There were smiles and delighted giggles from Our Lady of The Assumption Catholic Primary students when Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP sprinkled them with holy water before using it to officially bless the newly opened North Strathfield school on Friday.
The 68 students in Kindergarten and Year 1/2 shared what they liked about their school with the guests who assembled for the blessing liturgy on May 1, including parents, teachers, architects, principals of nearby schools, representatives from state and local government, and Our Lady of the Assumption Homebush parish priest Fr Michael Anghel.
Principal Cathy Young thanked all involved in the design, building and opening of the “future-oriented” school, where she said curiosity, imagination and a love of learning were treasured.
“Our workplaces today require us to be dynamic and interactive, require critical thinking, collaboration and creativity,” she said.
“The building is designed to let students have a go – to be creators, not consumers, of knowledge and to make important connections across their learning.”
Executive Director of Catholic Schools Dr Dan White read to the children from Alison Lester’s picture book ‘Kissed by the Moon’, but it was a Dr Seuss classic that summed up the potential for each child’s learning and development at OLA.
“Today is your day, you’re off to great places, you’re off and away. Oh the places you will go!” he read.
Dr White said the school’s blessing and opening presented a new beginning for its young students.
“I hope Our Lady of the Assumption will be a place where they will make enduring friendships,” he said.
“When parents walk into the classrooms they see that these children are on an adventure where they will be challenged and where we hope that they will develop a love of learning.”
Fr Anghel said the Our Lady of the Assumption parish was established in 1955 and had grown as the suburb had after the 2000 Sydney Olympic games.
“The establishment of this school opens a new chapter in the parish history,” he said.
“I thank the staff, the parents, the children, and all who have contributed to this day.”
Kindergarten pupils thanked the special guests in their own words before singing their new school song for the first time.
“We’ve heard a lot about you Archbishop Anthony but this is the first time we’ve seen you in real life. Thank you for coming to OLA to see us in real life,” said Lucy.
“Dr Dan we know you are the boss of all the Sydney Catholic schools but we think ours is the best,” said Aahaan. “I liked your story.”
Grace thanked Fr Michael for being a friend to the new school community.
“Father Michael is our friend and he likes to hear our questions and he likes to hear us sing,” she said.
Benjamin thanked the Catholic Schools Performing Arts (CaSPA) program’s Inner Western Primary Co-ordinator John Panuccio, who helped to write the OLA school song.
“Thank you Mr John for helping us with our school song. You even let us make up the actions and we think our school song is the best ever,” he said.
Food was catered by Southern Cross Vocational Enterprise’s Kassala Catering, staffed by Year 11 and 12 Hospitality students from Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College Burwood.
A string ensemble from Domremy College Five Dock and choir from Marist Sisters College Woolwich provided the music, while there was a dramatic representation of the gospel story by students from De La Salle College Ashfield and Bethlehem College Ashfield. Marist College Eastwood and Holy Cross College Ryde students were ushers at the event.