Page 906 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 27 February 2013

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Catholic Schools Week will be celebrated between 10 March and 16 March. Catholic schools in the ACT play a vital role in the education of our children. Catholic schools educate 20 per cent of students Australia-wide and 29 per cent of children in ACT schools in 37 separate campuses from early learning centres through to colleges. This represents nearly one-third of all school students in the ACT.

This year we have seen the opening of the newest school in the ACT Catholic Education Office family, the John Paul College at Nicholls. This school has had a number of setbacks but I know how many families are delighted that it now has a home. I know that enrolments and results at this school will be strong.

During Catholic Schools Week all schools will celebrate in various ways, with open days, special masses and special assemblies. I applaud the work that Catholic schools do in educating so many young Canberrans. Many former students have gone on to successful careers in sport, business and academic life—indeed, even to the Legislative Assembly both as members and staff. Catholic Schools Week is about strengthening relationships between all those that have a stake in our schools—students, staff, families, priests, parishioners and members of the wider community.

I look forward to joining the school community and principal Judy Walsh of St Michael’s Primary School at Kaleen on Thursday, 14 March for a community breakfast celebrating Catholic Schools Week. This will be the fifth year that I have attended and it is always a great opportunity to meet with the many sections of the community that also attend this event.

I hope to see Ms Burch there at this event, having enjoyed her mirth about the early announcement of this. Hopefully, we will see you there, Ms Burch.

Canberra Capitals—awards

MS BERRY (Ginninderra) (7.00): Last Friday night I had the privilege of joining the Canberra Capitals for their centenary gala dinner. I would like to take this opportunity to again congratulate all the winners on the night. In particular, I would like to congratulate Casey Samuels, who received the first award for cap on the rise; Brigitte Ardossi for taking home the most valuable player; Carly Wilson, to whom I presented the Kelly Abrams best defensive player award; and Jessica Bibby for the recognition she received from her peers, winning players’ player award.

Looking around the room during the dinner, I was struck by the number of women who are now household names in national and international sports. I do admit and confess that I was star struck. Household names like Lauren Jackson and Carrie Graf have put Canberra on the map. I am personally very excited that they have both made commitments to the Capitals for the coming seasons.

High profile figures like Lauren and Carrie have a positive impact on all levels of the game. As a basketballer myself, and with nieces who have played through their teens, I know how important it is for women to have role models to look up to in their sports. A great player like Brigitte Ardossi inspires those of us who are less talented and a

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