Posted by Br Gary Wilson FSC
on 14 December 2020
Oakhill College offers education in the Lasallian style to students, from the booming north-west Hills district of suburban Sydney. The College was founded by the De La Salle Brothers as a boys' boarding school with four students in 1936. The property of Edward Cox, a shipping magnate, had been bought in 1932 as the "Training College" for new Brothers.
Today, there are 350 students at senior level, girls comprising 110 of that cohort. Recently, a girl student has become an altar server for the College's voluntary weekly Mass. It may sound unnoteworthy, but for Elia Chaiban, it is one way to serve the community. This, in a Church which totally preferences male clerics. She trained through her primary school and church - Our Lady of Lourdes Baulkham Hills, and really enjoyed the opportunity to serve again. She was honoured to be the first girl; since then, another girl in her year group expressed interest in joining the Altar Serving team. Elia will be speaking with the new Year 11 girls on their induction day in January 2021 and is hoping to inspire other young Oakhill ladies to express their faith through Mission@Oakhill.
As Oakhill" promotes Lasallian principles of Faith, Quality Education, Inclusivity, Respect and Social Justice, it was seen as normal to show diversity in the school's liturgical life. Another girl, Isabella Hurst has also "made history" this year by playing in the First XI cricket team, alongside her twin brother.
As the College website states: "a united community where diversity is respected, where no one is left out, and where everyone is accepted so each person can grow". Respect, inclusion and acceptance seem to be the road to a mature learning community.