Page 3511 - Week 08 - Thursday, 23 August 2012

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St Mary MacKillop College

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (11.44): Mr Speaker, it is my absolute pleasure to pay tribute to a much-loved servant of Catholic education, particularly St Mary MacKillop college, in Maria Philpot. I will read from the Catholic Education Office Bulletin, which pays tribute to Mrs Philpot:

On Friday 13 April, St Mary MacKillop College said farewell to … Mrs Maria Philpot.

Mrs Philpot graced the offices of MacKillop’s Wanniassa Campus as a staff member for the final time, retiring at the end of Term 1 after 34 years of dedicated service.

In 1978, Mrs Philpot became a foundation staff member of Padua High School, working in roles as School Bursar, Principal’s Secretary, and finally as Student Receptionist, where she quickly developed an affinity with the student body. Many ex-students have often asked … whether Mrs Philpot was still working at MacKillop, such is her status within the MacKillop community. But sadly, the answer will no longer be, ‘yes’.

Maria had been the one permanent fixture at a school that has seen several Principals, hundreds of staff members, and thousands (and thousands) of students pass through its walls. She even witnessed several name changes to the school—firstly when Padua amalgamated with St Peter’s in Isabella to become MacKillop Catholic College, and secondly when the school was renamed to St Mary MacKillop College after the canonisation of its patron.

So long was her stint at MacKillop that she had even seen ex-students send their very own children to MacKillop.

College Captain, Tyler Friend, thanked Mrs Philpot for her many years of service. “We all wish her well in the next step of her journey,” he said.

“She had the respect of all the students, was one of the first people you’d see in the morning, and one of the last you’d see when you left in the afternoon. The students will miss her a lot—Mrs Philpot is MacKillop, and it just won’t be the same without her.”

Maria’s service to the many students and their families, her warm but no-nonsense style, fabled efficiency, loyalty, and quiet dignity that has brought comfort to many, will not be forgotten.

That was written by Michael Lee, the principal of St Mary MacKillop college. I can only endorse those words. I have known Mrs Philpot for many years, having attended Padua and St Peter’s. I have had the opportunity of returning and seeing her in recent times and having a great chat. She is always great company. She always asked about the parents and she has been a real institution. I pay tribute to her.

I would also like to briefly make mention of St Mary MacKillop college in another way. I had the great honour in recent weeks of attending St Mary MacKillop for their

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