Posted by John Foley
on 5 April 2021
The Early Primary, Innovation and Art Centre was officially opened by Mrs Marie Dorrington OAM, Chair of the St Michael's College, Adelaide Board on Tuesday 23rd March 2021. Student MC Alex Slattery welcomed our special guests, including Brother Visitor David Hawke FSC; St Michael's College Board Members; Old Scholars, in particular those from the original class of 1954; past leaders of the Primary campus Mr David Hine and Mr Shaun Fitzpatrick ; old scholar and Member for Cheltenham Mr Joe Szakacs; representatives from the building industry who oversaw this magnificent development; representatives from Catholic Education South Australia; and staff and students, particularly the girls and boys from the first-ever Reception classes.
My own welcome included a brief history of the St Michael's Primary campus and the evolution of co-education at the College, as well as recognition to Damian Patton and Dominic Lo Basso for their project leadership, Marie Dorrington for her determination in ensuring the scope of the design was centered around quality education, and our key project partners, Edge Architects and Sarah Constructions.
The formal celebration then commenced with a beautiful liturgy held outside in the Innovation Centre Courtyard, presided by Fr Paul Cashen, who holds a special connection with the College, being one of the original 29 boys who started at Beverley in 1954. The liturgy included a presentation of symbols which were presented by the Reception classes and included a VR headset, power tools, dinosaur, robot, sustainability project models and candles. The items hold a special meaning to capture the very essence of the space and how it is a canvas for inspiring young minds to give our youngest community members the opportunities to flourish and fully realise their potential. The candles represented the theme of "Let your light shine".
In officially opening the new facility, Marie reflected on the exciting extension and expansive renovation, as well as the beginning of co-education within it. She expressed her awe, gratitude and overwhelming faith in the future of St Michael's as a Catholic school in the Lasallian tradition providing her personal experience as a grandmother at the College. She proudly observed that her grandson knows he is "part of an inclusive and respectful community where he feels known, valued and cared for; he is aware that the positive learning culture of the College is authentic, challenging and supportive; and he is conscious his is 'a quality Lasallian education, inspired by the Gospel and a concern for social justice', where students are 'empowered to better choose who they become as people, learners and leaders in the world'.
Marie also reflected on the comments of former Superior General of the De La salle Brothers Br Alvaro, who said that Lasallian education is about:
"being able to develop a kind of education that responds to a world very different than it was just a few years ago"
"bold and innovative changes that will respond to current needs"
"being able to offer hearts that are open to the young"
"being available to listen to young people, understand them and help them find meaning in their lives"
Marie shared that due to ongoing collaboration, co-operation, commitment and much dialogue, the College facilities are now increasingly able to cater for the educational demands of our ever-changing world.
It was a particular pleasure to also have Br David Hawke FSC to assist in the unveiling of the plaque and to provide some heartfelt concluding words.
Thank you to all those involved in the planning and presentation of the official opening, including staff and students from both campuses.
We are looking forward to the Stage 2 development and the ongoing evolution of co-education which will see St Michael's College become a fully co-educational school across R 12 by 2027.