Our Lady’s Assumption School Dianella celebrates 50 years of Catholic Education
(Left – Right) Assistant Principal Dianne Scoble with Emeritus Archbishop Barry Hickey, Director of School Improvement Catholic Education WA (CEWA), Dr Tony Curry together with Principal Mrs Therese Bandy at the fiftieth anniversary celebrations of Our Lady’s Assumption School Dianella on 17 August. Photo: Natashya Fernandez.
By Natashya Fernandez
It was a momentous day for all past, present and future students, teachers and alumni to revel in the 50 year anniversary celebration of Our Lady’s Assumption (OLA) School Dianella last week on 17 August.
Emeritus Archbishop Barry Hickey celebrated Mass to mark the occasion, together with Parish Priest Father Kenneth D’Souza and former Parish Priest Fr Benedict Quadros.
The event saw many dignitaries that included Director of School Improvement Catholic Education WA (CEWA), Dr Tony Curry, past principals, and the Dominican Sisters who worked to establish a firm foundation for the school.
Principal for OLA, Mrs Therese Bandy, who was a member of the OLA community and teacher in 2005, was particularly privileged to be celebrating this milestone with all present.
“Fifty years of Catholic education is a significant milestone and we are very proud to be celebrating with all of you.
“A Catholic education was the dream of our founding Parish Priest Fr Patrick O’Mara and we are grateful for his vision and work in establishing and building this parish community, and this school,” she said.
“We are also thankful for the dedication of the Dominican Sisters as together with Fr O’Mara established the firm foundations of our school.
“Naturally there have been many others who have continued the good works over the past 50 years and they are still doing so today.”
Past and present principals at the fiftieth anniversary celebrations of Our Lady’s Assumption School Dianella on 17 August. Photo: Natashya Fernandez.
In her welcome speech, Mrs Bandy said that the school is very blessed to have the support of the parish, the parents who entrust their children in the schools care, the staff for their dedication and commitment and especially to the students.
“We thank each and every leader, staff member, parent and child for the foundation and the legacy they have given us,” she added.
Emeritus Archbishop Hickey welcomed all to the celebration and said that the fiftieth anniversary of this school was a very important occasion.
“The school has provided years of wonderful education and inspiration for children. I acknowledge all the principals, teachers and members of the school who are here, and especially the young people, our students.
“On an occasion like this when we celebrate 50 years in Catholic education, it is an occasion to give thanks to Almighty God. To give thanks to the faith, courage, and energy and foresight of those who went before us in beginning the school, staffing the school, financing the school and making it a wonderful school which will last for many years,” Archbishop Hickey said.
“I think of those early beginnings around 50 years ago when I was a young priest, I knew Fr O’Mara very well and was able to be around and visit the place as it was being built.
“One thing I noticed was the number of volunteers. Money was short so people came from the parish to assist in any way they could. That was the beginning of something very beautiful.
“We see now a wonderful complex of classrooms and halls and various special places in the school. It’s all around the parish Church, which emphasises the connection between the school and the parish.
“It is founded on a rock and the rock is Christ. It is the rock of faith, the faith of the people, the Church that this school has been founded on, and that’s why it will last and is so strong. That’s why we give thanks to almighty God for it,” he said.
Students participating in the Mass at the fiftieth anniversary celebrations of Our Lady’s Assumption School Dianella on 17 August. Photo: Natashya Fernandez.
He also added that Catholic schools around Australia are a force for good.
“There are many purposes and ideals of Catholic schools, one – the most important is to educate young people in the knowledge and practice of their faith, and in the love of God, and in imbibing the message of Jesus, to follow Jesus to love him and our neighbours and to live as good followers of him.
“So I ask you all today to be thankful to Almighty God to this school and to all who are involved in it and to all our Catholic schools in Australia.
He reiterated the message of the Gospel from St John, and said that Jesus is the vine that gives life and we are the branches that receive life. “We should remember Jesus’ words, and students as well as the adults should respond to Jesus’ invitation to know him, to love him and to be so close to him in our prayers,” the Archbishop said.
Director of School Improvement Catholic Education WA (CEWA), Dr Curry said that it was a privilege to be present to celebrate this festive occasion.
“There has been over 20,000 students who have been through this school and it is fantastic. “If you listened to the Gospel and the homily, we heard about the vine and branches. That vine is the love of Jesus and his spirit, and our schools are the branches, so you are all doing that.
“This is not the same building that started in 1967; the buildings have changed, the staff have changed and the kids have changed, but it is the people and culture throughout that has been so important.
“This is a fantastic achievement 50 years on. So the sisters, the lay people, staff and the parents who have put their trust in the Catholic school system, we thank all of you, past and present, for the roles you have played over that time,” he said.