations Brisbane Catholic Education, Mr David Cashman, Area Supervisor Cluster 11, Brisbane Catholic Education, Mr John Parkinson, Principal of Our Lady of the Way Petrie, Ms Janelle Doohan previous APRE of Mt Maria Petrie, Mr John Dangerfield, President of Mt Maria Petrie Parents and Friends Association.
I’d like to make special mention of Archbishop Mark Coleridge. Your presence here today Your Grace is certainly welcomed by the College as we know you have a very busy schedule. Your Grace, your leadership, wisdom, support, and guidance of Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Brisbane is greatly appreciated.
I’d also like to thank all those people responsible for these wonderful facilities, from governments to architects and for those people who made these happen. Minister Dutton, could I please thank you and your government for your generous contribution to our wonderful state of the art facilities that our students experience on a daily basis.
Whilst buildings and facilities are crucial and important part of the College, it is the people, particularly the young people who we educate who are the most important. As we celebrate this 30th anniversary of our College, I think it is important to acknowledge all those people who have been part of educating our young people who, for the most part, do not comfortably fit into other educational environments. Mt Maria College Petrie prides itself on diversity, inclusion, and acceptance which is integral to our vision and mission.
To every young person, a pathway to the future is formed no matter what education block they might have, it is our challenge. Our challenge that each and every staff member has embraced and will continue to focus on into the future. Our staff certainly go over and above for our students, and I offer my sincere thanks for your dedication. If St Marcellin Champagnat and St Maximilian Kolbe were here today, I’m sure they would be delighted with the work that has been undertaken at the College.
We base our education around gospel values and ensure that we are ever present to our community, that being our students, our parents, and carers, the church and the wider community. To our students here today, thank you for the way you engage so enthusiastically in your education and enrich yourselves by the many of activities which you undertake, not only in the College but in the local community. The way you serve others, actively taking part in activities such as Cook for Care, St Vincent de Paul Appeals, the Redcliffe Breakfast Club, the College animal farms, the age care visits, the Marist Solidarity, Caritas, Orange Sky Laundry, and that’s just to name a few.
It is through serving others that you will get much reward through your educational pursuits. Our motto, Lead By Example, has certainly been a mantra in our College over its short period of operation. Our students constantly strive to do the best in all they do and never settle for mediocre. To work hard is one of the main characteristics along with our other Marist characteristics of presence, simplicity, family, and in the way of Mary.
This year, we celebrate 200 years of Marist education. We thank Brother Neville Solomon, who may years ago took us under his wing and worked with us in being a catholic school in the Marist tradition. Brother Neville, you have been very supportive over this time and we thank you for your dedication to the College. A great saying of Marcellin Champagnat is to love them and love them all equally, which really captures what our College values are all about.
Can I please thank Catholic Education, who is represented today here by Mr Paul Allen who generously support our College and allow us to diversify and support all of our students here. Councillor Denise Sims from Moreton Bay Regional Council, thank you for your continued support of our College and its pursuit in the local community.
The Mt Maria Petrie P & F has been an integral part in raising funds that adds the extra to, which is essential for learning. The P & F actually funded most of this building that we’re sitting in here today, and they took that on as a project four years ago and I thank Mr John Dangerfield who’s sitting down there, who’s strategic vision was for the P & F to put money into something we could use, and we do use this place here a lot.
Thank you to all staff past and present that are here today for Mt Maria Petrie and Our Lady of the Way. Last but not least, I’d like to thank you Father Chima who is always supporting our community, for your spiritual guidance and your direction, both across Our Lady of the Way and Mt Maria College Petrie. Your hands on approach and presence we are truly blessed having you, and we appreciate your continual work of uniting school and parish, and that is very evident.
My hope for the future for Mt Maria College Petrie is we always reach out to those in need, advocate for the people who need us to advocate for them, educate well, and never stray from those values of being a catholic school in the Marist tradition.
Markus Ebeling:Thank you Mr Connolly. I now ask Mr Jim Parker to the lectern to deliver a brief 30th anniversary story of Mt Maria College Petrie.
Jim Parker:Welcome to our honoured guests and to the entire Mt Maria community sitting here today. My job this morning is a really pleasant one. It’s to have a look at a snapshot of our College over the last 30 years. As was mentioned earlier by Mr Allen, those of us with grey hair probably have a little bit of a longer memory, and as you can see mine has certainly changed over the years.
