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Opening of St John Bosco College



(from left to right) Dr Tim McDonald (Executive Director Catholic Education WA), Mr Don Randall MP (representing the Australian government), Archbishop of Perth Timothy Costelloe SDB DD, Mr Kevin Sheehy (Principal), Hon Ms Donna Faragher MLC (representing the Minister for Education), Fr Kaz Stuglik (Parish Priest, St Francis Xavier), Ms Marie Taylor (Noongar elder) and Ms Robyn Collard (Noongar Kaatidjiny Yok). PHOTO: Marco Ceccarelli

Archbishop of Perth Timothy Costelloe last week said that he was thrilled to bestow his blessing on the first school in WA bearing the name of the founder of his order, Don Bosco.

The blessing and official opening of the new, architecturally stunning St John Bosco College, in Piara Waters, Perth, took place on Friday, 27 February 2015 with students, teachers, parents and dignitaries in attendance.

For the Salesian Archbishop, the opening of the school was, in his own words, “a very special occasion”, particularly since this year marks the bicentenary of the birth of his Salesian father, St John Bosco.

Special guests present for the event, in addition to Archbishop Costelloe, were Executive Director of Catholic Education WA Dr Tim McDonald, Senior Media and Communications Advisor of Catholic Education WA Trish Miller, Federal Member for Canning Don Randall MP, Representative for the Minister for Education the Hon Ms Donna Faragher and St Francis Xavier Armadale parish priest, Fr Kaz Stuglik.

The opening ceremony commenced with the singing of the Australian national anthem, followed by a welcome introduction by Mr Sheehy and a cultural smoking ceremony to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land by Noongar elders Marie Taylor and Robyn Connard.

Addressing the students present, Archbishop Costelloe spoke briefly about St John Bosco – traditionally referred to as ‘Don’ Bosco, which is Father in Italian – explaining that this Italian saint formed a group of women and men who dedicated their lives to God. “They’re called Salesians,” the Archbishop said, “and I’m one of them. So I’m very happy that the school has been named after St John Bosco.”

The Archbishop went on to say that St John Bosco was also a talented educator whose teaching philosophy was aimed at helping young people.

“Don (St John) Bosco said that it’s not enough to love young people,” he explained.

“He said you have to love them in such a way that they know without any doubt that you love them.

“What he meant is that love has to be real, and concrete and practical, and adapted to the reality of the person that you love.”

“That’s the secret of St John Bosco and I hope that this will be the secret of the school,” the Archbishop added.

Addressing those present, Dr McDonald picked up on the Archbishop’s comments regarding St John Bosco and pointed to the motto on the students’ shirts, which reads Joy in Learning, as the goal towards which the school should constantly be working.

Commending the state of the art facilities and architecture of the school, which he described as “contemporary learning environments for students going into the 21st century”, Dr McDonald also referred to the importance of giving students a Catholic education.

“The need for informed students and parents with a Catholic world view is critical to a just and equitable society – a world view in education that all students will get here, at St John Bosco,” Dr McDonald said.

He then called on two students to unveil the plaque commemorating the opening of the school.

The opening of St John Bosco concluded with a vote of thanks from Mr Sheehy, the singing of God’s Love Is by the students of the school, and with Archbishop Costelloe placing a number of crucifixes in each of the classrooms which he had blessed during the opening.

During the morning tea that followed, Principal Mr Sheehy expressed his joy and gratitude towards Archbishop Costelloe.

“I’m delighted that the Archbishop was able to be here,” Mr Sheehy said.

“I really appreciate his commitment to us over the last year and feel that this partnership will continue.

“When he talked about the love that Don Bosco had for his students – that really fits in with the Joy in Learning that we’re undertaking here.”

St John Bosco College will initially cater for Years K-2 and then continue to grow until it reaches its ultimate capacity as a K-12 college.

The total cost of the project was approximately $8.5 million, of which the Federal Government provided more than $1 million in capital grant and approximately $7.5 million via a State low-interest loan.