Tuesday 22 November 2016
This year, 2016, marks the centenary of education at St Cecilia's Catholic Primary School in Wyong. As a former St Cecilia's student, having attended the school in 1986 and 1987 for years 5 and 6, I have very fond memories of my school days, and look forward to joining the school community and my favourite teacher, Mr Brinley, for celebrations to be held on Saturday.
In 1916 the first class was taught at the Catholic church in Byron Street, Wyong, with 15 primary and secondary students. Today there are around 350 students at the school, and countless former studentslike myself and my brothers and sister.
The school was named after Cecilia Woodbury, whose fundraising efforts were integral to building the Byron Street church, and who was widely known for her musical talents. Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of music, seemed a fitting name to the Josephite sisters who founded the school a hundred years ago.
The school launched their yearlong centenary celebrations in March with presentations from former students and the establishment of a time line in the school hall, where each month an historical event significant to the school has been added, including floods and natural disasters, visits by the bishop, and sporting achievements of past students, such as Ken Wallace's bronze and gold medals in kayaking at the Beijing Olympic Games.
Students like my friend Bailey Lavin in 5 Gold enjoyed a Back to Old School day where they dressed in old-fashioned clothes. This was a technology-free day, with chalk and boards replacing screens and notebooks. At the Grandparents Day, students took part in traditional schoolyard games like quoits, skipping and hopscotch, as well as an art exhibition using past styles and techniques.
On Saturday the time capsule buried at the school 25 years ago by my brother Eddie McBride and Kristy Guise, the school captains of 1991, will be unearthed and opened, providing a snapshot of life at St Cecilia's in the early 1990s. Items to be included in this year's time capsule will be collected, including a USB with images of the school and celebration events, a current school uniform and other items of interest from the year 2016, including money, stamps and a newspaper.
It gives me great pride to inform the House that a copy of this speech, as it is recorded in the parliament's Hansard, will also be included in the capsule. So, for the benefit of those reading this in 25, 50 or another hundred years, 2016 has seen: a federal election at which I became the member for Dobell, 10 Central Coast residents join the Australian team at the Olympic Games in Rio, and radio host and community campaigner Sarah King, whose Give Me 5 For Kids initiative has raised more than $1.7 million for children's care at Wyong and Gosford hospitals, become the Wyong Citizen of the Year. Congratulations to the staff, students and the St Cecilia's school community on your first 100 years.