For those people who don’t know me, I’ve had association with the College for about 24 years now, and that’s a long time to be in a place. But it’s a long time with wonderful people. I would not want to build anywhere else. I tried it for a term, and then I came back, so it says a lot about this place, the community that we are. And while we change with staff, with students, as Mr Connolly said, that message of service to others. That’s what we’re about.
All right, what I’m going to try and do if you don’t mind seeing the back of my head every now and again, Miss Smith has put together 30 years of photos. Now there’s not too many thousands of them there, but there’s enough to, as I read through my little script, if you could have a look at the photos and I might need to turn around every now and again just to check that I’m on track. All right.
Our history. Our present College is 30 years young this year. MMCP began under the name of Kolbe as has been mentioned with our patron sent Maximilian Kolbe who was a Franciscan priest whose feast day we also celebrate today this week. Maximilian had a wonderful devotion to Mary, our mother in heaven. Our College actually began in 1987, but not here. The grounds weren’t ready, so in actual fact, the College began over at Marcellin at Enoggera and each day the 65 students would be bussed across to Enoggera and then bussed back here. Some of the photos that you’ll see up here are the early photos of the grounds as they were being made.
We moved out here to the present site in the second semester of 1987, and I think the brother, Brother Jack, was more than happy to occur from Marcellin. I actually taught at Marcellin in 1988, so I was able to be part of that little bit of history that they had there. The grounds were by no means finished even when we did move here to Petrie. Many Friday sports days out on the oval, that oval did not look the way it is now. Many afternoons on a Friday before we could do sport, the children, the staff, all lined up and walked across the oval picking up rocks and putting them into buckets so that they could be taken off the oval and dumped so sport could go ahead.
A fact not too many know is that this College’s being was down to one man, Father Leo Power, catholic priest. Father Leo had also been a driving force over at Seton College, and he wanted a College on the north side of the river that would look after the years eight to 10 for students who wouldn’t be able to achieve their best at another College. And so he was instrumental in talking to Brisbane Cath Ed and having this College put together.
His idea was that students with very high personal needs had a place of education where they could be accepted and be able to fly for the rest of their life. There was an opening and a blessing, as in today with Archbishop Mark at the time of 1987 at the end of the year. We’ve been very lucky to have a number of dedicated Principals. Our first Principal was Sr Anne Nolan. As I’m speaking, you might be able to work out where the houses came from, the names. Our second Principal after that was Mrs Glenda Morgan, then Mr Michael Talbott was here for 12 years, I actually came along when Michael was the Principal. You may be able to see, yes, I’ve done that. In 2002, Mr John Brady came in as the last Kolbe Principal, and under Mr Brady’s leadership, we actually moved from being Kolbe to Mt Maria.
The leadership of Mr Sam Puglisi for 12 years as well, whom some of the students and family members will remember. A wonderful man. After Mr Puglisi, Mrs Mandy Sullivan was here for a short time, for a year as Principal, and today we have Mr Connolly as our Principal for the past three years. Our catholic ethos and traditions have always played an integral part of the fabric of this College no matter our name. Having saints Kolbe and Champagnat as our models of service and inclusion of all, very early on we began using the symbol of the Kolbe circle. And that Kolbe circle is part of our makeup today still where we bring people into this College, we accept them, and they become who we are. This whole College is based upon its community, the great circle of support and acceptance. And with that support, we used to say that Kolbe kids could do anything. Well, it’s the same today. MMCP kids can do anything.
And if you have a look at some of the photos that are up there, as we go through you’ll see that some of the things the kids have done has been amazing. We had a 10 year celebration, which was more just a static visionary type thing that people could come along and have a look at. We’ve had some fairly big names come out to the College to talk to our kids. In year 10, because we only finished in year 10, we used to have formals for our year 10 students but as we’re moving towards becoming a senior College, year 10 formal became year 10 rite of passage.
As I mentioned, as we became a senior College, in 2004 our first group, our first year level of year 12’s went through and you’ll see them up there. There were only three. That’s how small we were as we moved into the senior years. If you have a look at the sign up at the corner, as you turn into the College, you used to have Kolbe College written on it and there’s the sign now, Mt Maria. One of the most important aspects of our College has always been to give students as many opportunities to participate in extra-curricular activities, and just some of them you’ll see up on the screen. We’ve got camps, retreats, liturgies, work experience, TAFE courses, uni immersion courses, school based traineeships and apprenticeships, we did talent shows, musicals. There’s one very incriminating photo coming up. Entertaining educational visits in English, science, many of our subjects, and the list goes on.
