Taking a trip down memory lane are 12 former St Catherine’s Catholic Primary School Principals who have put pens to paper to reminisce about their days leading Wishart’s most treasured Catholic school.
The former Principals special memories were shared with the St Catherine’s community across 12 weeks leading up to the school’s 50th jubilee celebrations on 28 July.
Offering a glimpse into the school’s legacy, Foundation Principal (1973 to 1975) Sister Margaret Conway recalls the journey of opening St Catherine's, calling it “exciting and challenging” to provide the first Catholic education to the Wishart community who were calling for it.
“On our first day at St Catherine's we had 90 pupils across Year 1 and 2,” she says. "In our early days, we saw the school grow significantly.”
Former Principal Paul Leeson (2010 to 2019) says in the 10 years he was Principal he saw many changes across buildings and infrastructure, staff and pedagogy, and an evolving student and parent body.
“The buildings and approaches to learning and teaching will always be changing, but one thing that is constant at St Catherine’s is the support of the people involved,” he says.
“I was lucky enough to be able to work with two former Principals of the school, John Carroll, and Sister Margaret Conway.
“They both offered insights into the history of the school and the passion for its people.”
Current St Catherine’s Principal Paul Mitchell says the recollections remind his school community of the deep connections forged over the past 50 years.
“St Catherine's proudly stands as a beacon of education and faith within the Wishart community, reflecting the vision of its founders and the dedication of its staff, students, and parents,” he says.
“The Principal recollections are a way our school community can look back on our history and see how far we’ve come as a school community.”
Paul added that as part of the jubilee celebrations, the school re-launched their 2004 vision and mission statement, ‘The St Catherine’s Covenant.’
“Our school’s new covenant will help guide our school community into the future,” he says.
“The St Catherine’s Covenant symbolises an agreement between our school, families, and our students, highlighting the collaborative effort and shared responsibility for teaching and learning.
“The new covenant encourages students to live faith, form quality relationships, reach their full potential, be global stewards, and have hope for the future.”
Other highlights of the jubilee celebrations include the renaming of the school’s courtyard to be called ‘Covenant Court’ and the undercover space to be called ‘Lady of the Lantern.’
The Principal says the names “honour the promise God made to Noah to stand by His followers during times of struggle, and Nano Nagle’s commitment to love and service.”
Other highlights of the celebrations are a student colour fun run to be held, along with a school musical adaptation of Mary Poppins, a P&F (Parents & Friends) ball, and a whole school liturgy.
The school will also produce a memory wall of photos, class lists, and a ‘History of St Catherine’s Book,’ authored by former Assistant Principal Religious Education Brian Moffett.
To read the St Catherine’s 50-year Principal recollections click here.
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