House debates

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Constituency Statements

Cornish College

10:27 am

Photo of Mark DreyfusMark Dreyfus (Isaacs, Australian Labor Party, Cabinet Secretary) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to speak about the official opening ceremony at Cornish College, Bangholme, which I attended on Sunday, 12 February, along with hundreds of parents, teachers and students, both past and present, who joined together to celebrate their new school. Before December 2011, Cornish College was a campus of St Leonard's College, Brighton, and was known as the Cornish campus. St Leonard's announced in March 2011 that the Cornish campus was to close at the end of the year. This came as a complete shock to the school community, as the campus had been educating students with great success since 1987. Instead of accepting this outcome, the parents, teachers and wider school community banded together to fight for the life of Cornish, demonstrating what a community can achieve with determination and a united voice. Their efforts resulted in the school being officially recognised as an independent Uniting Church school, receiving government registration in December 2011 and opening for business on 19 December.

The college has a bright future, with a dedicated staff and growing enrolment as it moves to become a prep to year 12 school, previously having been a prep to year 9 school. The Cornish College motto, 'Make a difference', encourages students to make a difference in the community and the world that they live in, with a strong emphasis on teaching children to think for themselves and become the creative problem solvers of tomorrow. The school community have well and truly lived up to this motto. By fighting for the survival of the school and succeeding in their efforts, they have made a difference not just for their children but for future generations, ensuring that many young people will enjoy the benefits of being educated in the wonderful surrounds of Cornish College. Cornish College is named in honour of Richard Cornish, principal of St Leonard's from 1971 to 1990. It was Richard's vision that the original campus would be a leader in environmental education, giving young people the opportunity to understand and value the wisdom of living and working more sustainably. Located in the green wedge near Patterson River and the national water sports centre and not too far from the Ramsar listed Edithvale and Seaford Wetlands, this site is the ideal home for a school with an environmental focus.

I would like to thank the principal, Kerry Bolger, and the whole school community for warmly welcoming me on Sunday. Kerry has spent 20 dedicated years at the Cornish campus and is now leading the new school as its founding principal. I congratulate Robbie Boag, Georgia Bell, Kathleen Kiddell and Eliza Wilton, who have the honour of being the first student leaders of the new school. I look forward to hearing of the college's successes and wish the students all the best with their studies.