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| Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle | www.mn.catholic.org.au
Students pictured with Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kevin Rudd at the Dawn Ser vice at Villers-Bretonneux.
Schools Week 2011
From Singleton to Siena- a country
school offering all things big
THE PRE-CONCEIVED notion held by many
is that small town country schools
could never have the same opportunities
as inner city schools. However, Singleton's
St Catherine's College is challenging
this notion by leading the way in offering
education with a difference.
The school is constantly providing fresh,
alternative and appealing ways of putting
into practice what students are learning
at school, attracting John Eales, former
Wallabies great to discuss religion, and
former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, to
share his views on Anzac Day.
Inspired by the Catholic Schools Week
theme for 2011 "a learning adventure,
a journey of faith,' St Cath's provided
their students with literally, a learning
adventure, which saw 45 participants
jet-setting to Europe for a tour which
complemented their studies in religion,
history, art, language, society and culture.
Principal Brian Lacey said the trip
gave students an appreciation and
understanding of history and brought to
life many issues and topics students had
studied prior to the trip.
"The primary purpose of the tour was for
the students to get a first hand knowledge
and understanding of the birthplace of St
Catherine of Siena and why she is such
an important person in the eyes of the
church," he explained.
Twenty-eight students took part and were
accompanied by four supervising teachers
and 13 staff and parents who visited St
Catherine's tomb in Rome and also visited
the Basilica of St Dominic where the head
of St Catherine is kept in a reliquary.
"We also visited the Vatican, Rome,
Assisi, Siena, Florence, Milan and Paris,
celebrating Palm Sunday in Florence, and
Easter Saturday at the Sacré Coeur in
Paris," he said.
One of the highlights of the trip was when
the students experienced ANZAC day at
the Somme Battlefields and were special
guests of the Commonwealth Government
and the Department of Veteran Affairs at
the ANZAC Day Dawn Service at Villers-
The Australian War Memorial in France is
located in Villers-Bretonneux and in front
of it lie the graves of over 770 Australian
"The students were honoured to be special
guests and everyone was visibly moved by
the various cemeteries around Arras and
Amiens," Mr Lacey said.
Following the service the students had
the opportunity to discuss the service and
their tour with Minister for Foreign Affairs,
Mr Kevin Rudd, who referenced Singleton
in his address.
"When talking with the students, Mr Rudd
acknowledged the contributions and
sacrifice of country towns like Singleton
who lost so many young men in the First
World War and made special mention of
these towns in his address," he said.
The tour offered students a wonderful
opportunity to learn in a creative and
innovative way. And while studying Italian
wasn't on the agenda, Mr Lacey laughed
that he got a lesson or two from the bus
driver. "Our bus driver could only speak
Italian and couldn't understand a word
of English so that was definitely another
highlight for the students," he said.
New centre designed to support
students with a disability
ABRAND NEW purpose-built building
which was architecturally designed
to support students with a disability and
learning difficulties has been opened at St
Francis Xavier's College Hamilton.
Designed to support the 60 students
in learning support and more than 100
students with learning difficulties at the
school, the state-of-the-art MacKillop
Centre was designed with a 'home-like'
environment to cater for the varied needs
of students who would be using the
The building has sound-proofing,
dimmer lights for students with sensory
integration issues and a "chill-ax" zone
for students who need a break or would
like some time out to themselves if they
are feeling stressed, overwhelmed or
The centre also has a kitchen, laundry and
lounge room which will support students
to learn everyday 'life-skills' such as
cooking and cleaning which can be used
Mary Stella Cyriac is mother to Year 11
student Clare Cyriac and has praised
the school for their ongoing support for
children with special needs.
"Opportunities the Centre provides have
boosted my daughter's self esteem and
confidence in her abilities and what she
can really do," she said.
of this great enterprise at its launching.
St. Francis Xavier's College has set an
outstanding illustration in "inclusive"
education through the MacKillop Centre;
it is what any parent of a child with a
disability or who has a different learning
requirement, could ever hope for."
Students from Holy Family Primary School,
Merewether, performing at the Catholic Schools
Director of Catholic Schools,
Mr Ray Collins.
Clare Cyriac from St Francis Xavier s College at
the MacKillop Centre.
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