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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 7 Hansard (6 August) . .

Page.. 2144..


Taylor Primary School

St John Vianney's Primary School

MR DOSZPOT (Molonglo) (5.43): I have spoken before of my regular visits to schools throughout Canberra, and tonight I want to mention two that I have recently visited. The first was Taylor Primary School at Kambah. This is the school that, quite suddenly, in March 2012, had to close down after heavy rain damaged the school and there was concern that asbestos had been exposed. The school has always been known for its bright colours and unusual design and has earned its affectionate nickname of the Lego school.

At the time Taylor students were forced to relocate to Namadgi School, not far away but of sufficient distance to cause disruption to families, traffic arrangements and, no doubt, to both school campuses, staff and pupils. Many questions were asked about whether it was better to knock down and rebuild, and whether there was any point in resurrecting the school at all. But you only have to visit the school in its refurbished site and speak with Simon Smith, the principal, and his very dedicated teaching staff, to realise just how important the school was and is to them and to the local community.

Despite being dislocated for over 12 months, the school did not lose enrolments or staff, which is extraordinary when you think how difficult it must have been for school principal Mr Simon Smith in trying to operate and keep his team together at a temporary location.

Taylor is only a small school but it punches well above its weight in terms of school pride, enthusiasm and commitment. The school motto of "experience today discover tomorrow" has really been put to the test in the last 18 months, and I think the school community has come up trumps.

The second school I visited, on Monday afternoon, was St John Vianney's primary at Waramanga. The occasion was the official blessing and opening of the refurbished administration area and staff room, which I attended with Senator Zed Seselja and federal MP for Canberra Gai Brodtmann. While these schools are in different sectors, meaning one in the public sector and one in the non-government sector, they have much in common. Both have passionate principals, engaged school boards, and enthusiastic and committed staff, students and parents.

I would like to congratulate St John Vianney's principal, Mrs Vicky van der Sanden, on the wonderful way the official blessings and the opening were conducted. It was a great afternoon for school celebration—indeed for the whole school community. Senator Seselja did the official unveiling and addressed the school community. Monsignor John Woods and Father Kevin Brannelly, the parish priest, conducted the blessings, and Mrs Moira Najdecki from the Catholic Education Office gave her usual inspirational address.

Acknowledgement of country was delivered by Sharee Thomas, who is the religious education coordinator at the school. There was also an interesting address by


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