2020 is a significant year in the life of St Raphael's Catholic School as it celebrates its 150th anniversary. Although COVID-19 restrictions have made the first half of the year like no other, there have been opportunities to reflect on the past and look forward to the future. St Raphael's school principal, Michael Gallagher, said it was great to celebrate the history and the future of the school, with this year's anniversary theme "It Started With A Dream".
Mr Gallagher said the school has been through plenty of changes throughout that time." Obviously we aren't the same school now that we started with 150 years ago. The school has changed and grown and adapted according to needs and opportunities and conditions," he said. "The way that the school is now, hasn't always been the way it was and it's going to continue to adapt, to evolve and to go on under the leadership of good people and clever people".
The continued growth of the school, particularly in the secondary department, will see the introduction of a Year 7-12 Agricultural Program in 2021. At present, students can study Mandatory Agricultural Technology in Years 7 and 8, and students will be able to choose to continue to study Agriculture into Years 9 and 10, as well as Primary Industries in Years 11 and 12.
This will be supported through the development of an Agricultural Centre on the old netball and tennis courts opposite the school on Lachlan Street. "We are currently finalising the publication of a building master plan which incorporates an Agricultural Centre with stock handling equipment, sheds, outdoor learning areas and space for agricultural plots, for all students in our school", Mr Gallagher said. "We identified agriculture as an area of development as we sit in prime agricultural country and many of our families would like their children to have the opportunity of studying agriculture locally".
A new bus will transport students to nearby working properties as part of the Primary Industries course, and Mr Gallagher said other projects on the master plan include improvements to the school entrance and administration, a new school hall as well as upgrades to Primary classrooms. "The future is bright, and we must thank all the loyal and dedicated members of the wonderful community we have here at St Raph's".
Enrolments in the secondary department are at an all time high and there is strong demand for places in Year 7, 2021. Kindergarten students and their families will also commence the "Kindy Start" program in Term 3, to prepare them for their milestone year. Enrolments are now open and parents can contact the school at email@example.com or visit www.straphaelscowra.catholic.edu.au for more information.