Major milestone for young Tasmanian college

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Home > Media > News > Major milestone for young Tasmanian college
Major milestone for young Tasmanian college

A Tasmanian Catholic college named after Australia’s first saint has celebrated its 25th anniversary.

MacKillop Catholic College, located on Hobart’s eastern shore, was founded to provide Catholic secondary education for students attending four nearby Catholic primary schools.

On February 9, 1994, the college opened with 59 students enrolled in Year 7.

This year, MacKillop College has more than 570 students enrolled from Years 7-10.

Built on the site of the old Mornington Primary School the college has risen from humble beginnings to become a thriving and flourishing school community.

Students at local Catholic primary schools were asked to submit ideas for the name of the new school, as well as its crest and motto.

Jessica Direen was one of a number of students who suggested ‘MacKillop’ and her name was drawn as the student to be officially acknowledged.

Christina Ramsay gave the idea for the crest, which features a star above a shield with a cross and water on a red field.

Diagnosed with cancer, Christina died while a student at MacKillop Catholic College. Entries from her diaries – prayers, reflections on suffering, discouragement and hope – are included in the college’s website, under the history of the college crest.

“Jesus, tonight I am like a wounded soldier…” begins one entry, while a summary note by Christine reads: “Life is a precious gift from God, I am intending not to waste, one single day of it with meaningless things...”

The college’s motto, ‘In faith and hope and love’, was suggested by primary school student Sophie Hutchins.

It is human faces like those of Jessica, Christina, and Sophie, which are the focus of the history at this early milestone in the college’s journey.

Guest speakers at the college’s celebrations included one of the first students, Lachlan Marsh, who now serves as one of the college’s Religious Education Coordinators, along with former staff member Kathy Morton and the second principal of the college, Craig Deayton.

To commemorate the milestone, a social history of the college is being developed.

“One of the important things in my perspective is that the community spirit from those early days is remembered – not lost – and celebrated,” said college principal Eamonn Pollard.

One original staff member is still associated with the school – Sr Anne Turner, a Sister of Charity, who now volunteers at the college.

With the oldest ex-students still younger than 40, an alumni association is yet to be developed, but there is a MacKillop Old Scholar cricket team.

The link to St Mary of the Cross has seen the college adopt down to earth Australian and gospel values, says Mr Pollard.

Each year, students take part in an immersion trip to Timor Leste, while recent scholarships have also been given to students from refugee backgrounds.

This year, in partnership with St Mary’s College, they have employed a youth minister which has given the college – in the words of Mr Pollard – “a burst of energy”.

“We’re very keen to provide every opportunity for every student, but all of it begins and ends with the gospel,” he said.