Many other activities are offered off campus as well. For a small College, we get through an awful lot, and Mr Connolly mentioned quite a few things too that we were part of. Oops, there’s Lachlan. I had two of my sons come through this College, that’s how much I believed in it. You all know Lachlan, also I had Braden come through as well, his younger brother. Oh, there’s that photo. Oh good, they’ve put Mt Maria Idol over the front of it. All right. It was a lot of fun, and it has been a lot of fun. The Marist charism was added to our Franciscan charism basically in 2011.
If students, families, and staff from our early Kolbe days came to visit Mt Maria College today, they’d have difficulty recognising the College that they had known. Our building programmes here at the College have been ongoing and amazing. In my time, some that stand out for me, the covered walkways. We never had covered walkways in the early days when Kolbe was here as the College. The bird cage. None of you students would know that the Learning Support Centre down there was actually our only outdoor basketball area with a cover, and it was called the birdcage for obvious reasons. This area here was basically just a full sized basketball court, and it was open to the weather. There was no cover, there was nothing. The tuckshop was never here, the tuckshop was actually in the library and the library was down where Hospitality is, and it was a tiny little room off the side of the Hospitality, and the kids ran it. The year 10’s ran it, and you could only get I think chips and drinks. That was about it at the beginning.
Look what we’ve got today. T block, the Resource Centre, the Sports Centre that we have, and it’s ongoing, there’s still more plans. Come back in 30 years and see what we look like then. I won’t be here, hopefully. Looking forward to retiring. All right. What I’d also like to do today is to remember those people who’ve passed away that we know of. Sr Anne Nolan who was our founding Principal is no longer with us, she’s moved on to heaven. Also John Clark, John Clark was a wonderful man who came in as part of the service programme to help our year 10’s work on the area outside the Hospitality on the far side when it was the Library. He really was a wonderful, wonderful man.
We lost two students while they were here. Jillian Cousner and Bradley Woodward. Both of those students were in Mr Eneberg’s class, and then sadly we lost Mr Eneberg. In October, the whole school will participate in the tug of war for CANTEEN. That was an agreement and an organised, what would you say, ongoing event between Jillian and Mr Eneberg. When Jillian was going through her treatment, she lost all of her hair, and you’ll see the picture of Mr Eneberg up there, he had no hair either and so they formed a little bond. And that bond Jillian said to Mr Eneberg before she died, “Can you do something that will be ongoing and help cancer victims?” And so Mr Eneberg came up with the tug of war, and we’ve been doing it ever since every year.
We also remember the many people who we don’t know who’ve passed away, and I’m sure there are some over 30 years, so we’d like to mention them as well.
All right, and then finishing. As a College, our many wonderful staff, our many wonderful students, the really big thing about this College is that we set students up so that they can move into their next journey in life and that they can be whoever they want to be. That’s our role. It may not necessarily beget A’s and B’s on a report card, but it’s certainly there. We support you as much as we possibly can to be the person that you need to be in life with a Christian focus, a catholic focus. And I don’t apologise for that at all, that’s why we’re here, to help you.
And so I congratulate the staff and the parents for their choice of this College. If you have a look, that’s the whole school in the first year. The entire school. In 2012, we took a photo of the entire school. Just a little bit bigger, and yet we’re even bigger still and we’re still just a small College. There are more people in one of the local state high schools in their one year level than we’ve got in our entire school, so that gives us the opportunity to work with you as individuals, and that’s what we do.
So I thank you for your choice of being here, I thank your parents, I congratulate the staff, the admin, and Cath Ed. Everything that we do. Stay tuned, come back in 30 years, see where we are. Thanks folks.
Markus Ebeling:I now ask Brother Neville Solomon, Mr Mike Connolly, and Mr Paul Blom to the lectern for the 30th anniversary gift to the College.
Neville Solomon:Your Grace, distinguished guests, Mr Dutton, Mr Allen, Father Chima, students, staff, and Mr Connolly, on behalf of all the Marist schools around Australia, 54 schools in our network, I’d like to offer this icon in appreciation for 30 years of life here at Mt Maria Petrie.
An icon is like a window. A window to what? In our case, because we honour Mary, it’s for Mary and for Jesus. There’s a thing about God’s compassion, God’s mercy, God’s love, God’s justice which we see in the life of Mary and which is lived out in your saints. But more importantly, it’s lived out in you and the reason why the College continues to exist is because you are the embodiment of this great vision that God has for each one of us. So today, I would say thank you so much for the invitation, congratulations on 30 years, and I wish you another great 30 years. God bless you all.