Cousins Malachi, Abigail and Lalayla Spark are excited for their first day at St Ann's School
MORE than 75,000 students and 11,500 staff returned to Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) schools for the 2020 school year with thoughts and prayers turned to our newest school, St Ann's at Redbank Plains.
Part of the St Francis Xavier Parish, Goodna, St Ann's welcomed the first 98 students from Prep to Year 3 to the school with foundation staff helping them settle into their new classrooms.
Foundation principal Sonny Smith said it was an amazing feeling to know the school community was beginning its journey in 2020 – 175 years after the first Catholic school opened its doors in the Archdiocese of Brisbane.
“It's been a long time coming and I want to thank the many people who have contributed to this first day," he said.
He paid tribute to the members of the steering committee and parishioners who had worked for many years to bring their vision of a school in Redbank Plains to fruition.
“We're going to be an authentic community school that welcomes all," Mr Smith said.
Parent Bev Hanson, who recently moved to Redbank Plains from Melbourne, said she chose St Ann's because it offered her son Flynn a blank canvas.
“We wanted him start in a school where everybody was in the same boat as him, everyone's new," she said.
“It's an opportunity for him to be himself so it was great to watch him already clicking with the other students and making friends."
Ms Hanson said she was definitely impressed with the enthusiasm and professionalism of all the staff, especially Mr Smith.
“He's made us all feel welcome and involved and accepted and that's been great for us as we are new to the area," she said.
“He shows a genuine interest in helping the children to achieve their best in what ever they want to do," she said.
St Ann's will grow by one school Year level at a time until it reaches Year 6.
When it reaches full size, it will be a four-stream school catering for 780 students and employing around 50 teachers and support staff.
“There is real excitement in starting a school from scratch especially in a growth area like Redbank Plains," Mr Smith said.
“About half of our families are new to the area, which underlines the need for a school and provides a great opportunity we have to help to build community.
“We are an inclusive school that welcomes anyone who wants a Catholic education, regardless of whether they are Catholic."
Brisbane Catholic Education Executive Director Pam Betts said St Ann's became the 142nd school in the Brisbane Catholic Education network, which stretches from the Queensland border at the Gold Coast, north to the Hervey Bay region and west to the likes of Gayndah, Kingaroy and Gatton.
“This year marks the 175th anniversary of Catholic education in Queensland and we continue to grow," Miss Betts said.
“Brisbane Catholic Education aim is to make high quality and affordable Christian schooling available to young families.
“We have new schools planned for Springfield, Ripley, Greenbank and Flagstone over the next decade.
“We look forward to working with members of the local parish, community representatives and families to create a caring and inclusive new school at St Ann's, which will welcome all those who share our values."